Someday, we’ll have a new addiction.
The gasoline era will have come and gone, oil cartels will have made their money, and exhaust fumes will have made their mark on Earth.
Today we’re lucky enough to have front-row seats watching the race to see which fuel source will replace fossil fuels. It’s a race including electricity, ethanol, bio-diesel, natural gas, solar energy, wind, hydrogen, and a host of other technologies that may not have even been invented yet.
Electricity is the current front runner, and hydrogen has high hopes of gaining some ground, especially since Honda is a high-profile sponsor with their FCX Clarity. Those hopes took a fiery crash, though, as U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced a budget that slashes spending on hydrogen research by 59 percent, or about $100 million.
We asked ourselves, ‘Is it likely in the next 10 or 15, 20 years that we will convert to a hydrogen car economy?’ The answer, we felt, was ‘no.’
The biggest problem is the lack of an infrastructure to refuel hydrogen cars.
That’s a valid point, but does the U.S. government think they know how the future will play out better than Honda, who has one heck of a reputation for leading the way in automotive innovation? Well… maybe.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology could fail simply because producing hydrogen isn’t a very economically efficient process. And who wants to buy a hydrogen car when there’s nowhere to fill it up? Who wants to build a hydrogen filling station when there are no customers?
Of course, the other possible outcome is that Honda is right and will somehow create technology that could make hydrogen fuel cells the perfect replacement for fossil fuels.
If that’s the case, the U.S. just gave up their stake in creating a clean new fuel source and gave future car buyers a powerful reason to buy from foreign car makers.
Did the U.S. make the right choice in cutting funding for hydrogen research?