Just about everyone who has experienced battery-powered vehicles likes them. They are quick, fast and very quiet.
But when the time comes to replenish the juice or take a long-distance trip, the vehicles lose their appeal.
The batteries take too long to recharge and the range, even in some of the best examples, is still not enough to be competitive.
Many car manufacturers around the world are committed to vehicle electrification, but most realize that the use of batteries will limit the appeal of EVs. And there does not seem to be a revolution in batteries on the horizon. So, it seems logical that many of those committed to EVs would look for another source of electricity.
A source that has been around for decades is the fuel cell. Many of us can remember the Apollo 13 moonshot in 1970, when a fuel cell tank exploded and nearly resulted in the U.S. space program's first in-flight loss of life.
People were riveted as the crisis unfolded in space before the craft and its occupants were safely returned to earth. It was a frightening episode for space travel and for the fuel cell.
But now fuel cells are in the mainstream for potential use in powering EVs. Several companies, including General Motors, have cranked up their r&d to see if fuel cells are viable alternatives to batteries.
The advantage of fuel cells is the speed of refueling as well as a much longer range.
Certainly, the commercial development of fuel cells is in its infancy, though we are seeing some real investment in the technology. It will take quite a while to develop this source, but there are signs that fuel cells may be a viable EV power source.
Considering the shortcomings of batteries, this is good news for any proponent of electrification.
Still, it is going to be quite a while before there are abundant sources of electricity that make EVs appealing. An interesting future lies ahead.