Japanese automakers take small steps toward fuel cell adoption


Honda (HMC +0.6%) and Toyota (TM +0.5%plan to bring production of fuel cell vehicles to over a thousand units next year as they try to raise consumer awareness.

The automakers hope to produce tens of thousands of units annually by 2020 on their forecast that costs for FCV production will come down dramatically.

The big picture: Some automobile industry analysts see long-term benefits if FCV vehicles become mainstream, while others point to major obstacles with the technology. The direction of future all-electric Tesla Motors (TSLA +0.2%) models could also be a major factor on if fuel cell cars take off.

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Comments (50)
  • Anton Wahlman
    , contributor
    Comments (4241) | Send Message
     
    On the one hand, being able to refuel almost 400 miles in well under 10 minutes is attractive compared to any kind of battery-electric car. On the other hand, I can do that already today with a gasoline or diesel car, so what's the point?

     

    On the one hand, I have driven some fuel cell cars, and they drive very well, just like an electric car. On the other hand, they're a non-starter until you have several hundreds of fueling stations in California alone, let alone many thousands of fueling stations nation-wide.

     

    The outcome of this battle depends almost exclusively on building far many more fueling stations than are currently planned.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:10 PM Reply Like
  • Stephen Pace
    , contributor
    Comments (812) | Send Message
     
    @Anton Wahlman: All true, and I'd add two more factors to the battle:

     

    1) Cost to produce hydrogen. For instance, if it uses lots of electricity, it may be more efficient just to use that electricity to charge. If it uses lots of natural gas, it might be better to use the natural gas to turn a generator to generate power instead of hydrogen. Etc.
    2) Cost to produce fuel cell. Toyota seems to think they'll be able to do it reasonably, but if average consumer can't buy a car comparable to what they have at a comparable price, they will never buy it, especially if driving one requires more planning for refuel. At least EVs have lower cost of maintenance and operation to partially offset a higher initial cost, but even there, EVs need to get cheaper before mainstream acceptance will happen.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:25 PM Reply Like
  • chipdoctor
    , contributor
    Comments (2663) | Send Message
     
    @stephenpace

     

    Replace Toyota with Tesla, below.

     

    "Toyota seems to think they'll be able to do it reasonably, but if average consumer can't buy a car comparable to what they have at a comparable price, they will never buy it, especially if driving one requires more planning for refuel."

     

    Replace Toyota with Tesla...
    25 Mar 2014, 03:32 PM Reply Like
  • Raster
    , contributor
    Comments (824) | Send Message
     
    Chipdoctor,

     

    I don't agree. While the Tesla has a higher upfront cost, the total cost of ownership is cheaper than other cars in it's class. Other than our car payment, total costs for "fuel" on average over the last year ran less than $28.00/month. That's the average monthly cost of an oil change.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:40 PM Reply Like
  • moneymorality
    , contributor
    Comments (212) | Send Message
     
    The point would be the range, convenience, and the fact that these vehicles are virtually 0 emissions. ICE are not. In addition, the theoretical cost (environmental and monetary) to produce usable hydrogen is very low.
    25 Mar 2014, 04:26 PM Reply Like
  • moneymorality
    , contributor
    Comments (212) | Send Message
     
    factoring in upfront cost and resale, you will not have saved money or helped the environment, for that matter. Still a great car and convenient for wealthy owners. It's a beautiful machine and I wish the best for the company. A Prius purchase leaves a smaller environmental footprint and certainly puts more Americans to work, but it certainly isn't as sexy.
    25 Mar 2014, 04:34 PM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    "Honda (HMC +0.6%) and Toyota (TM +0.5%) ... try to raise consumer awareness."

     

    Here is just about the only piece of consumer awareness that is necessary:

     

    Saudi Aramco Hydrogen

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1vy

     

    Air Liquide Hydrogen Production Process

     

    http://bit.ly/1lZdg31

     

    Russia's Gazprom and Air Liquide Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1vI

     

    National Iranian Oil Company Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYzW

     

    Pemex Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1M8

     

    Kuwait Petroleum Corp Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1Mc

     

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYQk

     

    Sonatrach (Algeria) Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYQo

     

    Total Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1Me

     

    Petrobas Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYQu

     

    Rosneft (Russia) Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYQw

     

    Quatar Petroleum Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx22w

     

    Shell Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx22y

     

    Exxon Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1cWDkTT

     

    Chevron Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx22A

     

    BP Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx22E
    25 Mar 2014, 04:44 PM Reply Like
  • Anton Wahlman
    , contributor
    Comments (4241) | Send Message
     
    1. The cost of the fuel is expected to be lower than gasoline. How or why, I don't know. But it's a non-starter without that assumption.

     

    2. Toyota expects its fuel cell car to be next-gen Prius. We might infer from that that it will cost somewhere around $30,000. We will know for sure by the end of 2015.
    25 Mar 2014, 05:03 PM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    @Anton Wahlman

     

    "On the other hand, I can do that already today with a gasoline or diesel car, so what's the point?"

     

    Finally a remark that I can agree with wholeheartedly.

     

    There is absolutely no point, advantage or market requirement to swap a gasoline or diesel car for an equally fossil fuel powered hydrogen vehicle. There is absolutely no efficiency advantage of hydrogen vs gasoline and plenty of downside in terms of performance.

     

    This whole thing rests on BS that hydrogen is green and it isn't.

     

    The hydrogen infrastructure required by the oil and gas industry to duplicate the existing gasoline and diesel infrastructure just to perpetuate the hydrogen is green hoax, given the huge materials handling issues of hydrogen, would be so expensive that an equivalent value of solar arrays would just about settle the issue of CO2 reduction instead of exacerbate it dramatically in the case of hydrogen.

     

    All this at the inevitable risk of green-conscious consumers waking up to the fact that they are being played for fools.
    25 Mar 2014, 05:07 PM Reply Like
  • chipdoctor
    , contributor
    Comments (2663) | Send Message
     
    Hi Raster,

     

    I agree that the Model S has a much better ownership cost when compared to other vehicles in the Luxury class. I was commenting on the average consumer (where the Hyundai Genesis is the luxury car).

     

    $28/month is pretty cheap. You either do not drive much, have great electric rates or a solar panel set-up.

     

    P.S. My oil changes are free for the first two years and I think $28/month on average may be a bit high.
    25 Mar 2014, 05:08 PM Reply Like
  • Pavlof
    , contributor
    Comments (173) | Send Message
     
    Well replacing Toyota with Tesla doesn't work since a Tesla is most often is refueled at home so there is no planning required. There is no infrastructure for hydrogen in place whereas the electrical supply is already there, worldwide.
    26 Mar 2014, 01:51 AM Reply Like
  • David at Imperial Beach
    , contributor
    Comments (4381) | Send Message
     
    Actually, no! The cost to produce compressed hydrogen is exorbitant compared to using the same fuel to produce electricity or to propel the car directly. The costs are both theoretical and real. Manufacturers ignore those costs when they plan FCVs to their peril.
    26 Mar 2014, 10:09 AM Reply Like
  • David at Imperial Beach
    , contributor
    Comments (4381) | Send Message
     
    The cost of the fuel can never begin to be near as low as electricity.
    26 Mar 2014, 10:11 AM Reply Like
  • DSC214
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    FCEV are electric vehicles that convert hydrogen gas (H2) and air (O2) to make electricity and water H2O.

     

    Chemical batteries have limits to how many times they can be recharged, then they are hazardous wastes.

     

    Hydrogen and oxygen are elemental gases. There are no batteries to corrupt. These gases will drive the electric engine of the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicile (FCEV).
    26 Mar 2014, 11:29 PM Reply Like
  • DSC214
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    Hydrogen gas can be produced by electrolyzing water H2O into its elemental components of oxygen and hydrogen gas. Fossil fuels are not necessary. Hydrogenics $HYGS and HyperSolar $HYSR.
    26 Mar 2014, 11:29 PM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    @DSC214

     

    Technically yes, economically no.

     

    A solar / FCV transportation system will require four times the quantity of solar power vs a solar / BEV transportation system due to the tremendous and superfluous losses in converting electricity to and from compressed hydrogen vs just sending the original electricity it to market across the grid. This is the definition of uneconomical barring exceptional corner cases.

     

    As a mainstream economic activity there is no economic flexibility in the feedstock for hydrogen. It is natural gas with all the attendant pollution and copious CO2 emissions from natural gas production and steam reforming the end product. The only purpose in proponents of hydrogen focusing on anything but natural gas is as a deflection from scrutiny.

     

    This is the most dangerous cuckoo in the nest of renewable energy and transportation that the vested interests of fossil fuel and big auto could possibly devise.

     

    For anyone that cares about a sustainable future (that is everyone eventually) then hydrogen is public enemy number one, precisely because of its power to deceive and to subvert progress towards sustainability.

     

    "Most abundant element in the universe" - hear that and you know you are being lied to.
    27 Mar 2014, 08:46 AM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    "Hydrogenics $HYGS and HyperSolar $HYSR"

     

    These kinds of thing are little projects hoping to cash in on an emerging hydrogen transport economy.

     

    Their only real purpose in the big picture is to distract and to open the door to the polluting mainstream of hydrogen production. If (as must happen) strict standards are adopted to prevent the sales and marketing of hydrogen from fracking and steam reforming as "green energy", then there is no hydrogen transport economy to cash in on.

     

    The cash required to produce a hydrogen fuelling infrastructure if invested instead in solar would be world changing in the positive rather than simply providing a back door to the exploitation of shale - which would be a terminal end game for the environment.

     

    All of the impetus for hydrogen FCVs comes from industry seeking to defend heavily polluting fossil fuel business as usual from renewables. It is absolutely impossible for renewable to hydrogen conversion to supply the transportation economy instead of fossil fuels, and if it was the case then a renewable transportation economy would be achieved four times faster in the absence of energy wasted on the cumbersome and unnecessary production compression and transportation of hydrogen to replace wires as a method of getting electricity to market.

     

    The only "problem" hydrogen could possibly solve is a fractional increment in range - which is on track to be addressed by batteries anyway. The other problem is that battery production cannot immediately compete with the scale of availability of natural gas to produce hydrogen.

     

    That said the world is not in need of a new and complicated way of getting fossil fuels to market. There is nothing gained by fossil fuel powered hydrogen (that lacks infrastructure) compared with the existing fossil fuels that does has infrastructure already.

     

    There is only something to be lost - an opportunity of a life time for this species to actually have a future.
    27 Mar 2014, 09:17 AM Reply Like
  • Frank Greenhalgh
    , contributor
    Comments (4557) | Send Message
     
    The fuel cell replaces the battery. The rest can be the same as any EV. Lithium-ion Batteries require heating in cold weather and cooling during supercharging and hot running. The Fuel Cell doesn't die after 8 years. Some advantages over batteries.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:18 PM Reply Like
  • Rik1381
    , contributor
    Comments (1402) | Send Message
     
    @fgrindle, "The fuel cell replaces the battery. The rest can be the same as any EV."

     

    What is the HP rating of the electric motors in the fuel cell cars planned for sale?
    Which of them are 300-400+ HP like the Model S?
    What limits the HP rating of fuel cell car motors?
    25 Mar 2014, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • Raster
    , contributor
    Comments (824) | Send Message
     
    The by-product of energy production in a fuel cell is water. Stored Hydrogen (H2) in, Oxygen (O) from the atmosphere in, electricity and water (H20) out.

     

    Once the cell is operating, the waste heat from the reaction keeps it warm, but just like water, The cell wants to freeze below 32F/0C
    25 Mar 2014, 03:47 PM Reply Like
  • jimr1
    , contributor
    Comments (112) | Send Message
     
    Batteries do not "die" after 8 years, it is just that the warranty lasts 8 years. The warranty on ICE engines is up to 4 years, depending on vehicle and mileage limit. If after 8 years battery capacity tapers down too much, deficient cells can be repaired.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:56 PM Reply Like
  • Anton Wahlman
    , contributor
    Comments (4241) | Send Message
     
    The initial fuel cell cars are not intended to compete with expensive performance cars. They are meant to compete with Toyota Prius. That means 0-60 MPH in 10 seconds and perhaps 110 HP. The price is also intended to be like a Prius. The issue with fuel cell cars is that there are far too few fueling stations planned to be built over the next five years.
    25 Mar 2014, 05:01 PM Reply Like
  • chipdoctor
    , contributor
    Comments (2663) | Send Message
     
    Hyundai's 10 year, 100K warranty --

     

    Covers repair or replacement of powertrain components (i.e., selected engine and transmission/transaxle components), originally manufactured or installed by Hyundai that are defective in material or factory workmanship, under normal use and maintenance.
    25 Mar 2014, 05:13 PM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    @Raster

     

    The by product of producing hydrogen is

     

    1. Copious CO2 emissions
    2. Copious CH4 GHG slippage
    3. Copious H2S dumping - acid rain precursor
    4. Clean drinking water regulation-exempt injection of Barium, Strontium and benzine in US groundwater, frequently in proximity to cattle grazing and private homes and schools.

     

    But yes, you get a H2O exhaust from the vehicle which an uneducated public might swallow as green for a while?
    25 Mar 2014, 05:20 PM Reply Like
  • Dan Fichana
    , contributor
    Comments (1918) | Send Message
     
    Not exactly true-
    There is this little thing called a proton exchange membrane is a fuel cell.

     

    Over time, it can get fouled, or oxidized.

     

    Also catalysis, specifically in fuel cells depends on temperature. Currently fuel cells do not perform well in colder climates (at least the ones terrestrial usage). Essentially they are coated with a metal, most likely a cobalt or other metallic complex.

     

    For those whom know about catalysis- typically lower temperature means lower reactivity.

     

    As for the batteries only lasting 8 years. There are stark differences between a warranty and longevity. There is a function that statisticians use, layman's terms; they take the expected life and divide by 2 or 4 for warranty purposes; that way any premature failures don't make it. Talk to warranty engineers- if it dies in 8 years and you warranty it for 8 years; that person who decided that has no business doing warranty contracts.

     

    I.E.- Toyota warrantied my car for 36,000 miles; well the car should last 100,000 miles or over.

     

    Warranties have little to do with the actual amounr of time the item will last.
    25 Mar 2014, 05:40 PM Reply Like
  • moneymorality
    , contributor
    Comments (212) | Send Message
     
    just like the rich convince themselves they are saving the world by driving a Tesla S and shopping at Whole Foods.
    25 Mar 2014, 08:44 PM Reply Like
  • David at Imperial Beach
    , contributor
    Comments (4381) | Send Message
     
    Except that you can't use a fuel cell to generate hydrogen in regenerative braking, so you still need a battery. And Tesla batteries don't die after 8 years.
    26 Mar 2014, 10:14 AM Reply Like
  • DSC214
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    Where do you get your facts?

     

    Do you think Govt regulations would favor an emerging green energy sector to be more wasteful and more toxic than burning fossil fuels.
    27 Mar 2014, 09:42 AM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    @DSC214

     

    Hydrogen is burning fossil fuels - make no mistake.

     

    And yes, http://bit.ly/1a7uoOQ

     

    Often in business and politics, the bigger the lie the more unbelievable it is that it is in fact a lie.

     

    I'll save you some google time:

     

    Saudi Aramco Hydrogen

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1vy

     

    Air Liquide Hydrogen Production Process

     

    http://bit.ly/1lZdg31

     

    Russia's Gazprom and Air Liquide Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1vI

     

    National Iranian Oil Company Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYzW

     

    Pemex Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1M8

     

    Kuwait Petroleum Corp Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1Mc

     

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYQk

     

    Sonatrach (Algeria) Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYQo

     

    Total Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx1Me

     

    Petrobas Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYQu

     

    Rosneft (Russia) Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivwYQw

     

    Quatar Petroleum Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx22w

     

    Shell Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx22y

     

    Exxon Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1cWDkTT

     

    Chevron Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx22A

     

    BP Hydrogen:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ivx22E
    27 Mar 2014, 09:55 AM Reply Like
  • Miro Kefurt
    , contributor
    Comments (885) | Send Message
     
    In the scheme of things all one has to remember is the California $2 billion Hydrogen Highway that about 70 cars currently registered in CA can use at average cost of $70 per mile driven.

     

    If money is no object you can do on anything and have ZERO emissions, but to normal people cost per mile MATTERS.

     

    Of course, the politicians and regulators that pass such "laws" that demand ZERO emissions from big OEMs, are not "normal" people and live mostly in alternate universe.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:31 PM Reply Like
  • Raster
    , contributor
    Comments (824) | Send Message
     
    Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a horrible idea. The true cost of the vehicle is between 200K and 400K. Hydrogen is not an energy source, as no free hydrogen exists on earth. Hydrogen must be produced in energy intensive processes like water electrolysis or by reforming natural gas. This means hydrogen as a vehicle fuel is closer to the cost of gasoline than electricity. The infrastructure in California will run billions of dollars to support the first 1,000 Japanese cars. It should also be pointed out that California already tried building out a hydrogen infrastructure once during Governor Schwarzenegger's term, and it ended at a few stations in LA. No other states have interest in the technology, and near term it will only cover San Francisco, but not allow travel between the two cities. Not a very useful technology.

     

    Contrast that with electrical vehicles. Electric cars plug into wall outlets, dryer outlets, or charging stations. DC charging allows for hundreds of miles of range in 20 or 30 minutes. Electricity from any source; wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas go in, and are used directly by the electrical motor. You don't need to ship electricity in tanker trucks or pipelines like you do with gas or hydrogen.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:32 PM Reply Like
  • dcharletta
    , contributor
    Comments (38) | Send Message
     
    More reasons why hydrogen cars are a bad idea:

     

    It only requires one tenth as much energy to ignite as gasoline.
    Hydrogen fires are almost invisible. So first responders may be at risk in a hydrogen car fire.
    Hydrogen gas is colorless and odorless, so a leak may be undetected and cause death by displacing oxygen.

     

    http://bit.ly/1ixCjIe

     

    Oh yeah, then there's this:
    http://bit.ly/1gyEsVM

     

    Oh, the humanity.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:49 PM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    The true cost of hydrogen FCVs is deception of politicians and environmentally conscious consumers and investors.

     

    This is fracking and steam reforming - natural gas pollution magnified by gross inefficiencies of compressing and transporting hydrogen to market.

     

    There is a reason the concept of FCVs was not pursued after they served their purpose in overturning the California Air Resources Board mandate for the BEV in the late 1990s.

     

    That was their only purpose then, and it is their only purpose now.

     

    This is a frightened Big Oil and Big Auto combo trying to BS its way out of losing market share to a shift to fossil fuel independent renewable energy and directly compatible transportation.
    25 Mar 2014, 04:54 PM Reply Like
  • Anton Wahlman
    , contributor
    Comments (4241) | Send Message
     
    According to Toyota, that price will be dramatically lower by 2015. I am interpreting the various comments Toyota has been making recently that their car to be introduced in 2015 will be $30,000. That's obviously just an interpretation on my part, but it's based on Toyota talking about the hydrogen car as being the next Prius. We will surely find out some time before 2015 is over.
    25 Mar 2014, 04:59 PM Reply Like
  • chipdoctor
    , contributor
    Comments (2663) | Send Message
     
    This may be hard to believe but I agree with Ford on this one.

     

    Hydrogen, especially from Nat Gas (US is now the #1 producer in the world) is the best method for the big oil to maintain their control. The world is a cleaner and better place, they can still charge you by the gallon and double the price as well.

     

    Toyota and Honda have other objectives, such as having a oil free Japan.
    25 Mar 2014, 05:23 PM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    Back in the late 1990s OPEC dumped the price of oil as a method to head off interest in renewables and EVs

     

    Hydrogen was also used as a ruse to persuade California regulators that the was an alternative to BEVs.

     

    Then the oil prices were raised and fuel cells were dropped once their purpose was complete (getting rid of the GM EV1 for example). The history of this can be seen in the 1999/2000 stock prices of (BLDP) and (PLUG).

     

    This time around the attack is more sinister. We are looking at Hyundai FCV leases with unlimited free hydrogen.

     

    The oil industry has learned that subsidising FCVs and sponsoring free hydrogen is a much better line of attack than dumping the price of their core product.

     

    This is a PR scam - there is no possibility of hydrogen becoming an economic alternative to fossil fuels as they currently exist and are currently distributed. It is also true that there is a limited lifespan to convincing a public with access to Google that Hydrogen is anything except a fracking derivative.

     

    - But it is a dangerous PR scam none the less.

     

    At least we now know how the oil industry intends to battle Tesla, Solar City and initiatives of that nature.
    25 Mar 2014, 06:00 PM Reply Like
  • Pavlof
    , contributor
    Comments (173) | Send Message
     
    Raster, you're absolutely correct. However you forgot the largest supplier of electricity in the PNW, hydroelectric which is clean and renewable. The city of Seattle gets 96% of electricity from hydro and wind sources. I get a little tired of hearing how electricity all comes from coal which certainly is not true where I live.

     

    Oh, and Washington state is a net exporter of electricity due mostly to the dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers. Seattle gets very little of its electricity from those dams having had the sense to build their own decades ago.
    26 Mar 2014, 01:49 AM Reply Like
  • Jolly_Rancher
    , contributor
    Comments (629) | Send Message
     
    The real issue is China. The Japanese don't want their bread and butter threatened by China's stranglehold on rare earth metals required in the auto battery.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:41 PM Reply Like
  • Rik1381
    , contributor
    Comments (1402) | Send Message
     
    Might want to check the electric motors of those fuel cell vehicles. You're more likely to find rare earth metals there than in a battery.
    25 Mar 2014, 04:00 PM Reply Like
  • Anton Wahlman
    , contributor
    Comments (4241) | Send Message
     
    The electric motor in the Toyota fuel cell car comes straight from an existing Toyota/Lexus hybrid that's already being sold to consumers. It may be the Lexus LS600, but I'm not sure. In other words, no mystery there.
    25 Mar 2014, 04:52 PM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10475) | Send Message
     
    Yep, it uses rare earth metals, unlike Tesla's motor, and unlike lithium ion batteries.
    25 Mar 2014, 08:59 PM Reply Like
  • Dan Fichana
    , contributor
    Comments (1918) | Send Message
     
    This is a very sly move by Toyota and Honda.

     

    What is the motivation to build such cars?

     

    Certainly they know that hydrogen is made via steam reforming of methane.

     

    Here's the chemical formula

     

    CH4 + 2 H2O -> CO2 + 4 H2

     

    Now for every 8 kg of Hydrogen, you produce 44 kg of CO2

     

    Not exactly emission free.

     

    Now, the reason why Toyota and Honda are pushing these vehicles is because of CAFE, they get 9 credits vs 7 credits for a Tesla like car.
    25 Mar 2014, 08:16 PM Reply Like
  • Rik1381
    , contributor
    Comments (1402) | Send Message
     
    I don't think Toyota and Honda have sunk billions of dollars into fuel cell vehicles over a period of many years in order to get ZEV credits. ZEV credits can be obtained at lower cost per credit by selling compliance BEVs.

     

    I think Toyota, Honda, etc. made strategic decisions years ago that in order to produce long-range zero tailpipe emission cars that buyers will want, and stricter regulations will incentivize, requires fuel cells. I think they rejected BEVs as impractical.

     

    They may also be wedded to the model from ICE cars that involves having to drive to fueling stations. Like most people they don't really get the advantages of overnight plug-in charging.

     

    Toyota, Honda, etc. seem to be unable to change their decisions in favor of fuel cell vehicles even though Tesla appears to be demonstrating that long-range BEVs are on a development path that will invalidate their business premises.
    25 Mar 2014, 09:37 PM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10475) | Send Message
     
    I also think fuel cells allows them to build on their existing hybrid architecture, since a HFCV is a hybrid with a fuel cell instead of an ICE.
    26 Mar 2014, 07:32 PM Reply Like
  • Purple_K
    , contributor
    Comments (508) | Send Message
     
    Really? None of the $PLUG sheep have cited this yet as the reason for today's 49% move?

     

    **shocked!**
    25 Mar 2014, 08:32 PM Reply Like
  • zorrba
    , contributor
    Comments (428) | Send Message
     
    Cheap hydrogen may soon be had through renewable energy. I am long in a concentrated solar thermal innovator who's roots were in low cost hydrogen production. This through water splitting where direct heat application (higher than possible with competing CSP tech) was the primary mechanism.

     

    Check out SHEC Energy for a speculative play.
    26 Mar 2014, 01:09 AM Reply Like
  • Kalud
    , contributor
    Comments (65) | Send Message
     
    All you need is one "fueling" station at home and a fast one every 200 miles.
    26 Mar 2014, 01:44 AM Reply Like
  • MatSE Guy
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
     
    Fuel cells are almost a non starter for a variety of reasons, at least for large scale usage. There are very significant problems associated with the production of hydrogen, the least of them making it 'green', even if you consider onboard reforming or the use of natural gas reforming. Storing hydrogen to refill is not a simple task since it has a tendency to escape from most materials and embrittles most alloys it comes into contact (not good when under high pressure, i.e. storage/transportation!). The more extravagant methods of storing it are costly.

     

    And, even if you figure all of that out, the catalysts needed for fuel cells to work well typically include platinum for the highest efficiencies. I only have the general numbers, but we once did a simple calculation in a nanomaterials/energy materials class and to make a large number of fuel cell vehicles (~1 million) with a moderate sized output (I believe we equated it to the teachers ~120 HP car or ~90 kW) would require the entire worlds production of platinum for a calendar year!
    26 Mar 2014, 01:46 AM Reply Like
  • John Bingham
    , contributor
    Comments (1304) | Send Message
     
    Little to add here because Ford Prefect has put everything very clearly. Please read his comments if you have not done so already.

     

    The majority of hydrogen production worldwide is from fracked natural gas, and that is provided almost exclusively by Big Oil. As it becomes more and more difficult to find sources of this non-renewable fossil fuel the environmental damage can only increase over time. A hydrogen fuel cell car will become "dirtier" as each year passes.

     

    An EV, on the other hand, can be powered from any source of electricity. Every year the major world governments are moving more and more towards renewables for power generation. As this happens every EV becomes "cleaner".

     

    HFC cars are a scam, "smoke and mirrors", to blind the politicians and the public to the EV revolution by promising an apparently clean alternative that is anything but clean in reality.

     

    And you are still tied to Big Oil by another name. A rose is still a rose ... and a skunk is still a skunk ...
    26 Mar 2014, 06:38 AM Reply Like
  • WulfherSS
    , contributor
    Comments (487) | Send Message
     
    The bottom line is that liberating H2 from water with electricity then back to water with a fuel cell is wasteful...4 Watts in and 1 Watt out. Proponents will have you believe all kinds of fairytales, but they cannot fool mother nature.
    26 Mar 2014, 09:16 AM Reply Like
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