Caixin
Sep 27, 2021 08:25 PM
BUSINESS

Hydrogen Cars May Be as Cheap to Make as Fossil-Fuel Vehicles by 2030, State Researcher Says

What’s new: Hydrogen-powered cars could cost the same to produce as traditional gas-guzzlers by the end of the decade, a government-backed think tank has predicted, in a sign policy support is growing for the alternative fuel source.

Huang Yonghe of the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) said hydrogen fuel cells — which on average account for more than two-thirds of the cost of producing a car they power — could be 80% cheaper by 2030.

In addition, he said the price of hydrogen could plunge by about half to 35 yuan ($5.40) per kilogram by 2025.

Huang was speaking at the Global Energy Transition 2021 conference on Saturday in Beijing. CATARC is a think tank under the State Council’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

Background: Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, known by the abbreviation FCEVs, are almost three times as expensive as conventional ones.

But experts have said (link in Chinese) they could be competitive if hydrogen prices drop below 40 yuan per kilogram.

When hydrogen is used in fuel cells, they produce energy without creating emissions. Whether the process is truly green depends on how that hydrogen was sourced.

If upstream emissions from hydrogen procurement and transport can be controlled, hydrogen cells could support China’s goals of peaking carbon emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

Shanghai, Guangdong province, and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region have all been approved to participate in state trials of hydrogen cell vehicles.

The China Society of Automotive Engineers estimates that there will be 100,000 hydrogen vehicles in use in the country by 2025 and 1 million by 2035.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Manyun Zou (manyunzou@caixin.com) and editor Flynn Murphy (flynnmurphy@caixin.com)

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