Herbert Diess, the current CEO of Volkswagen, and Elon Musk know each other very well. In 2015, the founder of Tesla would have even proposed to Diess to become CEO of the company when he left BMW. Although Herbet Diess did not accept Musk’s proposal, the two remain on very good terms.
If, however, it may happen that they do not agree on certain subjects, Herbert Diess and Elon Musk seem to agree that the hydrogen car is not credible and of little use. On Twitter, Diess began by saying: “It has been proven that the hydrogen car does not provide an answer to the climatic problems of transport”.
What Elon Musk was quick to respond to: “Diess is right. Hydrogen is an incredibly stupid form of energy storage for cars, barely good for an upper stage of a rocket. ”
Diess is right. Hydrogen is a staggeringly dumb form of energy storage for cars. Barely worth considering it for a rocket upper stage, which is its most compelling use.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 20, 2021
A solution that would be of little use and pollute
Herbert Diess backs up his remarks by citing a study conducted by the Potsdam Climate Impacts Research Institute. According to the CEO of Volkswagen, hydrogen fuel is inefficient, expensive, and even worse because it is harmful to the environment.
The study on which Diess is based explains: “Hydrogen is a false promise and will not be able to replace fossil fuels on a large scale for at least a decade.” Volkswagen has always been very clear on its position on the hydrogen car.
In 2019, the German group already explained that an electric motor lost a maximum of 30% of the energy produced, while the engine of a hydrogen car loses 45% of its energy when hydrogen is generated, and 55% when transformed into electricity. The efficiency level would therefore be between 25% and 35% against 70% to 80% for a conventional electric motor.
Efficiency drops more when hydrogen is used as a fuel without being converted into electricity. If Tesla and Volkswagen remain fiercely opposed to hydrogen, other major manufacturers such as Toyota, Hyundai and BMW are supporting this technology.