For over a year now, we've been hearing about a potential partnership between Toyota and BMW on everything from sports cars to lithium-ion batteries, but one of the first cooperative projects between these two automakers could bring Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell technology to a BMW vehicle. Reuters is reporting that an announcement is likely to be made as soon as later this week regarding a BMW fuel cell vehicle that could be in production by 2020 with a prototype running around by 2015.

The last we heard of Toyota's fuel cell technology, it was in the FCV-R Concept that we saw at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, but there is no word how far along in development this system is. If it does come to fruition, such a vehicle for BMW would build on the automaker's commitment to hydrogen that started with the Hydrogen 7, which unlike a fuel cell vehicle, simply ran on hydrogen fuel rather than converting it to electricity for use in motors. We're definitely interested where this Toyota/BMW tie up could be headed.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 145 Comments
      Dwight Bynum Jr.
      • 1 Year Ago
      So... what happened with Honda's FCX Clarity? They've been on the road for what will be the 5th year if I'm not mistaken, and Toyota has no HFC production vehicle that I'm aware of. Honda beat them both to the production hydrogen fuel cell punch. Seems like it'd benefit them all to collaborate on such a venture.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dwight Bynum Jr.
        Yeah, I thought Honda was the company all gung ho with fuel cell cars. Perhaps they learned something from those FCX cars?
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          you guys should get a motel room
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          There is a BIG difference between research and prototype advancement... and actual commitment to produce. R&D is an investment that automakers don't really risk. R&D can and is amortized into other ventures. Also, automakers have been receiving plenty of outside money for R&D. Automakers also spend Billions, making Concept cars for showrooms that, 99% of which, never make it to production. They see this as a form of advertisement of the brand. To flaunt themselves as leaders in the technology. This alone is worth the money. ---------- They are indeed preparing for, and are ready for, 2015 to produce FCVs.... but that doesn't mean they are willing to pull the trigger,... and start ramping up, retooling, setting up supply chains, getting dealers ready, etc. Prototypes and R&D do NOT indicate this commitment. EVs were in this stage way back in the 70's.... but no automaker pulled the trigger because of low demand. They put the ball in someone elses court.... the Energy/Oil companies (hoping to get gov't funds).. to build the H2 infrastructure FIRST.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Indeed, Honda has learned much from their FCX program. They plan to introduce a new generation in 2015. “This new fuel cell vehicle will showcase further technological advancement and significant cost reduction that Honda has accomplished,” he said, according to a transcript. Ito said Honda considers fuel-cell electric vehicles to be the “ultimate environmentally-responsible vehicle.” A fuel-cell converts a fuel, often natural gas or hydrogen, into electricity. For years, auto engineers have said the fuel cells hold tremendous potential to reduce harmful emissions. Several automakers, including Toyota and General Motors, have also said they intend to build a fuel cell vehicle in 2015. Honda is well-positioned to make the most of this initiative, said Pat Valenti, executive director of the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition. He points to the FCX Clarity, a limited-release fuel-cell car that Honda has produced for a decade. The company has produced fewer than 100 of the hydrogen-fueled vehicle. “They have been learning over the last four or five years what works and what doesn’t work,” he said. “If anything they’re going to be a step ahead of the other companies.” http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2012/09/21/honda-fuel-cell-car-2015.html
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Oh LTAW... I've been warning Dave for over a year now... not to use C.E. Thomas' crap reports. They OVERBLOW the cost of charging infrastructure with misleading claims of 2 public chargers for every BEV on the road, and that every public charger must get a trench dug. Ridiculousness that you should have known better than to cite.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Gotta state this again for the new people... (and since you never bring up the underlying intention of these automakers) " Several automakers, including Toyota and General Motors, have also said they intend to build a fuel cell vehicle in 2015." They are only conditional intentions... they are NOT going to make a move UNTIL Oil/Energy companies and/or governments pay for a "Hydrogen Fueling infrastructure OF SUFFICIENT DENSITY BY 2015".. FIRST http://www.h2carblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Letter-of-Understanding.pdf
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          I never bring up the underlying intention? LOL. The intention is to build cars, FCVs in particular. You say they're not going to move, yet you ignore the continual movement in R&D. Toyota, GM, Mercedes, et al. are spending billions in preparation. But, I admire how steadfast you are, Joeviocoe, in denying that the automakers actually plan to build FCVs. It takes certain amount of moxy to insist that multi-billion dollar investments are just going to be thrown away.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "...batteries alone received $2 Billion in government funding..." vs. "The Department of Energy has spent over $2 billion...last 10 years on fuel cell and hydrogen research, development and demonstration..." ??? So you compare BEV funding from the DOE and the ARRA... yet selectively only count the DOE's spending on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen projects. That is not objective comparison. You shouldn't split your sources. The DOE and PluginCars.com count completely different ways. And who knows how the plugin cars calculations were done (Pike Research Analyst). There have been a LOT of money going toward Hydrogen and Fuel Cells that did not go through the DOE. Plenty of lobbying done over the decades. And the Battery tech money given by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 finally put BEVs on an even keel with Hydrogen. ---------------------- I am not anti-subsidy. I have explained before. I am for R&D (even for hydrogen). I am even for grants and subsidies for the purchase of zero-emissions vehicles (even FCVs). Because I am for public money that directly goes toward real results because drivers are purchasing. I am against grants and subsidies for public charging infrastructure and public H2 stations. Because the money is spent regardless if anybody uses them or not. VERY different from vehicle purchases or home chargers, which get paid for when they are guaranteed to be used. Just like I feel it is appalling that any credit (subsidies or CAFE credit) is given to Flex-Fuel vehicles... when most people cannot even fill up with E85 or may not want do so. It is big loophole that industry likes. They don't don't actually have to reduce oil consumption or emissions... they just have to build them, and profit. Bottom line, I am not complaining about research money for FCVs... I am complaining about public money for building the infrastructure. It is looking to be another Corn Ethanol money grab. A big waste.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "Whole lot easier to install a new hydrogen pump, even temporarily." No it's not. A pump costs a LOT more than an EVSE. Good point about the older public charging infrastructure that decayed away. Exactly my point about public infrastructure being a bad investment for subsidy. Now talk to those legacy EV owners who still have RAV4 EVs or even the few EV-1s, or Ranger EVs.... they still have the charger that came with it. And no, it is not like a stand alone consumer gadget that folks routinely get upgraded every few years. Not like a cell phone. It is a 'complementary' good. Goes with the car. Good point about subsequent EVSEs... yes, I agree, they should NOT be subsidized. An single EVSE subsidy per EV is fine.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          " Like EV startups.. most will fail. And that tax-payer money, is gone down the drain." Like the obsolete, out-dated EVSE infrastructure of previous generations, no longer useful to modern EVs. Lacking correct plugs, or proper voltage/wattage, and dumb to internet connectivity vital for modern protocols... Whole lot easier to install a new hydrogen pump, even temporarily.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "How much does a Concept Car generally cost, again? Billions, you say?" I never even IMPLIED a single concept car. Over the decades of making Concept cars, of which only a very few ever get produced. And each concept car is more expensive than a production car, since it is a one of a kind, hand built unit... There have been countless amounts of money spent by automakers to build concepts that they really don't have any intention of producing... why? Same reason why FCV concepts and R&D prototypes are no indication of serious commitment. Money spend on these ventures is all about appearances and basic research. It pays dividends, but NOT really from producing the car. -------------- " How fortunate then that there's a massive amount of cooperation going on between the energy companies and the government agencies" What some claim as "cooperation", I call coercion. Nothing illegal, unethical, or conspiratory about it either.... just industry trying to move the chess pieces around to put themselves in position to make the most money in the future. I would not have a problem with that normally... but the Lobbying efforts to get public money has been appalling. I don't much care what industries do with each other... but to hype up hydrogen just to get us addicted to the next fuel that they control... not my idea of free enterprise. You would have a stronger case of true cooperation, if Energy companies were starting to build H2 stations and logistical infrastructure by now.... but all I see are demos (prototypes) which demonstrate the technical feasibility, but NOT the economic practicality. I see grandiose claims of a hydrogen future, but Energy companies not wanting to make the investment. Hmmm, like they know that demand will be too low to make a profit.. unless government is paying the bills. How does the saying go, "Socialize the Losses, and Privatize the Gains."
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "Even if they sell their car, the charger will go with it." Really? Why wouldn't the buyer just get a newer, up-to-date unit? Why wouldn't the buyer keep their old one, presumably they'd be getting another EV, right? Won't most car owners eventually need multiple EVSEs of their own, to charge each EV (talking about multi-car households of the future)? EVSEs are kind of like parking spaces - you need to have as many as the number of users you expect. Sometimes, every EVSE will be used... and sometimes those EVSE will be empty. There will be a point where we've overbuilt the EVSE infrastructure, just like we have with massive parking lots. At least the centralized station concept of a hydrogen refueling network allows the infrastructure to be more flexible in responding to changes in demand.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          I really did not bring up the whole BEV vs. FCV historical funding comparison, you did. It was a valid point, if you were asking why I do NOT have a problem with the amount of money batteries were getting. Which is not the case. Either way, I don't have to cite anything and do your research for you. You cited a PluginCars.com article which did not have any sources listed... so your information is incomplete. My "claim" was nothing more than a counter to your incomplete citation. Besides, this was not even the point I was making, and you are side tracking the argument. I don't care how much R&D for either Batteries or Fuel Cells have gotten in the past... I care how much money public Hydrogen or charging INFRASTRUCTURE "will get in the future". Charging infrastructure can and will grow organically in parallel with EV sales and won't need massive spending, hydrogen will.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "There's not really a difference, then in creating a tax credit to subsidize hydrogen infrastructure." and "...the larger public benefits more from public hydrogen stations that anyone can use.." Not at all true. The Chicken and the Egg problem is REAL. When a person buys a home charger, they WILL charge their car with it. Even if they sell their car, the charger will go with it. When a corporation builds a series of Hydrogen stations... there might not be any FCV drivers around to visit them. The stations get shut down for lack of demand, and the money is lost. Like EV startups.. most will fail. And that tax-payer money, is gone down the drain.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "Automakers also spend Billions, making Concept cars for showrooms that, 99% of which, never make it to production." "They are indeed preparing for, and are ready for, 2015 to produce FCVs.... " There you go, that's the kind of stuff I'm talking about! How much does a Concept Car generally cost, again? Billions, you say? At least you acknowledge that the automakers can build FCVs when the market is ready. No point in making them if there's no infrastructure, I agree. How fortunate then that there's a massive amount of cooperation going on between the energy companies and the government agencies getting the finer points hammered out.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "There have been a LOT of money going toward Hydrogen and Fuel Cells that did not go through the DOE." You made the claim, now make with the citations. Please show where the US government spent money funding hydrogen programs outside of the DoE. Please don't include the billions I've already referred to coming from private R&D, since you've already argued that those billions are insubstantial and doesn't indicate any actual commitment or risk on the part of the automakers. I believe you referred to it as an "advertisement", that they are technological leaders.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          " Charging infrastructure can and will grow organically in parallel with EV sales and won't need massive spending, hydrogen will." There is some disagreement about that. The cost per car for each type of infrastructure is at the least comparable in cost. Currently, each individual home EVSE gets a substantial percentage of its cost paid for through tax credits and other subsidies. There's not really a difference, then in creating a tax credit to subsidize hydrogen infrastructure. Especially when you consider the larger public benefits more from public hydrogen stations that anyone can use, instead of single-unit private installations at home or proprietary systems that only allow specific owner groups, a la Tesla Supercharger. http://www.cleancaroptions.com/Fuel_Infrastructure_costs_electricity_vs_hydrogen.pdf
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "I would not have a problem with that normally... but the Lobbying efforts to get public money has been appalling. I don't much care what industries do with each other... but to hype up hydrogen just to get us addicted to the next fuel that they control... not my idea of free enterprise." The amount of money spent on hydrogen programs pales in comparison to that spent on batteries. "The Department of Energy has spent over $2 billion (less than 1% of the total DOE budget) during the last 10 years on fuel cell and hydrogen research, development and demonstration." http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/12017_historical_fuel_cell_h2_budgets.pdf In 2009, batteries alone received $2 Billion in government funding. For 2011, 2012, 2013, another Billion. It doesn't behoove you to pretend that companies building BEVs aren't chasing government money, either. Even Tesla admits that a large portion of their actual income comes not from selling cars, but from selling pollution credits. http://www.plugincars.com/doe-budget-bonanza-battery-builders-112594.html
        n.bob2
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dwight Bynum Jr.
        You'd think so but most of the time the joint ventures fail big time.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dwight Bynum Jr.
        Toyota has been very active with their HFC prototype fleet. The sedan they plan to put into production will use an improved version of the fuel cell system found in the FCHV-adv, which is based on the Highlander and has demonstrated ranges in excess of 400 miles on a single fill. http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/toyota_fchv-adv_range_verification.pdf
      alistair.dillingham
      • 1 Year Ago
      Commercialization was "10 years from now" for m any years during the 90s, then they got sober and changed it to "20 years from now" the last 12 years.... Translation: NEVER.
        EVdriver
        • 1 Year Ago
        @alistair.dillingham
        Exactly! Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and always will be. :)
          Dave
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVdriver
          "Makes much more sense to pipe and store electrons on-board...." A battery does not store electrons. A battery stores chemical potential energy. And so does a tank of hydrogen.
          alistair.dillingham
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVdriver
          Seeing your name, don't have the illusion that EVs are the vehicles of the future either.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVdriver
          Downmarking also has the advantage that it does not employ either intelligence nor reason. Way to go.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVdriver
          @alistair I do believe that "EVs are the vehicles of the future" Definitely. But batteries (electric energy storage) still have a ways to go for primetime [cost, life, weight, volume - (in that order)]. We need to be working on electric power and distribution for the future. More nukes, more renewable energy, more CCGT (efficient use of Natural Gas) power plants. We've already got the electrons coming to every home in America. Fuel cells (if we waste even more money on them) will be obsoleted by much better electric energy storage. Makes much more sense to pipe and store electrons on-board than hydrogen or NG or methanol, or oil, or coal,,,,
          Dave
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVdriver
          Combined cycle plants are good, but not as good as youre giving them credit for. http://www.energy.ca.gov/2011publications/CEC-200-2011-008/CEC-200-2011-008.pdf The newest combined cycle plants in California, according to that publication, have an average heat rate of 7176 BTU/kwh. That works out to 47.6% efficiency. 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]" Getting that kind of efficiency is extremely expensive. Its a serious case of diminshing return on investment.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVdriver
          "We need to be working on electric power and distribution for the future. More nukes, more renewable energy, more CCGT (efficient use of Natural Gas) power plants." Ironically, many of the electrons that will be delivered to homes of the near future will be generated by fuel cell powerplants, cleaner and even more efficient than combined cycle gas turbines. http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/24176
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVdriver
          errrrrrrrrrrrrr CCGTs are right at 60% burning pretty much right out of the ground NG (ok, let's remove some of the stuff we can sell at a greater profit like propane and butane) FCs are closing in on 60% !!! But somebody's forgeting all the upstream stuff to get ultra pure H2 from the NG (reformer +++), and less pure O2 to the FC. Reformer: 78% efficient? Then there's several other anxiilliary devices necessary to condition/separate/filter/thermal control/etc. at this time -- overall NG to e- from FC ~~40% efficient.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVdriver
          That's an excellent point ! It would indeed be much more efficient to store the electrons without the chemical conversions. Will happen. Current methods (like Li-based and FCs) not nearly an order of magnitude better than PbA and NiFe of 100 years ago.
      • 1 Year Ago
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      • 1 Year Ago
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        Levine Levine
        • 1 Year Ago
        At today\'s prices, petro is cheaper than hydrogen. At some point in the future, the mass produced hydrogen will equal or cheaper than petro. And there may be government penalty for driving a ICE beyond a certain annual miles and even more expensive air pollution controls. Fuel cell is definitely in the future. Better start now.
        EVnerdGene
        • 1 Year Ago
        "mass produced hydrogen will equal or cheaper than petro" Where will this cheap H2 come from ?
          ryan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          natural gas.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          "There are also hundreds of fuel cell cars which have done hundreds of thousands of miles." Minor correction: They've done millions of miles, at this point. GM alone has logged over a million in their Project Driveway Program. Their Opel division has 2 million miles in their testing. Mercedes has done nearly 3 million in their various FCVs. Toyota's fleet is also in the multi-million mile range.
          usbseawolf2000
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          It is better to convert natural gas to hydrogen and use it in FCV than converting NG to electricity and use it in BEV. Check out the well-to-wheel comparison studies.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          it would be far more efficient* just to burn the NG in your car, and a lot less costly umpteen studies ? *NG conversion to H2 - what do you do with all the released C's ? Because of the inefficiency of the process, you'll actually be releasing more C's in making H2 than if just combusting the NG. "Check out the well-to-wheel comparison studies" OK, where? Do you have a credible source? Popular Mechanics (the National Enquirer of technical magazines) doesn't count. BTW: Biggest problems with both NG and H2 use in cars is cost and volume to store it on-board. Efficiency of storage - takes energy to compress. Takes alot more energy for liquefaction. "The car of the perpetual future"
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          It doesn't really make any difference linking the umpteen studies showing exactly the many sources for cheap or reasonably priced hydrogen, and you simply ignore them and repeat the same old, same old.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          You are prejudice, I am prejudice, and the DOE is prejudice. With 16,000 employees, over 90,000 contractors, and an annual budget of $24BILLION with a B budget; I don't think you'll find anyone at the DOE saying "H2 is folly - no need to have that program. Let's cut it and return the money to the Treasury Dept.." Fat chance. I have prejudices based on pragmatism - typical engineer. No emotions, no politics (except I am very concerned about flushing even more deficit spending down ratholes). And you want to build H2 distribution systems for cars that . . . How many FCEVs are on the road in the US ? Fuggin' nuts. Hey, why don't you be the Elon Musk of H2 cars? Build some prototypes and go to Wall Street and raise money (skip the ATVM loans - if you have a really good idea, private markets will invest all the money you need). While you're at it; build some refueling stations just for your cars.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          I'm only referring to automotive uses of FCs. 53 to 59% efficiency - as per NREL. (note that is "minus auxiliary systems"), meaning FC only, not reformer, etc. I was also considering reforming on-board. If you reformed at home, you'd compress and store at home, and then store on-board also? (don't answer, I really don't care) If you built local hydrogen production facilties (using existing NG distribution), you'd definitely have to build hi-pressure storage facilities. If you reformed in Baytown Texas, or maybe Alberta; you'd have to build an entirely new distribution system for the H2. Then also local distribution, further compression, and storage. Billions and Billions; and fraught with technical problems/challenges, safety issues, terrorists targets?. Nuff said ? - - - Butt, no one has commented that you'd still be releasing dastardly CO2 upon reforming. If that is high up on your list of dastardly deeds, then only H2 from electrolysis is a viable alternative. Yow; where do you get the electric power? From burning NG or coal ? Yes, sounds like a good use for wind and solar - make H2 whenever the wind blows and sun shines Why don't you just use your clean alt-power to drive EVs directly instead of going thru the long chain of inefficiencies? H2 economy is a utopian dream. So far all wet. Eight (8) public H2 charging stations in California. Here's a map: http://cafcp.org/index.php?q=stationmap Chicken and egg? Let's spend billions of money borrowed from China to build hydrogen stations ! In the late 1990's there were over 200 public EV charging stations in SoCal alone. I used many of them - - - burnt a lot of hours in Walmarts.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Davemart, Do you have another source for the fuel cell efficiency? The one from Wikipedia has a bad link and I can't confirm that. You mentioned a Panisonic fuel cell, could you post that? I want to verify. All the fuel cells that I have seen from electrolysis to steam reformation are usually around 55-60% efficient. If you know of one that is better, I would like to see it. If you put in 60% for your calculation for fuel cell car total efficiency you would get around 860 Wh/mi which is really close to 900 Wh/mi. So efficiency of either car is almost dead even. The biggest difference then would be infrastructure. Electric is already in place, hydrogen would cost millions if not billions of dollars. Average for the grid is probably around 33%, but that also means that some places are better and others are worse. Just depends on where you live. California efficiency is a little higher so that could bring that 900 Wh/mi figure down to maybe 800 Wh/mi (37.2% grid efficiency). That would make it more efficient than the fuel cell. The thing about the internet is that you can find almost anything to support your ideas
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          EV, For a brief time I thought you might actually have something logical or reasonable to say. You have certainly put a stop to that delusion. You simply ignore extensive linked research by the DOE indicating that fuel cells would use natural gas around twice as efficiently as your pet hobby horse of 'simply' using natural gas in ICE engines, and go rambling on about 'difficulties' you have invented. You also completely ignore that refuelling would likely take place at a station, to blather on about 'difficulties' in home refuelling, and storage, when the stations already in operation do it perfectly adequately. I don't care what you 'think' as on present showing, there is no evidence at all that you do. You have a prejudice, and mere evidence and reason is not going to sway you.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Hi Jesse. Around 60% efficiency in cars is about right, as the reforming is done elsewhere. PEMs for homes and cars are very similar, except for the reforming, so the figures for home fuel cells which are usually shown to include reforming losses need adjusting. Home fuel cells are also not so optimised for electricity production as they often need the heat at least as much as the electricity. Here is a paper from Panasonic, a bit old now, on their home fuel cell efficiency: http://juwel.fz-juelich.de:8080/dspace/bitstream/2128/4236/1/ST2_7_korr1_Kusumura.pdf We are talking about 40% post reforming. LHV is the relevant metric as the water comes out as steam. Another link showing that we are talking about ~60% in cars: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/alternative-fuels/fuel-cell3.htm I didn't set out to show that fuel cells are more efficient than batteries, that is just how the numbers come out, I personally refer to them as ball park around the same as batteries. Increasing the efficiency of the grid for a start costs a fortune, way more than the costs of building a hydrogen infrastructure that everyone is so frightened about, secondly is difficult, and thirdly sometimes doesn't much matter. As an example, present nuclear reactors are around 32% efficient, and that won't change short of building new HT reactors. You then have 7% grid losses in the US, so overall the 20% of the US grid which comes from nuclear is providing power at the plug at around 25% efficiency. That also does not matter much at all, as it is virtually carbon free and very cheap once the build is paid for. NG can also be burnt very efficiently to provide power, but this is not increasing both because gas is cheap so no one is investing in more efficient equipment, and because more wind and solar mean it is used increasingly only part time as back up. My concern is not to come up with absolute numbers for either, but to nail the nonsense that batteries use power several times as efficiently as fuel cells. They don't.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          LTAW: Thanks for the correction. I guessed as much, but couldn't be bothered to look it up, and so deliberately low-balled it. There is no point in giving grist to the mill of those who will leap on any chance to claim that FCEVs are being misrepresented.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          "Hey, why don't you be the Elon Musk of H2 cars? Build some prototypes and go to Wall Street and raise money (skip the ATVM loans - if you have a really good idea, private markets will invest all the money you need). While you're at it; build some refueling stations just for your cars." You've really gone off the rails here. Even Tesla wouldn't have made it this far without half a Billion in government loans. Heck, GM, Ford and Nissan wouldn't be producing their EVs (PHEVs) without help.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Disagree completely and absolutely: Tesla didn't need the gov'ment loans. Yes, it would have been tougher, requiring much more leg-work, but he could have and is raising all the money he needs in private markets. Yeah, gov'ment money helped with credibility and happypress. Tesla started out smack in the middle of VC paradise, a huge bankroll, and lots of buds with huge bankrolls. Now Frisker ? He definitely needed the greenfantasymoney.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          EVnerd said: 'NGcar = NG - pipe to home - compress into on-board tanks - combust H2car = NG - pipe to home - compress into on-board tanks - reform - fuel cell + some battery storage (accumulator) for surge needs - inverter - driver - motor = a complex and expensive system If we had some good numbers for the efficiency of all of these processes we could do a good comparison. My numbers show a near wash. What's the use in all the complexity and cost ?' We don't need them. If possible I try to avoid as much as I can of the complications of theoretical calculations, when we have real world numbers to guide us. We have. The Toyota FCEV gets 68mpge. The Highlander on which it is based gets around 25mpg, and natural gas vehicles are no more efficient than petrol. So that is around 2.7 times as efficient. The same natural gas pipes can be used for either, and both need compressing, so the only difference is the energy for reforming. I have provided extensive referenced links on that elsewhere in the thread. The bottom line is that it is at least twice as efficient to use hydrogen for transport as NG, even allowing for reforming. In many places in Europe the reforming heat will be used for district heating, so the efficiency is around 2.5 times better.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          The natural gas infrastructure is already in place. Butt, don't get me wrong; I'm not such a proponent of NG either, just less sold on H2. NGcar = NG - pipe to home - compress into on-board tanks - combust H2car = NG - pipe to home - compress into on-board tanks - reform - fuel cell + some battery storage (accumulator) for surge needs - inverter - driver - motor = a complex and expensive system If we had some good numbers for the efficiency of all of these processes we could do a good comparison. My numbers show a near wash. What's the use in all the complexity and cost ? FCsystem efficiencies are increasing. We could increase the efficiency of the combustion of NG also. Neither method is a substantial inprovement over the status quo. Gotta be a better way. Nothing about H2 looks so promising; now or in the future. BTW: I'm not such a BEV proponent either. Been working in the industry for 23 years. Thought it was the holy grail when younger and plugged-in many cars. Hybrids look better all the time. Maybe I should change my handle to EVhybridnerdGene ? I'll be more excited about EVs when we have a significant improvement in energy storage - beyond Li. BTW2: CCGT NG power plants 60% efficient. That's a game changer. If I were SecOfEnergy - I-B rubber stampin' Infrastructure for H2 = start from scratch, hydrogen embrittlement, compression losses, losses in general ('lil H2 leaks), significant safety issues, massive volumes = high pressure necessity = complexity + $$$ Reformer ? We haven't even touched on the subject of how complex and "sensitive" the reformer is. Purity of H2? Contaminants in air? Separate O2? Humidity control? Heat? Corrosion? Maintenance? Complexity? Cost? 2015 ready for prime time? I won't do a LOL; hate 'em.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          If you are genuinely new to the forum, then your comments are comprehensible. If that is not the case, then they are simply daft. Rather than linking one of the many, many studies of relative energy efficiency, here are calculations supported by references which I have made: Efficiencies of BEV and Fuel Cells The Leaf wall to wheels gets around 3.4 miles/kwh: http://www.plugincars.com/economy-efficiency-nissan-leaf-my-experience-after-3-months.html That is about 300wh/mile. The US grid is around 33% efficient: http://cleantechnica.com/2008/06/26/electricity-generation-efficiency-its-not-about-the-technology/ That includes around 7% transmission losses: http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=105&t=3 So the total energy consumed by a BEV is around 900wh/mile The Toyota SUV FCEV does 68mpge in tested normal driving conditions: http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/toyota_fchv-adv_range_verification.pdf At 33.3kwh/kg (LHV) hydrogen that is 2.04 miles/kwh That is 490Wh/mile for a larger vehicle Losses for transmitting natural gas are around 1.4%: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Natural_gas_transmission_leakage_rates The efficiency of NG reforming is put by Wiki at 65-75%: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_reforming Even Panasonic's home reformer gets 69-77% (LHV) depending on load though, so it seems reasonable to assume that commercial reforming will do at least as well. Taking 75% and allowing a generous ~10% for compression losses, actually by 2015 likely to be 5%: http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/review12/pd048_lipp_2012_o.pdf Then the efficiency of hydrogen production and compression for vehicle use is ~70% So the total energy needed to power the Toyota which will go into production is 700Wh/mile for a bigger vehicle. IOW there is nothing in it for the energy efficiency of fuel cell vehicles and battery ones. That is the position at the moment, but the efficiency of the production of electricity for the grid could be increased, as massive cost as you are talking about upgrading a huge existing system. As if often pointed out, the infrastructure for hydrogen will have to be built anyway. That means that it is a lot easier to build the most efficient system. This is what is being done in this new Audi plant, which uses electrolysis to produce hydrogen before combining it with CO2 to create methane: http://fuelcellsworks.com/news/2012/12/20/topping-out-ceremony-for-the-audi-e-gas-plant/ Note that they are capturing the waste heat which with local production of hydrogen can be used in the excellent German district heating systems, and could be used for factories etc in the US. Counting the use of the heat produced either in natural gas reformation or in electrolysis then efficiencies can hit something of the order of 80% or so.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Hi EVnerd: When you say the infrastructure is in place for NG you are talking about the pipelines, not the stations: ' "The question becomes, if an infrastructure is going to be built, will the investment be made in natural gas or in hydrogen." The questions is already being answered. California is already moving toward hydrogen, and since the challenge with CNG is the charge time – the time it takes to pressurize a pump, "similar with what you have to do with hydrogen, the cost of that infrastructure is very, very similar. I just don't know how much investment there will be in CNG refueling stations," ' http://green.autoblog.com/2012/11/28/toyotas-jim-lentz-future-wireless-charging-cng-hydrogen/ There is some premium ATM for a hydrogen station, but that is to be expected at this stage in the technology. The already existing infrastructure for NG pipelines can be used if hydrogen is reformed at the station. You mention piping to the home and reforming there. I am not aware of any plans to do so other than a couple of 'out there' speculations from Honda. You will get your hydrogen from a petrol station with a hydrogen pump, not fuel up at home Germany is in a rather different situation to the US, as they already have around 900 NG stations, but they don't get frightened by building out more infrastructure and what is more can likely make use of the heat from reforming in their excellent district heating systems, so the gap in efficiency becomes even greater against using NG in ICE vehicles. It may prove more economic to produce hydrogen centrally, but clearly the ability to produce the hydrogen locally makes the case for hydrogen distribution in any case. If we do need to pump hydrogen around then embrittlement is far from a show stopper, as we have been doing that for decades and although there are issues they are perfectly able to be overcome with well understood engineering. There is an epic discussion of piping hydrogen here, during the course of which I dug out umpteen references to present practise: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/10/ap-20121024.html Issues of hydrogen purity are well under control. There are many thousands of PEMs being used in homes in Japan already, and deal successfully with purification. There are also hundreds of fuel cell cars which have done hundreds of thousands of miles. An ICE car, complete with high temperature exhaust system, catalytic converters etc is more complex than a fuel cell system, so I don't understand your argument about complexity. That is why fuel cells performed so well in hurricane Sandy, as they started with one sole exception, unlike diesels which often didn't, and that is the reason they are becoming standard for remote locations operating unattended, and offer much enhanced reliability for mobile phone masts etc. To be clear, I would be perfectly happy if we manage to develop a lithium/air battery or some such and used that extensively, or fuel cells.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      'The last we heard of Toyota's fuel cell technology, it was in the FCV-R Concept that we saw at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, but there is no word how far along in development this system is.' Hmm. To lighten ABG's darkness somewhat: 'Toyota, meanwhile, has dramatically scaled back its plans for battery vehicles. The eQ, Toyota’s all-electric version of the iQ initially slated for mass production, will now see a very limited production run of about 100. "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge," Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's Vice Chairman commented on the 24 of September. Enter the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). In an interview five days later, Gerald Killmann of Toyota Europe said that the company is planning to begin series production of a fuel cell Toyota Prius in 2014, and from 2015 to market the car in Japan, the US and Europe. Of course challenges remain; Toyota is relying on policy support to ensure these early markets have sufficient hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, while the company itself needs to bring the cost of the car down substantially, cutting 30 to 40% off the current ‘price’ of just under €100,000 – but this is clearly considered achievable. As for pure electric vehicles, Toyota, Killmann said, will revisit battery cars “when better batteries become available”.' http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/analysis/analyst-views/2012/12-10-10-fuel-cell-vehicles-not-a-dream-but-a-plan
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DaveMart
        To further clarify the infrastructure Toyota says is needed for their plans to work is being built. For Japan alone, 100 stations by 2015: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/05/japanh2-20120727.html Plenty of more stations are being built in South Korea, Germany, Scandinavia, and California amongst other places.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      zap
      • 1 Year Ago
      Continued investment in fuel cells is a criminal waste of shareholders money. By the time 2020 comes around battery EVs will have the lingering range and cost issues beat, and the fuel-cell sideshow will be well and truly done.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @zap
        Batteries and fuel cells are not in direct competition. They can both exist in the marketplace. Likewise, the work put into developing fuel cell vehicles has led to advances that has benefitted the introduction of BEVs; Honda specifically utilizes many advances from their Clarity program in their new BEVs.
          MTN RANGER
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Also, there is no reason you can't have a BEV with a fuel cell range extender. Granted it would be expensive.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          FC-PHEV would probably be an eventuality. But as batteries get cheaper and better... the range extender plays less of a role. It will never go away completely... but with a limited role, there is no good business case for building new H2 stations. For range extenders.... low emissions and cheap refueling cost are not as important as availability, since they are used some of the time (less than 30% for a 35mile AER PHEV) and mostly for trips out of town. So placement of H2 stations is another non starter. Why would anybody build an H2 station for a group of PHEV driver that get 80 or more miles on the battery. That is VERY LOW demand for the fuel. We are very likely to see gasoline PHEV take the lead for a while. IC engines are MUCH cheaper than FC stacks and H2 tanks. And the fuel is already completely available and omnipresent. Not many driver will justify the extra cost and lower availability, just so they can drive their 30% or less, on Hydrogen instead of Gasoline. It won't be so much less cost per mile to justify the change.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "FC-PHEV would probably be an eventuality. But as batteries get cheaper and better... the range extender plays less of a role. It will never go away completely... but with a limited role, there is no good business case for building new H2 stations." I think it would make the business case for hydrogen stations even better. They'd need less equipment, and smaller tanks, which would keep capital costs to an absolute minimum.
      EVnerdGene
      • 1 Year Ago
      Toyota gets the prize for the most fugley nose of 2013 - so far.
        Dave
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        ".....the FCV-R Concept that we saw at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show...."
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        Are you DF? Someone said you were, but, I just don\'t see it. I haven\'t heard any \'lightweight and aero\' from you, and I am sure that at some point, it would simply have to slip out.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE
          @ EZEE.. Yes indeed ! Spec is quite right ! It's the little troll back from exile. Personally, I think this time around he's a bit more subdued,(although he's growing bolder). Although I didn't miss DF deranged postings, I disliked the manner in which he was banned even more. (sigh) If DF is the price we have to pay for the privilege of free speech, I suppose it's worth it ! I not that I have any fondness for DF, I just dislike his enemies more.
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      It occurs to me that what fuel cells really need, is a story by Fox News on how they won\'t work. No really, hear me out.... From the beginning of time, everyone hated ethanol. Except Carney, and one other (name slips my mind). Everyone talked about how ethanol was terrible, produced less energy than it took to produce, used up land, too much water to produce, cats and dogs, living together.... Then, Fox News did a story on it, and everyone talked about how COOL ethanol was. Save the world. Funding terrorists (the oil we buy from those dastardly Canadians, with their Maple Syrup, and the Mexicans, who hurl tortillas at us in moments of anger), death, global warming, and ethanol would save us all! So, we need Fox to do a story on Fuel Cells - and, all will be forgotten - except for Carney - and the other guy that likes this stuff. Name slips my mind...(Carney is easy to remember...cotton candy...rides....missing teeth)...
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        Uhm, it was everyone in the room that talked about cool ethanol.... Do I have to link to the story?
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE
          What the heck, here is a sampling...: Electron Sounds like Big Oil is really mobilizing its network in its war on ethanol. I reckon in the short to medium term ethanol is a much bigger potential threat to their massive investment in ever more marginal oil sources than batteries are. A theoretical 100% shift from E10 to E15 means loosing 5% of the market right there, a change batteries will not be able to bring about for many years to come. January 10 2013 at 2:01 PM +1 Levine Levine Model T ran on ethanol. Others, too, followed the leader. But octaane was a garbage from refinery looking for a customer. Put in tetraethyl lead to stop knocking and foul spark plug, and you got the auto makers interested. More tune-ups, Gum- up fuel system. More profit for Big 3. Everybody was happy. Even the ignorant consumer. January 10 2013 at 1:35 PM brotherkenny4 Back in the seventies when Jimmy Carter created the DOE and set goals to get us off foriegn oil, the then percieved "oil crisis" was simply just an unexpected increase in oil prices that the ranting public demanded a resolution to. However, the price of oil in real dollars was not actually that bad and there was no chance that anything would stand a chance of replacing it as our transportation fuel. The oil industry really had no threat and so people could rant and the politicians would act like they were outraged and the oil companies would act like they were concerned and the price would go up slightly and people would still pay for it. We are in a different time now. Because of the price of gas now, there are several things that stand a chance of replacing oil (sure, all expensive, but so is oil and it will only get more expensive). Therefore, we should expect more vitreol and misdirection and untruths than we did in the past because the monster oil is actually under real threat of replacement unless they can totally brainwash everyone. Oh yes, remember that the Saudis are big investers in FOX. Why anyone would even think FOX would support anything but oil is beyond me. They do what the boss says they should do, and that is defend oil. January 10 2013 at 12:37 PM +4
      Ashton
      • 1 Year Ago
      hydrogen fuel cells might be the way of the future...for aircraft, but not cars. Like "Zap" said, EV's will be great by 2020, quick charge times, lower costs, & range. HFC don't stand a chance.
        Val
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ashton
        Also long haul trucks and cargo ships sound promising.
        kant
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ashton
        I'm not convinced that batteries will be much different in 7 years. We've had batteries for more then a century now. We've had handheld gadgets in our everyday lives for more since the 70's and we've had cellphones using Li-ion batteries for since the 90's. Yet battery tech has progressed pretty slowly. The longevity/recharge time/capacity hasn't changed much over the last couple of decades and there's really no reason to expect it to jump dramatically in the next 7 years.
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @kant
          @kant A quick google will tell you 18650s are a standard sized battery cell (18mm diameter, 65mm long = 18650). And comparing to processors are a strawman. Most tech do not progress as fast as processors did. Plus they have already reached their "limit" which is why we are using multiple cores instead. Batteries are still far from reaching their theoretical limits (esp. lithium air and lithium sulfur) and they don't need to progress at the same rate to make BEVs match gas vehicles. Fact is we do not need 200x growth to make BEVs viable. For ICE technology, gasoline density doesn't change and average efficiency have still been at around 20-30 mpg giving a range of about 400-500 miles for a typical car. The Model S gets 265 miles of EPA range using 3100mAh 18650s. Even 2x that will give 530 miles of range. 200x will give 53000 miles of range and I seriously don't think that is necessary for viable BEVs. In terms of charging speed, charging speed is 265mph (EPA) for a Model S using a supercharger. That already allows road trips to be viable (about one 30 minute stop every 3 hours). Double the speed and the time drops to a 15 minute stop per 3 hours, which is about the same as my schedule for a roadtrip in an ICE car.
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @kant
          "The longevity/recharge time/capacity hasn't changed much over the last couple of decades" Please define "haven't changed much". Let's look at laptop 18650 batteries alone: 1994 $10 1100mAh = $9/Ah 2001 $2 1900mAh = $1.05/Ah 2012 $2 3400mAh (NCR18650B) $0.58/Ah http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/understanding_lithium_ion We've had a 3x increase in capacity since the mid 1990s (a span of two decades), and a 5x drop in price per cell (15x drop in price per Ah). I would call that pretty dramatic. And there are new chemistries still being researched. Lithium iron phosphate, Lithium–titanate came out only about 5 years ago and they offer unmatched life (2000+ cycles vs 300-500 cycles), discharge power (30C discharge vs 2C), charging speed (10 minute vs 1 hour).
          • 1 Year Ago
          @kant
          [blocked]
          kant
          • 1 Year Ago
          @kant
          Well, first comparing batteries to a technology that has grown up along side it and has to coexist with batteries is not a straw man argument. It's showing comparative growth rates. A straw man argument would have been if I used a potato battery as the representative example for all batteries, then said that batteries are useless. Second, processors have NOT hit their limit. The reason we've grown toward multiple cores is because of bottlenecks in other places in computing (usually network speeds/transfer speeds). Which means having multiple cores working on multiple jobs is more efficient use of time then one core working on one job albeit very quickly. gas milage has stayed pretty stay, true. But horse power has sky rocketed. Meaning engines today are more efficient at extracting more energy from gasoline, we just chose to convert it into high power. Also keep in mind that cars have gotten significantly heavier, which means more energy is needed to move a car the same distance. Finally, yes batteries will get bigger. I never said they wouldn't . But if you quick charge them, their longevity plumets. The Model S's batteries cost $12,000 (Tesla's numbers) to replace. They have an 8 year warranty on the batteries so lets assume that's the expected lifespan of the battery pack. quick charging Li-ion batteries will cut it's life expectancy to 1/3 of the original time span. So for tesla that's just under 3 years. Spending $12k on a car every 3 years just to use it like a normal car isn't acceptable for most people. I'm not sure of your opinion on hydrogen, but in my view that's a much more viable solution. It has some major hurdles to overcome (cost, infrastructure) but it doesn't suffer from the same fundamental problems batteries do. Batteries are fine as secondary energy storage medium but not as the primary one.
          kant
          • 1 Year Ago
          @kant
          Typo, It should read 2012 for Ivy bridge. Not 2010
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @kant
          Nice thread on battery tech. However, we need something way beyond what Li-based are capable of.
      • 1 Year Ago
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        M-M
        • 1 Year Ago
        You realize that Toyota is developing this for more uses than just their auto division right? They have many application in their heavy industry division for it as well. They can split R&D costs among their different divisions. BMW is a VERY small company in comparison to Toyota's entire enterprise.
        throwback
        • 1 Year Ago
        It's not that they can't. It is about at what cost? That is why car companies do joint development deals, to share costs. Toyota and Ford are jointly developing a hybrid system for light trucks. They each could do one on their own, but the cost would be prohibitive.
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          BMW developed their hybrids with the help of GM.
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          So you're saying GM's Two-Mode hybrid system is based on Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive?
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        Toyota uses Tesla licensed and built technology in its EVs. Toyota also uses BMW technology in its sports cars. These partnerships and licensing agreements are common in the automotive industry. No car maker has the resources to develop every single technology on their own, and even if they did, patents would prevent them from doing so.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          [blocked]
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          I don't think that has ever been disclosed. In 2012, BMW and Toyota partnered. BMW to get access to Toyota's hybrid tech, and Toyota to get access to BMW's sport tech. http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/analysis/toyota-bmw-expand-partnership-to-sports-cars-green-technologies.html
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          [blocked]
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