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Hydrogen fuel cells vs. electric vehicles: Too early to call

  • Toyota (TM -0.8%) remains positive on the prospect that falling costs of fuel cell batteries will help it make the segment the future of eco-friendly cars.
  • The automaker sees selling 5K-10K units when the FCV Concept goes on sale in 2015.
  • In the long-term, Toyota thinks fuel cell vehicles will be competitive on price against zero-emission cars. The automaker targets 2030 as a date mass-production will be in place by.
  • What to watch: 2014 could see a ramping up of the rhetoric between Tesla Motors (TSLA -0.5%) and hydrogen fuel cell backers such as Toyota, Hyundai (HYMLF), and Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF). Most automobile industry analysts see the confrontation as really an engineering battle with development too early in the game to accurately predict a winner.
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Comments (81)
  • Yuro
    , contributor
    Comments (139) | Send Message
     
    My understanding about hydrogen fuel cell cars is that the fuel is really expensive to refine. Not relevant that the cost of the cells comes down with volume if the fuel is ridiculously expensive and energy intensive to get hydrogen to the stations.

     

    Also requires another huge infrastructure to make practical. Now we're gonna have gas stations, hydrogen stations and Supercharger Stations dotting the country? They'll ALL go broke!

     

    Make a decision and stick to it!
    11 Dec 2013, 10:24 AM Reply Like
  • Esekla
    , contributor
    Comments (3488) | Send Message
     
    Only the gas stations will go broke, or be converted, and that will take a long, long time. The real downside here for Tesla is that Toyota was one of the primary customer prospects for their technology. Now that's not looking so likely.
    11 Dec 2013, 10:30 AM Reply Like
  • Dan Fichana
    , contributor
    Comments (1920) | Send Message
     
    Toyota is probably doing it for 2 reasons:

     

    Old spaghetti on the wall- throw everything, something will stick

     

    They only want compliance cars- they have too much invested in the Prius technology. Milk that tech for all it's worth.
    11 Dec 2013, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • Tri Duong
    , contributor
    Comments (1503) | Send Message
     
    Hydrogen fuel cells makes electricity to drive electric motors. That should tell you it won't succeed for anything except maybe long range vehicles. For regular commuter cars, EVs are better and simpler.

     

    Not to say EV will make hydrogen obsolete as big trucks can definitely benefit from it. I also can't see truckers on a time crunch plugging in for hours.

     

    There's definitely a market for both but I'm convinced EVs are going to be the mainstream.
    11 Dec 2013, 12:06 PM Reply Like
  • rockinghorse
    , contributor
    Comments (293) | Send Message
     
    It does not take hours to charge heavy hauling electric truck or bus. As there is larger battery pack, charging rate can be increased indefinitely, because charging individual cell takes only about 20 mins. Here is already demonstrated one megawatt hypercharger for electric buses. With megawatt scale charger, charging heavy EV is almost as fast as filling tank with hydrogen or diesel.

     

    'Eaton announces 1 MW fast charger for large electric vehicles'
    http://bit.ly/18mEbly
    11 Dec 2013, 05:25 PM Reply Like
  • Dan Fichana
    , contributor
    Comments (1920) | Send Message
     
    With hydrogen it is all about infrastructure.
    Someone has to do some serious accounting and estimations.

     

    For hydrogen to take off, you need at a minimum 25% the number of hydrogen stations as gas stations.

     

    In the US, last time I checked there were more Tesla superchargers than public hydrogen stations.

     

    Here's why EVs will win out over hydrogen. Grid already set up. Huge advantage since most EVs charge at home!

     

    Those billions used to set up the hydrogen network will be beared by the consumers. That is just an insurmountable hurdle when the others have such a head start.
    11 Dec 2013, 10:25 AM Reply Like
  • joenjensen
    , contributor
    Comments (708) | Send Message
     
    I also believe that EV's will win out over Gas, Diesel, or Hydrogen.
    I worked on the Railroad for many years, and people don't know that two of these 100 ton diesel engines double headed together can pull two to three hundred freight cars down the track, and are pulled by electric.
    16 cylinder Diesel freight engines have electric generators that power electric traction motors that are run by electric, and that electric comes from the generators.again electric generated by that diesel engine.
    So my point is Electric has been used for many years because contrary to others belief electric does have the necessary muscle to get the job done, and with muscle left over.
    Last week there was a train going 82 miles an hour and could not make the turn because it was going to fast, that train was powered or run by electric.
    11 Dec 2013, 08:40 PM Reply Like
  • John Bingham
    , contributor
    Comments (1119) | Send Message
     
    Hi jeonjensen,

     

    If you want real railway muscle the French TGV uses four 1.1 MW electric motors in each of its two power cars to drive a two powered plus eight unpowered carriage train full of up to 512 passengers at speeds up to 200 MPH!

     

    It currently holds the world speed record for a wheeled train (as opposed to maglev) of 357.2 MPH using a modified five car train with two motor units and two additional powered bogies between the unpowered cars.

     

    For some reason the wiki links don't seem to work from SA so if you want more detail look up the TGV 4402 (operation V150).

     

    That's some electric muscle!
    14 Dec 2013, 05:18 AM Reply Like
  • Todd Monka
    , contributor
    Comments (57) | Send Message
     
    They are both electric vehicles, are they not?
    11 Dec 2013, 10:27 AM Reply Like
  • Yokyok
    , contributor
    Comments (330) | Send Message
     
    exactly. fuel cell instead of battery to provide electricity.
    11 Dec 2013, 11:54 AM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (3377) | Send Message
     
    "fuel cell instead of battery to provide electricity"

     

    No, the fuel cell can't provide electricity fast enough for good acceleration (insufficient power density), so the fuel cell car also needs a battery for that. It's a complex kludge, similar to gas hybrid cars. As batteries continue to improve, fuel cells won't have a chance.
    11 Dec 2013, 01:43 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi Peter,

     

    A few years back many would have said that batteries can't do what they do now.

     

    You are naïve if you think that battery technology will advance and HFC will stagnate.

     

    Personally, I think it's a long, tough road ahead for HFCV. EV's path seems easier, but to rule out advances in technology closing the gap or outdistancing a competitor is just foolish.
    11 Dec 2013, 01:52 PM Reply Like
  • wraithnot
    , contributor
    Comments (107) | Send Message
     
    "but to rule out advances in technology closing the gap or outdistancing a competitor is just foolish."

     

    Hydrogen fuel cells have some unfavorable thermodynamic issues to deal with- it's not just a matter of perfecting the technology. The issue involves where you get the hydrogen from.

     

    Right now, the most economical method involves generating the hydrogen from natural gas. In that case, why not just run the car directly on the natural gas and skip the less than 100% efficient conversion to hydrogen? This may require a natural gas fuel cell for optimal efficiency, but companies like Bloom energy already makes natural gas fuel cells for backup power.

     

    If instead you want to make the hydrogen from water via electrolysis then you could use electricity made from any source to generate the hydrogen. But even the most efficient electrolysis setup and most efficient hydrogen fuel cell theoretically possible is significantly less efficient than charging and discharging existing lithium ion batteries. So I don't see any way hydrogen can win long term on it's merits.
    11 Dec 2013, 03:19 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi wraithnot,

     

    You will get no argument from me that HFC have some real problems. However, batteries had real problems, too, and were it not for advancements in technology, we wouldn't even be discussing this.

     

    I just find it amusing that those very same people that laud Tesla for it's past, current and future innovations have a blind eye when it comes to the possibility that other avenues will also innovate.

     

    You are dealing with todays technology, not what will come. Until such time as someone says we've reached critical mass, in a technological sense, I hold firm that the future will hold things none of us can predict, comprehend or imagine.

     

    So, if you want to hold to the theory that the earth is flat, go ahead, in the long run it is you that will be left behind.
    11 Dec 2013, 03:45 PM Reply Like
  • Dan Fichana
    , contributor
    Comments (1920) | Send Message
     
    With hydrogen fuel cells, while they do not produce much heat, they do generate some heat.

     

    The entire premise of fuel cells is that you pass hydrogen over a proton exchange membrane- electron goes through the wire, meet at the other side, react with oxygen.

     

    This is well understood electrochemistry.
    You can't change the oxygen or hydrogen to something that produces more voltage.

     

    The only way to get more power out of a fuel cell is to increase the permeability, or the surface area.

     

    That's where the battery advantage comes in.
    You can mess with the anode material, cathode material, surface area, electrolytes, and other things.

     

    The only thing you can mess with with a fuel cell is materials (not huge advancements since the 60's), pressure ( to an extent), and surface area.
    11 Dec 2013, 04:49 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi Dan,

     

    If I were to have compared batteries to ICE 15 years ago I would have come to the same conclusions you now try to advance against HFC. In fact, EVs were amongst the first vehicles ever produced and failed.

     

    Of course, the relentless advance of time and technology would have proven me wrong, because I would have neglected to account for technological advances and everyone could accuse me of backward thinking instead of forward thinking.

     

    Why is it so hard for you to be open to the possibility that with a concerted effort, HFC technology will not advance and potentially overcome these disadvantages? Where is it written that something that doesn't work now, will never work?

     

    Gee, I remember when mobile phones first came out (the PTT versions). Everyone said they would never amount to much of the market because, with battery packs, they weighed over 6 pounds. The first portable computer weighed in at over 25 pounds. Hardly anything (including EVs) ever looks possible ---- until it is possible.

     

    The world as we know it is a testament to new technologies restructuring everything.

     

    Are you prepared to say that there will not be a breakthrough?

     

    It is so amazing that Tesla-ites have no problem projecting a revolution in the auto industry, lying on the horizon, all because of Tesla, but can't fathom there might be a revolution in HFC sparked by, say, Toyota.

     

    Your short-sighted thinking is exactly why the Maginot line was built --- failure to see that the future wars are never waged as past wars.
    11 Dec 2013, 05:39 PM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (3377) | Send Message
     
    "Are you prepared to say that there will not be a breakthrough?"
    I am prepared to say that there will not be a breakthrough that violates the laws of physics and thermodynamics. No battery advance ever did that.

     

    "It is so amazing that Tesla-ites..."
    It's so amazing that you can't grasp what two people have tried to tell you: there is a difference between advancing a technology and breaking a physical law.
    11 Dec 2013, 07:22 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi peter,

     

    Well, if you're right, should I .....

     

    Mosey over to all the researchers, chemists, and physicists that are currently working on the project and let them know they're wasting their time.

     

    Go back in time and tell Newton that once physical laws are described they are inviolate. Then the same for Einstein as I work my way right up to the present. 'Cause there's a whole lot of physicists out there that really need to know there's a lid on understanding the laws of Physics and they're wasting their time trying to advance understanding of matter and energy.

     

    No more need to try and solve the riddle of magnetic monopoles.

     

    Look at all the money we'll save once we accept the simple fact that our understanding of the laws of nature have reached totality and we don't need to research any further.

     

    Were you the one in the patent office that allegedly said "everything that can be invented has been invented"?

     

    And of course all this is unnecessary, because since we can't get more power out of hydrogen, then nuclear fusion reactions never happened, and we don't exist.
    11 Dec 2013, 07:42 PM Reply Like
  • Dan Fichana
    , contributor
    Comments (1920) | Send Message
     
    Ken,
    It's not about short sighted. I worked on hydrogen fuel cells.

     

    2H2 + O2 produces a certain amount of electron volts- well understood science. I think it's 1.2 V or something like that off the top of my head.

     

    The membranes that they use are flourinated hydrocarbon proton membrane with "pipes" on one end for hydrogen and "pipes" on the other for oxygen. The correct term is flow plates.

     

    There is also some catalytic action to break the h2 bond.

     

    Essentially if you take a fuel cell apart, looks like a thinnish sheet of plastic in there. That's the PEM (proton exchange membrane). It's the most expensive part, i've dealt with some that were $500 for a 6 in by 6 in sheet, others that were 1/4 the price.

     

    You always need a PEM
    You need flow plates

     

    These take up space. There's no getting around it.

     

    You want to deliver more protons across the membrane- that means more power, you have to increase the pressure (remember the PEM is essentially a plastic sheet), work with a more permeable PEM, or increase the surface area. Depending on the catalytic action to get more protons you may also have to increase the temperature too.

     

    Most likely increasing the surface area works the best, but there is a size issue.

     

    Let's say you found the perfect PEM, well now the flow plates become an issue. The smaller you make it, the more flow; more flow is more pressure- you blow out the PEM. Yes, I've done that. Luckily the rip was small enough for the PEM to be reused.

     

    There's alot involved. Since I've worked on quite a number of them, I am fully aware of the benefits and drawback.
    Heck, i made one that doubled the output of others by tweaking some parameters than the ones my peers designed, and mine was the only one to meet the specifications set out for the project.

     

    I would highly suggest you read the 100's of peer reviewed journal articles, along with refresh youself with electrochemistry.

     

    It really takes a Chem E to design fuel cells because it's a mix of chemistry, flow and permiability.
    11 Dec 2013, 08:22 PM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (3377) | Send Message
     
    Ken, all of automotive engineering is built on Newton's laws, Maxwell's equations, and thermodynamics. Einstein and quantum mechanics did not throw out Newton's and Maxwell's laws, but expanded them to the realms of the very fast (approaching the speed of light) and very small (atomic size). Automotive engineers don't normally work in those realms, so the old laws are used every day.

     

    If you think Toyota's engineers will discover new fundamental laws of physics, then you're in the minority.
    11 Dec 2013, 08:27 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi dan,

     

    I have said many times that I believe HFC does not seem to be the way to go.

     

    However, I, there are some pretty knowledgeable people and some very sophisticated car manufacturers that feel it's worth a shot.

     

    They even feel confident enough in the technology to extract enough electricity that it will compensate for the limitations and cost of infrastructure.

     

    I learned a long time ago not to dismiss possibilities. They often become reality.
    11 Dec 2013, 08:54 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi Peter,

     

    Newton's laws do not accurately describe the workings of nature. They are not accurate on any level. His theory works not because of the reasons you provide, but because of probability theory.

     

    I don't know what the future holds. I'm glad you're so confident.
    11 Dec 2013, 08:58 PM Reply Like
  • wraithnot
    , contributor
    Comments (107) | Send Message
     
    Ken,

     

    There is a world of difference between technological challenges such as making fuel cells cheaper and fundamental efficiency limits for generating hydrogen from other energy sources and turning that hydrogen back into electricity to power the traction motor in a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The fundamental limit with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is the hydrogen. And no amount of engineering can overcome the laws of thermodynamics.

     

    I agree that no one can accurately predict the future. And the best technology doesn't necessarily win out (take QWERTY keyboards for example). But there is simply no plausible scenario where hydrogen fuel cells are the optimal solution to powering vehicles. At least not here on earth where hydrogen has to be created using other energy sources.
    12 Dec 2013, 02:34 AM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi wraith,

     

    I agree with you completely.

     

    I never said that Hydrogen was the optimal scenario. Neither are batteries "optimal". They are just the best we have currently available. In fact, I've repeatedly said that I think HFCs have serious obstacles to overcome.

     

    Some have tried to dismiss HFC research as a road leading nowhere and I take issue with them. The technology needs to find a cost effective and efficient way to harness HFC. If they can't---it will go "QWERTY"---but to suggest that it can't happen, using current technology as a basis for that conclusion, is naïve, if not irresponsible. Practically everything we enjoy today (technologically) was considered impossible within a few years of its actually being accomplished.

     

    Here's a snippet of what one at the center of the issue thinks (http://bit.ly/J8hgi8). Is he crazy? Wrong, possibly, but not crazy.

     

    I am not for/against batteries or HFC. I firmly believe we are all just passengers on a technological train and the best we can do is look at the scenery. We'll reach our destination soon enough.

     

    But I will vigorously challenge anyone that makes definitive statements that it is impossible to achieve "such and such". We know so much, and at the same time so little, about the forces of nature that almost anything remains in the realm of possibility. Those that believe otherwise don't fully understand our place in the universe.
    12 Dec 2013, 07:22 AM Reply Like
  • wraithnot
    , contributor
    Comments (107) | Send Message
     
    "I never said that Hydrogen was the optimal scenario. Neither are batteries "optimal"

     

    An extremely energy dense, durable, and inexpensive rechargeable battery would actually be the optimal solution (at least short of putting a thorium reactor, Mr Fusion, etc. in the car). Electric motors are clearly the optimal solution to propelling a car and something that can conveniently and efficiently store electrical energy is the ideal way to power such a motor. Current batteries still need some improvements in both energy density and cost to make a compelling unsubsidized mass market car. But as long as current trends continue, that situation should occur in something like 5 to 10 years. If someone can make a durable rechargeable metal-air battery it could happen even sooner.

     

    As for the link you provided, they seem to completely ignore Tesla Supercharger technology when they claim "its range and inherent slow-charge limitations means it will only meet the needs of a distinct subset of car buyers." A 30 minute stop to charge, have a snack, etc. after several hours of driving has worked great on the multiple road trips I've taken in my Model S. Their initial terms " For just $499/month and $2,999 down, including valet maintenance and all the hydrogen you can use" are also GUARANTEED to loose them money. Especially since hydrogen currently costs $12 to $13 a kilogram- which is the equivalent of spending $6 per gallon of gas. If hydrogen was dirt cheap and didn't have to be generated from other energy sources then maybe this could work. But the only way a hydrogen economy can succeed is with massive, permanent government subsidies (or a massive tax on all alternative forms of energy).
    12 Dec 2013, 03:05 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi wraith,

     

    Your comments are valuable, as you address specific points and add clarity. Many could take a lesson from you.

     

    I'm not supportive of the link, just that there are plenty of people with differing views and it does not advance anything to patently dismiss them. You're pretty fair in this regard, unfortunately too many others (on both sides) are not.

     

    I wonder if some day we may actually see a hybrid HFC/BEV ? Or even a hybrid Solar/BEV/HFC? Just a thought to amuse myself as I dabble with the possibility of greater range and less infrastructure by combining technologies.
    12 Dec 2013, 03:20 PM Reply Like
  • wraithnot
    , contributor
    Comments (107) | Send Message
     
    "I wonder if some day we may actually see a hybrid HFC/BEV ? Or even a hybrid Solar/BEV/HFC? Just a thought to amuse myself as I dabble with the possibility of greater range and less infrastructure by combining technologies."

     

    I was really impressed with the specs on the Nectar butane fuel cell. As a portable power source, it trounces the Brunton hydrogen reactor. If someone can scale a butane fuel cell up enough to power a car then it would make an awesome range extender for a BEV.
    12 Dec 2013, 06:24 PM Reply Like
  • nwdiver
    , contributor
    Comments (403) | Send Message
     
    Well said... 90%+ of hydrogen comes from Natural Gas... it's far more efficient to just burn that Natural Gas in a car; the infrastructure is cheaper and the cars are cheaper. Unlike electricity there is no trend toward moving away from fossil fuels for H production.
    12 Dec 2013, 06:39 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi wraith,

     

    Thanks for increasing my knowledge base.
    12 Dec 2013, 07:57 PM Reply Like
  • John Bingham
    , contributor
    Comments (1119) | Send Message
     
    Reel Ken,

     

    You've been told this before but here it is again:

     

    A Hydrogen Fuel Cell car IS a hybrid HFC/BEV. The fuel cell, by its very physical nature, cannot respond rapidly to changes in power demand. Essentially it delivers an average power level needed by the car. The battery acts as a buffer, storing the energy from the fuel cell and delivering it as demanded by the varying driving conditions - more power for accelerating and driving uphill, and accepting power from the motor during regenerative braking and driving downhill.

     

    Even if the fuel cell broke all the laws of physics and chemistry and was quite literally 100% efficient, the electricity it generates still has to go to the motor via a charging system and a battery.

     

    Why not simply bypass the fuel cell and just use a charger and battery to run the already very efficient inverter / electric motor?

     

    There is also no such thing as free hydrogen on earth as H is bound up in other chemicals, mostly in water and hydrocarbons. The processes needed to release the hydrogen are all very energy intensive, as is the necessary compression of the hydrogen once it is obtained. These facts alone mean that you can NEVER get back as much energy from the hydrogen as you used in obtaining it in the first place, even if the fuel cell really was 100% efficient!

     

    On efficiency terms alone, compared with a pure battery EV, the HFC is a fail.

     

    A solar powered car sounds like a good idea until you look at the numbers.

     

    Sunlight reaches the earth with a power of 1.366 kW per square metre. By the time it reaches the ground you can say that it's in the region of 1 kW per square metre at the equator at noon!

     

    Top quality solar panels can reach about 20% efficiency, with the current laboratory test systems reaching about 40%, but don't expect these in your local DIY store any time soon.

     

    Put, say, 2 square metres of solar on a family car and you have, at best today, about 400 W of power. That would take most EVs about 2 miles - in one hour!

     

    You can go all out for efficiency and do what the Sunraycer and other solar powered cars have done in the World Solar Challenge race. Cover the car body with solar cells, design for minimum drag (this usually means there is only room for the driver) and use the strongest, lightest materials you can find (also usually the most expensive!).

     

    The results are impressive. But you still need a battery for buffering and for when the weather is less than perfect.

     

    For a normal family car it's not practical to use solar as a primary power source, but there's no reason why it cannot be included as a supplementary power source once the costs are reasonable for a fair sized panel.
    14 Dec 2013, 07:19 AM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (2000) | Send Message
     
    To PeterJA

     

    I guess a fuel-cell car also needs the afore-mentioned battery for regenerative braking.

     

    I guess the fuel cell operates at "two speeds" (i.e., it's either "on" or "off") and when it's "on" it simply dumps energy into the battery, creating a reservoir of energy immediately available to the electric motor.
    16 Dec 2013, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (2000) | Send Message
     
    To Reel Ken

     

    I don't think it's "naïve" to believe that batteries will improve. Such a belief might turn out to be wrong, but that doesn't make such a belief "naïve". In fact, I could say that your disbelief is "naïve" because there are several powerful reasons why batteries could dominate HFCs (and oil energy) in the automotive field:

     

    1. L-ion batteries are "new", not already 100 years old
    2. There are other chemistries besides L-ion to be explored
    3. EV batteries have a lot of potential profit, thus a lot more research
    4. Flexiblity in mating two or more batteries of differing chemistries
    5. Recharging stations can be put anywhere, thus smaller batteries and low infasructure cost. (Example: solar panels at the Mall can recharge your car while you shop and only charge you a small fee.)
    6. Your 110v outlet in your garage is already a recharging station.
    7. You can even steal electricity from your local public school while you play on the school's tennis court. Can't do that with HFCs.

     

    but, admittedly, it's also "naïve" to believe HFCs will not innovate, so may be #7 is just a short term missed-opportunity.

     

    Just saying.
    16 Dec 2013, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (2000) | Send Message
     
    To waithnot

     

    More details would be appreciated on HFC's thermodynamic issues, and losses of energy (heat) in "converting" from NG to H2, or convertingfrom NG to electrical energy. Please.
    16 Dec 2013, 02:55 PM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (2000) | Send Message
     
    To wraithnot

     

    << But there is simply no plausible scenario where hydrogen fuel cells are the optimal solution to powering vehicles. >>

     

    I really agree with you, but we should both keep in mind that "optimal" in economics can be surprising. Under certain circumstances HFCVs can be optimal over BEVs, regardless of the QWERTY "paradox".
    16 Dec 2013, 03:34 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi Neil,

     

    Thanks, but I never said batteries won't improve. I said, in as plain English as anyone could, that those that believe that HFCs can't also advance are naïve.

     

    There are some that think we've reached the zenith on HFC, and I'm not one. I have also sated, many times, that I believe batteries offer a better alternative than HFC at the present and HFC has a long road to climb. I'm not favoring HFC over battery, just pointing out that one can't dismiss them as broadly as they are, without accounting for technological advances.

     

    At least, in your last sentence, it's nice to see someone else realize that HFC can advance.
    16 Dec 2013, 03:45 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Neither EV of HFCV has enough legs to dominate without technological improvements.

     

    It will be interesting to see which vision wins out.

     

    For now, Tesla is in the lead, but if it was a horse race, that means nothing.
    11 Dec 2013, 10:29 AM Reply Like
  • omnimoeish
    , contributor
    Comments (486) | Send Message
     
    2030 is the year for mass production? Oh the comedy. Anyway, yes the thing is that electricity will always be a much cheaper fuel than probably anything mankind will ever conceive at least in the foreseeable future because it's transported virtually instantly and at virtually no cost (since we need the grid for a million other things). Hydrogen is made from electricity (really inefficiently and expensively) or more commonly natural gas, begging the question why wouldn't just burn the natural gas straight since those cars are already out and much cheaper than hydrogen.

     

    The main problem with hydrogen is the cost of transporting is astronomical (it must be kept at 10,000 psi and/or -30 F) compared to oil which can just be pumped through pipes. Hydrogen fuel on small scales works just fine, but the real trick for a hydrogen fueled transportation system is not in the cars at all but the infrastructure costs.

     

    To be honest the future is probably going to be car like the Chevy Volt that offers 40+ miles range without using a drop of gas and unlimited range on gas as 90% of the time you never use gas and when you do need to go out of town or forget to charge or whatever there's no problem whatsoever. Time will march on and the price will come down. But people are reluctant to get on board the first gen I think. When people think electric they think electronic which means they think it will have bugs in the first gen. The Volt has a pretty flawless safety record. I think it's just the form factor that missed the mark. A midsize or fullsize Volt-esque car or small SUV or whatever might open the door. The batteries are holding up will over the years. The other thing is there's a lot of republicans that think the Volt is an Obamacar even though it was almost entirely engineered while Bush was in office and Bush actually made the decision to spend TARP money on GM. But whatever.
    11 Dec 2013, 10:56 AM Reply Like
  • Aurora Gardnes
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    The Chevy Volt has a huge strike against it compared to EVs--The weight of useless power train. A useless heavy engine that has to be carried at great energy waste and cost and has no other function than charging the battery. Replace the engine weight with battery weight and increase the electric range by 5 times then the the Volt would be a competitive economy EV. Unfortunately, GM is still in love with and beholden to OPEC---bring back a practical car like the EV1.
    11 Dec 2013, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (3377) | Send Message
     
    "2014 could see a ramping up of the rhetoric..."

     

    Fuel cell makers may ramp up the rhetoric. Tesla will ramp up production.
    11 Dec 2013, 11:13 AM Reply Like
  • duvas1952
    , contributor
    Comments (14) | Send Message
     
    I really do not think that Tesla has a chance of succeeding against auto giants like Toyota, Honda, Mercedes and all the US auto companies. Really, don't you think that these giants will let a small company like Tesla offer the only Electric cars? Don't you think that these giant auto companies have the means to produce them at less cost? How about marketing them. They have far more means to do that.
    11 Dec 2013, 12:00 PM Reply Like
  • Stephen Pace
    , contributor
    Comments (512) | Send Message
     
    @duvas1952: They have the means, but not the will. Any car as good as the Tesla will by definition make their existing cars look weak by comparison. Even BMW says their i3 is designed to bring in new buyers and not convert existing owners.
    11 Dec 2013, 12:40 PM Reply Like
  • capt601
    , contributor
    Comments (915) | Send Message
     
    dont forget Tesla doesn't have the dealer network to deal with. and that is the main reason any of the big auto companies have not come out with a real EV that can go distances. simply, the dealers do not want them. they make money on service,not sales. and EV's hae little to no maintenance needed. hard to scam the consumer on a new gasket or oil change when it doesn't have those parts.
    and the biggest reason, the Tesla supercharger network. no other company will build out their own network, or has a desire. Big oil wont let them and it would only be for a small part of their cars built so not worth the investment as they will keep building ICE cars.
    26 Feb 2014, 04:59 PM Reply Like
  • ludus
    , contributor
    Comments (91) | Send Message
     
    http://bit.ly/J6q7ki
    Here's a good summary of the fundamental problems with hydrogen by Bob Zubrin who's the aerospace engineer behind a lot of Mars mission architectures.

     

    Hydrogen is really just a storage medium and it's a very poor choice for that. I don't think Toyota is serious about this. Any time a company that's used to a few year engineering planning horizon tells you something will be ready in 15 years they are basically saying it's not serious but but for some reason we want to hype discussion about it.
    11 Dec 2013, 12:02 PM Reply Like
  • aaronw2
    , contributor
    Comments (207) | Send Message
     
    Thanks Ludus,

     

    That is an excellent article that is very hard to refute.
    12 Dec 2013, 07:04 PM Reply Like
  • edsasaran
    , contributor
    Comments (7) | Send Message
     
    Would CLNE be able to convert to delivering hydrogen easily?
    11 Dec 2013, 12:02 PM Reply Like
  • surferbroadband
    , contributor
    Comments (2406) | Send Message
     
    Fuel cell run on hydrogen made from oil. Drilling for oil costs too much.

     

    Yesterday I passed a natural gas station in Houston on the corner of Mesa and McCarty. Man the place smell real bad. I was on the street not the property that had the natural gas station.

     

    Electric is the only way to go.
    11 Dec 2013, 12:33 PM Reply Like
  • chfp
    , contributor
    Comments (593) | Send Message
     
    "In the long-term, Toyota thinks fuel cell vehicles will be competitive on price against zero-emission cars. The automaker targets 2030 as a date mass-production will be in place by."

     

    Toyota is essentially admitting that fuel cells are a distraction. Anything could happen in 17 years technology-wise. Proclaiming that fuel cells will "win" that far out is doing the public a disservice. It's a publicity stunt.
    11 Dec 2013, 12:38 PM Reply Like
  • herb newman
    , contributor
    Comments (88) | Send Message
     
    Are we really that hung up on Petroleum by-products?
    11 Dec 2013, 12:54 PM Reply Like
  • Locked Down Investments
    , contributor
    Comments (1457) | Send Message
     
    2030??? This is why big auto will continue to fail and Tesla will eat their lunch. Tesla delivers a sustainable futuristic vehicle TODAY that gives you the option of removing yourself from the fossil fuel food chain. Now. Today.
    The supercharger network eliminates all concerns about long distance travel or range anxiety and its coverage increases organically as battery energy density increases (more range per car) and charging times are reduced.

     

    2030 for a hydrogen fuel infrastructure that requires huge energy to create the fuel? For a fuel that is nearly impossible to store without ever more energy expended? For a fuel that is extremely dangerous, colourless, odorless, and can burn invisibly at much higher temperatures than gasoline and only requires 1/10th the ignition energy of a gasoline/air mix to catch fire (good luck at hydrogen fueling stations if your cellphone rings or heaven forbid if you get in a fender bender!)
    Lets also talk about the fact that your average hydrogen station will cost well over three times as much as your average gas station (and ten times more than a Tesla supercharging station) and you tell me which infrastructure is going to win the day?
    McDonalds ain't gonna spring for a $2.5 million hydrogen station but they might spend a few hundred bucks on installing some 240v plugs for their customers! I also think most people prefer the ease of plugging in safely at their home while they sleep than installing a hydrogen station bomb in their garage.
    Fuel cells are fool cells.
    EV's are the only logical path for meaningful change today and the next decade.
    The longer the majors delay in fully embracing the EV the more Tesla will dominate as people gravitate to a company doing something TODAY over companies making empty promises about technology that MIGHT happen in 15 years.
    11 Dec 2013, 01:13 PM Reply Like
  • User 496515
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    I believe Norway has Fueling Stations that produce hydrogen on location. No need to transport it is made on demand. This is going on now, as we speak.
    11 Dec 2013, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • Locked Down Investments
    , contributor
    Comments (1457) | Send Message
     
    User496515...please tell me how much these self producing hydrogen stations cost (leaving out govt subsidy). I would also like to know how quickly such stations can produce hydrogen (would they be able to fill up 10 cars back to back at a busy station?) I doubt it. Also please tell me the cost of the hydrogen at these particular pumps (leaving out any govt subsidies).
    You will see quickly that such a station would be horribly impractical in the real world.

     

    You still have the issue of storing a very light and dangerous gas that will escape from all but the most expensive containers.
    No way will we see a hydrogen network before a worldwide Tesla supercharging network.
    $2 mill+ per station vs $200k per station...an order of magnitude advantage as Elon would like to say.
    18 Dec 2013, 11:43 PM Reply Like
  • aaronw2
    , contributor
    Comments (207) | Send Message
     
    I don't think hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have much of a future.

     

    Most hydrogen is derived from steam reformulating natural gas. Cracking water is still not very efficient and very expensive.

     

    Hydrogen fuel cells used in vehicles are not that efficient. They are at best 40-60% efficient.

     

    Hydrogen has a very low energy density by volume. Liquid hydrogen has less energy density by volume than hydrocarbon fuels. It has about 1/4 the energy density of gasoline. 1 liter of gasoline has 64% more hydrogen than 1 liter of liquid hydrogen. Compressed hydrogen requires 2.1% of the energy of the hydrogen just to compress it. (see http://bit.ly/1bwD51o).

     

    Hydrogen storage is tricky. Hydrogen will leak through virtually any seam. It embrittles metal.

     

    Currently only cryo-compressed hydrogen storage is able to meet the DOE requirements for volumetric and gravimetric efficiency. (See http://bit.ly/1bwD3Xh ). The estimated cost is $0.12/mile (gasoline is $0.05-$0.07/mile). A big problem is that it is not possible to store the liquid hydrogen for any significant length of time. After two weeks of sitting, a tank will be as good as empty due to the liquid hydrogen boiling off.

     

    Safety is also a problem. It is nearly impossible to see a hydrogen flame since most light is emitted in the ultraviolet spectrum. It is virtually invisible in daylight. Hydrogen is also very flammable. It has a negative Joule-Thomson coefficient such that leaking gas warms and may spontaneously ignite. Hydrogen requires very little energy to ignite, only 0.02 millijoules. Hydrogen detonation in air can occur at 18.3 to 59% by volume. Since it is lighter than air, it will rise to the roof. It can ignite at concentrations between 4 and 94% in air. This is a much larger range than (See http://bit.ly/1bwD51p ). Think about having a leak in a car when it sits in an enclosed space like a garage.

     

    Hydrogen is expensive to transport. It cannot be transported in conventional pipes like hydrocarbons or other gases or liquids. Liquefying hydrogen requires a tremendous amount of energy since hydrogen boils at around 20K (-252C or -423F). This is far colder than liquid nitrogen.
    11 Dec 2013, 05:53 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi aaron,

     

    I suspect that Toyota and Mercedes, to name a few are not likely to hire you in their engineering dept.. I also suspect that they have a cadre of engineers with different opinions.

     

    I remember about 15 years ago, when EV was first really given any legs. Practically everyone put forth arguments, not dis-similar to yours, concluding that Ev was not practical.

     

    Tesla is certainly proving them wrong.

     

    HFC is a difficult problem, for all your reasons, and more. But it is not an impossible problem. It is just a question of how much the development will cost and the roll out. But there is big money betting on a positive return.

     

    Notwithstanding your, mine or anyone else's opinion, the jury is out and we won't know for many years. Anything else is just speculation.
    11 Dec 2013, 06:02 PM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (3377) | Send Message
     
    I will never bet my life that engineers have solved the safety problems Aaron mentioned, by buying a HFC car. Engineers cannot change the fundamental physical properties of the gas, no matter how much big money is behind them.
    11 Dec 2013, 07:59 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi Peter,

     

    The fallacy in your argument is that you assume that we have a complete understanding of the workings of nature and there is nothing new to learn or discover. What we learn from HFC may lead us to another elemental source of EM or other type of energy.

     

    Hydrogen has many properties that we don't fully understand and have been unable to harness. You err in assuming we will never be able to comprehend and harness this force. Most of what goes on in modern physics and chemistry was incomprehensible, even to physicists and chemists, as little as 20 years ago.

     

    It further errs in assuming we can't fundamentally change the properties of the gas. We have synthesized elements and changed the naturally occurring properties of elements many times.

     

    We're way past the age of "Air, Earth, Fire and Water".
    11 Dec 2013, 08:14 PM Reply Like
  • aaronw2
    , contributor
    Comments (207) | Send Message
     
    While the problems are not impossible I just don't see hydrogen having a big future in the long term. If the goal is to not use carbon for transportation, hydrogen has some serious drawbacks for which no solutions are available. The only advantages hydrogen has right now are rapid refilling of the tanks and a longer range. The disadvantages are fairly serious. It is not all that efficient, especially if the hydrogen is produced by cracking water. Basically there are huge losses when cracking water and the fuel cells used in vehicles themselves are typically only 40% efficient. The fuel cells are still expensive. Fuel cells don't work in sub-freezing temperatures and their longevity is typically worse than batteries.

     

    There is also a lot of promise with batteries such as metal air batteries and LiS batteries. The costs are dropping fairly rapidly and the capacities are increasing. Additionally the efficiency of batteries is much better than fuel cells. The charging rate of batteries is also increasing.

     

    With batteries there is no conversion from electricity to hydrogen (with huge losses) then back to electricity (again at only 40% efficiency typically). On top of that, fuel cells still need expensive catalysts like platinum.

     

    Charging stations are far more plentiful than hydrogen refueling stations and take far less investment to install. All a charging station needs is access to the grid. There are no tanks, pumps, cryogenic cooling or anything else required.

     

    Other advantages of battery electric vehicles are the fact that every morning you basically have a full tank. You never have to go to a filling station unless you're going on a long trip.

     

    Fuel cells are basically a way to get federal money for research and development without having to produce a viable car. There are very few hydrogen filling stations and the investment to build more of them is *MUCH* higher than adding charging stations. On top of that, the cost of hydrogen is significantly more than gasoline on a per-mile basis. A filling station will be far more expensive than a gas station.

     

    Hydrogen is the equivalent of paying $10/gallon for gasoline. Electricity, on the other hand, is dirt cheap.
    12 Dec 2013, 07:42 AM Reply Like
  • John Bingham
    , contributor
    Comments (1119) | Send Message
     
    Reel Ken,

     

    Hydrogen is the simplest atom in the universe. As such it is the fundamental building block of everything else and has probably been studied in greater depth than any other element.

     

    Its properties are understood from temperatures down to a few millionths of a degree above Absolute Zero (-273.15 C - it takes a lot of energy to get there - I've personally never run experimental systems below about 3 degrees Absolute as that was the limit of my PhD rig) up to the temperatures reached inside those nuclear furnaces we call stars.

     

    What happens to hydrogen, in the form of its three principle isotopes in the very limited pressure and temperature ranges we encounter or can manufacture on Earth, is extremely well documented.

     

    For more information you can look in "The Rubber Book" - the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics - currently in its 94th edition. Try your local library or search online.
    14 Dec 2013, 08:27 AM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi John,

     

    I don't think I understand the point of your comment.

     

    Hydrogen is an enormous source of potential energy. The technological issue has always been in finding safe ways to harness it.

     

    I don't think the technology, today, is sufficient, but I'm not ruling out technological advances in the future.

     

    One does not need to alter its fundamental structure to make it viable, one need only figure out how to contain it safely and extract it efficiently.

     

    Are you ruling out that prospect?
    14 Dec 2013, 11:03 AM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (3377) | Send Message
     
    Ken, I don't think you understand the difference between chemical energy stored in bonds between atoms... and nuclear energy stored in bonds between protons and neutrons within the atomic nucleus. The fundamental principles of both are well understood, and the latter has nothing to do with fuel cells. Harnessing chemical energy can occur at ordinary temperatures and pressures, but harnessing nuclear energy requires extremes of temperature and pressure such as occur inside stars, fusion reactors, and nuclear bombs.

     

    The closest anyone has come to a workable fusion reactor is this group's work:
    http://bit.ly/10UsW9I
    Their experimental reactor is far smaller than a tokamak, but too big to power a car. It might fit on a truck. I agree that if they get the damn thing working, then shrinking it down to car size becomes an engineering problem that could potentially be solved.

     

    However, fuel cell development has nothing to do with nuclear energy. Toyota's engineers are not working on a fusion reactor.
    14 Dec 2013, 11:37 AM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi Peter,

     

    You may be confused, because the post I was responding to was discussing the fundamental properties of H, and I was responding at the same level. I didn't think he was referring specifically to HFC or fusion and neither was I.

     

    I think I know the difference, remember my brother was a lead Nuclear Physicist working on Fusion. I've followed the progress/limitations since before you were born. So, in the future, while you "Wikipedia", forgive me if I continue get my info first hand.

     

    Regarding HFC, I have said so many times that it's getting tiring, I disagree with those that think HFCs are going nowhere when they base their conclusions on a short sighted view, considering only today's technology.

     

    I believe it is possible that technological advantages can mitigate the safety issues that HFCs currently present and convert the energy more efficiently. If they are successful, it can be more viable than people are crediting. I think the issue is not "if", but "when" and to "what" application it be best suited (maybe autos, maybe trucks, trains or something else).

     

    It bears repeating again... those that negate the possibility of HFC, use the same type of argument used by anti-battery proponents 20 years ago.

     

    I disagree with those, such as yourself, that state there is some fundamental law of nature that limits our ability to do this.
    14 Dec 2013, 03:04 PM Reply Like
  • John Bingham
    , contributor
    Comments (1119) | Send Message
     
    Reel Ken,

     

    I'll put this very simply.

     

    Hydrogen can only be obtained easily on Earth from water or hydrocarbons. We know EXACTLY the amount of energy needed to release this hydrogen from its parent molecules. Using the hydrogen so produced, even in a 100% efficient fuel cell, will NOT give you back the same amount of energy that you used to obtain it in the first place.

     

    Add to that the need to compress the hydrogen safely at up to 700 atmospheres pressure, a hazardous operation that needs special precautions and uses even more energy, and the efficiency of the operation is even worse.

     

    The fuel cell vehicle also needs a battery, an internal electronic system to charge the battery, and a drive train similar to that in an EV.

     

    An EV is already of the order of 80% efficient from the charger to the wheels, and this could improve with better batteries, electronics and motor designs.

     

    These are the fundamental laws of nature that mean a pure EV will ALWAYS be more efficient than a fuel cell vehicle.

     

    If we are ever able to use the nuclear energy implicit in the hydrogen atom (that is, in fusion reactors) this will be best served by electricity generating power plants and a cleaner grid. The EV wins again.

     

    Unless you believe that we'll have Back to the Future's "Mr. Fusion" mini reactors for our cars any time soon.....
    16 Dec 2013, 07:22 AM Reply Like
  • Locked Down Investments
    , contributor
    Comments (1457) | Send Message
     
    Great points Aaron. It is obvious that Hydrogen is a waste of time.
    18 Dec 2013, 11:54 PM Reply Like
  • Locked Down Investments
    , contributor
    Comments (1457) | Send Message
     
    ReelKen..I also believe that anything is possible and breakthroughs can be made in all areas. However i am also old enough to know that things happen slowly in this world.
    The EV (in combination with Tesla's supercharging network) is ready for mass production right now and requires only evolutions (not revolutions) in battery tech to get better and better over time.

     

    The hydrogen car requires a revolution in its particular technology and probably a decade more of testing before we can even begin to think about meaningful mass production .

     

    Therefore common sense tells me we should focus on EV's as they offer the only real opportunity to disrupt the oil industry within the next decade.

     

    Research can still go on for H in the background, however I believe when the world finally understands the Tesla approach, there will be no going back on BEV's.
    My bet is that supercapacitors take over from batteries in 15-20 years...not fuel cells.
    19 Dec 2013, 12:15 AM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi teddy,

     

    All very good points.

     

    I think HFC is a slow climb and probably 2025-2030 or later. Maybe never.

     

    Tesla may have the better tech now, but it is slowed down on two fronts...1) Capacity and 2) Demand

     

    Now some argue that the demand is there and the only problem is a capacity-build. That may well be true for the "S", but the "X" and GenIII are unknown quantities.

     

    Furthermore, the public, as a whole, seems indifferent to EV.

     

    Now don't get me wrong, I think EV is the best bet we have now and Tesla is the best of the EVs. But on anyone's score-card it will be a slow race and many, many years before either has a significant impact on the industry as a whole.

     

    It's the classic "Rabbit vs Hare", but I think, this time, the Rabbit is a little smarter.

     

    I predict nothing, hope for a radical change away from ICE, and enjoy watching. But as a disciplined investor, I'm not placing bets on anything.
    19 Dec 2013, 07:37 AM Reply Like
  • arondaniel
    , contributor
    Comments (952) | Send Message
     
    Hydrogen fuel cels are cool... if you have a ready & ample supply of hydrogen. But as many others have pointed out, why use electricity to make hydrogen only to turn around and use the hydrogen to run an electric motor?

     

    Here's the real win: an inductive charging highway - recharge while you drive. It's coming. Maybe not next year but it's coming.
    11 Dec 2013, 09:29 PM Reply Like
  • Tri Duong
    , contributor
    Comments (1503) | Send Message
     
    Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. However, I understand your point. Hydrogen is a no go for personal transportation. It's been tried and failed for decades. Hydrogen fueling stations have been around far before electric charging stations. Yet, the never picked up since the original handful of stations.
    12 Dec 2013, 08:21 AM Reply Like
  • Locked Down Investments
    , contributor
    Comments (1457) | Send Message
     
    As Musk said not long ago...hydrogen may be the most abundant element in the universe, its just not the most abundant on Earth..which hydrogen advocates might want to take into account unless they plan on harvesting hydrogen from space (sure that will be cheap!)
    19 Dec 2013, 12:02 AM Reply Like
  • Rob_
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Hyundai's CEO just posted his take with a broader perspective on this debate. In fact, he describes fuel cell technology with on-board electricity generation as the next generation of EV.

     

    http://bit.ly/J8hgi8
    11 Dec 2013, 10:13 PM Reply Like
  • Tri Duong
    , contributor
    Comments (1503) | Send Message
     
    the downsides listed for BEV does not apply to the Models

     

    limited range? Model S do 265 miles. In city driving, people reported over 500 miles.

     

    Charge time? Model S charges a lot faster than any other EV. Just plugging it in your wall gets 30 miles per hour. If you plug it in your 220V outlet, you can get 60 miles per hour. Supercharger stations get you 200 miles in just 30 mins.

     

    Packaging(battery space)? Tesla battery packs are less than half the weight and twice the energy density compared to any competitor.

     

    Performance affected by weather? Clearly, it was affected as much as ICE vehicles. I believe Fuel Cells actually have more adverse effects due to temperature variations.

     

    They also didn't mention that Fuel Cells have serious problems with energy output. It also requires a lot of space. It is also much more complicated. It is more dangerous in accidents than a battery. Fuel cells will also be inefficient compared to batteries.

     

    I don't expect any executive to bash their own products even if they don't like it. Take it with a bucket of salt when you read these things.
    12 Dec 2013, 08:31 AM Reply Like
  • arondaniel
    , contributor
    Comments (952) | Send Message
     
    Love the charts on that Hyundai presentation's source document UC-Irvine report!!

     

    Hydrogen wins because it comes from UC-Irvine's tri-generation wastewater biogas digestion concept, or directly from wind/solar.

     

    EV power however comes from the dirty ol' grid.

     

    Hmm... Could you also make grid electricity from wind/solar? Or, maybe even from wastewater biogas?
    12 Dec 2013, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (3377) | Send Message
     
    Mr. Krafcik implies that BEVs don't work for people without a garage (as if the car can't be charged outdoors).

     

    But FCEVs don't work for people WITH a garage. The car can't be parked indoors, because hydrogen is the leakiest gas ever and will collect near the ceiling (invisible and odorless) waiting for a spark to blow up the building.
    http://bit.ly/1e80huE

     

    Let's see...
    BEV: parkable anywhere; chargable anywhere with an electrical outlet
    FCEV: parkable only outdoors; chargable only at (rare, expensive, dangerous) hydrogen stations

     

    Which is the "next generation of EVs"?
    12 Dec 2013, 10:56 AM Reply Like
  • aaronw2
    , contributor
    Comments (207) | Send Message
     
    You are a bit optimistic at your charging rates. When plugged into a 120v outlet the Model S gets about 3 miles of range/hour. With a 30A 240v outlet it gets around 18 miles/hour. With a 50A outlet the claim is 30 miles/hour. Only the high power wall connector delivers 60 miles/hour though the reality is a bit lower than that. (I have a HPWC installed). Generally it doesn't matter. For many months I was just fine using a 30A plug to charge my Model S overnight. Every morning I basically have the equivalent of a full tank.
    12 Dec 2013, 06:32 PM Reply Like
  • aaronw2
    , contributor
    Comments (207) | Send Message
     
    Here is an excellent article discussing the realities of using hydrogen fuel cells:

     

    http://bit.ly/J6q7ki

     

    Anyone who understands basic chemistry and physics should realize that even under ideal circumstances HFCs make no sense for cars.
    12 Dec 2013, 07:00 PM Reply Like
  • aaronw2
    , contributor
    Comments (207) | Send Message
     
    I should add that the above excellent article was posted above by Ludus.
    12 Dec 2013, 07:04 PM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (3377) | Send Message
     
    Aaron, thanks for drawing attention to it.
    12 Dec 2013, 07:18 PM Reply Like
  • evjohn
    , contributor
    Comments (345) | Send Message
     
    Reel,

     

    You wrote:
    " I hold firm that the future will hold things none of us can predict, comprehend or imagine"

     

    I agree. When EV come out with 1000 range using air batteries which Tesla has already filed patents on and an Israel company has a demo already EVs WILL become the norm.

     

    Also when gasoline spikes again (and it will) EV' s. will look better than ever. Right now the economics are in EV favor but the public gets hung up on the range issue to there own stupidity. I own an EV and we drive it 95% of the time. I believe I am also a typical American too.
    13 Dec 2013, 09:19 PM Reply Like
  • Reel Ken
    , contributor
    Comments (4153) | Send Message
     
    Hi John,

     

    Let me take your two statements, and put them together......

     

    "...I am also a typical American too. ..."
    and
    "......public gets hung up on the range issue to there (sic) own stupidity..."

     

    The "public" is "the typical", by definition......

     

    So, I ask....are you NOT typical or are you likewise stupid?

     

    And, by the way, don't try to hide behind you not be hung up on range, as your post, itself, indicates you are hung up on range.
    14 Dec 2013, 07:56 AM Reply Like
  • evjohn
    , contributor
    Comments (345) | Send Message
     
    PeterJA,

     

    But FCEVs don't work for people WITH a garage. The car can't be parked indoors, because hydrogen is the leakiest gas ever and will collect near the ceiling (invisible and odorless) waiting for a spark to blow up the building.

     

    Yes H is the lights gas ever but also is the fastest escaping gas as well. It will not "collect near t typical garage ceiling and even if it did where would a spark come from the is on the ceiling?
    13 Dec 2013, 09:24 PM Reply Like
  • PeterJA
    , contributor
    Comments (3377) | Send Message
     
    "even if it did where would a spark come from the is on the ceiling?"

     

    The garage door opener? I'm not sure.

     

    I did read somewhere that some parking garages and condo buildings do not allow hydrogen vehicles to be parked in them.
    13 Dec 2013, 09:31 PM Reply Like
  • Rik1381
    , contributor
    Comments (1420) | Send Message
     
    It takes very little energy to ignite hydrogen, which has a wide flammability limit of 4% to 75% in air. An electric light bulb or a small static spark can be sufficient to ignite hydrogen, which can accumulate near the ceiling if it leaks in an enclosed area.
    13 Dec 2013, 10:45 PM Reply Like
  • nkrez
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    I have a better solution than all of you - reurbanize and walk/bike/take public transit.

     

    In my opinion you are all dancing around the true problem which is that the US has too many roads, especially ones that lead to areas of low population density (I'm thinking suburbs...). If I may transform a saying that I really enjoy ("There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all") - there is no efficient way to get somewhere inefficient on one's own. Even with a perfect BEV, car think of all the empty space and weight that a single person carries while sitting on I-70 blocking us carpoolers from our fresh tracks. Bring back the ski train!
    25 Feb 2014, 01:25 PM Reply Like
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