Categories: Environment

Already the beginning of the end for energy supposed to be an alternative to the electric car?

Hydrogen is struggling to establish itself within the automotive industry, and some operators are starting to backtrack.

The hydrogen car, long considered a revolutionary promise for the automobile industry, is struggling to convince. However, the concept has many advantages: you can refuel about as quickly as a car with a thermal engine, and you don’t need to carry around a huge battery to get a decent range.

However, the only real problem that persists (despite the fact that the technology is also expensive and sometimes resembles a hell of a gas factory…), it is the absence of a hydrogen network. And the recent news in the field is hardly reassuring.

Is hydrogen confined to remaining a “niche” energy?

Indeed, Everfuel, the Danish hydrogen station operator, was to have a total of 19 recharging sites by the end of 2023. Unfortunately, instead of progressing, the project is moving backwards. Not only will these 19 stations not see the light of day, but the three existing stations where you can currently refuel with hydrogen are being closed.

For what ? Quite simply because Everfuel no longer wants to inject money. In the first half of this year alone, the company would have lost 11 million euros as part of its hydrogen distribution operations. This decision is not illogical given that only 136 hydrogen cars are currently circulating in Denmark, which is far from providing a solid basis for a profitable hydrogen station network.

However, Everfuel remains convinced that hydrogen remains a credible alternative to electric cars, especially at a time when the energy required to power the fleet of plug-in electric cars is constantly growing, thus posing potential supply problems.

Everything for electric

The concept of hydrogen as a clean fuel is obviously appealing, but governments don’t seem ready to fully support the technology, and automakers aren’t necessarily on the same page either. To date, the supply of hydrogen cars remains limited, consisting mainly of the Hyundai Nexo and the Toyota Mirai. A pilot project is underway with the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, but the long-term outlook remains unclear.

Everfuel, despite its divestment from hydrogen stations, says it will continue to produce hydrogen, but will now focus on other applications. This raises the question of whether if the hydrogen car can still find its place in the future of mobility, or if it will remain confined to a niche role. As the auto industry races toward electrification, the road to hydrogen appears fraught with insurmountable financial and logistical pitfalls.

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• What future for Opel within the Stellantis group?
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