Three reasons why fuel cells could prevail over batteries

Fuel cell made by MichelinTalking with engineers about fuel cells at the challenge Bibendum, I met one who was totally convinced that fuel cells are better than batteries. His main argument was weight. He explained to me that with his team, he had benchmarked the battery from the Nissan Leaf, and calculated how he could replace it with a fuel cell system. He told me he would use a very small buffer battery, with a fuel cell and an hydrogen tank behind. The energy there would be exactly the same as in the Nissan’s battery, giving the same range. But the fuel cell set-up would be half the weight of the Leaf’s battery.

This made a lot of sense to me. The battery pack from a Tesla roadster makes 990-pounds, and they’re talking on a more than 1500-pounds battery for their model S. The battery in the BYD E6 also makes about 1600-pounds, and I find this hard to swallow. We all want long range, we all want efficiency, but I see a point where a battery simply would not do. We shall also consider the cost. Going back to our example from the Nissan Leaf, a fuel cell system would be cheaper than the Nissan’s battery, if built in the same production volumes. Last but not the least, an hydrogen tank can be refilled in minutes.

Think about those arguments if you want to say that batteries are better than fuel cells…