One ZEV Mobility Solution is Good, but Two is Best
Unfortunately, in the world today there is a lot of division and it makes it difficult to understand the truth on a number of important matters. It is even more unfortunate that the discord includes what path(s) is best for powering a zero emission vehicle (ZEV).
Presently a battery electric vehicle (BEV) and a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) are the two paths that have gained the most support for achieving zero emission mobility in the light and heavy-duty mobility spheres. BEVs need access to an electrical grid to be recharged and FCEVs need access to a fueling station to get more hydrogen.
Both forms of mobility have a lot of benefits like zero emissions, access instantly to 100% torque, and quiet operation, and both types can provide the people with a better mobility experience than what has existed for over 100 years now. It is also true that since both types of vehicles are ZEVs proponents of both want the same thing: a mobility experience free from emissions.
Despite all of the similarities, people have not unanimously arrived at the same conclusion, that BEVs and FCEVs need to both exist and be supported equally by everyone from the management teams at automakers to ordinary consumers. After all, if the technologies are complementary, then trying to exclude one from being used is illogical in the extreme.
However, and to humanity’s great detriment, people are willing to throw logic aside and demand that those around them do the same. For instance, people who say that BEVs are the only smart path forward almost never consider that it takes about 70,000 liters of water to produce one ton of lithium (the main ingredient in the batteries found in BEVs).[i] The BEV camp is equally oblivious to the fact that batteries do not like really hot or really cold temperatures, both of which can significantly reduce the performance of a battery.
Similarly, people on the FCEV side often do not consider that not everyone has the same mobility needs. Some people travel perhaps no more than 30 miles in a week, and almost never travel more than 200 miles from their homes by car. For people with limited mobility needs a BEV is sufficient to meet those needs. The FCEV side also often overlooks that FCEVs do use small lithium batteries since a hybrid system is generally superior to a pure battery platform or a pure fuel cell system.
It would be wrong to say that the above arguments are the only ones used today. There are some people who are so sure that they have science on their side that they are unwilling to consider factors which are not purely scientific, like electrical generation capacity of power plants.
However, The Fuel Cell Shop recognizes that to achieve a zero emissions global economy batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and other renewable energy technologies are all necessary to achieve a healthy climate. This is why The Fuel Cell Shop sells batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and other technologies, since we appreciate the value that multiple technologies have. It is also why the H2GP program educates students on multiple renewable energy technologies including batteries and fuel cells. However, if BEV and FCEV advocates do not come together and agree unequivocally that both technologies are needed to achieve the shared goals of each, then no one on Earth will be a winner. For over five years now a place like California has experienced severe wildfires. This year is no different, and a fire that has been burning for weeks in Northern California continues to burn. Earth does not need people to argue and unhelpfully delay the transition to zero emission mobility. It is already burning and decaying faster than humans realize. What needs to happen now is unified global action and unanimous support for zero emission technologies like BEVs and FCEVs. This is why The Fuel Cell Shop sells more hydrogen fuel cells and other renewable energy technologies than any other company and will continue to do so, because only by using every useful technology can humanity bring about a better world.