Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) may sound futuristic but don’t let the four-word description fool you. FCEVs are not science fiction – they’re on sale today. The technology powering these cars is a simple chemical reaction: Hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen come together in a fuel cell to create water and an electric current. Think of it like a battery. While this technology is advancing rapidly, myths about hydrogen don’t always support the facts. So, try to stay in your lane as we set the record straight.
Here are the biggest myths about hydrogen fuel cell electric cars:
1. They’re unsafe
The public perception that hydrogen is unsafe is regarded as a challenge to adoption. But hydrogen is just as safe, perhaps safer, than any other transportation fuel (i.e. gasoline, diesel, lithium-ion batteries, natural gas etc.). This misconception has persisted, in part, due to the infamous 1937 Hindenburg disaster. Aside from one badly conceived airship, whose flammable outer-fabric caught fire, hydrogen has been safely used as an industrial gas for over a century.
It’s a good thing we’re now living 80 years after Hindenburg – because today’s high-strength carbon fiber hydrogen tanks are put through rigorous testing (including being blasted with 50-calibre ammo and the most stringent international crash test standards). According to energy.gov, hydrogen fuel tanks are subjected to more than twice the maximum pressure expected under normal service conditions to ensure high-quality performance.
In the unlikely event of a hydrogen leak, it’s still safer than gasoline. Unlike gasoline, which remains on the ground to be ignited, the lightest element in the periodic table quickly disperses into the atmosphere where it does what it always has; bond with atmospheric oxygen to create water.
So, while critics love to spread hydrogen safety myths, the facts (and Standards Authorities in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Canada, U.S.) prove that we’ve come a long way since The Roaring 30’s.
2. It’s not clean
As mentioned in our previous post, hydrogen fuel cell electric cars are pollution-free. Hydrogen-powered cars produce no global warming emissions. While it’s true that both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric cars are zero-emission, the electricity (and hydrogen) can be produced from fossil fuels. Let’s celebrate both vehicle types bringing clean air to our cities – we can keep increasing the percentage of renewables that ultimately power these cars. It’s worth noting that HyGen produces its hydrogen from renewable sources. If you fill up at a HyGen pump, you can guarantee zero-emissions throughout the fuel cycle.
3. There’s no infrastructure
The availability of hydrogen fueling stations is a challenge today but that’s expected to change in the near future. The U.S. Department of Energy launched H2USA, which is focused on advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more transportation energy options for U.S. consumers.
California led the world in sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the first half of 2017. If you live in the Los Angeles metro area, it’s totally practical to own a FCEV. Check for hydrogen fueling stations near you.
Not to toot our own (hydrogen-powered) horn but: Toot, toot! We are thrilled to be a part of this exciting revolution. Learn more about how you invest in HyGen today.