Readers of a certain age will likely remember the infamous videotape format war between VHS and Betamax. Two incompatible approaches battling it out to achieve the same thing – become the standardised format for home cinema systems. Where Betamax was regarded to be of a higher quality, VHS tapes had a longer running time. In the end, it was VHS that won out and Betamax fell into obsolescence.
The automotive industry isn’t immune for format wars, either. The end for the internal combustion-engined vehicle burning fossil fuels is clearly on the horizon. Electric vehicles, of course, are becoming increasingly prevalent on our roads. But for some, they aren’t yet the runaway favourite to become the norm.
Hydrogen has long been touted as the ‘future alternative’ for motorists. Both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicle share a lot of componentry – the main difference is how the power is provided. In a typical electric vehicle, batteries are charged from the mains. However, in a hydrogen vehicle, the electricity is made on-board within the fuel cell. Simply put, a controlled reaction between hydrogen gas and oxygen generates an electrical charge to power an electric motor.
Despite being comparable in format to a battery electric vehicle, the ability to quickly fill an on-board fuel tank with hydrogen gas is appealing to those accustomed to visiting a fuel station.
So, which one will win? Well, the key difference between the fuel format war and that of the VHS and Betamax is that one doesn’t need to triumph over the other. Electric vehicle technology has advanced so quickly in recent years that, for large swathes of the population, their personal transport needs are met by the current or next generation range of battery vehicles.
There are some exceptions, not least when it comes to commercial and heavy goods vehicles. This is where hydrogen technology could come to the fore. The development of e-fuels, too, have the potential to serve this market, as well as the strong community of enthusiasts with classic or high-performance cars.
The upside for us is that be it battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell, there’s an important role for our rare-earth free electric motor systems to play in the future of the sector.
Advanced Electric Machines CEO, James Widmer, is pleased to announce the appointment of Claire Burgess to the role of CFO.
Claire joins the group with 24 years of strategic and corporate finance expertise, having held several senior key growth roles in the UK and the US. As CFO, she will be driving the growth of the business focusing on financial investment to propel our rare earth free electric motors into the global market.
Claire commented “It is an incredibly exciting time to join a phenomenal team as we launch our proven technology. Being able to offer advanced electric motors with class-leading performance at a cost advantage, without polluting rare earth metals, is game-changing and something I feel passionately about. Making the green revolution truly green and fully recyclable is AEM’s mission, and I am looking forward to working with James and the team to deliver on this promise”.