Fuel Cell or Battery: Electric Cars are the Future

Joeri Van Mierlo, Gaston Maggetto

Onderzoeksoutput: Articlepeer review

60 Citaten (Scopus)


Battery and hybrid vehicles are todays sustainable mobility solutions preparing a future shared with a hydrogen economy. The summary report of the EU High Level Group for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells presented in June 2003 develop a vision on the contribution that hydrogen and fuel cells could make to the realization of sustainable energy systems in future.
However, it seems necessary to emphasize that as it is a long-term vision (2000-2050) there is a need to take strong action in the short and medium term in order to address current environment and energy concern.
As stated in the Commission's November 2000 Green Paper on security of supply, in 1998 energy consumption in the transport sector was responsible for 28% of emissions of CO2, the main greenhouse gas. According to the latest estimates the current CO2 emissions from transport can be expected to increase by around 50%.
It is both an ecological necessity and a technological challenge to reduce dependence in oil from the current level of 98 % by using alternative fuels and improving the energy efficiency of methods of transport. The hydrogen economy is only planned to start around 2020 at the earliest and to be established around 2050. Fortunately, much of the electric drives technology common with hydrogen drive systems are already in development today and implemented in battery or hybrid electric vehicles.
Two transport technologies are ready to play a great role in this context: battery electric vehicle and the thermal hybrid electric vehicle. They are the missing link with a future hydrogen transportation economy. It is an established fact that from a well to wheel emission point of view the results are positive and in favour of the battery electric vehicle. Important and recent studies on the environmental balance of battery electric vehicles show substantial emission and primary energy benefits, and thus CO2 reduction, as compared with conventional cars.
The battery electric vehicles and the thermal hybrid electric vehicles are considered as the bridge to the future hydrogen transport economy. In any case the hydrogen and electricity vectors should be used in the most appropriate and effective way to assure, for the various applications, the optimum use mix of the primary energy sources at the European level.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)165-173
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftFuel Cells
StatusPublished - 1 apr 2007


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