What's wrong with these automakers? Haven't they figured out by now that hydrogen is a total waste of time and effort?
That is actually not true. There are definite advantages with Hydrogen fuel cells..
a) The amount of weight that the cars need to lug around comes down a lot with fuel cells.
b) Recharging EVs at home will become an issue over time especially in apartment complexes because the apartment complex will need to draw huge amounts of power from the grid to make this happen and these chargers will have to be installed in every parking bay etc.
c) Refueling can be done pretty quickly. With EVs, even with fast chargers, it will still take about an hour to get enough charge to go for 100 miles. In the case of hydrogen fuel cells, the refuel process can be completed in minutes.
d) Because it takes a long time to recharge EVs - even the most cutting-edge fast chargers from the new Porsche EV will take about 15 minutes to recharge, a recharge station can service only very few EVs simultaneously - both because of the very high power draw required per vehicle + also the time it takes to recharge each vehicle. That is not a problem with Hydrogen fuel. Refueling stations can service many more vehicles at the same time (similar to the current Petrol/Diesel stations).
f) Recent advances such as the one in the University of Glasgow allows for hydrogen to be produced 30 times faster and its storage in inorganic liquid fuels - thus solving the two big problems with Hydrogen fuel cells - cost-effective, industrial generation of hydrogen and its safe storage.