The German government encourages the use of fuel cells as an alternative drive, in particular for long-distance transport and freight transport. In order to alleviate the economic effects of the Corona pandemic, it has also incorporated this initiative into the economic stimulus package.
Who will win- fuel cell or battery
The battery is ideal for urban environments and lighter vehicles, especially for retrofitting applications such as BPW eTransport. It will hardly be economically feasible for longer distances for at least the next ten years, but the boundaries could blur after that. On the other hand, the fuel cell is ideal for orders with a magnitude of 3,5 tonnes and a daily range of over 250 kilometres. If you want to convert a truck or build a new one, it will be best to use a combination of a slightly smaller battery and a fuel cell range extender.
What is wrong with the technology
Their efficiency is often criticised. If you have an electric vehicle performance of 80 percent, then the figure is 40 percent for the fuel cell, 20 percent for the combustion engine, and even less for synthetic fuels. But you have to look at the whole kit. Accordingly, the efficiency of alternative energies is at least twice that of the combustion engine. In storage, hydrogen leads the way. The fuel cell is, in this respect, just the technology we need.
The remaining hurdles
As with the battery at the start, cost effectiveness is the greatest obstacle. The supplier network, which must be developed, the quality of the individual components and the lowest possible rejection rates are other challenges. You have to reach a high number of hours of service, but with intelligent systems, it is possible.
Should the manufacturers also cooperate more closely in the area
It would be beneficial for manufacturers to work together at the level of stack production rather than spending a decade debating whether it makes sense to produce cells in Europe or not, as is the case with cell production.
Source: Motonist by BPW (September 2020)