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Electric buses vs Hydrogen buses: Which is more viable in 2024?

Who will win between electric buses and hydrogen buses? Let’s start by stating that the factors are extensive and cover a variety of multidisciplinary themes that require more in-depth examination, but the major points below, which have been gathered in the area recently, may help give some direction.

Electric Buses vs Hydrogen Buses

A good economy

Fuel cell buses are often twice as expensive as battery-electric ones, according to the Total Cost of Ownership assessment, which takes into account both the investment and running costs for cars and infrastructure. However, a scale-up in the production of FCEB components and, particularly, the hydrogen value chain is projected to result in cost parity being reached between 2025 and 2030.

Electric buses vs Hydrogen buses: which is more viable in 2024?

The overall efficiency of the process

Compared to battery-electric buses, which have an overall efficiency that is approximately three times higher than 70–75%, the efficiency of green hydrogen is significantly lower at 25–30%. Green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis using power generated from renewable sources.

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Fuel-up time and Range

Buses powered by hydrogen have several advantages over battery-powered vehicles, including faster refuelling (7 minutes vs. 4 hours) and a longer range that makes them better suited for long-distance urban transit (> 450 km daily). Thus, FCEB can be deployed by public transportation operators on a one-to-one basis and are more operationally comparable to ICE[3] buses.

Electric Buses vs Hydrogen Buses: Which are more viable and why?

Production capacity

With what the FCEB market has to offer, there are still some reservations about how well-equipped manufacturers will be to handle abrupt spikes in demand for vehicles that could materialize shortly. The implementation of FCEBs by public transportation providers may be significantly delayed as a result, which would halt the move towards a world with no emissions. Also, as public money seems to be focused right now on relatively short timelines, this could jeopardize its security.

The increase in costs

jpg Electric buses vs Hydrogen buses: Which is more viable in 2024?

The major obstacle to the widespread adoption of FCEBs is the drop in the price of green hydrogen. To achieve economies of scale, lower fuel costs, and improved bankability of investments, local governments should start focusing on projects that aim to centralize hydrogen production and distribution in a coordinated manner across a few large plants for a variety of users rather than just providing public funding to the operators.

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  1. When will Hydrogen Buses come?

    arking a significant leap towards sustainable transportation, Union minister of petroleum & natural gas and housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, is set to inaugurate India’s first Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus at Kartavya Path, Delhi, on September 25, 2023

  2. Which type of bus is more suitable for specific applications or regions?

    The suitability of electric buses versus hydrogen buses depends on factors such as driving range requirements, availability of infrastructure, local energy resources, and policy priorities. Electric buses may be more suitable for urban transit fleets with shorter routes and established charging infrastructure, while hydrogen buses could be preferred for long-distance routes or regions with abundant renewable energy resources for hydrogen production.

  3. What are the challenges of hydrogen buses?

    Hydrogen buses face challenges related to hydrogen production, distribution, and storage, as well as the high cost of fuel cells. Additionally, building hydrogen refueling infrastructure can be costly and requires significant investment.

  4. What does the future hold for electric buses and hydrogen buses?

    The future of both electric buses and hydrogen buses looks promising as governments and transportation authorities worldwide seek to reduce emissions and transition to cleaner, sustainable transportation options. Both technologies are likely to see further advancements and adoption, with their suitability depending on specific use cases and local infrastructure development.

  5. Which type of bus is more suitable for specific use cases or regions?

    The suitability of electric buses vs hydrogen buses depends on factors such as route length, availability of charging or refueling infrastructure, energy sources, local regulations, and government incentives. Electric buses may be more suitable for urban transit and shorter routes, while hydrogen buses may be preferred for longer routes or areas with limited charging infrastructure.

  6. What are the environmental considerations for electric buses and hydrogen buses?

    Both electric buses and hydrogen buses produce zero tailpipe emissions during operation, making them environmentally friendly. However, the production of electricity or hydrogen can have environmental impacts depending on the source of energy.

  7. What are the disadvantages of electric buses?

    Disadvantages of electric buses include limited range, longer charging times compared to refueling hydrogen, and potential strain on electricity grids if large numbers of buses are charging simultaneously.

  8. What are the main advantages of electric buses?

    Electric buses are highly efficient, have zero tailpipe emissions, and operate very quietly. They also tend to have lower operating and maintenance costs compared to traditional diesel buses.

  9. What are the advantages of hydrogen buses over electric buses?

    Hydrogen buses have longer range and shorter refueling times compared to electric buses. They also do not require a large battery, which reduces weight and increases passenger capacity.


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