Gas may be cheap these days, but untethering from the local Citgo is still an attractive idea. For many, electricity is the obvious choice when opting out of gas cars. Tesla continues to be the dominant and popular choice in this realm, although Chevrolet is preparing to launch the all-electric Bolt (and its 200-mile range) before the end of 2016, and the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, and Ford Focus Electric, among others, are currently available at more reasonable prices than the higher-end Tesla cars.
The price of electric cars is quickly falling into the $30,000 range. The Nissan Leaf, the upcoming Chevy Bolt, and, presumably, next year’s Tesla Model 3, will all be available for about the price of the average new car.
Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is becoming more common and people are getting used to their limited range. Part of the reason for less range-anxiety is because cars are going farther on a single charge and taking less time to recharge.
Amidst the looming mass-adaption of EVs by consumers around the country, another type of alternative-fuel vehicle is starting to hit the market.
But is it too late for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles?
I know, I know. We talk a lot about the fuel that powers our cars on these pages.
We complain about high gas prices, we get cautiously excited about low prices, we wonder if governments should increase taxes on fossil fuels, and we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of alternative-fuel vehicles.
The question always comes back to this: environmental effects. Fossil fuels are damaging to pump out of the earth, and they pollute the atmosphere when burned. Electric-powered cars don’t emit any gasses when driving, but the production of the electricity that charges them can be harmful.
Hydrogen is, theoretically, clean from all angles. A new filling station in California could change the game on how we think about fueling our cars.
If cars ran on water, the price of H2O would probably jump to $4 per gallon, and filling our tanks wouldn’t be any less expensive than using gasoline. The good part, though, would be that we’d have an unending supply, and we could drive forever without polluting our environment.
Cars powered by water won’t ever happen, but cars powered by hydrogen, which emit only water, are happening already.
Much like electric cars, hydrogen-powered cars aren’t very practical, because there is no refueling infrastructure in place. Unlike electric cars, fueling up involves filling a tank with compressed gas, which can take a matter of minutes rather than hours.
Toyota and Honda are both big proponents of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, but owning one certainly won’t be cheap.