This vehicle type carries a supply of liquid hydrogen at a pressure of 700 bar. Electricity is produced by passing the hydrogen through a fuel cell stack to drive an electric motor. The motor is supplemented by an energy harvesting system like all battery electrics.
At the time of writing there are three hydrogen refuelling stations in the Greater London area. Although more efficient than petrol engines, hydrogen vehicle running is around twice the cost of petrol at present. This will probably improve as the hydrogen production methods improve.
However, at present the means of production and distribution of hydrogen is neither well developed nor qualifies as sustainable.
Battery Electric Vehicles
Electricity production and distribution is extremely well developed. It’s no surprise, then, that all major car producers are investing huge sums to bring BEVs to market. The early models, Nissan Leaf 2010 for example, had a very limited range and could only be considered as a Shopping/town car. However, modern BEVs now have ranges in excess of 250 miles and are now viable replacements for internal combustion engine vehicles, albeit still a premium price.
So 250 miles isn’t much compared with some internal combustion engines, ICE, vehicles, but most daily journeys are far less than that and the cost of running, in spite of recent energy price increases, is still much less than owning an ICE.
Unfortunately, such has been the demand of BEVs recently, almost all major manufacturers have either closed order books until next year or are simply giving customers a very long lead time.
By far the cheapest way to charge a BEV is at home. This is fine for the 80% of cottages who have driveways.
You can install a wall mounted charger and charge the car overnight while the cost of electricity is cheap
(This will depend on your energy contract. At the time of writing companies, and Money Saving Expert, are recommending not switching).
Many suppliers have an EV friendly contract where charging overnight can be 1/3 the cost of daytime charging.
There is a problem if you have no option but to park on the road. Even if you can park outside your house it is illegal to trail a charging cable across a pavement. There are options but most are more expensive than true home charging.
Street charging pricing depends on the capacity of the charger. Rapid and ultra rapid chargers are the most expensive, with slow chargers the cheapest. Some supermarkets, Tesco and Sainsbury near the cottages, for example, provide free chargers. These are slow but every little helps.
LED bulbs are now ubiquitous in street lighting. These bulbs use far less energy than their forerunner, halogen lights.
This means street lighting is running at around 1/10 of the infrastructure’s capacity, leaving enough to place chargers in lampposts for charging BEVs without having to replace supply cables. Both Lambeth and Southwark have started to install lamppost charging points.
Should we suggest to Bromley that we could have two chargers on the post at the closed end of Princess Road and Victor Road, for example, so those without a drive are not disadvantaged?