Some say that the real battle for alternative-fueled cars started over 100 years ago with the Pope steam car. Some say that it was not until the '90s that it happened. Whatever the case may be, humans have been trying to find ways to power ourselves around by various methods for a long time.
In the past ten years, we have seen some incredible feats of technology come to fruition. The Toyota Prius brought us a significant breakthrough in hybrid technology that has carried us through some hard economic times and crazy fuel prices.
Looking forward to the future and what it could hold, carmakers are beginning to bet on a very different future other than gasoline. Tesla Motors has taken the world by storm and has recently become the highest valued car maker in the world.
But are batteries the answer to our gigantic desire to consume energy? Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai do not think so. They have placed their money on hydrogen fuel cell technology, and are making massive strides in the development of it. The real question is what are we going to be visiting dealers for in the next ten years, battery, or fuel cell.
The Next Decade Of Transportation: Where I Think We Will Be
Have you seen what Tesla stock is selling for right now? It is insane. Tesla is the highest valued car company in the world, but why? Elon Musk is the modern-day Henry Ford. He is one part genius, several parts crazy, and sprinkled heavily with unrelenting determination.
Tesla Motors has proved that an electric car is a viable source of transportation, and that has changed everything we know about the automotive industry. Tesla literally created the demand. There is no doubt in my mind electric cars are here to stay.
Tesla also has built a complete "fueling" infrastructure as well, something that cannot be said of the hydrogen trifecta. Electric cars do have downsides, though. Long-ish and frequent charge times are still keeping many people from wanting to make longer road trips in their EV. Couple that with the relatively high cost of the S and X, and you have a recipe for exclusivity.
Do not get me wrong; I like Tesla cars, they are not perfect, but they also do not have the tenured experience as other car companies. Which begs the question, why is Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai pushing so hard for fuel cell production?
Hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth. FCV (fuel cell vehicles) fill faster and require less downtime than a Tesla or other EV. They are quiet, powerful, and emissions compliant. They are everything a modern car should be, but where are they?
FCV is not here in mass production, in my opinion, because of infrastructure and hydrogen production, both of which are severe hurdles to cross.
Tesla and other EV car companies are part of the future, so that there is no doubt. Tesla is far too big now for anyone to think otherwise. They have everything they need to make their cars sustainable for drivers in 10 years. They are building better batteries, expanding operations into other countries, and gaining value in the company at an alarming rate. Tesla is a force to be reckoned with, and everyone knows it.
Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai only need to overcome ultra-expensive infrastructure and find a way to produce hydrogen by using minimal amounts of fossil fuels cleanly. I am not saying it is impossible, but it is for sure far more expensive to build a hydrogen station than an EV station.
I think that if the funding is there, we will see an increase in the FCV market but only in major metro areas. It will also take decades longer to build the stations required to use FCV. Tesla built a transcontinental EV charging network in less than six years. You cannot do that with hydrogen.
While I love the idea of the FCV, right now, we do not have the capabilities of support. This does not mean that we will never see it, it will take longer, or it will die off completely. It is that simple.
I hope you all are having a great middle of the weekday and are staying safe. I look forward to seeing you in the next article. The Number One Reason People Do Not Like Tesla.
strong>Watch this Toyota Prius truck with a cute little bed and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube for daily automotive news analysis.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.