Hydrogen-powered vehicles become the future of the automotive industry

With the automotive industry racing to create a sustainable, everyday transportation, many car companies hurry to develop what they believe is the future of alternative energy production: hydrogen powered vehicles.

 Several businesses are attempting to firmly position themselves in this market, and secure a spot in the future of the automotive industry amidst gathering attention towards the impending climate crisis and enormous pressure to significantly cut carbon emissions. 

Many companies, like Hyundai and Toyota, have already begun development of these cars of the future. Toyota’s new model of the “Mirai”, a hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric car, boasts onA a “significantly greater range” than its previous electric car, claiming that it can travel over 300 miles in one charge on the Toyota website.

Better yet, it only takes 3-5 minutes for a full charge-up. Its release is scheduled for late 2020 and listing starts at around $58,000. 

Hyundai has also just recently released a hydrogen-powered vehicle of their own, called the Nexo, that requires five minutes or less of refueling to drive the distance from L.A. to San Francisco nonstop. This is the beauty of fuel-cell technology. 

The Nexo also comes with free fuel for three years or a $13,000 credit, whichever comes first. The Mirai has the same deal but with a $15,000 credit.

In order to generate usable energy, hydrogen gas is combined in a fuel cell with oxygen from the atmosphere to produce electricity. That electricity is then stored in a battery inside the car. The only byproduct of this process is water, meaning hydrogen-powered vehicles don’t release harmful emissions. These cars can be filled up at hydrogen stations with an air pump very similar to a gas pump.

These hydrogen powered vehicles are not all great, though. While the cars themselves do not generate any harmful gases, the process of making hydrogen requires energy that often comes from fossil fuel sources. These gases can lead to worsening air quality and increasing climate change. 

So hydrogen’s cleanliness is still under some question. Despite that, it still has a shot at dramatically cutting our harmful emissions for the time being.

Hydrogen-powered cars may be one of the best options for alternative energy production as a means to reduce harmful emissions that we release through our daily transportation habits. With free fuel incentives and many car companies pushing to create hydrogen powered cars, there is the potential to greatly reduce one of our greatest contributors to pollution.

Currently, hydrogen powered vehicles are the most promising entity to greatly reduce our harmful emissions and carefully make the large scale conversion to clean energy to accommodate our transportation habits.

mm
Jason McGrath is a senior first-year staff writer for the Jagwire. In his free time he enjoys hanging out with friends and playing sports.