Toyota's Mirai. Credit: Toyota

Motoring with Peter Vosper: Are hydrogen cars likely to become an alternative to electric?

Peter Vosper

As the number of new electric models arrive at an increasing pace, and the range of their batteries allow more miles to be driven, is it inevitable there will be no choice after 2030?

Both governments and the vast majority of manufacturers have backed and invested in the electric battery car as the way forward.

However, there are some manufacturers like Toyota and Hyundai who already have credible alternatives which are emission free and have better range than electric vehicles.

For instance, the Toyota Mirai will travel 400 miles on a single tank and the time taken to fill is around five minutes, much the same as at your local petrol station.

The problem at the moment is there are not many hydrogen fuel stations in the UK, and only around 100 in the whole of Europe.

Hydrogen is not a new discovery as electrolysis has been with us for some time.

The machinery required turns electrons into oxygen and hydrogen molecules.

All they need is water and electricity which means it can be produced almost anywhere.

One of hydrogen’s big selling advantages is that it would help clean up emissions from transport.

the Toyota Mirai will travel 400 miles on a single tank. Credit: Toyota
the Toyota Mirai will travel 400 miles on a single tank. Credit: Toyota

As stated, it can be used instead of petrol in specially produced cars, but it is felt it would work better in heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, trains and even aeroplanes, where an electric battery would be too big and take too long to charge.

Rolls Royce and Airbus are already considering hydrogen powered planes which would burn the gas in a turbine engine.

Hydrogen could be used to pump energy through the grid to heat people’s homes.

Right now, the way forward for cars will be electric but watch out for more choice and more infrastructure arriving to make hydrogen cars an alternative in the future.

More pressing for motorists and indeed the whole UK region is the energy crisis which is getting closer as winter approaches.

Admittedly, the price of petrol and diesel is at last beginning to fall but the predictions for heating electricity and gas are causing major concern.

The Prime Minister has now gone but we have to wait for September 5 to find out who are new PM is and we are listening with interest the proposals from Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to hear their solutions and how quickly they can take effect.

There are also claims Brexit has caused the problems we face – it was even being blamed for the queues at the tunnel and the ports as many began their holidays, but volumes of traffic at this time of year have always been heavy, and with chaos at many airports more people are using their own transport to minimise risk.

Once again, this must help the local hospitality and other industries as more holidaymakers decide the safest solution is to stay in the UK in 2022.

There are many challenges but there are still many jobs on offer in all sectors so those who can work can improve their income if they wish.

Written by Peter Vosper, chairman of the Vosper group

Peter Vosper, chairman of the Vospers Group
Peter Vosper, chairman of the Vospers Group