• Jun 7th 2010 at 7:02PM
  • 56
The city of London hopes to have a fleet of zero emission fuel cell-powered taxicabs in service in time for the 2012 summer Olympic games. The first prototype, built by Lotus Engineering with a consortium of other companies, was unveiled yesterday at the city hall.

The classic black TX4 cab is outfitted with a fuel cell electric powertrain that has a range of 250 miles and top speed of 50 miles per hour. The hydrogen tank can be refilled in just five minutes but a network of hydrogen filling stations will have to be put in place to make a fleet useful in 2012. So far, the project has been funded with £5.5 million from the Technology Strategy Board but more cash will be needed to complete the original goal of an emission-free taxi fleet.

[Source: Autocar]


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  • 56 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 8 Months Ago
      File it under who the hell cares about this stupid, dead end technology. The only thing that's keeping it going is the oil companies (with their huge lobbys) will be the hydrogen suppliers. If you think that hydrogen is going to be cheap, just do a little research on how it's refined, and how much it is going to cost to produce the necessary infrastructure
      • 8 Months Ago
      Time to do some cutting of the budget Britain. Must cut back on infrastructure. Gonna cutcha H2! Gonna, cutcha!

      The Germans think they are going to build a H2 infrastructure, not after they end up bailing out every bankrupt country that uses the euro as currency. Gonna, cutcha! Chop!

      EV's, the simplest most efficient, shortest way to have the largest impact on oil dependency. EV's=No Chop Zone.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Kudos to Lotus Engineering, Intelligent Energy, and all the others involved in this project. Starting with smaller fleets make adoption easier; this is as true for FCVs and their infrastructure as it is for BEVs and charging stations.

      The Guardian had an interesting quote, since this is bound to turn into another mega-comment post:

      "The first few hydrogen taxis, which were funded in part by the government's Technology Strategy Board, have already been built at the Lotus headquarters in Norfolk.

      "Intelligent Energy, leading the consortium for the new hydrogen taxi, has designed and built the fuel cell, which uses hydrogen to make electricity. Lotus is responsible for integrating the fuel cell into the body of the taxi – in their design, pressurised hydrogen is stored in a tank where the internal combustion engine of a standard cab would be. The fuel cell produces electricity and feeds it to a battery pack under the floor of the taxi's passenger area. The batteries then drive motors in the wheels.

      "To do that with a purely battery-electric vehicle, you would have to take up most of the space at the back with batteries, where the passengers are, or certainly you would constrict that space substantially," said Winand. "And you'd probably have to stop halfway through the day to plug in somewhere."

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/22/hydrogen-taxi-cabs-london-2012-olympics

      There. Suitably riled up, anti-FCV readers?

      (LOL)
        • 8 Months Ago
        Thanks for the great article link.

        I agree, the taxi could be used as a pure BEV, if you only wanted 80 miles or so of range.

        Thankfully, the FC ups that to over 250 miles, without adding too much extra mass - or requiring an unreasonable amount of time to recharge. Likewise, there will be plenty of heat to keep customers nice and toasty on those balmy London nights...

        Regarding the H2 tank, I have some disagreement. Generally, one tank is preferred because it simplifies the connections as well as the safety venting. In the case of the taxi, since they are only at 5,000psi, if they were to move to 10,000 psi tanks, they could get quite a bit more range than any battery could currently deliver.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Here's a PDF with some info on the taxi project:

        http://www.climate-change-solutions.co.uk/pictures/content484/4-3_dennis_hayter_-_presentation_session_4_hayter.pdf

        The photos of the 30kW stack next to a person give you an idea of how small FC stacks really can be... It's also clear that this will be a plug-in hybrid with a FC RE.

        They do make a nice prediction that by 2015 they will be producing ~22,000 vehicles! :)

        I will amend my earlier post, because I don't really know at what pressure they are storing their H2, so I must retract that comment about range until I can confirm their tank specs.
        • 8 Months Ago
        The fuel cell maker in that article is exaggerating a bit on their own fuel cells.

        This story has a lot more technical details:
        The fuel cell is a very weak fuel cell at 30kW (most are 80kW+ for passenger vehicles)
        The main power is provided by a 14kWh battery pack, so this is really more of a EREV (akin to the Volt except with a hydrogen range extender).
        http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/06/fctaxi-20100607.html

        It already has almost the battery capacity of a iMIEV or Volt (16kWh), so take out the hydrogen tanks and the fuel cell and it is already a full BEV, that will take up LESS space to package. You can look at the packaging and see there are lots of places to package additional batteries without the fuel cell stage and the tank. Just depends on how you package it (if it was a BEV design the motor/charger/PEM would likely be moved to the front for better regen, which would free up the back section for a lot more batteries, you could also put batteries where the tank and fuel cell currently is).
        http://bioage.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c4fbe53ef0133f03ef27d970b-popup
        http://bioage.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c4fbe53ef0133f03f0372970b-popup

        And that tank isn't exactly small, they just got lucky it still fit at a 45 degree angle in the engine compartment. In the Focus FCV, the same tank holding 4kg of hydrogen @ 5000psi took up the whole trunk. In general, the hydrogen is hard to package with a single tank. The most efficient way is to have multiple tanks in a row, under the floor, but usually only SUVs have enough space under the floor for that (which is why you see so many hydrogen fuel cell SUVs).
        • 8 Months Ago
        Great links guys. I really like this design. And taxicabs make sense for hydrogen since the cab company can build and control it's own infrastructure (although this project is gov't funded).

        Battery swapping cabs like those demonstrated in Tokyo are also another choice.

        --------------------

        "They do make a nice prediction that by 2015 they will be producing ~22,000 vehicles! :)"

        What is with that year 2015?? Is that the year on the Mayan calendar that says the world shall be engulfed in a sea of hydrogen?

        j/k :P
      • 8 Months Ago
      The reason that taxis are chosen is that it is the obvious next step after the successful application of fuel cell technology for fork-lift trucks, where higher initial costs are often made up for by the savings in not having spare batteries on charge, the labour time involved in swaps etc.
      It is absurd to regard the £5.5 million as the cost for x number of taxis, it is the cost to demonstrate and explore the technology.
      Any infrastructure needs will be limited, as taxis usually refuel at their base, so a limited number of pumps will be fine.

      Some may prefer their back-of the envelope calculations to determine forever and in all locations and for all purposes that their pet technology is the only answer, others prefer to get as much actual real-world data as possible!

      Perhaps BEVs will prove the better solution. This is how you accumulate the data to find out, at a comparatively trivial cost.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Some may prefer to ignore the fact that fuel cells have been soaking up our tax dollars (billions so far) with nothing to show for it.

        Battery Electric Vehicles have been denied the lion's share of funding until this year and yet it is the BEV that will be selling in large quantities this year.

        The core issues:
        Hydrogen/Fuel Cells = wasted billions of our money yet is producing not one single solitary vehicle that you can purchase and will lock you in to the oil companies yet again with their tightly controlled hydrogen supply. Plus: promised deadlines for commercialization sail by without a further mention or explanation as to why they produce nothing; now we are told 2015 is going to be the year and that is the 4th deadline so far - are they going to make this one? The same 5 technologies have been stopping fuel cell vehicles from day one and none of them are solved yet. Hydrogen generation, storage, transportation/distribution, fuel cells expense, inefficiencies in the fuel cell system inside the vehicle, and the very real probability of contamination of the fuel cell that needs to be ultra-pure to work, all these need a near miracle to become competitively priced. None of these have been solved yet, after 15 years of working on this!

        Electric Vehicles = has taken very little of our tax dollars yet is poised to expand into the marketplace rapidly and gives you the freedom to get your "fuel" (electrons) from ANY source and from many times the locations - grocery stores, fast food places, parks/zoos/amusement parks, malls and other shopping centers, etc., as well as the traditional fueling station model. Plus: They'll be on the market this year and will steadily improve over time (as all new products do once consumers start embracing them) and look to 2015 as the 3rd generation of electric vehicles and advanced batteries.
        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
        I love how the fuel cell fanboys say we should fund both BEVs and H2 infrastructure and "let the market decide." That sounds good on its face but when you have the richest corporations on the face of the planet firmly in control of the hydrogen supply you're going to have the same problem you have with gasoline today. There will never be a level playing field because the oil companies have been receiving $$$ BILLIONS $$$ each and every year from us tax payers while the electric car companies have been receiving ZERO until this year. Point #2, wasteful spending needs to be stopped, no matter how many dollars have been poured down a bottomless pit (hydrogen/fuel cells). It is time to end the waste of our tax dollars, not double down and spend billions more.

        Get your hydrogen fuel cell hands out of my wallet. This article clearly shows that the fuel cell and hydrogen lobby wants more and more tax dollars. The oil companies will profit fantastically while we (tax payers) pay the cost to get it all going. I will never buy a fuel cell vehicle. I don't care if they're practically giving them away. I will buy an electric vehicle so I can have freedom from the oil companies and can have a real shot at driving with zero emissions (I have switched my electric plan to 100% renewable energy and will be using that to plug-in my BEV). Hydrogen will always be wasteful; it takes 3 to 5 times more energy to make, store, transport, store again, pump, and use hydrogen in your vehicle than it would take to just use the same resources to make electricity and use it in an electric vehicle or burn the natural gas directly in an ICE engine. Hydrogen is a red herring and will do nothing to free us from foreign oil dominance.
        • 8 Months Ago
        And even avenues of failure can lead to progress down different avenues.... just takes a lot more time.

        The tokamak or Magnetically Confined Fusion (MCF) reactors do provide great insight into the reaction. And ITER in France will produce a more energy out than put in (net output +). But commercially viable? Well, no.

        But so far, it has been a steady stream of funding, as well as a predictable stream of progress. Unlike Bussards Polywell design... which would be perfect.. but progress is stifled.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Good find David..

        http://www.purdue.edu/dp/echi/Presentations/General%20Atomics.pdf
        page 10

        Methane is best at 25% hydrogen by weight. But Ammonia Borane is solid, so it is easily transportable and no need for compression. Methanol is 12.5% btw.

        So far they have a 40 watt system.

        Just like the DMFC design, the higher the density... the longer it takes for a PEM fuel cell to extract it.... which is why MFCs are usually below 200 watts. And this ABFC system is only being marketed to video camera equipment and soldiers. It is low wattage.

        Scaling up to a vehicle (which needs 15 Kilowatts minimum for just small range extender, and 100 Kilowatts for a full FCV) might be possible... but the size (not the weight) would be too big to fit in a car.

        -------------

        Good news for space, portable electronics, and the Army... not suitable for FCVs.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Not just testing, but actual fleet use, like buses, taxis, delivery vans. I don't think anyone is against that, and many of us BEV advocates argue, infrastructure constrained technologies like hydrogen and battery swapping is a much better fit for those kinds of driving.

        However, when I see only fleet testing for passenger vehicles (for years) and no actual sales, I can't help but doubt the viability of the technology and if automakers are just buying time and trying to delay actually getting alternatives into the market.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Biofuel from city sewage is another way to do things:
        http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5AT00V20091130

        Fuel cells would seem to me well adapted to taxi use, but for buses as they have regular routes and stops I would have thought the lithium titanate battery would do superbly - just fast charge at some stops.

        I don't have much faith in the Better Place swap system, but it is having a huge trial in Denmark, Israel and France, so we will find out if swapping works, and if so, how well.

        It seems we have small infinity of solutions, buy they are being tested all over the place, which should provide good data.
        I don't expect much clarity regarding optimal solutions to be reached for 15 years or so at least.
        I have just come across two more hydrogen storage techniques I knew nothing about, ammonia borane, which can store up to ~20% by weight, and hydrogenated polysilane.
        Neither will come into wide use anytime soon, but they could be disruptive technologies.

        The performance of the lithium titanate batteries shocked me though, if only they can be made cheaply.

        These are changing times, and all the outcomes are doubtful.
        • 8 Months Ago
        The technology seems to have been developed under the DOE program looking to provide power for hydrogen vehicles, so perhaps if it is impossible the folk who came up with it do not realize it! ;-)
        http://www.physorg.com/news171032759.html

        'The research team currently is working with colleagues at The Dow Chemical Company, another Center partner, to improve overall chemical efficiencies and move toward large-scale implementation of hydrogen-based fuels within the transportation sector. '

        It is perfectly normal to start with low power applications, and if fundamental limits meant it could not be scaled these guys would surely know all about it.

        Hydrogenated Polysilene is also interesting:
        'Hydrogen storage is a key element in the transition from a fossil to a hydrogen fuel economy. For the hydrogen economy to become a reality, we need to find a way to store, transport and distribute it in an economical and technically reasonable fashion. Today’s economy is based on petroleum shipped or sometimes pumped via a pipeline from source to distilleries and then distributed and moved around by trucks to storage facilities or retail sales facilities.'

        And:
        'Silicon dioxide is reacted with hydrogen fluoride to produce silicon tetrafluoride (SiF4) in a conventional wet chemical process. Silicon tetrafluoride can also be found as a by-product of the fertilizer industry. The SiF4 is subsequently polymerized by partial reduction with hydrogen in the plasma process.

        Relative to other comparable metal hydrides, HPS has a very high hydrogen release capacity of up to 20 per cent weight. What this means to the hydrogen economy is that we have found a way to store hydrogen in a stable manner and for long periods of time without the need to pressurize or liquefy. This reduces the cost of storing this fuel.

        The sand can be converted to a solid hydrogen carrier compound using solar power or other renewable energy sources and then the hydrogen is extracted to generate clean electricity. '

        http://www.powergenworldwide.com/index/display/articledisplay/370861/articles/power-engineering-international/volume-17/issue-11/features/the-hydrogen-economy-turning-potential-into-energy.html
        • 8 Months Ago
        Thanks for the links David

        I would be very careful about Physorg though.. they are like the ABG of the physics world. They just rehash and put their own interpretations into their articles. Not faulting them... just saying it would be better to skip what they have to say and go straight to the source document.

        http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122453478/PDFSTART?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

        Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
        Angewandte Chemie

        - "For example, the DOE recently decided to no longer pursue the use of NaBH4 as a H2 storage material, in part because of inefficient regeneration. We thus endeavored to find an energy-efficient regeneration process for the spent fuel from H2-depleted AB."

        I also would not assume that just because a particular H2 storage material is still being researched for transportation use... that it is still viable.

        Angewandte Chemie and Dow Chemical are only working under DOE guildlines... not officially a DOE program. This just means that the DOE says it wants a storage material that meets their criteria for transportation. And these companies research materials until they find something.

        With all the money tied up in Hydrogen for Transportation... Researchers will happily go down hundreds of dead ends just on the slim chance of finding something. Because scoring the big gov't contract is worth it all that money spent.

        The companies that can make the Hydrogen Economy a reality will be the next oil sheiks. So their "interests" are nothing to get excited about.

        Right now, compression is the only viable means for automotive H2 storage. Sure, one day, solid H2 storage may have a fast enough regeneration process... but those future hydrogen technologies will have to compete with future battery technologies... such as Lithium-air and googlecapacitors.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Thanks for the links, Joe. I don't make any assumptions about success based on early trials for any technology, but tend to be a bit more optimistic when there are a number of different approaches any of which might pan out, for instance although I would not bet the house on any of them individually I am reasonably confident that solar pv will continue to progress due to the huge variety of ways forward which are being tried.
        In the case of hydrogen storage it is clear that compression can do the job for most purposes, so we are not talking about an enabling technology, just stuff which would be nice.
        Your point about researchers being perfectly willing to pursue any avenue that they can get funding for even if they know it has no chance of working is absolutely true.
        Two examples are nuclear reactors in aircraft, which enabled progress on molten salt reactors even though the researchers were completely aware that only a politician could believe in the concept, and the whole tokamac approach to fusion, where Bussard, for instance, after he left admitted that those involved knew full well that it would not work, at least commercially.
        • 8 Months Ago
        ""Some may prefer their back-of the envelope calculations to determine forever and in all locations and for all purposes that their pet technology is the only answer, others prefer to get as much actual real-world data as possible!""

        - I hope you don't include me into that statement. Although I use excel instead of an envelope... but I have said before many times that FCVs may work well for Taxicabs and other commercial applications where infrastructure is all done "in-house".

        They can reform their own Methane and compress and pump their own H2. They do have some competition though.

        NGVs (cheaper cars to buy and to fuel).
        BEVs with battery swap (Expensive car to buy, dirt cheap to fuel, but swap station needed)
        compared to:
        FCVs (VERY Expensive car to buy, medium cost to fuel, but reformer station needed)

        If expense is their only concern... the NGVs are probably the best thing for them... But as CO2 emissions get taxed higher and higher... who knows.

        Tokyo vs. London!!!
      • 8 Months Ago
      And BTW. Who needs a hydrogen car that has a range of 250 miles @ 50 mpg when a LiFePO4 powered car can have the same range at twice the speed. I know it because I have built one with my own hans for "just a little less" that this 5 mill.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Is there a car with this technology driving around right now? What? No?
      • 8 Months Ago
      What is more wasteful - Olympics or Fuel Cells ?
        • 8 Months Ago
        The Olympics, obviously.

        It would be a lot more efficient if instead of flying athletes around the world to burn calories from food, if they were to all stay home and compete virtually. I'm not going as far as to say they should use Nintendo Wii Olympics or something, but why can't they just time themselves running around their living rooms and just call in the results? The person with the fastest time will still get the gold medal, and they can just print out the certificate on their home computer!


        (LOL)
      • 5 Years Ago
      "So far, the project has been funded with £5.5 million from the Technology Strategy Board but MORE CASH WILL BE NEEDED to complete the original goal of an emission-free taxi fleet." [emphasis mine]

      Congratulations to the hydrogen lobby in the UK. Another successful money grab. And I notice that they expect the UK government to pay for the refueling infrastructure. Nice work if you can get it. One taxi and it only cost 5.5 million Pounds! That's $7.97 million US. Wow, what a bargain, only 8 million dollars for one taxi cab.

      Hopefully the US government will not be so gullible. These fuel cell thieves want everyone else to pay for their research, their factories, their infrastructure. Then who will be raking in the profits? Why, the oil companies of course! What a racket.
        • 8 Months Ago
        The $7500 tax credit for EVs ends next year.

        Hydrogen has been soaking up our tax dollars for 15 years. Batteries have only received funding in the last couple of years.

        Tax dollar subsidies for battery factories and EVs will expire in 3 years or so.

        Look into the history of fuel cells and you will see that they are nothing but a smoke screen that was used to kill the electric car. They are nowhere near ready to sell fuel cell vehicles at competitive prices. And they want tax dollars to build out the infrastructure. Nissan is partnering with corporations, apartment complexes and governments to build out the EV charging infrastructure.

        Comparing facts to facts hydrogen is a tax dollar bottomless pit. EVs will be self sufficient in 3 years.

        And you the cost to build the H2 infrastructure is easily 100 times what it would take to build out a nationwide EV charging infrastructure - especially now that Nissan has raised the bar for Level 3 chargers.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Do you really think that all of the subsidies for EVs will stop? How about the news in this article about new programs to be put into place:
        http://detnews.com/article/20100528/AUTO01/5280349/Electric-car-tax-break-proposed
        Subsidies for EVs will likely be in place for a while, and that is a good thing.

        I work for eTec, Nissan's main infrastructure partner, and our company received $100M from the government for installing that EV charging infrastructure, and we weren't the only ones who got government money for EV charging infrastructure. So that is a government subsidy, contrary to your erroneous assertion. Further, I think you are ignoring the massive amount of other money that the government has put into EV technology through the Recover Act and other programs.

        Despite your repeating the conclusions from the movie, FCVs did not "kill' the EV. EV proponents have taken this belief as their mantra, and it colors their views against FCVs and blinds them to the possibility that EVs are great for city cars but won't be practical for long-haul trucks, highway cars, and anybody that needs a lot of energy storage. Hydrogen tanks have a specific energy some 15X greater and an energy density some 4X greater than batteries. But batteries are better at handling transients than fuel cells, and regenerative braking is impossible with batteries (or ultracaps, etc.) So the two are complementary technologies and not competing. I really wish that EV proponents would accept this and stop all of the hating.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Notice that I mentioned both energy density (Wh/l) and specific energy (Wh/kg), so I am not just talking weight, I am talking volume as well.

        No doubt that there will be other technologies that will vie for the areas of transportation where FCHVs are superior to straight EVs. I am completely in favour of this. What I was trying to point out is that we don't know which technology will be the best, and the EV proponents who only want to hear about EVs and vehemently criticize every single article about FCHVs on this site (you know who you are!) should realize that it's not necessarily a zero-sum game--the government putting money and resources towards advanced propulsion technologies is a good thing that we should all get behind. This friendly fire towards people with similar goals but a different point of view is surely counterproductive.

        As for whether natural gas should just be used in an NGV instead of a FCHV, let me say a) as the grid becomes cleaner, electrolysis will be cleaner as well, b) H2 can be a very valuable storage medium for renewables, and c) fuel cells are much more efficient than ICEs. If we put a price on GHG emissions, then the cost advantage of NGVs would go away as well. I agree that companies go for what helps their bottom line--that is exactly why we need to internalize those externalities to reflect the true costs of combustion of fossil fuels. The end goal must be zero-emission vehicles. EVs qualify, but don't satisfy all different transportation applications; FCHVs might just fill in the gaps.
        • 8 Months Ago
        You realize, of course, that battery technology is also getting massive amounts of funding from governments around the world, including the U.S. I don't hear you complaining (and I am not either). The tax credits that will lop off $7,500 from both the Volt and the Leaf are another example of how it's not just fuel cell technology that requires public money to compete.

        LTAW is correct that the best strategy is to fund a range of options to see what shakes out in the future. The question of why not burn natural gas in an ICE can be posed for BEVs--why not burn the natural gas in an ICE instead of in a powerplant to produce electricity? The answer to both is that as the grid gets cleaner, and more renewable energy sources are used, both BEVs and fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHVs) will become closer and closer to zero-emission vehicles.

        The BEV proponents on this site (I am also one, but I am not exclusively one like most) don't seem to want to accept that unless there is a revolutionary increase in specific energy and energy density, BEVs will not cut it for anybody who travels long distances (I am not convinced that Better Place's business strategy is sound). The reason to put the fuel cell in instead of an ICE is to reduce emissions--and that is everybody's goal here, right?

        So let's all applaud any time governments are funding advanced propulsion technologies, and not succumb to the penchant for friendly fire that seems so prevalent on this site.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @jeff

        You have a very objective insight.

        Quick note:

        0.01079 MJ/Liter for hydrogen and about 1.98 MJ/Liter for a Lithium-Manganese battery
        My point was only to note that hydrogen MUST be compressed before it has a useful Volumetric density... otherwise it cannot even be put into a FCV. And that since it must be compressed, another loss of energy must be accounted for.

        H2 does become a much denser form of energy carrier... but it becomes less efficient at it.

        ---------------

        - "EV proponents who only want to hear about EVs and vehemently criticize every single article about FCHVs on this site "

        Allow me to defend the BEV advocates.

        95% of BEV advocates currently drive only passenger vehicles. They (and I) believe that FCVs are not well suited for the market segment that we are familiar with... the light-duty market segment.

        For the truck drivers out there (heavy-duty work trucks and commercial trucking, not guys who have empty pickup truck beds 99% of the time).... they know that a BEV could never have the range that they need. Even with substantial charging infrastructure. So their next choice would have to be FCVs and NGVs.... depending on the price of carbon emissions.

        Buses, taxis and other similar commercial ventures are prime markets for FCVs. And I look forward to seeing success in those markets. One of the primary reasons commercial markets can support FCVs is because the infrastructure would not need to be gov't funded. Companies can build their reformers and H2 stations "in-house" and for their use only. Saving money.

        We feel that hydrogen should not be pushed with our tax money. And I think that is a major sore point with BEV advocates. They see a LOT of gov't money being thrown at light-duty hydrogen hype. To build H2 stations, to fund test programs, etc. Much more money than BEV interest groups get.

        It would not be such a issue if they didn't want to get passenger cars hooked on H2. It will be a venture run by the same oil companies that feed us our gasoline addiction.


        -------------------

        Bottom line.... HFCVs DO indeed have a place. But it is the 30% portion of transportation (heavy-duty/commercial markets)... and not the 70% personal transportation (light-duty fleet).

        And since commentators on this blog are made up primarily by regular "light-duty" drivers. They do not express any regard for FCVs.

        We shall see them on the road (hopefully)... but NOT in our driveways.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Jeff, you obviously haven't looked into the past 15 years of tax dollars going to the hydrogen effort. During these 15 years of soaking up our tax dollars the hydrogen and fuel cell camp has produced NOTHING. No products for sale to the public at any price, let alone competitive with ICE or NG/CNG. I believe in holding people to their promises. Hydrogen and fuel cells have failed to produce and have blown through 4 different deadlines for mass production already. There has been no explanation and no demand from the politicians that supported them for answers. I'm not surprised at this of course. Now the fuel cell hucksters claim that they will have a product ready for sale in 2015. That'll be 20 years after they started receiving our tax dollars. I'm not that generous. I do not want my tax dollars being dumped down a rat hole year after year.

        Funding for electric vehicle and battery factories only began in earnest with the 2010 budget since "W" did the 2009 budget allocations. The stimulus money has been given to batteries and electric vehicles more so than fuel cells. That is just fine with me. BEVs will no longer need any government assistance within 3 to 5 years. After that they will be totally self-sufficient and will be directly competitive with ICE on their own.

        I'll take a 5 year subsidy over a 20 year (hopefully that will be all it is). And oh by the way, the hydrogen supporters want billions upon billions more from the government to build out the hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Then the oil companies will be making all the profits off of it. I'm not that generous that I want my tax dollars going to pay for all the expenses, take all the risks, yet all the profits are going to go to oil companies.

        Instead of me taking my time to fill in the gaps in your knowledge, why don't you read the previous articles on this site regarding fuel cells and hydrogen. And learn how to google. You may be an intelligent person but your lack of knowledge of the subject you are supporting doesn't make your points correct.

        Just based on a contract basis, money spent by the government without any promised deadlines being met, hydrogen is a failed technology. If it was a new kind of airplane or tank it would have been canceled long ago. How many times can you fail at what you promise to do and still keep soaking up my tax dollars? I say it's high time for the companies who want hydrogen to start paying all the costs to make them and build the infrastructure.

        You want fuel cell vehicles? You want the hydrogen fueling stations? You pay for it. Do not use even one thin dime of my tax dollars just so some big corporation can soak up all the profits later on down the line. If the oil companies really want hydrogen fueling stations then they should pay for them. 100%. You pay for it? You are entitled to all the profits.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Everybody has heard the "hydrogen has the best energy density" story a hundred times. And that is only by weight not volume. Which means it is needs compression, which is yet another loss of efficiency.

        --------------

        For long-haul commercial vehicles... I agree. FCVs have real potential. It is a different market from the light-duty fleet. But BEVs will not even try to compete there.

        However, CNG, LPG, and PHEVs will compete in that market. HFCVs have a big setback, a very expensive infrastructure requirement. With commercial trucking, buses, or taxicabs, this can be mitigated by having the fueling infrastructure in-house.

        So HFCVs can compete with NGVs. But since H2 is cheapest when reformed from Natural Gas (SMR), it will always be cheapest to simply use the Natural gas in a NGV or maybe a DMFC (direct methanol fuel cell).

        HFCVs may be the cleaner option, but companies are more interested in the cheapest option.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Hmmm, are they going to build more hydrogen stations, central london land is expensive
      • 8 Months Ago
      How did "the prototype is capable of a top speed of 80mph" at Autocar become "top speed of 50 miles per hour" here?
      • 5 Years Ago
      5,5 million pounds foundings for THIS?!?!? Man I should move to the UK or US. You guys get fundings for all kinds of junk... NHF
        • 8 Months Ago
        And how much money has been dumped into companies like Tesla?
        • 8 Months Ago
        Tesla has "loans"... not bailouts or research grants that never need to be paid back. Huge difference. And it is still much less than hydrogen gets.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Judging by how much got cut for plug-in incentives in the UK, I wouldn't be surprised if this got cut or if additional funds would be put on hold. I think putting the funding into the buses make more sense than taxis. You need about 2x the fuel cells (maybe less in some cases) for the buses, but you can carry a lot more than 2x the people in a bus.
        • 8 Months Ago
        AFAIK there is discussion as to whether the incentives will survive, but no actual cuts as yet.
      • 8 Months Ago
      OK this group has its FCV taxi. VW has its Milan prototype BEV taxi. Lets put both of them up against each other head to head in the same city and see how they do.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Better Place has already began a test fleet of BEV taxicabs in Tokyo using batter swap.
        • 8 Months Ago
        That is how you determine real-world performance, by testing different configurations.
        They don't need to be in the same city to generate comparable data.
        That is why people run tests and prototypes, as the cost of a few million is trivial compared to the costs of getting it wrong and deploying the wrong technology for that purpose
        • 8 Months Ago
        David.... epic agree (as they say).

        I don't mind testing and R&D.... just don't touch tax dollars to "pick winners". And, I apologize now for turning again to political motivations....

        There is just a lot at stake for the future of automobiles. And Oil companies have had a monopoly for too long, and have too much money and political influence for them to be ignored.

        They killed progress that was made in the 90's with CARB (yes, there were other reasons for the death of the EV-1).... but Oil companies have million dollar lobbyists whispering into the ears of politicians. And although the "testing" might show that FCVs are not as good as advertised and that BEVs are... FCVs could still win because the politicians and corporations can simply throw more money around.

        I just want "fair" testing. Both sides have political will and gov't money being spent... but just like political parties, it is not always the best man/woman who wins... but who has the richest friends.

        And so, I advocate campaign finance reform. Both sides are given equal money to "campaign" for public acceptance.
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