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Published on December 20th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard


Should You Buy A Hydrogen Car? Ask Yourself These Simple Questions.

December 20th, 2018 by  

Many people wonder, “Is a hydrogen car right for me and my family?” After all, Honda has one, as does Toyota. They vaguely remember something about the future being hydrogen. Or was that plastics? Anyway, for all of those people, here is a decision flowchart to help them find out if a hydrogen car is in their future.

Do you live within 20 miles of a hydrogen refueling station?

As of today, there are 39 hydrogen fueling stations in the U.S., all but four of them in the state of California.

If yes, continue.

Do you love the sounds of pumps spooling up?

The whirring kicks in when the driver punches the pedal for quick acceleration. It is reminiscent of the motor-assist in the Prius hybrid. But in the Mirai, it is actually the hydrogen pump working overtime to flush more hydrogen through the processing stack to ramp the car up to speed.

The clicking, which can grate like a noise-vibration issue, comes from the hydrogen fuel injector, which feeds the fuel from the high-pressure hydrogen tanks into the pump.

If yes, continue.

Do you love the inconvenience of going to gas stations multiplied by the inconvenience of not enough EV charging stations?

If yes, continue.

Do you have $57,500 to throw away on a product which will probably be out of production and not replaced in three years?

If yes, continue.

Are you determined to prove that the hydrogen economy is viable due to a perverse and Quixotic psychological tic?

If yes, continue.

Can you actually buy a hydrogen car where you live?

The Toyota Mirai is currently on sale in these countries:

  • United States (currently only in California)
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Belgium

The Toyota Mirai is planned to go on sale in these countries:

  • Sweden (late 2016)
  • Norway (late 2016)
  • Netherlands (late 2016)

If yes, continue.

Are you really incapable of seeing that battery electric cars such as the less expensive Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt are much more convenient and perform better?

Tesla Model 3 review: “it is eager to change direction, with quick steering, sharp turn-in, and tightly controlled body motions. The thick-rimmed steering wheel feels well weighted and precise enough that the three modes—Comfort, Standard, and Sport, in order from lightest to heaviest—are set-it-and-forget-it propositions dependent on personal preference.”

If yes, continue.

Have you given your head a shake, or perhaps had it examined by a professional?

If yes, continue.

Have you actually test driven a real electric car such as the Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?

If yes, continue.

The answer regardless of how you answered these questions is:

No, you shouldn’t buy a hydrogen fuel-cell car. Oh FSM no. Never. It’s a terrible idea. Just don’t do it. Stop even thinking about it. 

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About the Author

is Chief Strategist with TFIE Strategy Inc and co-founder of two current startups. He works with startups, existing businesses and investors to identify opportunities for significant bottom line growth and cost takeout in our rapidly transforming world. He is editor of The Future is Electric and designing for health. He regularly publishes analyses of low-carbon technology and policy in sites including Newsweek, Slate, Forbes, Huffington Post, Quartz, CleanTechnica and RenewEconomy, and his work is regularly included in textbooks. Third-party articles on his analyses and interviews have been published in dozens of news sites globally and have reached #1 on Reddit Science. He's available for consulting engagements, speaking engagements and Board positions.

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