Hydrogen is now being developed in many fields: industry, space, aeronautics, defense, and mobility. In this article, we will focus on the hydrogen’s potential for mobility, through hydrogen vehicles.
When compared to the industrial or space use of hydrogen, its use for mobility is relatively new. Indeed, it is only in the 1990s that the first hydrogen vehicles appeared on the market. These vehicles are conventional electric vehicles powered by a fuel cell running on hydrogen. Since the beginning of hydrogen vehicles, 3 manufacturers dominate this market: Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda.
However, it seems that the other car manufacturers have finally understood the potential of this new, “greener” mode of mobility, as fuel cells do not release any greenhouse gases when producing electricity, but only water. Thus, new vehicles are gradually emerging on the hydrogen mobility market, which remains nevertheless a niche market. There are only 10,000 hydrogen vehicles in the world today, half of which are in the United States.
Why this late development? The high price of hydrogen vehicles, due to the high cost of their components. As a result, unaffordable prices for many people, such as the Toyota Mirai at nearly €80,000. However, active R&D in this field should enable costs to be reduced in the coming years, opening this market to more and more consumers.
The decarbonization of the transportation sector:
In the context of the energy transition, one of the major challenges of hydrogen is the potential to decarbonize the transportation sector.
Soon, along with technical progress in this field, hydrogen mobility should therefore develop and become more widely available, and eventually become the best alternative to mobility using oil as a fuel. Personal vehicles will therefore be increasingly powered by hydrogen, as will heavy commercial transport, but also potentially railway and aeronautical transport.
Assuming that hydrogen is produced in a decarbonated way, in particular through the electrolysis of water, hydrogen thus offers a solution for greener mobility. Investments in hydrogen are constantly increasing, in line with the billions of euros recently invested by the French and German governments as part of their economic stimulus plans.
Hydrogen mobility potentially represents a huge market. For example, if only 1% of the world’s car fleet were converted to hydrogen, this would represent a hydrogen market of around 15 billion euros!
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