Before you buy that electric car, read this

We at LSS have always been campaigners for a cleaner, greener future. But we are even keener on learning about alternatives to anything. Even when we think it’s a great idea, like electric cars. It’s what scientists call the Null hypothesis, and today’s null hypothesis is- hydrogen fuel cell cars.

We found a lovely chatty little piece on this in Autotrader, so as usual we’ll just summarise.*

You’ll all remember that although the idea of fuel cells has been around since 1839, they didn’t really get going until the space programmes of the nineteen-sixties. Since when, they’ve been a bit like exercise bikes-everyone should be using them a lot more often, but somehow hasn’t quite got round to it. In theory, they are a Green Dream. The only exhaust, give or take the odd molecule, is water. The filling time is only the same as your petrol car. The ranges you get are strictly comparable to diesel. As for electric cars -well maybe they’re not so goody-goody as you think. For a start, all that electricity for batteries has to come from somewhere-and as of date, relatively little is from renewables. Then there’s all those nasty metals in the batteries, dug out of the ground in countries run by nasty people, in mines owned by nasty people, by people who really should be doing their school lessons, in an ideal world. And what do you do with old batteries. To be fair, most of the hydrogen for full cells comes from natural gas, so it’s not too green either.

Hang on, you say-don’t hydrogen cells tend to go bang, with frightful consequences? Don’t I remember something called the Hindenburg? Well, there are increasing technological solutions to this- and petrol can have quite a bang too, at times. There can be problems with lithium ion batteries as well , so no one is really off the hook.

In way, that’s where we stand. Hydrogen cells have been the Next Big Thing for thirty years-and could be for the next thirty. Various companies like Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and GM continue to experiment with models. However, thanks to the percipience of Mr Lindsay Charlton of Kent, we note the following story from Energy and Capital: Amazon is buying hydrogen stocks.

That’s right, Amazon and Jeff Bezos, no less, are starting to put money into this Cinderella technology. We at LSS always counsel: let the big boys get on with it, don’t risk your hard earned dollars and euros, gentle readers. But according to the authors, Elon Musk may be getting worried. So watch this trope-things might get very interesting indeed.

#elonmusk #amazon #hydrogencars #electriccars #lithiumion

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