Those looking to spice up a dinner party should seat John Krafcik and Carlos Ghosn next to each other should they get the opportunity. Krafcik, who runs North American operations for Hyundai, recently appeared to take a poker to the concept of battery-electric vehicles, which have long been espoused by Nissan-Renault chief Ghosn, and pushed his weight behind hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Krafcik, in an interview with Plug In Cars, noted that most EVs have to carry around about a half-ton of batteries, whether fully charged or tapped out. Additionally, batteries lose about one percent of their capacity each day they're not used, while recharging them from anything other than a quick charger takes far longer than refilling a fuel-cell vehicle with hydrogen. Krafcik said this all points to what he called "so much inherent waste and inefficiency" in battery electric vehicles.

Last month, Hyundai shipped the first production ix35 Fuel Cell (which will be known as the Tucson Fuel Cell when it arrives in the US) vehicles to Copenhagen, where they will be used as part of the city's municipal fleet and its efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions (fuel-cell vehicles emit water vapor). The automaker is planning on building 1,000 of the fuel-cell vehicles by 2015. Of course, Krafcik may be in for an uphill battle, as hydrogen refueling stations can cost as much as $2 million a pop to build. As a result, there are just 53 hydrogen refueling stations in the US, compared to the more than 18,000 public and private electric-vehicle charging stations, according to US Energy Department figures.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 109 Comments
      Scr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Both are stupid, expensive, and inefficient right now. We should be doing the easy swap to CNG until the tech gets worked out on this other crap, if it ever does. We've already screwed things up with the "ethanol answer."
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scr
        you clearly know nothing about compression and power, CNG is cleaner than gasoline, but it require more to burn when compress, for same power stroke. Check the ethanol cars in brazil, some have dual injectors and normal ICE have one, why, because it takes more ethanol to move the vehicle, because it a lighter fuel, it just comes like diesel and gasoline, diesel is heavier so it burn out less faster (last longer) than gas.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scr
        CNG is probably a good solution for fleets and long haul trucking on routes with fueling stations. But it doesn't work as well as electricity for light-duty vehicles. Home CNG filling stations are impractical due to the cost, noise, and maintenance issues. The EVSE stations for filling up EVs are pretty cheap and can run for decades with no maintenance.
        BraveLil'Toaster
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scr
        So, ah, who's going to work out the tech on this other crap without first manufacturing production models to work the tech out on in the first place? That's like, in 1980 saying "Computers are too heavy, expensive, and you can't just carry one around in your pocket. Let's keep doing spreadsheets by hand until they work that technology out".
      RC
      • 1 Year Ago
      It is a matter of priorities. H2 offers fast refuel and light weight. But it suffers in sustainability and when one looks at the bigger picture, it doesn't make sense. Almost all H2 is produces from hydrocarbons reformation. Electrolysis is a wasteful process that consumes 3 times the energy is stores. Hydrogen may have niche applications, but it's not the way forward.
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only a FOOL would push Hydrogen, and increase Fracking to get the natural gas needed to convert to hydrogen, in a time of RECORD HEAT WAVE across American, Canada and Britain. We're going to NEED our Water Supply, a NON-POLLUTED Water Supply to GROW FOOD, in the Few States that can Still Grow food. Record US DROUGHT: INTO IT'S 5TH YEAR. http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu And SHOCK, deep in the heart of Texas soon to be one of the Worst Droughts in US History, and Still the Oil Industry has spent ZERO DOLLARS Converting to Solar and Wind. Solar still scheduled to be Cheaper then ALL OTHER ENERGY SOURCES in 5 Years and 5 Months. The Clock is Ticking... But, Exxon WAIT, be the Last into Solar and Wind and pay a HUGE PRICE PREMIUM, Make Progressive Companies RICH!
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        Hey, have you been known as 'Ford Future' in a past life, by any chance?
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          You just figured that out?
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          2WM, even you have a few alts, admit it. That's not the first nom de plume you've used... /always been Letstakeawalk
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Obviously ;) But hey, if you are going to make claims, at least be ready to back them up.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      "What automakers are saying about fuel cell vehicles... Nissan: Carlos Ghosn, head of Renault‐Nissan: For him, the only real alternative is fuel cell cars running on hydrogen. Updated 11/2010 Available for downloading at: http://www.fuelcells.org/automaker_quotes.pdf Created by Fuel Cells 2000 "It is a very promising concept." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8501348.stm (2/9/2010) Mark Perry, Director of Product Planning: “Zero emission vehicles are clearly our focus and we believe it’s the future state of transportation. Some segments of the market in the near term may best be served by high efficiency internal combustion engines, diesels, hybrids or extended range electric vehicles [also known as plugin hybrids].” He added that these technologies are “all bridge technologies to the time when battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles can cover every market segment.” http://www.hybridcars.com/news/honda‐and‐nissanconsider‐plug‐hybrids‐25759.html (4/28/2009)" http://www.fuelcells.org/uploads/automaker_quotes.pdf
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        Dave, great astroturf job. Who do you think you're convincing though - seriously?
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I reject them outright? have i never in the past 5-6 years of commenting here explained my case as to why hydrogen has a lot of hurdles to clear and may never become a mature widely adopted technology? Who do you think you are fooling? come on dude, we have had discussions like this dozens of times!
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Certainly not the closed minds who reject FCVs outright.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I think you protest too much, 2WM. Obviously, you weren't convinced by Dave's post, so you choose to belittle him for posting it.
        JakeY
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        Yah for the power of selective quoting. Here's the full context of the quote: "Biofuel is better than gasoline, but it is far from as satisfying [environmentally] as electric cars." For him, the only real alternative is fuel cell cars running on hydrogen. "It is a very promising concept," he says, adding that for now, the associated costs are still too high. He is confident, however, that electric will prove to be the front-runner when more research and development has taken place. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/mobile/business/8501348.stm That's not a direct quote either, just paraphrasing. What he means is the order of preference is EVs, FCVs, biofuels, gasoline, but costs of FCVs are still far too high. The selective quote makes it sound like Ghosn is saying the only alternative technology (to gasoline) that works is fuel cell cars, but what he means is the only alternative to EVs are FCVs.
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JakeY
          @Dave Almost all automakers have investment in FCVs (at minimum an R&D budget). And they are looking to reduce that hydrogen R&D budget by doing development together (something that does not happen in the EV world). What matters is how much they are spending to make it a reality (as in factories and production). Hyundai's the only one doing that right now (with an attempt to pass the 1000 vehicle barrier), with Daimler coming second (only 200 targeted but they are at least investing in factories for fuel cells). You can kind of count Honda, but they lost all credibility in my mind when they promised a production fuel cell vehicle and end up with the pathetic volume of the Clarity. The rest are mostly talk for now.
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JakeY
          I think one important point to make, at the 2012 Paris motor show, nissan Terra concept FCV, nissan is ready, but nissan say fuel cell vehicle will be available when there are fuel cell stations. http://www.caranddriver.com/news/nissan-terra-concept-photos-and-info-auto-shows
          Dave
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JakeY
          Actions speak louder than words. Nissan continues to invest in HFCEVs.
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JakeY
          @Letstakeawalk I'm looking at Nissan-Renault, BMW, GM, Diamler, etc. going their own in EV development (investing in separate factories for batteries, motors, EV production etc). The major automakers are not signing agreements with each other like the recent hydrogen research agreements signed by multiple automakers jointly. There are no joint EVs being built, even for compliance purposes (somewhat surprisingly). I'm not talking about contracting out to third parties like Tesla or Magna, which also occurred previously for hydrogen vehicles (Ballard being the big one). @DaveMart He's clearly saying he believes in electric cars more than hydrogen ones, while the selective quote makes it seems like he only truly believes in hydrogen ones. That's the only point I'm making.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JakeY
          "And they are looking to reduce that hydrogen R&D budget by doing development together (something that does not happen in the EV world)." Tesla says, "Say whaaaat?" Mercedes farmed out BEVs to Tesla, so did Toyota. Ford farmed theirs out to Magna... Nissan and Renault went in together. Ford and GM have an ongoing project developing battery technology.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JakeY
          Yes.... ACTIONS speak louder. How much has Nissan Spent on BEVs over the last decade? And how much on their FCVs? How many BEVs has Nissan actually built, and sold... and how about FCVs? R&D and press releases are nice... but they don't signify real commitment. Just talk. In 2015, when H2 stations are still nowhere to be found in the U.S.... their talk can easily fade away.
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JakeY
          no fuel cell station, fuel cell are for the future that is what nissan is saying, probably 2020. Nissan, Ford and Diamler to build fuel cell in 2017, that could be actual a 2018 vehicle.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JakeY
          Jake Y: Your gloss on what Nissan 'really' mean when it says it supports fuel cells would start making sense if fuel cell cars were not electric just as battery cars are. My understanding is that Nissan is keen to switch to electric cars, and will use batteries or fuel cells without preference according to progress in the two technologies.
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      Before we wet our pants about hydrogen, We'd better watch GASLAND II, now on HBO. This fracking binge is Destroying the Property Values of Middle America. People are getting sick being surrounded by drilling rigs, as methane is released to dangerous breathing levels. And then there's the cancerous fluids used to frack. Now's the time to send you kid to school for a phd in the Cancer Field, This is a GROWING Industry. The frackers will be gone in 5-10 years, but the cancer will be there for 100! NPR is going to tell you Ho-Ho-Ho all those Farmers getting Rich ( Then Dying ). They don't tell you that towns are getting wiped out as their property value goes to ZERO.
        Jim
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        The problem with your comment is that it appears to focus on natural gas as the feedstock for hydrogen, while ignoring the fact natural gas is also the main fuel in America for generating electricity. Therefore, fracking (and the subsequent production of natural gas) is as closely tied to electric vehicles as it is to hydrogen vehicles. So the natural gas connection isn't the issue, since they are both connected. Rather, the issue is which is more efficient in a real well-to-wheel evaluation, and the answer to that is "electric vehicles."
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jim
          There's a reason Apple and Google are building Solar Farms Now. It's already cheaper for them on a commercial scale.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        We will find out the truth about fracking when those concrete casings start cracking decades later. The companies who profited from the gas extraction earlier will not be around to take the blame. This, like the superfund sites of yore, will not be paid for by the polluter, but the public. Thanks George Bush for those lovely exemptions to the clean water act!
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          You can downrate me but many problems down the road with nuclear power were put aside as well. If you have ever driven on a road or walked across a sidewalk, you'd know that concrete never holds it's shape forever. It will crack. It will crumble. Rain will fill those little narrow cylindrical fracking casings and wash the bad stuff up to the top and out the sides. Then that ends up in the ground water and on the soil. Maybe in rivers as well. There is nuclear waste that has escaped it's concrete / lead containers as well, out in the pacific northwest. This is fine if you think that the earth will only be around for another decade.. :(
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          :) I like when you say, "you can downrate me..." and I see a -1 next to the comment! The nuclear thing always confused me. I am old enough (dammit) to remember liberals world wide protesting nuclear power, and (rightly) pointing out that the waste lasts thousands of years. Waste dumbs have all of these symbols, so that if civilization collapses and people no longer speak any language we know of, they will see the symbols and realize that this is some bad stuff! As with any of this stuff, I have no emotional attachment, but I am curious as to how people can be SO against something, then talk about it like it is our life saving miracle cure. And no one wants to admit they are (or were) wrong.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        You may want to look at alternate sources than Fox and Gasland II. Part of the reason for the 'II' was that the one was filled with inaccuracies and outright distortions. To also say that fracking will be done in 5-10 years is most likely optimistic. New sources are being discovered everywhere, and Australia just had the biggest find in history. Australia, like the USA, is looking to become energy independent. I will leave it for you to say if this is good or bad (although note - many energy intensive companies, such as steel mills,mare returning to the USA, with good union jobs), but peak oil seems to be becoming a thing of the past. The famous blog, Oil Drum, just shut down.
      ffforte
      • 1 Year Ago
      The often quoted adage, "Hydrogen is the fuel of the future and always will be." still rings true. BEV's are here now and will quickly improve from a practical and economic standpoint way before fuel cells can attain any kind of practicality for mainstream automotive applications.
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      As Solar Panels drop in price, they've already past coal in India, natural gas is next. Solar will be cheaper then All Other Energy sources in 65 months, if not sooner. As an Energy Company CEO, are you going to build a Natural Gas Plant or a Solar Farm? With that time horizon?
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The anger and passion in some comments against H2 and FCV technology, is a very curious phenomenon ! What motivates all that passion ? If these commentators are so convinced that FCV technology will never prove useful, why get so upset ? If Hyundai is wrong, then it's only the shareholders and directors of Hyundai will pay the penalty when the product proves unsuccessful. John Krafcik is entitled to expound the reasons behind his choice of post-oil fuel technology, just as Carlos Ghosn and Elon Musk are entitled to offer a competitive vision future automotive transport. In the end, the it's the consumer who will (and should) decide. Science and technologies shouldn't become the same impassioned, irrational battlefields that have plagued mankind's political and religious beliefs. Getting tribal and yelling at each other over scientific research or technology development is pointless, (especially when it involves a consumer item). Inventing conspiracies and impassioned by irrational predictions of the future, is as crazy as walking around with a sign saying "hooray for my side" ! Personally, I favour EV's, but I don't automatically want to prohibit all competitive technologies or see them fail. Too often alternate energy discussions denigrate into bitter ferocious arguments, as proponents chose up sides, like children in a school yard, or football fans, and cheer a particular cause for long forgotten reasons, just to relish the experience of belonging to something. Like professional sport, the automotive industry is just a business. Faith based belief's and loyalties will always disappoint, as commercial realities will always take precedence. In the end, the objective is a cleaner environment, not a tribal victory !
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        "What motivates all that passion ?" Having to constantly rebut the same arguments that have been proven over and over again... to be false. Even in science, there is passion. Please stop trying to deflect the arguments given here, based on what you feel as "too emotional". Arguments should be based on "what" is said, not "how" they are said.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Ahh, Joeviocoe with his saviour-complex, a need to save us from ourselves because we don't understand why our arguments are (in his opinion) wrong. Which argument is his claiming is false? That FCVs work? That hydrogen can be made and distributed cheaply? That fuel cell stacks can be mass produced at low costs? That compressed hydrogen storage tanks are safe? I
      Acme Widgets
      • 1 Year Ago
      The future energy source in transportation is Hydrogen gas.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Acme Widgets
        There is no natural hydrogen capture technology. There's conversion technologies from water and from tracking natural gas. So hydrogen LOSES right there, as you lose energy in the conversion. Secondly, there are No Hydrogen Stations, virtually None, whereas 50% of Drivers have Electricity already in their garage.
        Jim
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Acme Widgets
        Hydrogen isn't really a "source" of energy, it is an intermediate energy storage medium. The "source" of energy with respect to hydrogen would be the natural gas from which it is derived, or in the case of "green" hydrolysis via solar the energy source would be solar. Hydrogen is a glorified gaseous phase battery. It stores power generated elsewhere.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jim
          Natural gas is also 'really' a storage medium for solar energy, assuming a biotic origin. If you are going to quibble, get your quibbles correct.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Acme Widgets
        Incorrect. The future energy source is pony magic and friendship.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Acme Widgets
        I love the above 3 responses.
        AndrewH
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Acme Widgets
        And it always will be.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hyundai's John Krafcik: I am bad at math.
      • 1 Year Ago
      chicago is a big market,needs hydrogen fueling stations to be built immediately.copenhagen denmark builds installs and is fueling cars in 48hrs.we can learn from them. the hydrogen car is ready to sell to the public and the public is ready to buy them ,but we need to be able to fill the tanks with hydrogen fuel.we are a large city with all the manpower that is needed to get the job done quickly.Chicago needs the hydrogen car ,busses . trucks and all types of industrial vechicles.lets get to work .[ the future is now]
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