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Batteries vs. Hydrogen: The polls are closed, and the people have spoken (Partially)

Written by: Anazi Piper

I recently read an article titled “BMW says Goodbye to Electric Cars; it has now Solved the Problem of Hydrogen Engines which got my attention because I realised this article wanted to spark some kind of debate amongst mobility enthusiasts. 

So as a good journalist I wanted to add more fuel to the fire and throw out this topic out to my readers (you) and LinkedIn audience. The recent poll sparked a lively discussion when I asked the LinkedIn audience “Will hydrogen fuel cells or electric batteries reign supreme as the dominant energy source for vehicles in the next decade?” 

While the future remains unwritten, the poll results offer a glimpse into public perception, with 55% of respondents favouring electric vehicles, 13% backing hydrogen fuel cells, 10% believing neither will dominate, and 23% envisioning a future with both playing a significant role. 

Battery champions hold a clear lead, likely influenced by their current dominance. Millions of electric vehicles cruise roads worldwide, boasting convenient charging, impressive range, and less complex infrastructure needs. Falling battery costs and the surge in renewable energy further solidify their position. 

Hydrogen advocates, however, counter with compelling arguments. The refuelling speed and convenience mirroring gasoline stations resonate with many, and hydrogen’s superior energy density holds promise for longer ranges in smaller vehicles. The potential for green hydrogen produced from renewable sources adds to its appeal. 

Pros and Cons

Despite their strengths, both technologies face hurdles. Batteries raise sustainability concerns due to manufacturing and recycling processes, while grid capacity and charging infrastructure limitations, particularly in developing regions, remain. 

Hydrogen faces steeper challenges. Production currently relies heavily on fossil fuels, negating its environmental benefits. The near absence of refuelling infrastructure due to high costs of installation make it a challenging technology to scale today. 

Who will this race?

So, who will win the race? The poll suggests batteries have a head start in public perception, but the future remains far from certain. Continuous innovation, cost reductions, and infrastructure development could propel hydrogen into the game later in the decade. 

What’s clear is that there is a mix of views of how these technologies will develop and be embraced, with a proportion of the market believing it will be a mix of hydrogen and battery electric vehicles depending on use case. Additionally, regional variations in infrastructure and resources might favour one technology over the other in specific markets. 

Ultimately, the victor will depend not just on technology, but also on infrastructure investments, policy decisions, and end user preferences. The race is on, and it’s one we’re all watching with bated breath.  

If you missed this LinkedIn post, it’s not too late to add your thoughts and vote in the comments section of this poll. 

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