Hydrogen 'won’t become a reality in private mobility', says VW chief technology officer




German manufacturer ‘can live wonderfully’ with only electric batteries, Kai Grünitz tells website


The chief technology officer for the Volkswagen brand has said that he “definitely doesn’t see” hydrogen being used at VW, explaining that “it won’t become a reality in private mobility anyway”.


In an interview with the Edison electric-vehicle news website, Kai Grünitz explained that the VW brand will rely solely on battery-electric systems in the future, although he was not speaking for the entire Volkswagen Group, which includes brands such as Audi, Bentley, Cupra, Porsche, Lamborghini, Ducati, Seat and Skoda.


“Hydrogen is important for the chemical industry, plastics or steel production… there are only limited amounts of hydrogen available.


“We at VW can live wonderfully with electric batteries. Hydrogen propulsion is really not an issue for us in the foreseeable future.”


This opinion is in stark contrast to that of Oliver Zipse, CEO of German car manufacturer BMW, who last year has argued that it would be “dangerous” if all vehicles were electric, and that in the near future hydrogen cars would become “the hippest thing to drive”.


“For the customers, for the industry, for employment, for the climate, from every angle you look at, that is a dangerous path to go [down],” he told Bloomberg in October last year, although he did not explain his rationale behind this thinking.


It is generally believed that battery electric cars will be cheaper to buy, maintain and operate than hydrogen-powered equivalents, as the latter contain far more moving parts, and converting electricity to green hydrogen and back to electricity inside the vehicle requires about twice as much power than just using it directly in a battery, with accompanying higher running costs.


However, there may well be use cases where drivers cannot afford to wait long periods of time for their batteries to recharge, for instance for regular long journeys or when a vehicle is being used as a taxi by different drivers around the clock.


In such instances, a hydrogen vehicle may well be a better alternative than a battery electric — although this could change with the introduction of the solid-state batteries being developed by Toyota and others that promise to offer longer driving ranges and faster charging.



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