Hydrogen could extend the range of a battery-electric car, but not for another decade.
Volvo is making large investments in electrification. The company pledged to offer an electric or hybrid variant of every nameplate it makes starting next year. Hydrogen technology is part of its plan, too, according to a recent report.
"You should never say never when it comes to technologies. I think fuel cell is interesting but for the next 10 years it's batteries. But a fuel cell is essentially a liquid battery, so at some point maybe," Bjorn Annwall, Volvo's vice president of sales and marketing, told Australian publication Drive.
"It's not very different, you can just replace the batteries with fuel cells. It's not like two different lanes, right? They are similar drive systems," Annwall added.
Notably, Volvo is looking at using a hydrogen fuel cell as a range-extender in the XC90. The electricity generated by the fuel cell will keep the battery pack topped up at all times while emitting only water vapor. No time frame has been given yet, however. We understand the project is still at the embryonic stage of development.
The technology is promising but Volvo's comments don't address the infrastructure problem. The United States, Japan, and select countries in Europe are spending large sums of money to make driving a hydrogen-powered car more convenient for everyday motorists. The landscape will, hopefully, look appreciably different by the time the range-extender reaches mass production.