It seems likely that China will consider state support for hydrogen-fueled vehicles as zero emissions transport. The country’s ‘father of electric vehicles’, Wan Gang, said in a recent interview to Bloomberg that he believed the ease of refuelling hydrogen-powered vehicles would make them a viable option — particularly buses and trucks, which have to travel long distances.
Since China alone accounts for more than half of all the EVs sold worldwide, its support to hydrogen could decisively alter the global landscape for zero-emissions transport. The country has already slashed its support for EVs, and private investments in its EV startups have dropped to a mere 10% of 2018’s record high of $7.7 billion. Industry watchers have warned that any investments even a year from now would suffer losses.
China’s vision for hydrogen is already being practised by Japan, which leads the world in the hydrogen economy. However, an explosion at a refueling station in Norway has brought the fuel’s safety into question. It has also been derided by Elon Musk for its high costs of transportation and storage. But it has the support of some of the largest automakers — Toyota, Honda and Hyundai.
As the race to battery-powered EVs only just heats up in India and much of the developed world, it’ll be interesting to see if China’s backing for hydrogen rattles the world’s fragile EV ecosystem.