BEVs vs FCEVs: What way will the automotive go, as the world goes green?

In the past, buying a car has been a relatively straight-forward economic decision – the choice between a diesel or gasoline engine depending on your mileage; and size being a matter of both taste and budget. As the world looks to “go green” consumers now face a very different kind of proposition.

As it stands, the question we’re asking ourselves is whether to buy a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) – and ultimately, the question we’re really asking ourselves is which of these two technologies is more likely to prevail? The reality – however – is not so clear cut.

With the need to secure a “green recovery” in a post-COVID-19 world, Germany’s recently published Economic Stimulus Package is pushing firmly in the BEV direction – doubling the existing subsidy to €6,000 on a vehicle up to the value of €40,000; providing BEV carmakers with a further €2 billion in R&D funding; obliging all petrol stations to offer BEV charging; and providing a further €2.5 billion towards battery cell production and charging infrastructure.

Despite the challenges associated with BEVs – “range anxiety”; availability of charging points; and charge time, to name just a few – the short-term incentives would appear to make this technology the more attractive option. But is this the smartest long-term bet?

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