The Battle of the Vehicles:  H2 vs. Batteries – ?

Information Temporary by Kip Hansen – 16 April 2022

In keeping with the U.S. Division of Transportation’s Federal Motor Provider Security Administration there have been “nearly 12.5 million business massive vans and buses had been registered in 2016”.   There are extra now. 

Governments all over the world are contemplating or really enacting legal guidelines, guidelines and laws to section out petroleum powered transportation (gasoline and diesel) and change it with low- or no-emissions vehicles, vans and buses. 

Jack Ewing, writes within the New York Occasions about automotive enterprise and the transition to electrical automobiles.  His newest article is titled: 

“Truck Makers Face a Tech Dilemma: Batteries or Hydrogen?”

“Below stress to chop emissions, truck producers are selecting between batteries and hydrogen gas cells. Wagering incorrectly might value them billions of {dollars}.”

He says that the foremost makers of vans, within the U.S. and Europe, have already determined that they are going to be required to surrender the ever-dependable diesel energy that they’ve a lot expertise with and shift to low emissions options. 

“Truck makers are divided into two camps. One faction, which incorporates Traton, Volkswagen’s truck unit, is betting on batteries as a result of they’re broadly considered probably the most environment friendly possibility. The opposite camp, which incorporates Daimler Truck and Volvo, the 2 largest truck producers, argues that gas cells that convert hydrogen into electrical energy — emitting solely water vapor — make extra sense as a result of they’d permit long-haul vans to be refueled shortly.”

Battery-powered long-haul vans value far more than diesel vans – as much as thrice in line with Ewing – however a minimum of there’s a short-haul model that one might purchase.  “Daimler Truck, for instance, started producing an electrical model of its heavy responsibility Actros truck, with a most vary of 240 miles, late final 12 months.”

Sure, producing, however they offered solely 712 in 2021 worldwide, in comparison with 455,000 ICE vans the identical 12 months.  “Daimler has a brand new long-range Mercedes-Benz eActros business truck, which is available in at thrice the value of the gasoline model.” [ source ].   These vans have a few 400km or 240 mile vary – it’s not clear if that is an over-the-highway mileage or a extra pragmatic common driving situations mileage, similar to making deliveries in London or NY Metropolis.

And hydrogen gas cell (H2)variations?  “In April (2021), Daimler started testing a prototype “GenH2” long-haul truck able to going 600 miles between visits to the hydrogen pump. However a lot of work is required to convey down the price of the tools and there’s not but a community of hydrogen fueling stations or an enough provide of hydrogen produced in a means that doesn’t cancel out the environmental advantages.” [ source ]

Electrical metropolis buses, short-haul people-carrying vans like airport shuttles, or native supply vans all make fundamental sense for batteries, as these kind of automobiles return to a central depot every day the place they are often recharged and maintained. 

 “The environmental aspect is massively essential but when it doesn’t make monetary sense, no one’s going to do it,” mentioned Paul Gioupis, chief govt of Zeem, an organization that’s constructing one of many largest electrical car charging depots within the nation about one and a half miles from Los Angeles Worldwide Airport. Zeem will recharge vans and repair and clear them for purchasers like motels, tour operators and supply corporations.” [ source ]

Ewing factors out that H2 vans shall be lighter and will be fueled (as soon as there are fueling stations) in an identical method to diesel vans. 

One in every of these two applied sciences might come out a giant winner or the 2 applied sciences might share the market.  Solely time will inform. 

The winner of the know-how battle will rule the long run truck market, value billions. . . Profitable billions or dropping billions if one producer picks the dropping know-how. 

These mega-corporations have already poured in tens of millions of analysis {dollars} and euros and set their finest brains to attempt to outguess the long run.

Which tech do you assume will come out on prime?

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Creator’s Remark:

I’ve an unsettled, not-yet-formed opinion.  Battery energy appears to have the sting within the current second.  Batteries can be found and changing into higher.  Electrical energy for charging is already nicely distributed alongside main trucking routes and ubiquitous even within the much less populated areas. 

H2 is difficult to cope with – it sneaks out of containers and pipes and ultimately, will be explosive.  A leak can act as a FAE, a gas air explosive.  Anybody with a little bit of chemistry background could make sufficient H2 at residence to be harmful (ask me, I had my three boys in residence college).  That mentioned, it does burn cleanly producing solely vitality and H2O.

I don’t assume I’d wish to drive a car on the present U.S. highways with a tank filled with pure hydrogen strapped below the seat.

Sure, I do know, gasoline is harmful too….however not fairly in the identical means.  Perhaps it’s simply me. 

Thanks for studying.

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