As the Obama Administration is slashing the budget and zeroing out hydrogen car development, the European Union is upping the ante. Last week I talked about how President Obama and the DOE’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu chopped the hydrogen budget down 60-percent to $68.2 million and this money is for stationary fuel cell development and not hydrogen cars.
Well, now the European Union is so enthusiastic about hydrogen that it has upped it budget for H2 car development to $1.29 billion USD almost double that of the US budget and even more so when you consider most of the money is going towards hydrogen car, H2 production and infrastructure development.
Despite the US budget cuts, GM, Honda and Toyota are still forging ahead with their hydrogen car development as they still believe that H2 cars are indeed the future and are willing to put their own money where their mouths are. Of course, this many change in a few weeks with the struggling GM.
But, nonetheless, the carmakers are seeing what President Obama is not. And, this is that hydrogen cars are in fact electric cars. President Obama has decided to bless the electric car industry, failing to realize that most hydrogen cars produced today are either hybrids or plug in hybrids.
The hydrogen fuel cells are useful as range extenders on these vehicles, some of which can go an incredible 500-plus miles before needing to be refueled. Battery electric vehicles may get 100 to 200 miles per charge, but then what, especially if you’re on a road trip or long day trip?
Hydrogen provides the answer to long range vehicle transportation, short refueling times and less dependence upon coal-spewing power plants. President Obama needs to embrace the idea that hydrogen hybrids and hydrogen plug-in hybrids provide the most robust, zero emission vehicles that the carmakers have to offer.
We just need a little help from the Federal government in setting up a limited number of hydrogen refueling stations based upon what current technology has to offer (rather than trying to replicate the gasoline infrastructure). But, with this limited help, hydrogen cars can flourish and provide a real zero emission alternative that this country has been missing.