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The path to net zero: Deploying both battery and fuel cell electric vehicles

The path to net zero: Deploying both battery and fuel cell electric vehicles

tech innovation 2022

Stephen Herbst and Juergen Guldner, on behalf of Hydrogen CouncilDiscuss the benefits of deploying both battery and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Global CO . The transport sector is responsible for about 24% of2 emissions1 Decarbonizing it would require perhaps the most significant transition in the history of the industry. Despite the challenge, it is necessary to tackle it in order to reach carbon neutrality on a global scale.

Two electric mobility technologies, powered by batteries and hydrogen fuel cells respectively, have emerged as commercially viable solutions in various market segments that can help us transition to clean mobility. However, these solutions are often competing with each other rather than complementing. This reductive dichotomy must be challenged by industry, governments and the public at large if we are to achieve our shared climate goals.

Several industry leaders are committed to decarbonizing transportation through a ‘united world’ approach – a range of solutions including both fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). They are raising unprecedented investments to bring both solutions to market because they believe that working together will make our transportation green and that it will be so much faster and cheaper than just one technology.

© iStock / onurdongel

Advantages of Deploying Both BEV and FCEV

First, deploying both BEV and FCEV together maintains flexibility and choice for consumers across all transportation sectors. The optimal choice between BEV and FCEV is dependent on location and end use. By having both available, we can meet the expectations of consumers and owners who wish to optimize value. The better we address the needs and expectations of customers, the faster they will adopt these clean solutions.

Secondly, from a systems perspective, BEV and FCEV are remarkably similar in efficiency when it comes to the source of energy – whether it is solar or wind. However, BEVs are not a viable option for all fields and applications, and hydrogen can fill that gap. Hydrogen can be produced in regions with abundant renewable production and shipped to regions struggling to reach renewable self-sufficiency, increasing the access of renewable energy in the global economy.

Finally, the synergy between BEV and FCEV continues in the development of related charging or refueling infrastructure. While the conventional wisdom is that a single infrastructure is cheaper than two, data shows that developing two infrastructure networks is more cost-effective. This is because hydrogen refueling can reduce peak loads and bring large amounts of energy to relatively remote areas with significant transportation needs, all the while requiring the otherwise necessary and extremely costly upgrades or expansions of the electric grid. reduce the.

© iStock / tomazl

Collaboration needed to decarbonize transport

We are convinced that both the technologies are needed. We know that the transition to carbonless transport is just beginning. Despite the high growth in BEV sales in recent years, 98% of passenger vehicles and almost 100% of commercial vehicles are still powered by combustion engines. BEVs and FCEVs are contributing to the same goal: to make the global fleet carbon-free. Every BEV and FCEV on the road is a step in the right direction.

Moving towards zero emission transportation presents many challenges, but it can be accomplished when industry and government are focused on the goal and work together. We have not just one but two commercially viable options that can make the transition fast and risk free while keeping costs down. The parallel adoption of both FCEV and BEV encourages innovation and progress. In the race to save the planet from global warming, we must follow both paths to be successful.


  1. IEA, improving the stability of transport passenger and goods transport,

Stephen Autumn
Technology Major Powertrain Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Business Unit

Juergen Guldner
General Manager Hydrogen Technology and Vehicle Projects

Hydrogen Council

Please note, this article will also appear in the tenth edition of our quarterly publication,

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