A Different Path

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know of my healthy skepticism about electric vehicles. From an engineering point of view they really don’t make sense, particularly since we do not have the electrical grid needed to support EVs and aren’t likely to have one any time soon. This is particularly true if the Renewable Energy acolytes figure we can meet all of our ever increasing electrical demand with wind and solar.

We can’t. The numbers don’t add up. It also doesn’t help that even though the Renewable Energy acolytes like the idea of wind and solar they are quite often against the powerlines needed to get the electrical power where it’s needed.

Surprisingly, while a number of major automakers have hopped on board the present EV bandwagon, two major automakers have said “No thanks”, those two being Toyota and Honda. I covered Toyota’s decision not to go down the EV path, where Toyota’s CEO explained their decision. Honda is also following that same path.

Some folks have seen the decision as one that will lead to the end of those two automakers, but when one finds out why, their decisions make sense.

The US and Europe are going down the battery EV route which requires connecting the EV to charging stations in order to refuel. The downside to this is the amount of time it takes to charge the batteries and the amount of electricity required if we change over to this model.

So what are Toyota and Honda going to do to not be left behind in the EV game?


Both are going all in on fuel cell vehicles. They are both still EVs, but rather than requiring being plugged into the grid to ‘refuel’, they are connected to a hydrogen pump to fill an actual fuel tank, taking a little more time to refuel than traditional gas or diesel-fueled vehicles. The only exhaust from these vehicles is water vapor.

The argument can be made that it isn’t easy or necessarily ‘green’ to generate hydrogen, and that’s true if one uses traditional means of generating hydrogen. But the Japanese have an ace up their sleeve, one that can generate as much hydrogen as needed in the quantities needed.

It’s called Red Hydrogen and it can replace most fossil fuels.

The great thing about using hydrogen and fuel cells is that it doesn’t require such a major shift in how we use our cars and trucks. Just the fuel being used will change from being liquid to a gas and the technology will switch from traditional internal combustion engines to fuel cells and electric motors. (Hydrogen can be used to fuel traditional internal combustion engines, just like compressed natural gas and propane have been used. Hydrogen can also be used as fuel in gas turbines.)

Are fuel cell EVs the correct path to take rather than the battery EVs? I believe they are. So do Toyota and Honda. Apparently so does Japan as they are going heavy into hydrogen production. I think it’s time we consider doing the same.