Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are on the way to the mainstream. Hyundai already has one on sale in California, Honda and Toyota are expected to follow suit next year, and Mercedes-Benz reportedly has one planned for 2017.
Yet cars that emit nothing but water have proved remarkably controversial. Critics have noted the difficulty of producing hydrogen for the fuel cells, and the lack of fueling stations, among other things. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk even called them “BS.”
Ouch. The creators of this infographic from Olathe Toyota Parts Center hoped to balance the argument by debunking 10 fuel-cell myths.
For example, fuel-cell cars don’t “burn” hydrogen; they’re actually electric cars that rely on a chemical reaction to generate power, rather than storing it in a battery. This means shorter refueling times and longer driving ranges.
Don’t be too concerned about Hindenburg-like explosions either: One of Toyota’s storage tanks survived a shot from a .50-caliber rifle.
Other aspects are less clear-cut. While hydrogen cars won’t be prohibitively expensive, Toyota’s near-$70,000 asking price (in Japan) for its FCV sedan is still well out of the range of most buyers. It’s also unclear how much hydrogen will cost once a suitable distribution network is up and running.
That could take awhile. Right now there are only 10 fueling stations in the United States, and few corporations or municipalities are willing to invest over $1 million a pop to build more.