• Apr 7th 2008 at 1:11PM
  • 19
As we wrote on April Fool's Day (but wasn't a joke), GM's vice president for research & development and planning, Larry Burns, delivered a speech at the National Hydrogen Association conference highlighting his GM's bullish stance on hydrogen cars. Reuters spoke to Burns about his speech and learned of the General's plans to have 1,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles driving in California between 2012 and 2014. Through Project Driveway, GM already has around 60 fuel cell Equinoxes in SoCal, and Burns told Reuters that "The next logical play for us is to take that up to a car scale of about 1,000," with mainstream acceptance and financial viability of hydrogen cars following in 2017 or 2018. We'll see.
[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      ABG readers know their stuff because I have very little to add.

      One thing I would like to mention is that most of the CEO people are "intelligent"people. But many of them will not vouch for EVs but for hydrogens because that's where power and money lies. Hydrogen is like gas only a different liquid fuel. If you're the big oil you don't want consumers to become independent that's why they'll advertise and do anything in their power NOW to pretend that it's better.

      I have hope since I see so many ABG readers are clearly informed; it'll be highly unlikely that people will believe such lies. The best start to anything new is awareness.

      And technology and people's motivation for the best and cheapest fuel, electricity, will outshine hydrogen just like newer tech such as how TV displaced movies in the old days, CDs for tapes, and now DVDs for VHS.

      Big oil and gas automakers need to change as the market changes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just as I suspected - the executives really don't understand all the technical details, but have been told by their researchers that "yep, we will get it real soon now, we'll find a way to cut costs, don't give up and cancel the project now!" Of course, the executives don't realize that their research staff just wants to keep the program going to save their jobs.

      By 2014 the Plug-In revolution will be in full swing, and H2 cars will still be at the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" price level. Needless to say, it is unlikely that there will be 1,000 people both rich enough and foolish enough to buy that many H2 cars, and even that number is insufficient to support a full fledged statewide H2 fueling infrastructure. So, there will be appeals for more government funds, mostly from the oil/H2 companies watching fuel sales plummeting due to all the plug-ins being sold.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can't believe how much press companies get for these kinds of announcements. (That's not a dig at ABG, but media in general.) 1,000 cars, promised for 6 years from now, in a state with 30 million people? Even if it happens, and I'd say the chances are no better than 50/50, it will prove precisely nothing.

      You could build 1,000 cars that run on steam boilers heated by burning wood pellets, and it would prove no more and no less than these proposed 1,000 HFC vehicles.
      • 7 Years Ago
      GM - the source of advanced, eco-friendly automobiling. :-)
      Particularly after their Vice Chairman called Global Warming a crock of poo.
      Read article here -
      • 7 Years Ago
      My ultimate point is that on-site hydrogen reformation (even if it's electric-powered hydrolysis) is probably something that can be built on the current gasoline-station logistics fairly easily, and not cause significant disruption of the current infrastructure.

      Eventually, fossil-fuels will need to be replaced, and we can't count on the "re-wiring of America" to provide it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Those hydrogen cars will probably feel very lonely between the ten thousands of affordable electric cars and plug-in hybrids that will be around by 2014.
      • 7 Years Ago
      @ karenrei...

      Sounds great, but I'm not sure that's something that can be done on "present infrastructure". No parking facility today has a large number of plug-in sites, and noone has talked about how we would accomplish a large-scale shift in electricity transmission to accomodate that.

      And as of yet, noone has tailored an infrastructure to handle the rural-America scenario - where you have to drive 20 miles to go to the grocery store... Running out of charge there IS an issue, as I highly doubt that anyone currently has "50 minutes to spend walking around and relaxing in the outdoors" when it happens in the middle of the workday.

      And yes, revolutions do happen - they just don't happen cheaply. I'm concerned that as we use more exotic materials in batteries (e.g. vanadium), the cost of the batteries won't stay at $2k per.

      And I think that the economics of an automobile will prevent a real replacement-battery program from gaining traction. I mean, who will spend $2k to replace a battery pack on a 10-year-old car that costs $4k to buy? They'd probably be better-off buying a 6-year-old $6k car, with its other improvements - which suggests we need a better car-recycling program than a replacement-battery program.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "By 2014 the Plug-In revolution will be in full swing."

      That's a very good point. I mean, Apteras are to start rolling off the line this fall, $27k each. The MiEV seems increasingly likely to show up on our shores in a couple years, $25k each. There's the VentureOne, also same price range, also due out in a couple of years. On and on the list of affordable EVs with solid (~120mi) ranges goes. Furthermore, most of these vehicles will be using lithium phosphate or other "fast charge-capable" batteries. The AC Propulsion "Reductive" charger can be configured to handle 40kW, with a wide range of inputs (0-60hz, 100-250V, etc), and only weighs 10 pounds, with 93% charging efficiency. Well, for an Aptera, 40kW is only a 15 minute charge. And all across the country, there *already* are 12kW outlets -- the 50A split-phase RV outlets, which are basically like the power that comes into your home. That's 50 minutes that you can spend walking around and relaxing in the outdoors before you hop back on the road for another 2 hours of driving -- *present day, present infrastructure*. And when they build higher power outlets for EVs, you're looking at 15 minutes charging, 2 hours on the road.

      What about the batteries? Lithium phosphate live long and prosper -- A123 rates theirs for 10+ years and 7000+ cycles, and even that only means you lose 20% capacity or so in that time. And if you want to replace them? 10 years down the road, these things will be in mass production, and the raw materials are cheap; you're probably looking at $0.20/kWh or so. For an Aptera, that means $2k to replace the battery pack then. Spread out over the life of the vehicle (say, 20 years), that's a mere $100 a month. If you even want to bother. Meanwhile, you get to cut out 80% of the maintenance a normal gas vehicle has -- you still have brakes, tires, perhaps a belt or a two-gear transmission (often none is needed), a couple small fans, and creature comforts, but you ditch 90% of the moving parts.

      120 miles range in an affordable vehicle too short for you? Just wait a couple years. There's a brand new revolutionary battery tech that will double or triple energy density announced about once a month these days, usually from very respectable sources. Even if only 10% of them ever succeed, that's over a revolution per year. With the rate advances are coming, expect the batteries on the market in five years to at least have double the energy density, and quite possibly more. (Heck, Subaru's G4e concept uses batteries that already double the traditional li-ion battery density, thanks to a lithium vanadium oxide anode).

      There are no roadblocks to the EV revolution. Sorry, hydrogen; better luck next reality.
      • 7 Years Ago
      but the thing is, hydrogen isnt a bad idea, just the first application is wrong. low volume, high unit cost : thats way way better match for big trucks and aircraft, boating maybe.
      • 7 Years Ago
      #1. "why are they wasting time squeezing hydrogen into cars?" THEY WANT SOME OF YOUR TAX MONEY!!!!!!

      • 7 Years Ago
      why are they wasting time squeezing hydrogen into cars ? its way better match for airplanes, where battery-electric is not going to be an option any time soon because of energy density, and bringing infrastructure along is a comparatively easier task. Or then, 18-wheelers and buses perhaps as well that need long distance, and hiding the cost of the system would be easier.
      Trying to fit hydrogen into passenger cars is just the square peg into round hole again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So I heard the hydrogen powered Hummer is going to be called the "H2H2".
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