Hydrogen vehicles grab the spotlight in 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games

Hydrogen-powered vehicles are better suited for wintry climates and refilling them takes only minutes, much faster than charging electric vehicles.
By : HT Auto Desk
| Updated on: 14 Feb 2022, 05:59 PM
File photo of a 2020 Toyota Mirai hydrogen electric fuel cell car used for representational purpose only. (REUTERS)
File photo of a 2020 Toyota Mirai hydrogen electric fuel cell car used for representational purpose only. (REUTERS)
File photo of a 2020 Toyota Mirai hydrogen electric fuel cell car used for representational purpose only. (REUTERS)
File photo of a 2020 Toyota Mirai hydrogen electric fuel cell car used for representational purpose only.

Over 1,000 hydrogen vehicles are traversing the streets of Beijing and Zhangjiakou where ski jumping and snowboarding events for 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games are being held. These include more than 800 buses from the likes of Beiqi Foton, Geely and Yutong. Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Mirai cars and Coaster vans are also ferrying athletes and Olympic staff.

Specially designed hydrogen trucks are offering services like ski waxing to help competitors maintain their gear, while four of Geely’s hydrogen vehicles are being used as food catering vans.

(Also read | World's first hydrogen tanker to carry cargo from Australia to Japan)

While the 2008 Summer Olympic Games hosted by Beijing became the global spotlight to showcase the then-emerging technology of electric vehicles, the current Winter Games are betting big on the hydrogen technology. In the current scenario of the world mobility, hydrogen cars haven’t really caught on the way battery-powered vehicles have. Thus, Winter Games can become a proving ground for these vehicles.

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Less than 9,000 hydrogen vehicles were sold in China between 2015 and 2021 - a tiny number when looking at 302 million vehicles on the road. While these hydrogen vehicles also emit zero tailpipe emissions like EVs, hydrogen-powered vehicles are better suited for wintry climates where temperatures. Refilling a hydrogen car takes only minutes, much faster than charging an EV.

(Also read | Nitin Gadkari to soon start using green hydrogen-powered car for pilot project)

Lack of hydrogen filling stations have been one of the factors limiting the acceptance of fuel cell-powered vehicles in countries like South Korea, more than 30 such facilities were set up in the two cities to help meet the goal of making these Winter Games achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

A top think tank for the new-energy vehicle sector - EV 100, has predicted the number of hydrogen vehicles in China will climb to 30 million by 2050. It is safe to assume that the use of hydrogen vehicles at the Winter Olympics could herald what’s to come in the future.

(with inputs from Bloomberg)

First Published Date: 14 Feb 2022, 05:59 PM IST
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