Electric or hydrogen — which will win the clean car race?

ABC Science

 

Clean transport is a hot topic, and as we move towards a low-emissions economy and international manufacturers phase out conventional vehicles, both electric and hydrogen are vying for a place.

Key points:

  • Electric vehicles are coming down in price but local availability needs to improve
  • A national refuelling network is required to make hydrogen vehicles a viable option
  • A mix of technologies will help Australia make the transition to clean vehicles

And with good reason. At the moment, transport contributes almost a fifth of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions — with passenger cars and road freight together emitting more than three-quarters of the transport sector’s share.

Overall transport emissions have grown 1.3 per cent since last year, as motorists switch from petrol to diesel vehicles and freight activity rises.

But the need to reduce emissions isn’t the only driver for a transition to cleaner transport.

Concerns over the security of our petrol and diesel supply, shifts in international car manufacturing trends and the health impacts of exhaust fumes are piquing interest in greener options.

Where are we now?

Australia no longer makes cars locally, and overseas car companies are being pushed towards cleaner technologies by government restrictions on the manufacture of internal combustion engine vehicles.

This could mean that the supply of new conventional cars to Australia may eventually peter out.

“There is probably a sunset on the availability of [conventional] vehicles,” says James Kennedy of electric vehicle charger company Tritium, adding that this would likely be after 2040.

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-11-17/hydrogen-vs-electric-who-will-win-the-clean-vehicle-race/11694400

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