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Audi e-tron concept -- Click above for high-res image gallery

It's probable that, somewhere in the Frankfurt Messe this week, there are hydrogen-powered concept vehicles. From the headlines, though, it's clear that the world's automakers showing off their wares at the Frankfurt Motors Show are taking some time off from promoting the hydrogen fuel cell car and are putting all of their energy into the idea of a car with a plug. Even Audi, where an executive recently called electric cars "idiotic," made a big splash with their overwhelming e-tron concept. Perhaps we'll see more H2 cars when the auto show season moves back to the U.S., but for now, the lack of fuel cell concepts and the tiny scraps thrown to biofuels are really, really obvious. Just saying.

In any case, if you're headed to Frankfurt and want to print out a list of which plug-in and hybrid cars are where, you can get a PDF listing the cars from Drive Solar.




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  • 38 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I suppose battery power is the hot new fad this week. Once it blows over and hydrogen is taken seriously, we can move on with progress.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chris, you do realize that all H2 vehicles now on the road require batteries, don't you? Batteries are needed to run the car until the fuel cell can be warmed up, to provide extra power for acceleration, and store regenerative braking energy.

        Didn't you realize that both H2 storage and H2 fuel cells cost much more than an EV battery pack? Using more batteries means they can use a less powerful but less expensive fuel cell as a cost cutting measure. H2FCVs need batteries, but battery EVs and PHEVs don't need H2.

        Didn't you hear that the Ford and GM plans for H2FCVs is to make them plug-in hybrids, doing all the local driving with much cheaper electricity, and relegating that expensive fuel cell and expensive H2 fuel to "range extender" use only? It's also a clever way to extend the rather short lifespan of the PEM fuel cell.

        If batteries are a "passing fad", then so are the H2 vehicles that require them.So its back to petrol, diesel, and biofuels, then?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hydrogen was taken seriously for over 20 years and we made no progress.
      • 5 Years Ago
      New pie in the sky hydrogen vehicles wouldn't fly in Frankfurt where well educated and highly competent Europeans would not be impressed. I don't think shell and exxon will be as easily persuaded to give up the US market.
        • 5 Years Ago
        When a battery pack that moves a tiny two seater 200 miles under the best of circumstances costs $50,000, "educated and highly competent Europeans" are sure to doubt the merits of battery electric vehicles as well.

        Meanwhile, Iceland pursues a hydrogen economy, for better or for worse.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgGlE97rJl4
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, Dave, if Tesla did reuse components to make a battery pack, they'd have to label it as "refurbished" and sell at a much lower price. They can't sell used components as "new", and that $30K price is "new replacement". Recycling the old components is a separate issue, and Tesla already has plans for that.

        Besides, Martin Eberhardt, one of the founders of the company, revealed that the cost to Tesla for the components used in the Roadster "Energy Storage System" was $22K, less than half the $50K price you seem to be fixated upon.

        The EPA hasn't yet rated the GM Volt, that "230 mpg" figure is just advertising hype.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tesla Motors has already stated that the current replacement cost for the Roadster battery pack is $30,000 - including installation and normal retail markup. Thats $20,000 less than what Dave stated. But Tesla also expects the cost to drop in a few years, and are offering a "pre-order replacement warranty" for $12,000. BTW, the official EPA certified range for the Roadster is 244 miles.

        As for Iceland, that video clip you linked is at least 3 years old. The Icelandic Hydrogen plans hit the skids when their economy tanked, so they are now looking at the much less expensive and much more efficient battery technology instead.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Europe, particularly Germany, does have its fair share of uneducated and incompetent people, and I assure you the hydrogen hoax is alive and kicking over here.

        The hydrogen lobby here is just as big as the USA's, just not as loud.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I don't think I need to point out that your ideas about battery pricing are laughable."

        Please enlighten me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Tesla Motors has already stated that the current replacement cost for the Roadster battery pack is $30,000 - including installation and normal retail markup. Thats $20,000 less than what Dave stated. But Tesla also expects the cost to drop in a few years, and are offering a "pre-order replacement warranty" for $12,000. BTW, the official EPA certified range for the Roadster is 244 miles.

        As for Iceland, that video clip you linked is at least 3 years old. The Icelandic Hydrogen plans hit the skids when their economy tanked, so they are now looking at the much less expensive and much more efficient battery technology instead. "

        What is included in the "replacement cost"? Does that include trade in of the existing pack? There are parts of the pack that can be reused and rebuilt, meaning that "replacement" is possibly much lower than original cost.

        Even if the entire pack costs $30,000, that means that the pack for a proper four seater with an acceptable range will easily cost $50,000. And that's WAY too much.

        The fact that Tesla offers an extended warranty for $12,000 means they believe they will only have to replace less than one out of three of the packs under warranty. It does not mean that the pack will cost $12,000. Extended warranties are a huge moneymaker for many companies, not just Tesla.

        Is that the same EPA that rated the Volt at 230 mpg? I'm sure Miss Daisy's driver can get 244 mile range on a fair day, but its not typical. And 244 miles is only impressive by EV standards - its still crap.

        I know about Iceland. If you go back and read my original comment, I was responding to the implication that Europeans are less likely to be fooled by hydrogen. I was not defending hydrogen - I was commenting on the silly prejudiced belief that Europeans are wiser and more educated.

        I would love to see a battery breakthrough. Or a hydrogen breakthrough. Or both. But it hasn't happened yet.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Dave:
        A windy island with plenty of tidal motion and on top of a volcano is not a model region by any stretch of the imagination. They may have enough renewable energy to piss away 2/3rds of it on hydrogen, but the rest of the world sadly cannot afford that luxury.

        I don't think I need to point out that your ideas about battery pricing are laughable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not surprised at all. The White House sat down with domestic and foreign automakers alike. The automakers were not only given a new emissions standard, but a vision and a commitment to move away from oil and by proxy hydrogen. Automakers will ultimately make the cars we want to buy and they understand we will not fall for the hydrogen hoax, it is as much a waste of time and resources for them as it is for us. The stunning E-Tron is exactly the car I'd want.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I'm not surprised at all. The White House sat down with domestic and foreign automakers alike."

        You do realize that Frankfurt is in Germany, right?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The reality is that it's a lot cheaper to deploy electric recharge stations than *hydrogen* infrastructure" - Serge

        Yes. And with European gas/diesel prices, the high cost of a plug in hybrid such as the Volt may actually pay for itself.

        Especially in a country like France that gets 80% of its electricity from nukes. (Germany appears to use coal for the most part - http://www.euronuclear.org/info/encyclopedia/p/pow-gen-ger.htm)

        Even if hydrogen technology becomes affordable, it could be relegated to range extender status.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ja, as I'm sure you realize these Automakers would possibly want to profit beyond Berlin.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Arg .. I meant Frankfurt!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Daimler just announced a fairly impressive alliance with various oil utilities to put a country wide network of hydrogen stations in place in Germany.

      Car and oil won't let this one go without a fight.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You betcha. Add to this the fact that we have parliament elections upcoming and all parties involved are more than eager to support this bullshit to score some green points.

        The green party itself is the worst, for one because they're quite desperate to stay relevant, but also because while they have a lot of ideologically highly motivated people concerned about our environment, those with some sort of scientific or technical expertise (or just common sense really) are far and few between and so they're quite susceptible to the pie-in-the-sky promises of a zero-emission hydrogen utopia.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The lack of hydrogen cars could show that the world is starting to get some sense. Hydrogen will probably only be viable as part of a HHO setup breaking water through electric ressonance. Will it happen and is it feasible? Not sure, but a few dead and missing people indicate it might be. It's not hydrogen, it's water... the biggest energy taboo out there.

      Electricity and biofuels are the rational choices we have, given the cultural awareness of technology humanity has, and I'm sure there is more suppressed stuff out there, all we have do is wade through the patent offices.

      Battery technology is getting there, and solar technology is too. We don't need these billion dollar solar plants, we need the technology in showrooms so the middle class of the world can change to their own power and shutdown the monopoly men. Frankfurt has some positive signs, but do remember corporate culture is the realm of the psychopath, and they won't do what is right only what gives them more profit. I still expect a bait and switch to hybrids, as these people want to keep people energy dependent at all cost. And hybrids are the worse of both worlds imho.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The only reason hydrogen still exists is because rich old white people still think hydrogen cars are the next big thing and the tech compliments their portfolios in the oil markets. In a few years one day they walk out of Neiman Sachs and see an EV plugged in by the store and suddenly realize they're behind the curve, and promptly pull their money out of any auto company still pushing the hydrogen hoax. Until then we'll keep HEARING about hydrogen and SEEING evs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        heehee.

        white people like mayonnaise.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Blast! Your astute detective work and superb deductive reasoning skills have uncovered yet another White Person conspiracy! If it weren't for us people would have stopped using oil decades ago! You may have thwarted our hydrogen agenda but we will be back...
      • 5 Years Ago
      What most people miss is that current hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are already E-REVs. Just that the generator providing the extended range is hydrogen fuel cell.

      What is the future power source for E-REVs is still an open question, i dont think Volt's petrol ICE is it. It could be direct methanol fuel cell, microturbines, linear combustion engines, stirlings, yes even hydrogen fuel cells.

      What SEEMS settled is that battery will be the primary power ( not energy ) source, sometimes augmented by ultracaps, and the drivetrain propulsion will be electric motors.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Audi E-Tron is an empty marketing shell......they are so far behind with EVs that they modified an R8 body, painted it red and claim it's an EV.

      I bet it doesn't even have EV components underneath.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's possible. It is not at all uncommon for a "concept car" to have minimal functionality, and in some cases they are just mock-ups with no drivetrain underneath.

        The reactions from the audience gives them a clue as to what works and what doesn't work on the concept. If there is enough enthusiasm from the public, then they'll proceed with making functional prototypes and eventually a production model.

        I'm hoping the better features of this concept find their way into an Audi EV in a few years time. I'm just hoping they can come up with a better name!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The fact that it has a 53kWh battery makes me think it even has a Tesla under that bodywork :-D
      • 5 Years Ago
      a car for Idiots. I think we all agree that thats an EREV so the statement doesn't apply to electric cars. And the rest of the statement was hardly dissing EV's either. Repeating it endlessly doesn't change the facts.

      ps: damn system ate most of my comment
        • 5 Years Ago
        According to Autoblog, it was the Audi of America president who called the Volt a car for idiots.

        In Germany, where diesel costs more than $6 per gallon (correct me if I'm wrong, I did a quick google search), the story could be a whole lot different.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Haha... ok at this point you guys are bating these HFCV versus EV debates because they generate a lot of comments. I think we can put it to bed for the moment.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fair enough, you make a valid observation...
        Just feels like that whole hydrogen debate has been beaten to death in the past couple weeks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Reading the news or reading the thread on TMC? :-p
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sure, I like to see people make their case in the comments. But this topic is also something that really stuck out at me while I was reading all the news today, and thought it was worth bringing up. I'm not forcing anyone to comment, that's for sure.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is anyone considering the cost and fuel and waste it takes to produce these batteries? I think we have gotten so far away from the "Wheel" that works and we are always trying to re-invent it. The current platform really needs to be retuned and tweaked. We design, research and develop systems for vehicles . We focus on the Commercial fleet sector and enable people to save money in increasing up to 50% in MPG. We see a growing trend of hydrogen cars that run only on hydrogen. We design a system that uses the existing drivetrain and motor, we upgrade the system to run on bi-fuel platform. We would be willing to share our research data with anyone interested... please visit us if you need help with this technology, http://www.thehydrogentoystore.com and do not forget to consider keeping the existing system and upgrading the system instead of scrapping . NASA has been using hydrogen technology since the 1970's and we have the knowledge to make use of electrolysis usning pure water. Once you hae a hydrogen only vehicle there is no way to return back to the original fuel system! With a bi-fuel system you can have so much more options. Please contact us if you need help with this knowledge , remember we are here to help anyone grow thier knowlege. written by Agent Smith.
        • 5 Years Ago
        We are working on an EPA approval at this time, are aresearch adn development ccompany. We want to help anyone with information on this technology. People must realize that the current system needs to be upgraded not scrapped for a more complex way. Batteries makes sense as back up but not primary source. The Fossil fuels it takes to create the batteries, the energy, and the waste product is worse. The ICE or internal combustion engine should be redesigned for efficiency not power. But with a system like our hydrogen injection system we are only scratching the surface. I hope people realize the ICE engine design is only 20% efficient meaning the 80+ percent of the fuel dumped into the engine is dumped through to the catalytic converter. We need to change our way of how we have been taught. Thanks Friend .
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