There are 600 million motor vehicles in the world today. By 2050, this figure is projected to reach 3.5 billion.
The transportation sector is the single largest consumer of petroleum in the United States, accounting for nearly two-thirds of annual consumption. Approximately 75% of this is used to fuel highway vehicles including cars, trucks and buses.
In North America, over 260 million vehicles contribute to one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions.
Continued reliance on gasoline internal combustion engine vehicles will not allow countries to reach reduced greenhouse gas emissions targets.
Automakers are developing a portfolio of technologies to address demand for cleaner vehicles including battery electrics, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell electric vehicles.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles provide all the advantages of battery electrics with the convenience of current gasoline vehicles. They are the only technology that can meet those customers that have demands for extended driving range, rapid fueling time, and trunk and passenger space.
Today, 50% of the electricity in the United States comes from coal and 20% from natural gas. Plug-in battery vehicles could result in a massive increase in fossil fuel use. In addition, as only 50% of Americans have access to an outlet at night, there is speculation whether the electrical grid could handle a significant number of plug-in battery vehicles.
According to a United States Department of Energy well-to-wheels analysis, using hydrogen from natural gas would emit 63% fewer greenhouse gases than today’s gasoline vehicles and 37% fewer than natural gas vehicles.
While there is less than 100 hydrogen fueling stations in North America today, hydrogen can be made domestically, efficiently and cost-effectively from a number of feedstocks (i.e. natural gas, biomass and coal) or from renewable energy (i.e. solar or wind power). Initially, hydrogen will likely come from natural gas, and be a bridge to hydrogen produced from renewable energy.
The United States National Research Council has estimated it would cost $2.2 million to build a hydrogen fuelling station to support 1,500 fuel cell vehicles – the equivalent of $1,500 per vehicle. Meanwhile, according to an Idaho National Laboratory estimate, the average cost of a 240V circuit needed for a PHEV-30 or PHEV-40 would be $1,500-$2,100.
A European power train and infrastructure study has calculated that the costs to develop a hydrogen infrastructure in Europe are approximately 5% of the overall cost of a fuel cell electric (€1,000 to €2,000 per vehicle) over its lifetime.
This equates to an average annual investment of €2.5 Billion. In contrast, a battery infrastructure would cost approximately €1,500-2,500 per vehicle, but the average annual investment would be €13 Billion over the next 40 years.
For further information, please visit www.zeroemissionvehicles.eu