It has recently been announced that the UK government believes that they will see hydrogen cars on the roads in just two years’ time; far earlier than expected by most consumers.
The think tank, UKH2Mobility, consisting of carmakers, government departments, and hydrogen technology companies believes that the number of hydrogen powered cars could reach 1.5 million within the next 20 years, marking a considerable shift from not only petrol and diesel models, but hybrids and electric cars too.
It’s not going to be smooth sailing of course, because it’s still proving extremely difficult to convince consumers that alternative fuels are the way forward. Sales of electric cars are still relatively disappointing, primarily because of concerns about the range drivers can travel on. The main stumbling block is the price however. Electric cars are currently very expensive compared to traditional ones, and it’s hard to see how the additional price is worth it, even with substantially better economy.
It is likely that, given the cost of purchasing a new battery, people are going to be more inclined to use services such as Hitachi business car leasing, in order to offset the expense. The used car market is certainly going to change when batteries become more expensive than the cars themselves.
The £5000 grant available towards the purchase price of a new electric car will also be given to hydrogen powered cars, but the scheme isn’t guaranteed beyond the current government.
If we really are going to see hydrogen cars on UK roads by 2015, then there are going to have to be a fair few places at which they can be refuelled. The government is looking to establish 65 stations at which hydrogen cars will be able to get fuel by 2015, and by 2030 this figure is planned to be around 1100.
The cost of reaching the 2030 goals is estimated to be as much as £400 million, though there is no word yet on where the funding will actually come from.
It is hoped then, that both electric cars, and those powered by hydrogen will both be widely used in the future, as the hunt for better economy continues. The transition is likely to be very gradual however; the logistics as still very complicated, and there are some manufacturers such as Mazda, who are still focusing their efforts on improving the internal combustion engine.