Considering the breathless press releases and countless panels at the Los Angeles Auto Show (LAAS) last month devoted strictly to autonomous driving — and the nearly infinite ways the technology would profoundly influence every aspect of our society — it is clear the topic du jour in automotive circles is self-driving cars.
But perhaps the most surprising trend to arise out of the LAAS in 2014 was not who will be driving our cars in the coming decades, but rather how they will be driven. Or rather, powered. Until now, hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles have been the belles of the alternative energy ball — the Great Green Hope for those who wish to see humanity distance ourselves from an over-reliance on fossil fuels. But several automakers are transitioning agendas, hedging their bets on hydrogen fuel cell technology instead.
We’ve heard the siren song of hydrogen-powered vehicles before, however — Toyota has been tinkering with fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) for 20 years now, and Honda introduced its first back in 2002. So what has changed? Why is the technology suddenly relevant again? What are its true benefits and disadvantages? And what vehicles are currently being developed to bring this bold technology into the future?
Automotive executive Wolf-Henning Scheider, the respected head of supplier Robert Bosch’s automotive division, gave solid support to FCVs in the marketplace. “They are not out of the race,” he told a Berlin industry conference last month. “They are a viable alternative to other zero-emission vehicle technologies.”
Climate change is real. If you don’t believe in it, and the 99% of credible scientists who support the concept, then stop reading now. Better yet, shut off your computer and throw your iPhone in the toilet. You don’t get the right to cherrypick your belief in “science” — either you believe in the institutions that created the technology you use every day, or you go back to tossing rocks at rodents for sustenance. Make a choice — you can’t have it both ways.
The second largest contributor to climate change in America burps from the vehicles human beings drive every day, accounting for 33% of carbon emissions. To drastically decrease the amount of carbons we dump into the atmosphere, to clean up the air we breathe every day, and to decrease our dependence on foreign oil we must transition to vehicles powered by alternative and renewable fuels: electricity, hydrogen, natural gas, biomethane, ethanol, renewable diesel and biodiesel.
HOW DO FCVs WORK?
Hydrogen zero-emission FCVs function very similarly to electric vehicles (EVs) in that electric motors are used to turn the wheels and make them go. Instead of batteries supplying the required energy, however, power is created in fuel cell stacks that convert compressed hydrogen gas into electricity.
The Ford Airstream Concept below; continue reading “Our Hydrogen Future” after the Jump…