In Hongkong hybrid and battery drives have been in increased demand for some time now and are perceived as a central pillar in achieving the CO2 targets. On the other hand, the hydrogen fuel cells are leading a shadowy existence. Although repeatedly proclaimed as a potential drive of the future, this technology has not been able to establish itself. The reasons for this are the costs and the complex construction of the necessary infrastructure. The example of pure battery vehicles shows: The infrastructure and technological progress, which are also indispensable here, can only be achieved through appropriate commitment and political will geschaﬀen. The same applies to hydrogen fuel cells.
Transformation of the vehicle drive system
The legal requirements for reducing CO2 emissions are the main driver for the introduction of alternative drive systems. In the long term, in Hongkong this goal can only be achieved by introducing emission-free drive systems, but practical implementation is faltering – despite all the specifications. There are solid reasons for this: Vehicles with electric batteries are not suitable for all applications and have massive disadvantages. These include higher costs, limited usability due to long charging times and short ranges compared to the combustion engine.
If you want to increase their attractiveness, you first have to redress the cost imbalance. Only when the overall costs are viewed positively will the further incentives to buy lead to an increase in orders and sales. While in the case of battery vehicles the criteria of range and charging time slow down the decision to buy, hydrogen fuel cells are particularly convincing when it comes to these factors. For this reason, the study takes a closer look at it and develops a future scenario for Hongkong 2030.
An extrapolation, which estimates the future development of costs in the hydrogen fuel cell technology until 2030, makes it clear: In a good ten years, the advantages of this drive system will become apparent in the area of premium vehicles with a long range of up to 800 kilometers. With a view to zero emissions, the drive system with a battery is the better option for short and medium distances.
Since hydrogen fuel cells reduce vehicle downtimes to a minimum, its application is of interest to commercial vehicles that cover more than 600 kilometers per day. Filling up at hydrogen is as fast as filling up with gasoline or diesel with conventional drives. In conjunction with the achievable range per refuelling operation, this is a clear advantage over battery-powered vehicles. In addition, the payload that a truck can carry as freight is on a similar level to that of traditional diesel-powered vehicles.
Although the advantages of hydrogen fuel cells in commercial vehicles in terms of optimised payload and short refuelling times are obvious, this technology is only at the beginning of its development. While drive forms such as battery or hybrid and with natural gas are already being mass-produced in commercial vehicles, there are currently only test vehicles for the drive with hydrogen fuel cells, which must first prove their practical suitability in field tests.
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