There's a lot of information on display at the 2014 Michelin Challenge Bibendum. We've spent time this week trying to sponge it all in but one of the charts caught out eye today. In a session on hydrogen vehicles – about which we'll have more later – a representative from Air Liquide, Jean-Baptiste Mossa, shared a chart about how hydrogen vehicles fall in a sweet spot for vehicle emissions and range. Maybe you can notice the number that stood out.
Yeah, it's the battery range one. We'll admit that there's a lot of unknowns about the future, especially when it comes to alt-fuel cars. But if you want to make the point that hydrogen cars beat out electric vehicles, you probably shouldn't use 2011 data that is easily proved wrong by cars from 2014. After all, the idea that a pure electric vehicle will have a range of only 140 miles on a full charge – in 2050! – is going to elicit some laughs from those in the know. Or anyone who's driving a Tesla Model S.
When we saw the chart used again in the e-mobility display, we had to find out where this data comes from. The source was listed as McKinsey and Company and after a bit of searching we found it in a 2011 report called, A Portfolio of power-trains for Europe: a fact-based analysis (find the PDF and look on page 35). It's not impossible that fuel cell vehicles will always be able to offer more zero-local-emission range than EVs, but to say that your average EV won't get more than a roughly 50-percent range increase in the next 35 years is patently absurd. Everyone from Toyota to a number of automotive industry experts agree