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Future of Electric and Hydrogen Cars and Trucks: An Overview


The negative consequences of toxic emissions from internal combustion engines, energy security, climate change, and energy costs have led to a growing demand for clean power sources in the automotive industry. The development of eco-friendly vehicle technologies, such as electric and hydrogen vehicles, has increased. This article investigates whether hydrogen vehicles will replace electric vehicles in the future. The results showed that fuel-cell cars are unlikely to compete with electric cars. This is due to the advancements in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, which are becoming more cost-effective and efficient. Additionally, the technical progress in battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is expected to reduce the market share of fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in passenger vehicles. However, significant investments have been made in hydrogen cars. Many ongoing investments seem to follow the sunk cost fallacy, where decision-makers continue to invest in an unprofitable project due to their already invested resources. Furthermore, even with megawatt charging, fuel-cell trucks cost more than battery-powered electric trucks. The use cases for fuel-cell electric trucks are also much more limited, as their running expenses are higher compared to electric cars. Hydrogen vehicles may be beneficial for heavy transport in remote areas. However, it remains to be seen if niche markets are large enough to support fuel-cell electric truck commercialization and economies of scale. In summary, we believe that hydrogen vehicles will not replace electric cars and trucks, at least before 2050.

Funding source: This research received support from the the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities under the programme “Proyectos de I+D de Generacion de Conocimiento” of the national programme for the generation of scientific and technological knowledge and strengthening of the R+D+I system through grant number PGC2018-098813-B-C33 and by UAL-FEDER 2020, Ref. UAL2020-TIC-A2080.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways

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