- Infrastructure- Energy.
Electric or hydrogen cars? Why Asian economies are backing the latter
What to study?
For Prelims: Working principles and differences between the two.
For Mains: Why Hydrogen? Significance and challenges therein.
Context: China, Japan and South Korea have set ambitious targets to put millions of hydrogen-powered vehicles on their roads by the end of the next decade at a cost of billions of dollars.
- China, far and away the world’s biggest auto market with some 28 million vehicles sold annually, is aiming for more than 1 million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) in service by 2030. That compares with just 1,500 or so now, most of which are buses.
- Japan, a market of more than 5 million vehicles annually, wants to have 800,000 FCVs sold by that time from around 3,400 currently.
- South Korea, which has a car market just one third the size of Japan, has set a target of 850,000 vehicles on the road by 2030. But as of end-2018, fewer than 900 have been sold.
- Hydrogen is a clean energy source as water and heat are the only byproducts,
- It can be made from a number of sources, including methane, coal, water, even garbage.
- Driving ranges and refuelling times for FCVs are comparable to gasoline cars, whereas EVs require hours to recharge and provide only a few hundred kilometres of range.
Why haven’t fuel cars caught on yet?
- A lack of refuelling stations, which are costly to build.
- There are not enough FCVs to make refuelling stations profitable.
- Consumer worries about the risk of explosions.
- Heavy subsidies are needed to bring prices down to levels of gasoline-powered cars.
Sources: the Hindu.