• Jan 2nd 2011 at 8:39AM
  • 49
General Motors has selected the U.S. Navy to be among the first customers to take delivery – under the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative (H2I) – of its Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell SUV. The H2I program aims to promote hydrogen-fueled vehicles as one of the island's mainstream transportation options and seeks to create a sustainable energy ecosystem in the Aloha State. The H2I plan calls for 25 hydrogen stations to be installed in strategic locations on O'ahu by 2015, making the fuel easily accessible to all of its 900,000 or so residents.

Back on December 8th, General Motors and The Gas Company announced that ten additional organizations joined the H2I, including: the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT); U.S. Department of Energy; FuelCell Energy; Aloha Petroleum Ltd; Louis Berger Group; U.S. Pacific Command, supported by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Army Pacific, and U.S. Marine Forces, Pacific; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the County of Hawaii; University of California – Irvine, and the University of Hawaii.

[Source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE

Navy Takes Delivery of GM Fuel Cell Vehicle


HONOLULU – The U.S. Navy is among the first customers to take delivery of a GM fuel cell vehicle as part of the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative, which aims to integrate hydrogen as an essential building block for a sustainable energy ecosystem in the Aloha State.

General Motors and 11 partner companies, agencies and universities announced a commitment Dec. 8 to make hydrogen-powered vehicles and a fueling infrastructure a reality in Hawaii by 2015. The H2I goal is to install up to 25 hydrogen stations in strategic locations around Oahu, putting the fuel within reach of all 1 million residents.

About General Motors – General Motors Company (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM), one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 209,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in more than 120 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall, and Wuling. GM's largest national market is China, followed by the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Russia. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The military typically thinks a little farther ahead compared to your average consumer when choosing a technology to implement.

      FCVs (and hydrogen fuel cells generally) have qualities that make them more reliable in extreme conditions and grid-independent locations.

      I've pointed out before, the biggest use of hydrogen fuel cells for for the Navy won't be ground support vehicles; unmanned submersibles and APUs for manned craft are likely early applications. A similar use is likely in the AF - unmanned drones and APUs for larger aircraft.

      Of course, since they'll have the hydrogen infrastructure, giving ground crews familiarity with HFCV vehicles is a very good idea. Eventually, many of the support vehicles (especially on an aircraft carrier) would be ideal candidates for replacement with fuel cell powered equipment - similar to what we're seeing in the lift-truck industry here in the US with fleets being converted from battery power.

      Kudos to the Obama administration for allowing the military to support FCVs - especially in Obama's home state!
        • 4 Years Ago
        " Having EVs on board isn't that far fetched."

        I can go with that, but what happens when your submersible or landing craft is away from the ship? Batteries work well, but there are situations where range and running times are vital. Hydrogen fuel cells are ideal for those times.

        Fuel cells and batteries will both be a part of our future. Will battery zealots ever learn to deal with that? Batteries are not the singular answer to every situation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        John:
        A ship with EVs on board? Batteries are a storage system not an energy source. When those EVs go their 80 miles and run out, how are you going to charge them in the field? You're going to have to carry a fuel with you.

        Blown tranny:
        I think those go hand in hand. Yes, the military (militaries in general) do often throw money away by trying out these forward looking ideas. Sometimes the project turns out to be a huge boon like the jet engine, GPS or the internet and often it turns out to be a money pit instead.

        Boeing announced and retracted fuel-cell APUs for the 787 already, and the natural gas-fired bloombox exist, so I think there are plans to make fuel-cells that use other than hydrogen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Regardless hydrogen has no military field advantage over regular ol' gas, diesel, or even bio-diesel."

        1. Hydrogen can be made on-board ship; gas and diesel must be carried in storage and when supplies are out they cannot be self-replenished. Hydrogen is a renewable energy carrier.

        2. Hydrogen fuel cells have a much lower heat and sound signature than any ICE.

        3. Hydrogen fuel cells create pure drinking water as a by-product.

        Just a few advantages. I'm sure the clever military fellows have already thought up other areas where they'd rather use FCVs (like the unmanned subs and drones).
        • 4 Years Ago
        "The military typically thinks a little farther ahead compared to your average consumer when choosing a technology to implement."

        Actually the military has a long history of wasting billions of dollars on projects that are eventually abandoned because they are unneeded, impractical, unworkable.


        • 4 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?
        "You're going to have to carry a fuel"
        Typically they already do and convert that fuel (usually diesel or nuclear) to electricity. With the Navy working on railguns and electromagnetic launchers, it is likely ships will have increasingly larger power supplies. Having EVs on board isn't that far fetched.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Polo:
        'Regardless hydrogen has no military field advantage over regular ol' gas, diesel, or even bio-diesel. '

        Hydrogen either carried as such or reformed on board and used in a PEM fuel cell has a much lower heat signature than an ICE engine, so a fc battle tank would be 'stealth' for infra-red heat seeking missiles, which is one of the main reasons why the military is so interested, the other big advantage being that hydrogen can often be produced in theatre simplifying the logistics chain throughout.
        Perhaps you should have phrased your comment that you were not aware of the advantages that hydrogen has for military purposes, as there are scads of studies outlining them.
        Since you obviously have not looked at any of the freely available data, it might be more prudent to suspend judgement rather than pronouncing!:-) (I do that all the time! ;-))
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        No kudos to promoting a dead end technology for personal transportation, which is what the GM vehicles are. Any ship would be much safer with battery powered vehicles on board as opposed to highly explosive hydrogen. Grid independent locations aren't likely to have a convenient supply of hydrogen either. The military doesn't have the constraints of cost and practicality that the average consumer has to deal with, I don't call that forward thinking.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I can go with that, but what happens when your submersible or landing craft is away from the ship? Batteries work well, but there are situations where range and running times are vital. Hydrogen fuel cells are ideal for those times. "

        Range and running time are factors of battery size, which is expandable. Regardless hydrogen has no military field advantage over regular ol' gas, diesel, or even bio-diesel.
      teechman531
      • 4 Years Ago
      Letstakeawalk. You make more sense than anyone in this vast wasteland. You had better be careful complementing Obama though. Most of these poor deluded simpletons can't handle it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      " BMW just added 2000 American jobs for 14.00 per hour while they are paying their own people in Germany 30.00 for the same job. They are outsourcing jobs to a third-world country: US!"

      This is disgusting, when will America start protecting american's jobs! The Europe does it, why can't America. Stop buying products that are built with this sort of labor.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gotta love those renegotiated union contracts that benefit no-one but the corporate heads, sagging down wages and benefits across the entire industry. Without the unions they would be starting at $10 an hour.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How is this "news" relevant to the topic of the article? And since the BMW plant is not UAW, what does this have to do with renegotiated union contracts? If you think about all the products made in china by US companies that americans are buying, and you consider the fact that the spartanburg plant has exported more than 1 million vehicles in 15 years, maybe you should turn your calls for y boycott somewhere else. Let american companies (or any other companies for that matter) build a plant in SC, right next to BMW, and start paying double wages, surely no one will be left working at the BMW plant. Until that happens, boycott will only mean that all those people working there will be left unemployed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yet another feel good technology that wastes more energy than it saves. The US has a multi trillion dollar budget deficit and we still think that we have money to waste. How many H2 cars will be running after the US declares bankruptcy?

      If anyone here wonders why federal, state and local taxes are so high it is because of wasted tax money and job killing regulations.
      • 4 Years Ago
      More evidence that the military needs some of the biggest cuts in government spending.
      bajohn3
      • 4 Years Ago
      Completely pointless waste of time. An island that can be completely covered on a single charge in an EV from completely renewable energy has no use for the complex, costly, inefficient hydrogen concept.
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        Fast charging has been proven, (Aerovironment), and you could do it with large storage banks charged slowly then dumping it directly into the EV pack. Most of the time you'd just do a moderately fast charge in half an hour or so. We don't know the actual duty cycle of the vehicles on Hawaii but I'd bet it's less than 100 miles a day, which means a LEAF could do it on a single charge, or double that with a lunchtime recharge.
        teechman531
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        Norway has self contained hydrogen stations that can be used to supply stations witout having to run fuel trucks. All you need is sunlight. I bet the military would love to not have fuel trucks getting attacked. I am sure that this technology would be of interest to the military. It seems like everyone is chomping at the bit to criticize an American car company while sucking on toyotas butt because they don't have the UAW while taking advantage of American workers. Why don't you people wake up and unite in your own self interests and stop drinking the Fox koolaid. BMW just added 2000 American jobs for 14.00 per hour while they are paying their own people in Germany 30.00 for the same job. They are outsourcing jobs to a third-world country: US!
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        "To me that smacks of a conclusion in search of a rationale, but at least lays bare the the foundations of your objection, which has very little to do with the various gripes about the trial you have floated. You would have been just as opposed if this were in Kansas as Hawaii, and whether it were military, civilian, or anything else, as you feel that fuel cell technology has taken funds and attention from your preferred alternative."

        The specifics of this island trial simply make it more ridiculous since a cheaper more efficient clean technology can do the job. If this were not taxpayer supported I would still think it wasteful but private companies can spend their money as they wish.

        "Perhaps the last word, alternative, provides the clue to what I feel is the weakness in your position, that batteries cannot possibly provide the energy density for some of the uses of fuel cells, and so they are not in fact in opposition to each other.
        They are deeply complementary technologies, with such a strong advocate of battery cars as Nissan in fact concentrating on developing simply 'electric vehicles', which is what has taken much of their investment, whilst remaining agnostic in the driver for the electrics, developing both fuel cells and batteries.
        It would not surprise me to see Nissan fielding a fuel cell vehicle in the same time-frame as Hyundai."

        It would surprise me since Nissan is heavily invested in battery technology. Fuel cells add cost and complexity to a simple electric vehicle and makes little sense for personal transportation. FCV's are in no way close to the cost basis of EV's. This of course is not just my personal opinion but the opinion of many people, including those involved in the research.

        "Honda are rapidly producing battery cars, as much of the development has been done as they worked on fuel cells."

        Honda is jumping on the bandwagon after wasting their time pursuing FCV's. Electric drive systems did not improve because of fuel cell research. EV1-ACP-Tesla drive system, best power to weight system in production, evolved independently of FC research. Nissan's system evolved independently of FC research, as did the motor in my car

        "So much of the money spend can not only achieve a very different technical objective to batteries, with far higher energy density leading to many uses that batteries can't cover, but as far as cars are concerned a lot of the development covers both impartially."

        Again, I see no battery advances that came from FC research. The only thing holding electric cars back were the batteries, not the drive systems. FC research took money and time away from battery research as the automakers kept making promises and delivered nothing practical.

        "You then for apparently quite arbitrary reasons say that everyone should give up on fuel cells, as they are behind batteries for car use at this particular time.
        That is precisely what anti-EV folk argued five years ago, and continue to argue, against battery cars vis-a-vis ICE.

        The argument is illegitimate in either case."

        Not the same thing at all. ICE was the established technology and EV's are the best existing alternative. FCV's are a poor existing alternative, and unless the physics of the entire chain are altered will likely remain so for a long period of time.

        "Relax, fuel cells haven't stolen your babe!
        There is not only room for both, we need both, and any spending on R & D is trivial compared to the cost of securing oil supply lines."

        They have prevented my "babe" from becoming all that she could be and slowed her development. She'll get there but we'd be better off if it happens sooner rather than later.
        Additionally, I don't know about you but I have no desire to trade the Shell gas station for the Shell hydrogen station.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        And as to quick recharging, it's not proven yet and it isn't feasible in the field or for many vehicles at once.

        To fill a single vehicle with a 20kWh pack in 3 minutes takes 400kW of power. This is same amount of power as the maximum draw of 20 normal houses (it's over 200x the typical draw). If you want to fill two vehicles at once, double it. Want to fill 10 at once? multiply by ten.

        To create this amount of energy is going to require very large generators. You also will have to generate it on site, you cannot count on this kind of power supply in the field. So you're going to have to burn fuel, like Diesel.

        Now, what if the vehicles just ran on Diesel? Then all you need is a fuel can. You can to fill a 5 gallon tank (we are talking about a short range vehicle here, 20kWh is only about double what a Volt has) in two minutes. If you want to fill two at once, all you need is two fuel cans. Want to fill ten? You just need ten fuel cans.

        Battery EVs do not make sense for the military. They don't make sense for commercial trucking right now either. Fuel cells may be the answer for these. Or maybe just fuel cell generators. Either way, the military looking into fuel cells makes sense. Even in vehicles. Even in Hawaii.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        To achieve refueling in minutes for hydrogen, you need buffer tanks. Without them, it takes about 20-30 minutes.

        This is talking about passenger vehicles and not combat vehicles, so all the talk about its use in combat isn't that useful. They will still be dependent on oil for any combat vehicles. This is mostly a PR stunt. GM did the same thing for the army with a fuel cell pickup which was never heard about again after the introduction.

        As for a solar supply, plug-ins take much better advantage of it if all of it can be captured, with 3-4x the efficiency. It comes down to storage (is it more effective to use electrolysis to make hydrogen for FCVs or to store the electricity in extra batteries if necessary).
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        Your ipod analogy is way off. A better comparison would be why would anyone buy an ipod if they can get the same functionality from a less expensive and more open source means, which of course they can if they don't buy into the Apple "mystique".

        "Co-development and research of FCVs and BEVs and PHEV has not "crippled" any of the programs. "

        You've got to be kidding. You don't think the billions of dollars spent on FCV's while battery research languished with much less funding had any influence on development at all? If the amount of money invested in a technology has no relationship to it's advancement you should have no problem stopping all funding for FCV research.

        Your ipod analogy is way off. A better comparison would be why would anyone buy an ipod if they can get the same functionality from a less expensive and more open source, which of course they can if they don't buy into the Apple "mystique".
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        'Fast charge means 5-10 minutes, not 30,'

        You'd have to be using lithium titanate then, as other battery technologies won't handle that fast a charge.
        It would take one heck of a charger too.

        'Hydrogen fueling times are not very fast, you need extreme pressures to fill high pressure tanks and as they get closer to full the pressure differential is less and it takes even longer. '

        Reply: 'Refueling time is 2.6 minutes, excluding handling time. The range of a hydrogen vehicle varies but can be up to 800 km (Toyota). So hydrogen enables an electric vehicle to have a similar range to a gasoline-powered vehicle and a similar refueling time. '

        http://www.greencarreports.com/blog/1052036_hydrogen-refueling-ramps-up-in-norway

        'All the conversion and reforming David describe takes time as well, I'm not sure it can happen on site quickly enough to keep up with wartime needs. Regardless, that is not the technology being explored with these GM passenger vehicles in this example.'

        I'm not completely confident it could be done either. That is a long way from your initial position that the whole thing is ridiculous and should not be attempted.
        I am also not completely confident that the armed forces could be adequately supplied with oil when it is short and expensive, so you look at alternatives to see what can be made to work, just as they are doing.

        As for the fuel cells in the GM not being identical to some potential configurations, new technologies do not spring full-formed from the brow of Zeus, but go through all sorts of intermediate stages, for instance the use of lithium cobalt batteries in laptops for years before their use in cars and transition to manganese spinel prismatic batteries.
        Many possible configurations would use a hydrogen fuel cell, but as a separate exercise it may have been provided by reforming either on-board or off-board.
        However the earlier use was vital for the full development.
        Volvo for one is working on on-board reformation.

        I've got no idea on what you base your statement that hydrogen is a greater explosion risk than petrol, as it is rather difficult to make explode as it evaporates upwards very rapidly.
        Perhaps you would cite the studies you are relying on for this.
        The forces are actually rather good at dealing with highly explosive materials - ammunition, for instance.

        'I don't suggest that EV's are the solution for all aspects of the military, or travel in general, but these passenger vehicles don't seem to be an appropriate use of hydrogen technology.'

        Fuel cell vehicles are pretty handy where you need to go a long way on one fill up, and hence need a high energy density source.
        For military use, for instance.

        'Hawaii would be better served skipping the inefficient hydrogen process and just use the electricity more efficiently to charge EV's.'

        When you manage to build a passenger plane to fly to LA from Hawaii using batteries, let me know! :-)
        Until then it seems eminently sensible for Hawaii to concern themselves with alternatives to oil for when it runs short

        I've pretty much gathered that you don't much fancy fuel cells for passenger vehicles in general use.
        Why you should feel that that has much relevance to using them in the military where both the usage of vehicles in the vary varied roles they undertake and where fuel costs at advanced locations are many times that in the continental USA eludes me.
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3

        Fast charge means 5-10 minutes, not 30, and for these passenger vehicles on base that's plenty. These aren't long range vehicles, they're trapped on an island after all. Hydrogen fueling times are not very fast, you need extreme pressures to fill high pressure tanks and as they get closer to full the pressure differential is less and it takes even longer. I doubt they'll be able to fill every vehicle at once with hydrogen. All the conversion and reforming David describe takes time as well, I'm not sure it can happen on site quickly enough to keep up with wartime needs. Regardless, that is not the technology being explored with these GM passenger vehicles in this example.
        Yes petroleum can burn, but enough on site hydrogen to refuel a large number of vehicles makes an incredible target that can create a massive explosion. Additionally every hydrogen vehicle becomes a much more potent bomb than a petroleum vehicle, (obviously an EV pretty much avoids this). I don't suggest that EV's are the solution for all aspects of the military, or travel in general, but these passenger vehicles don't seem to be an appropriate use of hydrogen technology. Hawaii would be better served skipping the inefficient hydrogen process and just use the electricity more efficiently to charge EV's.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        An island completely surrounded by thousands of miles of ocean, and completely dependent on tourism by air, the oil for which is 100% imported, has every reason to be looking very seriously at the use of hydrogen or it's derivatives for all sorts of uses, as oil gets too scarce or expensive to support it.
        This is especially true when you think that the hydrogen could be generated locally, some would argue by the use of technologies like ocean thermal, I would argue more simply and cheaply by the use of nuclear, but in any case Hawaii has to look beyond oil.

        I don't know what is so obscure about the idea of Hawaii acting as a test bed, particularly since it is introducing hydrogen into it's natural gas feed network, so they are in a strong position to pioneer all sorts of uses.

        As for the military, hydrogen, and again it's derivatives such as DME and methanol can be produced at forward bases, either by wind, solar or nuclear.
        Since oil by the time it has got there is many times as expensive in financial terms as it is in more peaceful locations, and also expensive in terms of lives to guard it's transport, it would be gross dereliction of duty if the military were not looking at it.
        As for the alleged problems due to hydrogen exploding, perhaps it is worth reminding ourselves that petrol can cause huge fires.
        It is also possible to turn the hydrogen into energy carriers which are far less combustible than petrol, and use on-board reformation.

        Specifically PME fuel cells would have a far lower heat signature than combustion engines, which is another reason for military interest.

        However, for those for whom the answer is batteries, no matter what the question, none of these very obvious reasons will carry any weight! ;-)
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        I prefer to concentrate our efforts, resources, and money, on technologies more likely to provide real benefits soonest. EV's would be much farther along in development now if we had not wasted billions on hydrogen fuel cell research, yet they are still more practical today than FCV's. Build the EV model and infrastructure and then go play with hydrogen for the future. Attempting to do both at the same time cripples each program, especially the one that is closest to reality. The fact that I can build an EV in my garage, plug it into a dryer outlet, and use it every day, but could in no way attempt to do the same with a FCV, is a good indicator of the difference in practicality of the two technologies.
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        A few fast charge stations take care of any charge time concerns, and the ability to plug in almost anywhere makes an EV much more flexible than a fuel cell vehicle dependent on a scarce and resource intensive fueling system. This is purely marketing hype by GM trying to keep their hydrogen fantasy alive and the DOD buying into it. As for the gas turbine battle tank, trying to keep the front line supplied with petroleum is difficult enough, it would be impossible with much less energy dense hydrogen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        LS2LS7, ever heard of L3 fast charging stations?

        I'm also pretty sure the military won't be using hydrogen in their battle tanks any time soon.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        @jake:
        'To achieve refueling in minutes for hydrogen, you need buffer tanks. Without them, it takes about 20-30 minutes.

        This is talking about passenger vehicles and not combat vehicles, so all the talk about its use in combat isn't that useful. '

        So you need buffer tanks.
        It still takes 3 minutes or so to refuel, not half an hour.

        Whether for combat or not, you still need to perfect the fuel cell, you still need to set up the logistics chain, and both are similar for combat and non-combat vehicles, so it doesn't make much sense to criticise a development project on the grounds that it currently has not tackled the most demanding uses.
        In any case the forces use scads of non-combat vehicles.
        They are pretty much looking at it by using the vehicles that are most readily available.

        These sorts of criticisms remind me of those by anti-battery EV folks, based on the fact that the range is not quite as long as it would be ideally in this generation of batteries, and quick charge stations are not universal.
        Things take time and have to go through a development process.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        @John,
        To me that smacks of a conclusion in search of a rationale, but at least lays bare the the foundations of your objection, which has very little to do with the various gripes about the trial you have floated. You would have been just as opposed if this were in Kansas as Hawaii, and whether it were military, civilian, or anything else, as you feel that fuel cell technology has taken funds and attention from your preferred alternative.

        Perhaps the last word, alternative, provides the clue to what I feel is the weakness in your position, that batteries cannot possibly provide the energy density for some of the uses of fuel cells, and so they are not in fact in opposition to each other.
        They are deeply complementary technologies, with such a strong advocate of battery cars as Nissan in fact concentrating on developing simply 'electric vehicles', which is what has taken much of their investment, whilst remaining agnostic in the driver for the electrics, developing both fuel cells and batteries.
        It would not surprise me to see Nissan fielding a fuel cell vehicle in the same time-frame as Hyundai.

        Honda are rapidly producing battery cars, as much of the development has been done as they worked on fuel cells.

        So much of the money spend can not only achieve a very different technical objective to batteries, with far higher energy density leading to many uses that batteries can't cover, but as far as cars are concerned a lot of the development covers both impartially.

        You then for apparently quite arbitrary reasons say that everyone should give up on fuel cells, as they are behind batteries for car use at this particular time.
        That is precisely what anti-EV folk argued five years ago, and continue to argue, against battery cars vis-a-vis ICE.

        The argument is illegitimate in either case.

        Relax, fuel cells haven't stolen your babe!
        There is not only room for both, we need both, and any spending on R & D is trivial compared to the cost of securing oil supply lines.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        John,
        You are passing over how the trial actually works, and ignoring the benefits of introducing the technologies on an island.
        It is by no means a co-incidence that France likewise is trialling all things renewable, including solar, wind and transport, on the island of Reunion, similarly blessed with good solar, wind and ocean resources to Hawaii.
        A hydrogen infrastructure is just that, and they are going to enrich the supply of natural gas with this. This is a lot easier on the confines of an island.
        Since this will be available anyway, why not use it for the trial of fuel cell vehicles?
        You save money by so doing, rather than running it on a continental site, where the apparent advantages of fuel cell range are more obvious. That is not really important for a trial though.
        For many uses BEV vehicles should be just fine on Hawaii, but that does not mean that there are not many transport needs even there with they can't fulfil.

        Concentrating research and demonstrations in one site is simply how this sort of thing is done, and critiques are apparently based either on not understanding how this works, or a dislike of fuel cell technology, so any stick does to beat the dog.

        It's also a bit rich both to criticise the present development of the technology whilst simultaneously saying that nothing can be learnt from trials.
        There is plenty to learn.

        Neither is it reasonable to infer that because battery technologies are rather more advanced than fuel cells, we should dismiss the latter.
        Different technologies take different times to mature.
        Compare batteries and ICE engines for a fine example of this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        jake:
        You're going to convert it to electricity in the field? I understand you can fill an EV right at the ship easily. Heck, fill it from the nuclear power plant on a carrier.

        Now, drive the EV to its range. And now you need to fill it again, 80 miles away. How are you going to do that from the power on the ship?

        Railguns and electromagnetic launchers stay on the ship. Vehicles don't.

        John:
        You're just being obtuse on purpose, right? You keep talking about a few needs that can be fulfilled by battery EVs. These are not all the needs the military has. Thus, they would do well to look into other possibilities.

        If you use a storage system to "even the flow" of fast charging, you also limit the duty cycle. If you only can fill the storage system at 10% of the speed you can discharge it, you can only charge 10% of the time. That means if you have 10 chargers and you use them all right now, you have to wait 30 minutes before you can charge any cars again. This provides a period of non-readiness which is not desirable for a military force which has to defend itself at a moment's notice.

        Plus now you have to keep around even more batteries.

        It's hard to understand why you insist on suggesting BEVs for things they aren't good for. There are legit uses for other kinds of vehicles, ICEs and even fuel-cells. That's no slight against BEVs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        "I'm also pretty sure the military won't be using hydrogen in their battle tanks any time soon."

        Well, "soon" is a nice qualifier to put on it. It's better than saying "never", so at least you're open to the possibility.

        http://green.autoblog.com/2010/06/24/army-turns-to-fuel-cell-technology-for-m1-abrams-tank/

        Reforming JP-8 into hydrogen counts as "using hydrogen", right?




        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        John, it doesn't matter the size of the island. If the vehicle makes many trips a day, it is limited by its speed and the length of the day, not the size of the island.

        Just because EVs are good for passenger vehicles which typically make only a few trips a day doesn't mean they are suitable for commercial vehicles which may make many, longer trips in a day.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        "The fact that I can build an EV in my garage, plug it into a dryer outlet, and use it every day, but could in no way attempt to do the same with a FCV, is a good indicator of the difference in practicality of the two technologies."

        This argument fails just as hard as saying that people won't buy an iPod because they can hum any song they want for free: Why would they someone an expensive proprietary player that needs an extensive expensive infrastructure (and can only be used for a limited amount of time) when they can write their own music that they can perform anywhere, anytime?

        Besides, the EVs that are on the market were developed at the same time as current FCVs were being researched, which demonstrates that this comment, "...Attempting to do both at the same time cripples each program, especially the one that is closest to reality." is demonstrably false.

        Co-development and research of FCVs and BEVs and PHEV has not "crippled" any of the programs.
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        Fuel cells have been going through the development process for as long as batteries and they are still not practical for passenger vehicles. I'm not saying there aren't possible military uses for them, I'm saying that these GM passenger vehicles on an island are not a rational usage of the technology when BEV's can do the same job for much less cost. That's our money they are spending remember, and the hydrogen support infrastructure they are going to create to support them will cost millions. I doubt they are going to learn much of anything applicable to the potential use in other areas, they'll drive these GM built vehicles around for a while and refuel them. We know FCV's can function and we know how they function, what is puttering around an island going to prove?
        Remember when Secretary Chu wanted to cut spending on hydrogen because it was no where near a practical technology? Of course special interests didn't let that happen and now we have this waste of money taking place.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        John, no they don't. You're talking about a force that kept planes in the air continuously for decades to remain on alert, and you say it's okay for a vehicle to be out of commission for 30 minutes?

        Furthermore, fast charge stations don't just exist in a vacuum. You have to have a supply of electric power to feed those stations. This isn't available in all places the military goes. Gas however is portable, they can take it where they need to go and they can stockpile it. They can refuel literally every single vehicle in their fleet at the same time, something they cannot do with electricity because they will overload their supply.

        I agree hydrogen has practicality problems. It is far more practical for an army than EVs though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bajohn3
        For delivery vehicles that have to move all day, this makes sense. It also would make a lot of sense for military vehicles, because the military doesn't want to have any "downtime" when they can't use their vehicles because they have to charge for two hours.

        So GM is probably doing double duty here, both letting the military try a fuel cell road vehicle, and also attaching their name to the idea of mobile fuel cell vehicles in the military's mind.

        This could pay off in the future. Remember, the current Army battle tank uses a gas turbine and has for over a decade.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually I think the military should be funding the Focus Fusion Reactor research. http://lawrencevilleplasmaphysics.com/
      This is the only nuclear reactor that potentially can be fitted into a vehicle. Imagine a tank that doesn't have to be refueled for years, has enough on-board power for a rail-gun and/or laser. A rail gun allows for a much lighter ordinance and is almost silent.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They "fund" alot, almost all of it exclusively for the military and them alone. You just hear about the fantasy geek tabloid stuff. Our economy would benefit from a budget cut in their direction.
        • 4 Years Ago
        DARPA, an arm of the military, funds a lot of fusion research.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I do not believe LLP gets any military funding. They have struggled to get enough donations to continue their work. Donate through http://www.focusfusion.org/
      • 4 Years Ago
      Its nice to see the government working with the government. *sarcasm*
      • 4 Years Ago
      It would make for more sense for the military to research better ways of making biodiesel, than hydrogen anything. Biodiesel will work just fine in existing military vehicles, can be handled and transported just like current diesel, and is much less flammable than hydrogen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "They are spreading their bets around apparently."

        Are the laws of physics expected to change anytime soon and make hydrogen (1) more efficient to produce (currently 3x less efficient than bevs), (2) less volatile (a key factor in transporting in a war zone setting), (3) less infrastructure intensive, (4) retrofittable in existing vehicles. Doubt it.

        Maybe I'll invent an engine that runs off invisible fairy wings, plucked fresh from the wings of only the most mature fairies, and sell it to DARPA. Its so advanced it emits zero emissions and the engine itself is whisper quiet AND invisible. It COULD happen ya know.
        • 4 Years Ago
        DARPA, a part of the military, is funding research into making BioDiesel more resource- and cost-effectively.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/13/algae-solve-pentagon-fuel-problem

        They are spreading their bets around apparently.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Chris M:
        Biofuel is certainly something the military are looking at and developing, but you still have a similar logistics chain to theatre as for oil.
        To whatever extent hydrogen and derivatives become practical, you can produce fuel at theatre, using perhaps solar in regions such as Afghanistan, which would bring immense benefits.
        Looking back at the history on this blog of discussing hydrogen use in military applications, I see that you made some very cogent arguments that Solid oxide fuels, in spite of their higher temperature, can give a lower heat signature than PEM due to their greater efficiency.
        Apologies if in the present thread I seemed to ignore this - I simply forgot! It happens at 60! ;-)

        An excellent application would be peripherals in a tank, so that you would not need to run a diesel engine when the tank was lurking, so reducing the noise and heat signature.
        To the extent that support vehicles could run on hydrogen there might be great benefits to the logistics chain, so the GM vehicles are relevant there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Biodiesel is much easier to handle, store and ship compared to H2, a major consideration for supply lines. Multiple uses for gas turbines, jet engines and diesel engines is a plus, but even better, it is likely that fuel cells could be developed that run directly on biodiesel at much higher efficiency than diesel engines.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wonder how much it cost the US Navy to acquire the car.

      I guess cost is somewhat irrelevant when you talking about the budget of the US armed forces.
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