Future hydrogen cars are not way off in some outlandish
date, but rather they are right around the corner. Just look in
the rear view mirror and the future of hydrogen cars is closer
than you think.
Since the year 2000, there have been approximately 100 hydrogen
car prototypes rolled out before the public yet hardly a soul
knows about them.
The first hydrogen fuel cell was developed in the 1800s and the
first official hydrogen fuel cell vehicle was the General Motors
Electrovan developed in 1966.
In 2007, both GM and BMW expect to roll out 100 hydrogen cars to
select customers. In 2004, Honda offered the first commercial hydrogen
car as a lease to a family in Redondo Beach, California. In 2007,
Honda leased the FCX hydrogen car to 17-year-old actress Q'orianka
Kilcher, her first car. Brad Pitt also arrived in a BMW Hydrogen
7 automobile to the premiere of his new movie Ocean's 13 in Hollywood,
Future hydrogen cars however will see vast improvements over the
vehicles that are being shown today. For instance, both Ford and
GM have come up with plug-in electric hybrid hydrogen fuel cell
vehicles and this trend will most likely continue.
Future hydrogen cars will combine technologies with hybrid electric
cars or flex fuel vehicles to give consumers more choices and to
offer alternatives for infrastructure issues. The biggest problem
facing future hydrogen cars right now is not the cars themselves
or the technology.
The biggest problem is the building of the supporting hydrogen
infrastructure. Building facilities to create hydrogen, transport
it and dispense it from a fueling station on every corner as is
done with gasoline now, will take billions of dollar in capital
investment, which the oil companies are shy to do.
This is why both BMW and Mazda have created dual fuel vehicles
that can run off either hydrogen or gasoline with the flip of a
switch. Ford has create the Superchief, which is a tri-fuel vehicle
that can run off gasoline, hydrogen or E85 (ethanol) with the press
of a button.
Future hydrogen cars will have this multi-fuel technology combined
with advanced battery technology along with a few other surprises
as well. One of the surprises for future hydrogen cars is that they
may not run off compressed or liquid hydrogen at all.
Researchers are also working on cars that create hydrogen on demand
from water or a hydrogen-rich chemical compound and then run this
hydrogen through either a fuel cell or internal combustion engine.
Others are using hydrogen peroxide to create a chemical reaction
to turn a turbine engine to power the wheels of the vehicle.
Future hydrogen cars are still an emerging industry and only time
will tell what finally shakes out to become the standard that
we all adopt and accept.
Written by Kevin Lepton