BMW and Other German Automakers Are Putting a Focus on Hydrogen Cars
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While most of the world has been focused on electric cars as the next big thing in the automotive world, BMW and other German automakers have their eyes on hydrogen cars.
BMW, Audi, and more are developing hydrogen fuel-cell car prototypes along with the traditional battery-operated electric vehicles to add to their newest fleets. In fuel-cell technology, the hydrogen will pass through a catalyst and create electricity, making for a quicker refuel than electric car charging.
With these new developments we can’t help but wonder—are hydrogen cars the way of the future?
BMW is investing in a new type of environmentally friendly vehicles—hydrogen cars.
BMW’s new initiative for hydrogen cars
We’ve seen a bigger and bigger focus on eliminating fossil fuels and reducing our carbon footprint through the way we drive in recent years. Historically, most of those efforts have been surrounding electric cars, ever since Tesla paved the way with the first battery-operated vehicles.
BMW’s move toward hydrogen instead is largely fueled by politics, as they predict a shift in the political winds could take the focus for environmentally friendly cars from electric to hydrogen, according to U.S. News. The initiative is taking place mostly in Germany, a country that has already invested billions into hydrogen fuel in areas like steel and chemical manufacturing.
BMW has developed a hydrogen-fueled model car based on its existing X5 SUV. The company will roll out 100 test cars in 2022, then aim to mass produce the new kind of vehicle by 2030.
The pros of hydrogen cars
MORE: BMW Buying Guide
On a larger scale, hydrogen-fueled vehicles are appealing in the same way that electric vehicles are—because they help the environment.
If hydrogen-fueled cars were widely adopted, the overall CO2 emissions throughout the world would likely decrease significantly compared to if everyone continued to use gas-fueled vehicles. This, in turn, could have a huge, positive impact on climate change overall.
Additionally, hydrogen vehicles are expected to be especially popular in the commercial trucking world, because battery-operated vehicles just aren’t practical for long-distance drives.
Hydrogen-fueled vehicles would have a far quicker recharge and refuel time compared to battery-operated electric vehicles, which can take days to fully charge. The EU has even expressed interest in building more hydrogen-fueled vehicle charging stations throughout the world, as these cars become more widespread.
This means, not only are hydrogen-fueled cars just as good for the environment as electric cars, but they might even be more convenient and widely used.
The cons of hydrogen cars
While there’s definitely demand for this new kind of environmentally friendly vehicle, the truth is hydrogen is an expensive fuel source. Fuel-cell technology works by having hydrogen pass through a catalyst to create electricity, an energy source that is too expensive to maintain with the expensive materials it requires.
Because hydrogen fuel is more expensive and infrastructure is scarce, it could be harder to convince political leaders to get on board with this kind of vehicle.
Until hydrogen fuel is more accessible, many countries may opt to keep the focus on electric cars because they help the environment without costing the big bucks. But, with the help of some big investors, hydrogen-fueled vehicles could be around sooner than we think.