Hydrogen-fueled cars could be the answer for China

Published on Author degnank17

China has long battled a problem with smog and pollution. The massive amounts of motor vehicles, in the major cities, is the leading factor. Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hangzhou are four cities, where cars produce the main source of pollution. The invention of hydrogen-fueled cars could facilitate in eliminating the pollution and establish increased visibility for communities. The Chinese citizens would be able to leave their houses without wearing masks over their noses.fuelcell_vehicle_img01

These innovative vehicles would solely emit water vapor. Furthermore, they would have a far superior driving time than battery-powered electric cars. Drivers, of such vehicles, would benefit from swift battery recharging at hydrogen stations. According to Air Liquide, these stations would cost around $1.08 million each.

Japan has been quick to embrace the trend of hydrogen-fueled cars. They are planning to install one hundred stations by December. China is steady to follow suit. However, the Chinese car company, SAIC Motor Corp., is investing in research to possibility manufacture them. There are baby steps being taken all over China. The local government, in Guangdong, recently built the area’s first refueling station.

The Chinese government recently implemented a new policy that promotes hope for the elimination of the abundant smog. They are requiring that “green” cars consist of more than thirty percent of vehicles bought for official use. Hopefully, the desire for a clean and healthy environment will spark a trend in the spread of hydrogen-fueled cars.


9 Responses to Hydrogen-fueled cars could be the answer for China

  1. This would be a good way to limit pollution, but will the cars be affordable for a lot people?

  2. Even though it could be the answer, the spread of these type of cars will not happen for a while. First of all, producers need to figure out a way to reduce their manufacturing cost if the cars want to be cost competitive with the conventional powertrains (Rits et al, 44). Price is a constraint, but the spread of hydrogen fueled cars is also held back by the current popularity of hybrid cars, the problems associated with storing hydrogen and the boom of the fracking industry, which made natural gas cheap in the U.S. and is very likely to do so worldwide.


    • Your source is old — but the issues haven’t changed. My sense is that FCVs are much more dependent on government policy (= subsidies and/or sales mandates) than any other drivetrain system. There will be some in California and some in Japan, but maybe nowhere else. Cf. Bryant’s comment below.

  3. While hydrogen powered cars may be better for the environment, I still wonder how China can backtrack from its intense smog pollution. Moreover, while some may buy these vehicles, will the government provide incentives for more to do so?

  4. At present FCVs are 0% of a growing market. Their architecture will be quite different, so many components will be unique to them. So parts suppliers need to be convinced to tool up for making those specific items. Hence initial sales will be small and take many years to ramp up. So even if everything goes well, we’re looking at 2025 before they could be a big slice of new vehicle sales, and another decade for them to constitute a big slice of the vehicles on the road.

    The initial application ought thus to be urban buses. That fuel cells and hydrogen tanks are bulking will be less of an issue. They have a base station so fueling infrastruction would not be an issue. Passenger cars? — not sensible. Remember too our normal diminishing returns mantra: as other drivetrains improve, the benefits of the 1st-generation FCV will look more and more meager.

  5. Prof, unless busses are already a primary form of transportation, I do not see how your proposal would offer a long-term solution to urban pollution. Those who use passenger vehicles will likely continue to use passenger vehicles regardless of the energy source used in buses. In order to combat urban pollution effectively, China will need to find an attractive alternative to hydrocarbon fueled passenger vehicles.

  6. While I think hydrogen fuel cars are the vehicles of the future, there are some safety concerns involved with using hydrogen as a fuel source. The element is much more flammable than gasoline and is odorless and colorless, making it near impossible to detect in the case of a leak. I see hydrogen car manufactures eventually overcoming these risks and quelling consumer fears in the near future.

  7. I think one would be hard pressed to find someone who is completely against the idea of hydrogen cars (assuming all safety risks are eliminated). It is nice to see that China is firing on all cylinders (so to speak) in becoming more “green.” However, it would make more sense for this technology to be applied to public transportation given China’s traffic congestion and densely population urban centers.