Battle of zero-emissions cars: Hydrogen or electric? – BBC News

When Toyota puts its considerable bulk behind a new technology, everyone should sit up and take notice.

When it launched the first-generation Prius back in 1997, many scoffed. It was ugly, not terribly efficient and distinctly uncool. Eighteen years later, Toyota has sold nearly five million of the Prius, and it is now the best selling car in Japan.

And so enter the Toyota Mirai, leading the charge for hydrogen vehicles, alongside Hyundai’s ix35 model.

The, now rather tired, joke about hydrogen is that it is “the fuel of the future, and always will be”.

Fuel cells were invented in the 1880s and work by taking hydrogen fuel and reacting it with oxygen to produce electricity. The only waste product is water.

The problem with fuel cells has always been their cost, usually measured in millions of dollars.

READ MORE: Battle of zero-emissions cars: Hydrogen or electric? – BBC News

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