Electric or hydrogen cars? Explainer: Why Asia's biggest economies are backing hydrogen fuel cell cars
Resource-poor Japan sees hydrogen as a way to greater energy security.
China, Japan and South Korea have set ambitious targets to put millions of hydrogen-powered vehicles on their roads by the end of the next decade at a cost of billions of dollars.
➢ China, the world’s biggest auto market with some 28 million vehicles sold annually, is aiming for more than 1 million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) in service by 2030. That compares with just 1,500 or so now, most of which are buses.
➢ Japan, a market of more than 5 million vehicles annually, wants to have 800,000 FCVs sold by that time from around 3,400 currently.
➢ South Korea, which has a car market just one third the size of Japan, has set a target of 850,000 vehicles on the road by 2030. But as of end-2018, fewer than 900 have been sold.
➢ Hydrogen is a clean energy source as water and heat are the only byproducts,
➢ It can be made from a number of sources, including methane, coal, water, even garbage.
➢ Driving ranges and refuelling times for FCVs are comparable to gasoline cars, whereas EVs require hours to recharge and provide only a few hundred kilometres of range.
Only a handful of automakers have made fuel cell passenger cars commercially available.
➢ A lack of refuelling stations, which are costly to build.
➢ There are not enough FCVs to make refuelling stations profitable.
➢ Consumer worries about the risk of explosions.
➢ Heavy subsidies are needed to bring prices down to levels of gasoline- powered cars.