Hydrogen Cars and Buses Seize the Spotlight at Beijing’s Winter Olympic Games

When Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, it used the global spotlight to showcase the then-emerging technology of electric vehicles…

So what does it say that China is now using the Winter Olympics to promote advances made in hydrogen-powered vehicles?

Hydrogen cars haven’t really caught on the way battery-powered vehicles have, even though they too offer the advantage of producing no tailpipe emissions — aside from water. Just under 9,000 hydrogen vehicles were sold in China between 2015 and 2021, a tiny fraction of the 302 million vehicles on the road.

But now, more than 1,000 hydrogen vehicles are traversing the streets of Beijing and Zhangjiakou, the mountainous region about 220 kilometers (136 miles) northeast of the capital, where ski jumping and snowboarding events are being held.

The vehicles include more than 800 buses from automakers including Beiqi Foton, Geely and Yutong. Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Mirai cars and Coaster vans are also running through the Olympic venues, ferrying athletes and Olympic staff.