Here are some quotes from USCAR, the research consortium of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors in July 2009 regarding fuel cell EVs and battery EVs:
“Even with complete success in meeting the USABC long-term goals for battery energy capacity, electric vehicles cannot compete with hydrogen-fueled vehicles for general usage in terms of range and ‘refill’ time. Use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel as on-board storage for useful range and refill time is already available (if not optimal),”...
And later in this same document the US auto companies jointly stated that: “Only hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle technology offers the promise of true-zero emissions, superior efficiency and uncompromised functionality.”
However, the car companies go on to say (in 2009) that “Because profitable high-volume deployment of FCV’s depends on significant progress in multiple technologies both on and off the vehicle, the USCAR OEMs have made deployment of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and various forms of electric vehicles a near term focus.”
In other words, we need all of the above. Hybrids now, plug-in hybrids soon, and battery EVs particularly for shorter range commuter cars, but with hydrogen fuel cell EVs as the primary long-term solution.
Here’s how GM portrays the electric vehicle space:
GM envisions battery EVs for short-range, light load city cars
- PHEVs (which GM calls Extended-Range EVs or “E-Rev”) for a limited market segment including intra-urban moderate loads with stop-and-go driving
- Fuel cell EVs covering all distance segments from city to highway driving and covering the higher loads for full-function passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, etc.
And Toyota envisions a similar hierarchy of BEV’s for short range, small vehicles, and FCEV for longer range, full-function vehicles with HEVs and PHEVs filling the space between:
Finally, Daimler has a similar chart, stating that the FCEV is the only option that can satisfy both long and short-range vehicle requirements:
[Source: Sasha Simon (Daimler) presentation to the U. S. Senate hydrogen and fuel cell Caucus meeting, March 8, 2010.]