Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kill the hydrogen car?

The Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is in Toronto this week - and in Ottawa and Vancouver - touting his own unique brand of green-ness (hydrogen-powered Hummers?), looking for partnerships and deals and vows of solidarity in his inimitable style. In particular, it seems he is looking for Canadian interest in the hydrogen highway concept which is receiving so much hype in California and British Columbia ion particular.
But, having just seen "Who Killed The Electric Car?", I am in two minds about hydrogen as the way forward for vehicle transport. Although the documentary (which I would recommend, incidentally) is not principally about hydrogen transport, the recent ballyhoo about hydrogen appears, according to the film at least, to be one of the guilty parties responsible for the demise of the once popular electric cars (in addition to big oil, greedy auto companies, ineffectual government and an unimaginative general public, among others).
As a practical and cost effective option, hydrogen cars are still many years away, despite the money being pumped into them, and there are still many questions about the costs and benefits of the power required to produce hydrogen fuel, vehicle efficiency and range, a refuelling infrastructure, etc, etc.
I am starting to prefer the plug-in hybrid option, not as the answer to all the world's problems, as some people almost seem to be suggesting, but as a good medium-term solution, and of course in association with some pretty drastic medium- to long-term changes in electricity generation.

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