Electric v. Hydrogen (1 Viewer)

Oct 12, 2009
SW London, Poland and all Europe
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This is a copy of The Times Business section report

Comments from Karl @grommet welcome.


Lithium shortages ‘will mean cars must switch to hydrogen’​

Robert Lea
Industrial Editor
Tuesday September 20 2022, 12.01am BST, The Times
In the largest luxury cars, hydrogen fuel cells will be more cost-effective than large battery packs

In the largest luxury cars, hydrogen fuel cells will be more cost-effective than large battery packs
The government-backed agency helping to fund the motor industry towards a zero-emission future has warned that with likely shortages of lithium for electric battery production, Britain must lead a transition to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The latest quarterly update from the Advanced Propulsion Centre states that expected shortages of battery-grade lithium in this decade mean domestic manufacturers must prepare to “mitigate” against lacking supplies and to “diversify powertrain choice in the short to medium term”.

It does not expect smaller cars to be switched to hydrogen fuel cells, as battery technology works well in lighter vehicles, but it believes that as many as 75 per cent of the largest and luxury cars on the road — vehicles such as the BMW 7 Series, the Mercedes S Class and the typical output of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Bentley Motors — could switch away from electric, with half being moved into running on power from hydrogen fuel cells.

That is probably because of the relatively small production runs of such top-end models, the Advanced Propulsion Centre report said. Bentley and Rolls produce only 20,000 cars a year between them. In these vehicles, fuel cells will be more cost-effective than large battery packs and will deliver the driving range required.
The taxpayer-funded centre believes it will be a similar story in the sports utility vehicle/four-wheel drive segment, with half of volumes switching away from batteries-only and of that, 20 per cent moving to hydrogen fuel cells. Its report says the dimensions of such vehicles make fuel cells more compatible. The same could be true for larger vans.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre says that, if it is right, 6 per cent of British car and van production could involve hydrogen fuel cells by 2030. That would compare with forecasts for only 1 per cent for the rest of Europe and 1 per cent for the world as a whole.​

Jon Regnart, automotive trends strategist at the centre, said that British carmakers were already moving in that direction.
Jaguar Land Rover has indicated that future Range Rovers could run on hydrogen and the West Midlands-based manufacturer has funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre to look at the technology. Stellantis, which makes Vauxhall Vivaro vans at Luton and is switching its Ellesmere Port factory to van production, is committed to a mix of battery and fuel cell vehicles.
Ford, which has its European research and design centre in Essex, has also taken funding from the centre for feasibility testing of fuel cells for its bestselling Transit vans. Johnson Matthey has taken other state financing from the Automotive Transformation Fund to increase the production of fuel cell components in Britain.

Britain still has no so-called gigafactories to support the forecast production of more than a million zero-emission vehicles in Britain in 2030. A Britishvolt battery plant under construction in the northeast of England is having teething troubles, while hopes that Coventry airport will be turned into a gigafactory are yet to get off the ground.

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