Which is what I have said repeatedly would have to happen. The issue is that there are about 100,000 homes in Oxford that would require these charging stations. Oxford is also a very small city London is more in the region of 6 million. I think you are going to die of old age and starvation due to lack of money if people where to take up your offer. Seriously no power company is going to put these things in for free, they would go bankrupt while waiting for money to come in from their use. The shear amount of work that would be required to dig up all the roads and provide the power grid for these chargers is stupefying. I just can't see it being a practical proposition.
It's more practical than completely rebuilding a new infrastructure for hydrogen. As for bankrupting? Hardly. Power plants cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build. I know, we just built a 300MW gas turbine/combined cycle power plant with a street value of between $250 and $300 million dollars. What do you think the payback on that is? Capital improvements in powerplants are capitalized over thirty years. No one expects things like this to payback overnight. People in the power sector know this. We know it would cost A LOT of money. We also know that it's a lot of power that we'd be selling.
Lemme try to explain how load demand works. From about midnight until 6am power consumption is at it's lowest, maybe 50% of maximum demand. Starting about 6 am and continuing until 10am demand increases bell curve style to about 80 to 85% of maximum demand as everyone wakes up, adjusts the thermostat up or down, brews their coffee, turns on the television, etc. Then consumption drops to about 60 to 65% of maximum during the day as people congretate in offices and warehouses and other places where more efficent heating and cooling take place. Then about 4pm until 10 pm power consumption rises to it's maximum level of the day before petering off till midnight. In order to ensure a reliable powergrid with no dinnertime rolling blackouts the grid is set up to accomodate that evening spike. Most of the rest of the time units are running off their peaks and not at their most efficent because the load demand isn't there. 20 hours of the day we run at a less efficent point below our peaks that causes more wear and tear on the units than if we had them parked at the top (max output). So you give me a way to increase the load during those low periods so that I can be making and selling more power then I'm all over it. Yeah, there's going to be trenching and materials, labor, and it's going to get bloody expensive, but if it means that I can use my existing, already constructed assets, more and make even more money without having to build another power plant then that's something we'd be all over. We could use existing assets, reduce maintenance costs (units running off their best efficency point take more wear and tear than others. My units take a lot more TLC to keep running if they sit down at 200 megawatts than if we ran them wide open at 450 megawatts), and sell 40% more power than we already do without ever building another unit.
Building some hydrogen cracking stations and installing "pumps" in existing "gas" stations seems a lot more practical, especially as it can be done incrementally over time as demand grows.
You're so wrong it's not even funny. First of all, the incremental implementation works as well for electric as it does for hydrogen. Secondly, you cannot reuse the petrol infrastructure for hydrogen, at all. The only thing that would remain the same are petrol stations. Everything behind that petrol station has to be rebuilt. New refineries, new transportation network, new everything. Hell, you can't even transport hydrogen the same way. Hydrogen is a lower energy density fuel, and then you either need new trailers made to withstand phenomenal pressure (a 10,000 psi 2,000+ cubic foot cylinder) and put them in traffic or you take a big hit to capacity so you can insulate them and chill them to the point where it's a liquid so now you need twice the number to trucks to transport the fuel and you're running 7,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen down the road all day long. Especially in a place like Britain you'd be better off putting transport pipelines in the ground but you're still dealing with very high pressure pipes all over the damn place. Then of course there's the power requirements for cracking all that hydrogen. Where as much of the load for EV's could be handled off peak hours for regular charging and you'd only need a marginal increase in the electric grid to handle peak increases. Hydrogen would require you to at least double the number of power plants to generate enough electricity for it all. Double the number of power plants.
You cannot get away from the fact that hydrogen at it's most efficent (fuel cells) is only about 25% efficent. EV's are 85% efficent. That's not just engineer numbers. That matters. That's cost.* In terms of energy input it would take more than three times as much electricty to do hydrogen as it would electric. You're going to spend at least triple as much on beefing up the electrical grid for HYDROGEN as you would EV's. That's before you even get into the cost associated with building the conversion facilities that turn that electricity into hydrgen and we'll just call distribution a wash. Last year I found numbers for put the UK's energy production at ~40GW average, ~60GW peak. At a rough estimate of about $1 million per megawatt (about average for high efficency gas turbine set ups) doubling the UK's power production to support hydrogen would cost about $40 billion dollars just in power plants. Mind you that's using relatively cheap natural gas generation. It goes higher with the actual pollution saving nukes or REALLY off the charts if you want to completely lose your mind and try for solar or wind to power it all. And THEN you have to build the hydrogen cracking stations. Mind you, I'm low balling this. Not considering hundreds of miles of new power lines to move power from the new stations to the cracking facilities, assuming the cheapest form of power you're going to get right now, and using six year old numbers and an average not peak power load. $40 Billion is about the lowest end estimate for just making the electricity for hydrogen.
You have to build all this, doubling your power output, lines from those plants to the cracking stations, the cracking stations themselves, all of that, just to get to the point where the difficulty of charging an EV even becomes an issue. Probably upwards of $100 Billion plus dollars in infrastructure just so you can discuss how hydrogen at the pump beats figuring out how to charge an EV.
Hydrogen lost before the game even started.
*What do I mean it's real dollars? Best estimate for charging my family's two potential EV's is about $200 a month. What would hydrogen cost me? Well, EV's are 85% efficent, hydrogen fuel cells are 25%. So without even taking into account the cost of cracking the hydrogen it would cost $680 to fuel my cars with hydrogen. Before the cost of turning that electricity into hydrogen. Admittedly the cracking station will get a better deal on the electricty than I as a home consumer will so we'll call the cost of craking a wash and even just say it'll cost $600 for hydrogen. That's another $100 a week for hydrogen.