"A lot of auto makers believe the fuel-cell vehicle is just a better performing vehicle and just makes more sense." So says Kevin See, a senior analyst of electric vehicles at Lux Research in Boston, told CNN. It's not a surprising thing to say, but it again shows commitments by automakers to develop hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have been increasing lately. Toyota, Hyundai, Daimler and Honda all see them as vital alternative energy options, perhaps even more important than battery-electric vehicles.

Hyundai has been planning to offer a fuel-cell version of its ix35 sport utility vehicle (known as the Tucson in the US) for lease by the end of this year. As for production, Hyundai will be building 1,000 fuel-cell cars by 2015, and beyond that, up to 10,000 fuel-cell cars a year. The company is committed to both fuel cell and battery-powered vehicles – fuel cells for heavier and mid-size cars and battery-powered for smaller ones, Byung Ki Ahn, general manager of fuel-cell research at Hyundai, told CNN.

Toyota and Honda have both said they will release a fuel-cell car in 2015. Honda already has the FCX Clarity (pictured) available for lease in California, and Mercedes-Benz leases its F-Cell car in that same market.

Just like with plug-in vehicles, infrastructure is key to H2 vehicles. That's why Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai have joined forces to expand the hydrogen fueling network throughout the Nordic region. They've agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding with government representatives from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland and are committed to supporting fuel-cell vehicle refueling infrastructure development from 2014 to 2017.

Why are these automakers committed to rolling out fuel-cell vehicles? Stop us if you've heard this before, but the answer from the OEMs revolves around the fact that they can travel much farther than electric vehicles after a refueling, said refueling can be done in about five minutes and fuel cells are more adaptable to large vehicles like trucks and SUVs than battery-powered vehicles. They're considered by some to be the cleanest energy source for emissions, only releasing water vapor from the tailpipe, and come from the most abundant element in the universe.

Still, the barriers to mass adoption of fuel-cell vehicles are steep. The price point is pretty high. For the two hydrogen-powered cars currently available in the US, the payments are much more than most consumers can stomach. The FCX Clarity is available for $600 a month on a three-year lease, while the F-Cell three-year lease goes for $849 a month, plus tax.

The other problem is fueling stations. The Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center says there are only nine hydrogen stations in the US (excluding private stations), and these are all in California.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 254 Comments
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Air Products, the leading global hydrogen provider, formally dedicated its Gulf Coast Connection Pipeline connecting the Houston Ship Channel to New Orleans at a ceremony Thursday at the company’s Pasadena facility. In August Air Products began supplying more than 1.2 billion cubic feet of hydrogen per day to refinery and petrochemical customers. Air Products had operated two hydrogen pipeline systems in Texas and Louisiana before joining them with a new 180-mile segment. The 600-mile pipeline span is fed by more than 20 hydrogen production facilities, giving Air Products the world’s largest hydrogen plant and pipeline supply network." http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/pearland/living/air-products-dedicates-world-s-largest-hydrogen-pipeline-system/article_5f051638-adf2-5310-b06b-c7c91e6f412a.html
        Dave D
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dave
        I think there is about 400 cubic feet in a kg of hydrogen, so that is about 3 million kg/day. That is a LOT of H2. Most FCVs would need 7 kg to fill up, but would probably only go to a fueling station once a week so that means this one pipeline could support about 3 million cars. Of course, I assume that H2 is already being used for something else, but I wanted to get feel for the scale of this thing.
          Ray Blackburn
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave D
          Nice Dave, you are already worrying about hydrogen fuel prices in a similar fashion as oil. This illustrates that hydrogen will have the same vicious supply and demand issues effecting price that oil faces today, good job Dave. I rest on your face, I mean, I rest my case.
          Dave D
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave D
          Yes, I assumed that was your point and why I was trying to get a feel for what kinds of volume this would support for vehicles. As you guys know, I've never been a huge H2 proponent, but that was mostly because people in positions of power in the US were using it as a reason to slow down or not support BEVs. As long as they're both allowed to thrive based on their respective strengths, then I have no problem with them. I think BEVs have progressed far enough that they will make it on their own now...all we're doing with policy is slowing down or accelerating that growth. Clearly, BEVs will not be handling things like long haul trucking for many decades, if ever. We need some solution for that and if H2 can show it has the ability to compete with NG then good for it. I'll take anything over petroleum.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave D
          I'm not worrying at all.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave D
          I'm all for BEVs. Every time a BEV replaces an ICE vehicle, there is more hydrogen available for FCVs. And, since they use the same equipment, the more BEV drivetrains are produced, the cheaper FCV motors and controllers get. And vice versa.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave D
          A car would use about 1/2 of a kilogram a day. So its about enough for 6,000,000 cars. Obviously, if you factor in trucks and heavy vehicles, that number changes. (I'm assumin that your conversion of cubic feet to kg is correct) Yes. The H2 is used by "refinery and petrochemical customers." Of course, if we double mpg by raising CAFE, half of the H2 that refineries use now becomes available for other purposes.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave D
          The real purpose of my post was to illustrate that the technology to produce and distribute hydrogen is readily available. There are quite a few people on this board that seem to believe hydrogen pipelines are nonexistent and/or impossible.
          Dave D
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave D
          Good point. I think the more recent cars are getting about 70miles/kg of H2 and the average car goes about 35 miles a day so you're right....6 million cars. That's an impressive pipeline.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      "TOYOTA wants to make hydrogen cars in Melbourne fuelled by brown coal from the Latrobe Valley in a move that could save the struggling local car industry. The hi-tech switch would also require a new hydrogen-capturing plant to be built in Gippsland, providing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars worth of investment for the region, which has one of the state's highest unemployment rates. Toyota Australia president Max Yasuda said Victoria was ideally placed to take advantage of the new technology, which would roll out in Japan and the US in 2015. "One of the strengths of this country, especially in Victoria, is that you have an abundant resource of brown coal. This coal cannot be transported," Mr Yasuda said." Read more: http://www.news.com.au/top-stories/toyota-plan-to-make-hydrogen-cars-in-melbourne-providing-hundreds-of-jobs/story-e6frfkp9-1226530739692#ixzz2ENtvXwP9
        Dave
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dave
        http://www.fchea.org/core/import/PDFs/factsheets/Hydrogen%20Production%20From%20Coal_NEW.pdf
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          Oh, nevermind, I think I found it. http://www.fchea.org/core/import/PDFs/factsheets/Hydrogen%20Production%20From %20Coal_NEW.pdf
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          Could you repost this link again? it doesn't seem to be working for me.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          If the link doesn't work then go to this site: http://www.fchea.org/index.php?id=49 Then click on "hydrogen production from coal" at the bottom of the page
        Dave
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dave
        http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/energy/about/legislation-and-regulation/near-zero-emissions/submissions/latrobe-valley-brown-coal-submissions-hydrogen-energy-submission
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          Too bad the fueling stations are private and for class 8 trucks and not for cars. Its a good first step though. I think it would be great to use hydrogen instead of diesel for these large trucks. i have seen a couple that use natgas, but these are relegated to port duties and not long haul to clean up the air around the ports. It would be awesome if they had H2 stations on trucking routes so we could replace diesel with a cleaner(arguably) fuel thats made in the USA. Hopefully the prices will be competitive, or cheaper than diesel otherwise it will never do well. Natural gas is a good alternative because it is plentiful and cheap. unfortunately its not everywhere so its not suited for long haul duties Which is the problem with H2.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.energy.ca.gov/2009-ALT-1/documents/2009-09-29_workshop/presentations/Vision_industries_presentation.ppt&sa=U&ei=ZzjFUNDbKMiaiQeIiYHIDA&ved=0CAcQFjAA&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNFoJLFAlred161K4Ina6CgrmxgH3A
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          Hydrogen from coal could be a very cheap way to make hyrdrogen to get it going and accepted into the general public. Infrastructure is still a problem though. Sure there is that pipeline from texas to the gulf of mexico. But they didn't say that they will install stations along the way. They probably didn't plan for that so they would most likely have to dig up the pipeline to install taps for the stations. BTW, do you know how much hydrogen is sold for currently? I couldn't find anything.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          "Hydrogen from coal could be a very cheap way to make hyrdrogen to get it going and accepted into the general public. " Coal is very cheap....about 1/5 as expensive per BTU as petroleum IIRC. In the long run, I still expect nuclear to be the main source of both electricity and hydrogen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_IV_reactor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_splitting#Nuclear-thermal
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/blog2/index.php/hydrogen-fueling-stations/first-hydrogen-fueling-station-in-texas-to-be-built/
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was lampooning korblalak who commented immediately before: "korblalak Most Hydrogen comes from the reformation of hydrocarbons. H2 is dirty, dangerous and wasteful."
      chanonissan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Two companies they forget to mention that is also in the game currently testing, GM and Nissan
      Jesse Gurr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I found this gem a little bit ago searching for hydrogen related articles. Seems to sum it up pretty nicely. I am not really for/against hydrogen as I try to keep an open mind to new technology. I like looking at numbers more than only opinion and conjecture. http://www.hydrogenhighway.ca.gov/sb76/workshop/brooks_nov2.pdf
        Jesse Gurr
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        here is something more recent. overall efficiency is really not much better than an ICE. The more iI learn, the more i think that hydrogen is a waste of resources. www.efficient-mileage.com/hydrogen-cars.html
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          I also did some calcs for a water conversion system and it was about 58 kWh/kg H2. Which is around 57% efficient. Plus it used around 10 liters of water per hour. In conclusion, they are being optimistic about this technology and downgrading the efficiency of a natgas generator to try to make their system look more efficient by comparison. This article was from 2009 and Mr. Toyoda said that they will start mass producing electric vehicles by 2012. They started making some, RAV4 EV, but using Tesla tech and not their own. They are also not being mass produced either.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          "According to the graph from Toyota, NatGas generation is 39% efficient. " Actually, it says well-to tank is 39% efficient. In the USA, the average natural gas plant is slightly less than 42% efficient. The grid is 93% efficient. And the charging process is about 90% efficient. So, I would say .42 x .93 x .9 = 35% It looks to me like Toyota was being generous to battery electrics.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          "Fuel cell efficiency is next. The graph shows 59% tank-wheel. That seems reasonable. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any reference to back up that claim. " Here, I agree with you. Of course, it would be really cool if Toyota has made that kind of efficiency improvement. But it seems optimistic to me.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          Dave multi posts are fine. no worries. "Apparently, 60% is slightly above the record-setting efficiency for a natural gas plant:" "Doing the math, natural gas plants average 3413/8185= 41.7% efficient" That is probably true. everyone doesnt have combined cycle plants like this one, http://www.energy.siemens.com/us/en/power-generation/power-plants/gas-fired-power-plants/combined-cycle-power-plant-concept/scc6-5000f-2x1-flex-plant-30.htm or this one, http://www.ge-energy.com/products_and_services/products/gas_turbines_heavy_duty/flexefficiency_50_combined_cycle_power_plant.jsp Most if not all gas generators in california are combined cycle getting no less than 55% or so. A gas gen by itself gets probably mid 30s in efficiency. So that table is a national average. California is higher than the rest of the nation. So yeah, you are right that efficiency depends on where you "fill up". I really wish that toyota included some data with that so we can know where they got those numbers. FWIW, H2 formation is probably most efficient from natgas reformation rather than water electrolysis.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          "Well-tank for hydrogen seems a little high. The 2 most popular processes I’ve seen are only maybe 60% efficient at most." A large scale plant will almost certainly be more efficient than Nuvera's prepackaged unit. And perhaps the "tri-generation" process that Chu likes to talk about would be even more so. It appears that Toyota used 75% reformation followed by 90% compression. This Wikipedia article on SMR gives a top end of 75%. I don't know how accurate that is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_reforming
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          Val- I would agree with you if natural gas were inexhaustible. But it isnt. So putting our eggs into the natural gas basket will eventually put us right back where we started - (peak natural gas, basically) Hydrogen can be produced from coal, nuclear, biomass, solar..... If we convert our fleet to run on hydrogen and build a hydrogen "grid" it will not go to waste. The plants that feed the grid will evolve just as electrical power plants evolve. I'm also concerned that we would eventually end up with a shortage of natural gas for home heating.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          You really should have included the story that goes along with that graph.  Only having the graph without any supporting data reduces the effect of the graph.  Here is the link: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/10/toyota-fcv-200091004.html This graph was developed by Toyota, so it is already pretty biased, and very optimistic using the Japanese 10-15 cycle test. According to the graph from Toyota, NatGas generation is 39% efficient. This may have been true for Japan since at that time they had mostly Nuke power and didn’t care about natgas gen efficiency since they hardly used it. Here in the US, most if not all natgas generation is more like 60% efficient. If we use that, then efficiency for electric cars goes up to 51% compared to 40% for fuel cells. Fuel cell efficiency is next. The graph shows 59% tank-wheel. That seems reasonable. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any reference to back up that claim. The link I posted from 2005 pegged it at 50% efficient. So it is reasonable to assume it has gotten better since then. People who claim they are getting 80% efficient or higher fuel cells are talking about building or backup power systems that also heat water with the waste heat from the fuel cell. A car doesn’t really have a use for that. Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle gets 68 mi/kg H2. 1 kg H2 = 1 gal gas. If an ICE operates at 23%, from graph, then the fuel cell is 2.5x more efficient tank-wheel. That means they used a 27 average MPG car for comparison. (68/2.5) A fuel cell gets 2.04 mi/kWh(68 mi/33.3 kWh), the Leaf gets about 3.04 mil/kWh(73 mi/24 kWh). An electric car is 50% more efficient tank-wheel than a fuel cell. That can be seen by 59 *1.5 = 88% Well-tank for hydrogen seems a little high. The 2 most popular processes I’ve seen are only maybe 60% efficient at most. From natural gas reformation and from water electrolysis. Don’t believe me? That’s fine, let’s do some math. Here is a generator that was posted on this thread some time ago. http://www.nuvera.com/pdf/PowerTap_Hydrogen_Generator.pdf SPECS: Rated Hydrogen Production = 50 kg/day Natural Gas Consumption = 8.7 MMBTU/day Water Consumption = 2400 l/day Electrical Consumption = 9 kW average With a conversion of 3412.8 BTU/kwh It is using 9*24=216 kWh/day of electricity plus about 2549 kWh/day of equivalent natural gas. (8.7MMBTU/day * 1kWh/3412.8 BTU = 2549.2 kWh/day) We add together to get total equivalent power per day = 2765.2 kWh/day Then we take (2765.2 kWh/day) / (1 day/50 kg H2) = 55.3 kWh/kg H2 Efficiency is output/input so, 33.3kwh for H2 / 55.3 kWh = 60.2% If we take that for our calc from the table you linked then overall efficiency of the fuel cell is: 60% * 60% = 36%
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          But you are right. If we use Nuvera's on-site unit, we probably get: .6 x .9 x .5 = 27% well to wheels. So, well-to-wheels efficiency will depend where you fill up. (PS - sorry for the multiple posts)
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          The newest combined cycle plants, according to that same publication, have an average heat rate of 7176 BTU/kwh. That works out to 47.6% efficiency. .476 x .93 x .9 = 39.8% which is very close to the well to tank number that Toyota quotes.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          http://bioage.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c4fbe53ef0120a5ba443f970b-800wi
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          Here are the average heat rates for US powerplants: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/pdf/table5.3.pdf Doing the math, natural gas plants average 3413/8185= 41.7% efficient That may have increased slightly since 2010, but it is nowhere near 60%. Getting that kind of efficiency is extremely expensive. Its a serious case of diminshing return on investment.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          Here is an interesting article claiming that charging the battery in a Tesla roadster is only 79.4% efficient: "Due to cooling and other losses in charging, filling from empty takes about 68 kWh, or 26% more than 54 kWh the battery holds. This 68 kWh is the seminal amount; it quantifies how much truly is needed. We'll reference this number to determine how far we can go from power of the sun alone." http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/006554.html
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          Apparently, 60% is slightly above the record-setting efficiency for a natural gas plant: "One type of fossil fuel power plant uses a gas turbine in conjunction with a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG). It is referred to as a combined cycle power plant because it combines the Brayton cycle of the gas turbine with the Rankine cycle of the HRSG. The thermal efficiency of these plants has reached a record heat rate of 5690 Btu/(kW·h), or just under 60%, at a facility in Baglan Bay, Wales.[4]"
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          Its a little better, but still nowhere near 60%. According to the report, there are still a lot of old plants that are still in service. But those didn't contribute as much as the cogeneration plants, which brought down the efficiency.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          It appears to me that Toyota was slightly generous to both BEVs and FCEVs. Unfortunately, there are no magic bullets.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          I found something interesting about that report. they use HHV-high heating value for thier calculations. I think that the 3412 is the ave between the LHV and HHV values. Looks like LHV = 3236 and HHV = 3585 BTU/kWh. You will need this: http://cta.ornl.gov/bedb/appendix_a/Lower_and_Higher_Heating_Values_of_Gas_Liquid_and_Solid_Fuels.pdf And this table to help convert the values: http://www.hitechitl.com/ITLCalgary/moodle/moodledata/3/Artificial_Lift/Natural_Gas_Measurement_Conversions.pdf With the HHV calculated we get the efficiency of those plants at 41% and 50% for total and combined cycle respectively. Man I am learning so much doing this.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          Its worth noting that cogeneration plants are not given credit for the heat they provide with waste steam. But the same can be said for fuel cell powerplants when used for interior heating and window defrosting. (I live in Rhode Island where that waste heat comes in handy ~4 months of the year)
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          "FWIW, H2 formation is probably most efficient from natgas reformation rather than water electrolysis." IMHO- Water electrolysis is generally wasteful, unless there is nuclear/renewable going to waste. In the short term, small electrolysis units may be required in Podunk USA for emergency fill-ups by FCEV drivers who happen to pass through. In the long term, (50+ years from now) the majority of hydrogen will be produced by nuclear fission fueled steam electrolysis (not to be confused with electrolysis of liquid water) or the Sulfur-Iodine process. And the real market for FCEVs is class 8 trucks, fire trucks, bucket trucks, dump trucks, etc.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          I estimate well to wheel for BEV: .42 x .93 x .9 x .85 = 29.9% I estimate well to wheel for FCEV: .7 x .9 x. 5 = 31.5% I hope that I am wrong and that Toyota knows better than me.
          Dave
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          I found this publication showing heat rates for California natural gas powerplants. http://www.energy.ca.gov/2011publications/CEC-200-2011-008/CEC-200-2011-008.pdf It shows 8566 BTU / kwh for 2010, the most recent year. That translates to an efficiency of 39.84%, slightly worse than the USA average for that year.
          Val
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          What is really missing it the toyota graph is the efficiency of CNG cars, like the Honda Civic that burns natural gas directly. For something like 1-2% efficiency gain, is it really worth it to build expensive fuel cells, expensive tanks, and expensive infrastructure, when major gas pipelines are already built all over the country?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        You should look at numbers that are more recent than 2005. We're three generations of FCVs beyond that now.
      ElectricAvenue
      • 2 Years Ago
      What? A fuel cell vehicle has everything a BEV has, *plus* a fuel cell and tank and all associated parts, *minus* some portion of the total capacity of the battery. So, for your statement to "FCVs are lighter than BEVs" to be true, you would need to show that the fuel cell part is lighter than the additional battery capacity. For your statement "FCVs have longer ranges than BEVs" to be true, you would have to show that the hydrogen tank and fuel cell provide a longer range than the additional battery capacity. Neither statement seems to me to be true in all cases. It is certainly possible to create a BEV with a longer range than a FCV. Indeed, as has been pointed out, that is already the case - the Tesla Model S with 85kWh battery will go slightly farther than an FCX Clarity (based on the same EPA test - 265 miles vs 240). One statement which seems obvious *and* always to be the case, is that a BEV is simpler than a FCV.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Neither statement seems to me to be true in all cases. " I'm sorry, but your opinion is simply wrong. Here's a simple illustration: http://www.blogcdn.com/green.autoblog.com/media/2010/05/hawaii-hydrogen-2.jpg An FCV stores more energy, in less volume and mass, using compressed hydrogen than a BEV can store in a battery. That's why FCVs have such drastically longer ranges than BEVs. The Clarity FCX you mention is a generation old, current FCVs are able to go 400+ miles on a single fill. http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/toyota_fchv-adv_range_verification.pdf
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dont believe the conspiracy theorists. They are trying to sell books and movies.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      Quote Dave: "Electricity production is 30 to 40 percent efficient." "Hydrogen production is 60 to 70 percent efficient." If you are comparing Steam reformation of Natural gas which will need a whole lot of new steam reformation plants to matter, you should also compare new generation Natural gas generator plants which are 60% efficient: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/09/27/ge-secures-1-2bn-in-new-orders-for-most-efficient-natural-gas-power-plant-technology/ The above is for a combined cycle power generation. If you can benefit from the wasted heat, Combined cycle heat and power plants are 80%+ efficient. http://www.wartsila.com/en/power-plants/smart-power-generation/chp-combined-cycle-plants So you can get similar efficiency on the production side. It tilts massively in favor of EVs on the usage side.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Even better, a combined SOFC/gas turbine. http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/70/31/35/PDF/PC_PB_IJHE_revised01.pdf Your BEV *will* be powered by a fuel cell.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Hi Peter: You have a good point, but the answer to: 'Why don't they?' Is usually 'Money' and it is in this case. Combined cycle turbines cost more than single cycle, and since gas is increasingly being used to top up renewables production, you don't spend more than you have to on equipment which is only used 10% of the time. Increasing penetration by renewables means that overall the efficiency of the grid is unlikely to rise, anymore than it has in the past. The bottom line is that it is money that counts, not maximising energy efficiency.
          Chris M
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          With that higher efficiency and the lower cost for natural gas, it it replacing coal as a "baseline" power source in many areas as the cost for the utility companies is less. Oh, and it also reduces maintenance costs and avoids the extra costs of exhaust gas cleanup that coal fired powerplants require.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      Automakers are tired of moving goalposts. Every few years, the CAFE increases, the emmissions regulations get more strict, gasoline formulations change, the ethanol content increases. Hydrogen fuel cells emit no tailpipe emmissions and hydrogen can be produced from natural gas, coal. nuclear, solar, biomass, etc. Hydrogen fuel cell cars dump the emmissions problem onto the fuel suppliers. Same as electric cars dump the emmissions problem onto powerplants.
        otiswild
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        That FCX Clarity would be a lot better off with a gasoline/methanol-capable SOFC.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @otiswild
          A 5KW Bloom box is the size of a refrigerator box. You would need at least 6 of them to make the power needed to cruise continually at highway speed. The chemistry of how a bloom box essentially must remove protons from a much larger molecule than H2.... essentially puts a doubt as to whether SOFC could ever be small enough for automobile applications. Good for a small Aux power unit, but not motion.
          Sean
          • 1 Day Ago
          @otiswild
          My understanding is that SOFC are currently too large and heavy per watt for mobile use. For example Bloom Box produces approximately 12 horse power per ton (100kW/11tons). Are there examples of light/compact SOFCs?
          Chris M
          • 1 Day Ago
          @otiswild
          The actual fuel cell in that 5 Kw Bloom Box isn't that large, a lot of that case is filled with control equipment and air compressors and power inverters. One designed for automotive use would be much smaller. There are some technical issues to be solved before we will see SOFC powered cars. The ceramic material used in the Bloom Box is brittle and might not survive the jolts common to cars on potholed streets.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @otiswild
          I would love to see a Bloom Box with its skin off.
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        The hold up with fuel cells is that they require about five times as much platinum as a catalytic converter (down from 100s of times as much not long ago. The hold up with batteries is that they cost $500+ per kwh (including the safety enclosure, cooling system, battery monitoring system, etc)
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          To clarify... this is NOT a conspiracy theory. But a moderated understanding of low-balling predictions when companies are striving for market entrance. Infrastructure on this scale is often way more expensive than early estimates project.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          Estimates bought and paid for, by the folks destined to make the most money when those "estimates" fail.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          So, elaborating on the 'street parkers' who cannot buy a plug in car right now, and for some reason NEED to go Zero Emissions right now. You think they will choose a FCV over a cheaper conventional hybrid? Street parkers, or apartment dwellers may tend to move more often than home-owners would. So they have to think about where they may move to next.... will THAT NEW LOCATION HAVE AN H2 STATION NEARBY? The anxiety of this will prevent many of the potential sales that FCV makers might be counting on, to justify their optimistic demand projections. If I were in the market, and a plugin were not possible... and I wasn't damn sure I would be in the same location (close to that h2 station they promise to build)... I would not risk the purchase. Forget being stranded on a long trip, imagine being stranded (or having to sell the car early) because you moved a bit too far away from your H2 station. Now you've gotta travel 30 minutes or an hour out of your way to refuel each week or so. Fast Charging and public chargers start to look competitive. Also, it is not just folks who park on the street at home... but those folks must also not have any future possibility to charge at work. Although that poses a risk when changing jobs. Bottom line... A PHEV (if not paying too much of a premium), is a perfect choice if you expect to charge, but provides insurance if you lose your opportunity to charge up.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave
          @Joe: Fine. Presumably then you are applying your strictures of hydrogen infrastructure costs, not to mention your ominous talk of 'bought and paid for cost estimates' equally to electric car infrastructure? You never did supply your estimate of the costs of providing by the road charging for the half of the fleet which has no garage, either. Of course if fuel cells were used as an alternative that, presumably larger than installing them in garages, cost would not be needed, and people could buy battery cars only where they could reasonably and economically be recharged.
          brotherkenny4
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Don't forget that a hydrogen infrastructure does not exist and is likely to be more expensive than any other energy infrastructure that has ever existed. It's just the simple physics of the fuel. But if you ignore that, and focus only on the cars, no problem right. The tax payers will pay for the infrastructure to subsidize the auto industry. Much the way they pay for wars for the oil companies.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          One of the reasons why large infrastructure based on logistics, becomes more expensive (despite optimistic estimates)... is because of the number and complexity of the logistics system. How many hands are employed to keep things running. For a liquid fuel infrastructure, there are plenty of hands in the cookie jar that will ensure they have job/profit security. This will keep things more expensive than they would be. Charing infrastructure is more appliance based. There are some logistics, but not much. There is the power company and property owner. And the property owners will not be the same, like a fueling infrastruture. This setup makes adoption slower, but cheaper over time, as production of the appliance gets more streamlined. However, I AM INDEED skeptical on claims of how fast the charging infrastructure will become cheaper. But for EVs, there is already MILLIONS of Americans who don't need it. That ALLOWS MARKET ENTRANCE. For HFCVs, this is NOT the case. For Apartment dwellers, or any on street parking. The costs ARE INDEED higher than many optimistic estimates. But they CAN and WILL wait, for the other half to establish the charging infrastructure first. For now, hybrids will have to do. There are already 93 fast chargers available to the public in the U.S. (only 9 public H2 stations) according to the DOE. Batteries are still being testing under real world conditions. Eventually, Fast Charging every 3 days (with a 150 mile pack) will become practical and not harm the pack. This will allow even street parkers to own an EV, and STILL have a cheaper 'refueling' costs compared to both gasoline and H2. You continue to make the two dimensional argument of ONLY BEV vs. FCV.... and continue to make the Now vs. Tomorrow fallacy. FCVs, even in 2016, will have a bigger range problem than todays (2012) BEVs. You cannot compare todays BEVs and charging infrastructure, to an optimistic $50k FCV with an abundant H2 infrastructure.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          brotherkenny: The cost of infrastructure either for battery cars or fuel cells is estimated at around 5% of the cost of the vehicles, and no substantial impediment to either.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      So.... no news, just iterating the same old statements. Funny how ABG writers (and some readers here) quote and believe the CNN article when it alludes that FCVs are coming soon... but ignore (and disbelieve) the statements made in the article that would convey doubt. "It has been a chicken-and-egg issue for at least a couple of decades: vehicle first or gas station first?" "So it's a very complex system and also a high cost." [fueling stations] "which according to analysts cost upward of $1 million each to build" "Currently analysts estimate that it costs about $100,000 to make a fuel-cell car." "Hyundai's target sale price for the next three to five years for the vehicle is $50,000. The price of a petrol-powered ix35 starts at around $20,000." That is a business model doomed from the start. Looks like on ABG's LeSage PICKED positive FCV statements from the host article a LOT more than negative statements. ================================= Although publicly, automakers are bound by their agreement with Oil and Gas companies to promise and promise that they are ready to launch FCVs .... You can already see which excuses will be used when, "market demand is not as high as predicted". "some critics see electric car sales as lackluster since the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf became available two years ago". 1st off, Volt sales have been doing good. Yeah, and when "range anxiety" gets converted into "no station available, anxiety" ... we'll see a repeat of lackluster demand. Only difference is, with BEVs, slow growth in sales is possible even when no infrastructure is built. And PHEVs will simple eat FCVs lunch.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        And if you shut your eyes tight enough you won't see the hydrogen refuelling stations being built.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          I said 'being built' I would list those for Europe and California but you are no doubt as aware of them as I am.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          Better yet, go to the DOE's Alternative Fueling Station Locator cause, they don't seem to know what you're talking about either.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          How many? What are the addresses?
          brotherkenny4
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          Let's hope the oil industry dumps all their money into hydrogen stations. That would make me laugh tremendously.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          The DOE site also tracks "planned stations" .... but they show none. What are YOU talking about? Some proposals of private-use stations? Yes, in the U.S., not Europe. California is still apart of the U.S., regardless of the hopes of some people.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lux research also said batteries will cost 400$/kWh in 2020. They don't know what they are talking about. It's incredible that the hydrogen fuel cell keeps coming up when the fatal drawbacks are so well established. Hyundai wont sell hydrogen cars in 2015 or ever. Just the 3 times lower energy efficiency is decisive in itself but there are of course several other fatal problems. The lack of infrastructure could in principle be solved while the other problems can't but even that will kill it.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        You don't do mathematics, do you?
        DaveMart
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        I have already laid out many times the calculation showing that your sweeping claim of '3 times the energy efficiency' is fantasy. What has not been provided by yourself is any substantiation at all for it.
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