Non-plug-in hybrids recorded the highest number of sales in the first half of the year with 110,118 units, representing 19.73% of the total market. Meanwhile, electric vehicles already accounted for 5.4% of sales in the first half of the year, with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids accounting for 1.96% and 3.44%, respectively, of the vehicle registrations recorded.
For its part, the market for hydrogen vehicles in Spain is practically nonexistent, although there has been commercial supply since 2015. From January to June 2021, only five units were registered in Spain.
How does each technology work?
The main difference is that electric vehicles have a battery—battery electric vehicle (BEV)—while hydrogen vehicles use a fuel cell—fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV).
Both technologies can be defined as electric vehicles, with the difference that instead of being charged by connecting them to the electric grid, hydrogen vehicles generate electricity on board thanks to a chemical reaction. That means that it is not charged with a plug, but it contains tanks that mix hydrogen with oxygen to create the driving force.
This mixing takes place in a fuel cell, which generates electricity and water. The resulting energy is stored in batteries to power the engine, while the remaining water is discharged as steam through the exhaust pipe. Electric vehicles, on the other hand, are powered by an electric motor, which draws energy from the rechargeable batteries installed in the car.
Filling up and autonomy
A hydrogen vehicle is filled up in a similar way to gasoline and diesel vehicles today, so the time required does not exceed three to five minutes. For its part, electric recharging is taking steps to become faster every day. One example of this can be found in IONITY ultrafast chargers, a joint venture created by the Volkswagen Group (including Audi and Porsche), BMW Group, Ford, Hyundai Motor and Mercedes Benz AG.
These charging stations are compatible with most electric vehicles, allowing power ratings up to 350 kW, seven times faster compared to a regular charger (50 kW). In addition, they use the combined charging system (CCS), the most widely used European standard.
In Spain, IONITY has reached an agreement with Cepsa with the aim of creating the largest public intercity electric mobility network on the Iberian Peninsula at the energy company's service stations. The goal is to cover the main intercity roads in Spain and Portugal and the connection routes with the rest of the European continent by installing high-power charging stations in strategic location.
They also differ in terms of autonomy. Hydrogen vehicles have a higher mileage possibility, similar to gasoline vehicles. Examples of some of the few models available on the Spanish market include: Toyota Mirai (up to 650 km) and Hyundai Nexo (666 km).
Electric vehicles, on the other hand, have more limited autonomy, which varies greatly depending on the model, although this is one of the areas in which the sector invests the most in R&D, with results that can be seen year after year..