The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Hydrogen Fuel Cell vs. Electric Cars: Which Will Drive Us Into the Future?
The debate between electric vs. hydrogen fuel cell cars rages on. Last year, Toyota made a big announcement that they were getting closer to unveiling a hydrogen fuel cell car, calling it the "ultimate environmentally friendly car." That car, the Mirai is already available in Japan and Europe. And today, in conjunction with Back to the Future Day, the Mirai became available in the U.S.
"More than 2,000 people so far have requested to buy a Mirai in California, where it is first available," said Toyota in a press release.
“A piece of the future is now a reality with the Toyota Mirai,” Christopher Lloyd, who played eccentric scientist Doc Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy, said. “Compared to some other technologies predicted in the film, like rehydrated pizza or self-tying shoes, this technology has the real potential to change the world.”
“It drives like a regular car, operates like a regular car. You can refuel in three to five minutes and, you know, do 350 miles on a trip,” Craig Scott, Toyota’s national manager for advanced technologies in the U.S., told Ira Flatow in a Science Friday interview last month.
However, there are even fewer hydrogen refueling stations than there are electric charging stations. Tesla has been rapidly building its network of supercharging stations around the country, with 534 stations and 3,024 superchargers to date. In total, there are 10,000 electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S., Levi Tillemann, a fellow at the New American Foundation and author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, said in the interview. In comparison, "there are 12 public hydrogen refueling stations in the entire country, with about 10 of those in California," he says.
There are far more companies investing in electric cars right now. Tesla's fleet is all-electric and many of the major car companies already have or are working on an electric car. Even Apple is rumored to be developing an all-electric vehicle under its so-called "Titan" project. And Toyota's own hybrid electric Prius, which has been around for 15 years, is wildly popular. Tillemann said on NPR's Marketplace earlier this year, "It’s almost inevitable that the car of the future is going to be electric, and it’s going to drive itself.”
Currently, Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles "don't produce much less CO2 than your standard hybrid electric vehicle because of the fact that hydrogen comes from methane," said Tillemann. "And when you produce the hydrogen from methane, you release a lot of CO2 and it requires a lot of energy." But Tillemann says if someone were to "come up with a way to produce zero carbon hydrogen ... then hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a great idea."
Actually, we might be getting closer to producing zero carbon hydrogen. Check out this video from Toyota, which features Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) and Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly) to find out how:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?
For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.
By Mara Dolan
We see the effects of the climate crisis all around us in hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and rising sea levels, but our proximity to these things, and how deeply our lives are changed by them, are not the same for everyone. Frontline groups have been leading the fight for environmental and climate justice for centuries and understand the critical connections between the climate crisis and racial justice, economic justice, migrant justice, and gender justice. Our personal experiences with climate change are shaped by our experiences with race, gender, and class, as the climate crisis often intensifies these systems of oppression.