We’ve heard about the popularization of the hybrid car, the establishment of an infrastructure to better support electric vehicles, and all things Tesla. But what about that third frontier? What about hydrogen power?
And it has been. For over 20 years, Hyundai has developed Hydrogen powertrains for busses and heavy machinery; more recently, they’ve released a hydrogen-powered passenger vehicle into the marketplace, to be leased by regular Joes. Assuming, of course, Joe lives near one of the few refuelling stations currently open in Canada. In BC, for example, there are a number of refueling stations, but these are used only for busses and other machinery. There is currently just one for Joe to fill his Hyundai at.
She cites the ability to produce the hydrogen gas required to fuel the cars on site as a huge advantage. In Hyundai’s case, the FCEV is a hydrogen-electric hybrid, whose fuel cell “stacks” are provided power by the separation of Hydrogen molecules. In turn, the stacks power an electric motor, which powers the wheels.
So, hydrogen can be trucked to fill stations or the fill stations themselves can be attached to a small infrastructure that can turn water into usable hydrogen gas through electrolysis, right there on site.
Currently, big-box stores like Costco and Best Buy have electric vehicle charging stations on-site at certain locations. Theoretically, an electrolysis unit could be placed on site at Costco, connected to a filling station. All it would require is a connection to the water main. It’s clean, it’s abundant, and most importantly, it’s renewable. Well, more renewable than oil, anyway.
As far as Hyundai is concerned? Well, they believe hydrogen power is the way; it just needed somebody to get the ball rolling.
“We brought the vehicle to market because we wanted to tackle the chicken-and-egg cycle,” says Chad Heard, Public Relations Manager at Hyundai Canada. He speaks, of course, of trying to avoid the problem that eCars went through, and that’s bringing cars to market too far ahead of the infrastructure needed to keep them running.