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Audi A7 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Prototype, Testing in Progress

Audi A7 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Testing to Begin in August
Audi A7 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Testing to Begin in August

Automotive alternative fuels like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could actually be easier to implement than electric vehicles, but still suffer from the same infrastructure problems.

Actually, electric vehicle infrastructure is becoming more commonplace, but it’s still a game of Catch-22. Comparing electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles boils down to powertrain expenses [hydrogen is ridiculous], refueling/recharging time [sorry, electric vehicles lose out here], and supporting infrastructure [hydrogen is way behind].

Still, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles so have a couple of advantages, as they generate electricity on demand for use in electric motors or even to charge a battery. They also refuel in just minutes, like a conventional vehicle, but without any of those nasty carbon dioxide emissions [aside from whatever it took to generate hydrogen to begin with].

Volkswagen/Audi have been working on a couple of hydrogen fuel cell vehicle prototypes over the last few years, including the Audi Q5 HFC back in 2009. The Q5 used a couple of pressurized cylinders to deliver pure hydrogen gas to the fuel cell, where it generated electricity to feed two electric traction motors. In August this year, trials of an Audi A7 HFC will begin.

Those waiting on the edge of their seats for a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will likely hit the ground before one of these vehicles makes it to market on any scale. Right now, fuel cell vehicles tend to start in the $100K range. Then there’s the lack of infrastructure, just a couple hundred hydrogen refueling stations globally, but then electric vehicle charging stations started out few and far between as well.

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