smkettner wrote:Exactly this.GetOffYourGas wrote:Of course, we are talking here about the occassional road trip. What we are missing is the elephant in the room - the daily commute. This is the bulk of most people's annual mileage. .....snip
If you build all the infrastructure for fueling all cars as hydrogen it will be a huge undertaking. If you build infrastructure to charge EVs for long distance there is not any need for the same scale. 80%+ would be my guess that EVs would charge at home with less than 20% needed for long distance travel. You just do not need as much public infrastructure for an EV.
No one is advocating building nothing but H2 infrastructure. As yet, both H2/FCEVs and BEVs which fully meet customers ICE requirements are unavailable and/or unaffordable for most consumers, and until that changes for one or both (plus biofuels) large scale take rates aren't going to happen barring subsidies and mandates.
BEVs should be chosen wherever they can meet the operational requirements at the lowest TCO, as they are the most energy efficient option. They are the best match for local and regional use, and given limited charging infrastructure, the longer-range ones impose fairly small compromises on weekend trips, but they constrain where you live and work to a much greater degree than central fueling points. Faster charging, longer range and AVs have the potential to eliminate much of this bottleneck. FCEVs' niche, at the moment, is for those whose needs skew towards road trips/high duty cycles*, or who only wish to have a single ZEV, and who can't charge at home or work. The ideal, for people who can benefit, would be PHFCEVs, with the pack handling the routine driving and the cell stack's convenience advantages coming into its own on the longer trips.
As for commercial use, FCEVs make sense for places where time is money, and where the traffic simply doesn't justify an electric infrastructure - such as long, low-density train routes. Marine usage instead of biofuels is also a possibility, and regional aviation also seems a likely usage for FCEVs. Zero or negative-carbon biofuels niche will start with long-range aviation, and work their way down from there depending on the size of the supply and the price. If we could provide drop-in carbon-neutral biofuels for everything without impacting food production or having any other major environmental effects, that would obviously be the route preferred by most, as the least disruptive and requiring the least new infrastructure.
*I define a road trip as one requiring multiple (ICE) fuel stops each way, over greater than weekend distances. While relatively rare for most people, they do happen often enough that people want the capability. Of course, one option is to own a car for your routine usage and rent for extreme cases, but that assumes that you're willing to deal with the hassle and the vehicle you want is available when you want.