Liu, Xinyu; Reddi, Krishna; Elgowainy, Amgad; Lohse-Busch, Henning ; Wang, Michael
The operation of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (HFCEVs) is more efficient than that of gasoline conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), and produces zero tailpipe pollutant emissions. However, the production, transportation, and refueling of hydrogen are more energy- and emissions-intensive compared to gasoline. A well-to-wheels (WTW) energy use and emissions analysis was conducted to compare a HFCEV (Toyota Mirai) with a gasoline conventional ICEV (Mazda 3). Two sets of specific fuel consumption data were used for each vehicle: (1) fuel consumption derived from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) window-sticker fuel economy figure, and (2) weight-averaged fuel consumption based on physical vehicle testing with a chassis dynamometer on EPA’s five standard driving cycles. The WTW results show that a HFCEV, even fueled by hydrogen from a fossil-based production pathway (via steam methane reforming of natural gas), uses 5%–33% less WTW fossil energy and has 15%–45% lower WTW greenhouse gas emissions compared to a gasoline conventional ICEV. The WTW results are sensitive to the source of electricity used for hydrogen compression or liquefaction.