Which is the best alternative to a hydrogen car?
An alternative to electric cars is gaining popularity.
A number of countries, including the United States, China, India and Australia are considering such cars, while others, including Singapore, South Korea, Brazil and Japan, have made them their priority.
The Chinese government, for instance, has started to invest heavily in hydrogen cars, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has been promoting them as a clean alternative to coal-powered cars.
But the benefits for people and the environment are far from clear.
In the past decade, the number of hydrogen vehicles has increased by a staggering 20 per cent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In some cases, the vehicles are being designed for high mileage but the electricity produced is used to run the engine, which is harmful to the environment.
So how can the benefits of a hydrogen vehicle outweigh the drawbacks?
This is the focus of a new report by the US-based environmental think tank CleanTechnica, which examined the benefits and costs of electric cars and the alternatives to them.
It found that the technology could provide up to 30 per cent of the US car market by 2050.
But even if that were the case, it would still only be about 2 per cent per year in the United Kingdom.
“We are seeing a real change in the economics of the car industry,” said CleanTechnicas vice-president Mark Rive.
“If you want to keep going with the car, the electric car will still make up a large portion of the market in the US.”
While electric cars are on the rise in the developed world, in the developing world, they are not as common as they are in the advanced industrial countries.
“For the most part, electric vehicles are not popular in developing countries,” Rive said.
“In many countries they are less popular than cars with gas engines.”
The technology is not as advanced as petrol engines and the vehicles that are on sale in developing nations are more expensive than those in the industrialized countries.
The report also highlighted a number of obstacles to electric vehicles in developing world countries.
In most countries, the charging infrastructure is still very primitive.
In countries where charging infrastructure has been developed, electric cars can only be charged in remote areas.
And, as the technology improves, some countries may be willing to accept electric cars as a way of getting around the city, such as in remote villages.
“The technology is still in its infancy and there is a lot of room for improvement,” Rave said.