Toyota and Hyundai have announced that they have temporarily halted sales of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in Norway following the news of a hydrogen filling station in the suburbs of the capital of Oslo.
Early reports from Norwegian outlets don’t offer any specific details regarding the explosion nor do they offer any speculative reasoning at the time. However, there are no major injuries or deaths reported from the incident barring a couple of people being taken to the hospital after the airbags deployed in their cars nearby where the incident took place, possibly from the shockwave.
As a response to further investigate and question the safety of Hydrogen FCEVs Toyota and Hyundai have both ceases sales of the Mirai and Nexo respectively in Norway. However, the manufacturers will continue their planned sales programmes else where.
The incident reported was a massive explosion at a Hydrogen filling station in Sandvika, suburbs of Norway. Nel Hydrogen which operates the station has shut down its 10 other filling stations in the region following the explosion. The operator has not released a statement as yet with a reason or cause for the explosion.
The city’s authorities have established a 500metre radius safety zone around the station as a precaution. Nel Hydrogen has confirmed that the grounds are now safe and experts have been onsite to ensure the explosion site is now contained.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells have been seen as a slightly more complex alternative to plug-in electric vehicles. The major challenge with Hydrogen is that is is the most reactive element known to man. While it is available in abundance, its highly reactive nature makes storage of hydrogen extremely difficult, and also the logistics cost is extremely high for the same reason. This has been one of the main reasons why Hydrogen FCEVs have not taken off. While vehicles that run on hydrogen only emit water from tailpipes, the technology has not seen any improvement in recent years.
Explosions like these are nothing but nails in its coffin as latest battery-powered EVs are advancing at its current pace delivering longer range and the reduction in charging times. Any more incidents of a similar kind might just make hydrogen-powered cars as much of a reality as cars from the past that felt jet power was the future of the automobile - a single dangling page in the history books.