Zero-emissions vehicle development has never focused purely on off-the-line acceleration. So when a research executive with Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler says it's Okay that companies like Toyota and Hyundai will have a head start selling hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, it's somewhat believable. But is Daimler really fine with being two years behind? It appears so.

Daimler plans on debuting its first fuel-cell vehicle in 2017, Automotive News says, citing an interview Automobilwoche had with Daimler's corporate research chief Herbert Kohler. The German automaker estimated about a decade ago that it would be able to get fuel-cell production costs down to an "acceptable" level in 2012, but it turns out that estimate was about five years too aggressive. Daimler originally started leasing out a limited number of its F-Cell hydrogen vehicles in the US for $849 a month, though later brought that down to $599 a month.

Daimler says it received a boost in its effort to accelerate fuel-cell powertrain development when it reached an agreement early last year with Nissan and Ford to work together on speeding up relevant powertrain technology. While Toyota's first fuel-cell vehicle in Japan is priced at almost $70,000 (before big government incentives kick in), Kohler says Daimler's first fuel-cell vehicle will be priced similar to a hybrid vehicle. Of course, that's a Mercedes-Benz hybrid we're talking about here, but still.


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  • 56 Comments
      jwfilippi
      • 5 Months Ago
      Video (Someone took down the video but the article still there) below of what is happening in California at municipal wastewater treatment plants using fuel cell technology to produce 3 value streams of electricity, hydrogen and heat all from a human waste! This is pretty impressive in my opinion for hydro-refueling infrastructure. "New fuel cell sewage gas station in Orange County, CA may be world's first" http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=8310315 "It is here today and it is deployable today," said Tom Mutchler of Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a sponsor and developer of the project. 2.8MW fuel cell using biogas now operating; Largest PPA of its kind in North America http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-archive/2012/october/28-mw-fuel-cell-using-biogas-now-operating-largest-ppa-of-its-kind-in-north-america Microsoft Backs Away From Grid http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/11/20/microsoft-backs-away-slowly-from-the-grid/ Hyundai "Tuscon" Fuel Cell Vehicle $499 per month w/ Free Fuel & Free Maintenance from Hyundai!!! (pure water for exhaust) https://www.hyundaiusa.com/tucsonfuelcell/ Toyota joins California Hydrogen Push in Station Funding - Bloomberg http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-01/california-awards-46-6-million-for-hydrogen-car-stations.html
      PeterScott
      • 5 Months Ago
      In contrast with the dificulty and enormouse subsidies it will take attempting to intiate/sustain FCV usage, NG vehicles seem to be reaching a tipping point: http://www.justmeans.com/node/58693 Big Diesel fleets are giving way to NG powered fleets. This is happening because unlike H2, NG is actually economically viable. Bus Fleets, Refuse Trucks, Cement Trucks and Long Hauls trucking fleets are switching, because the fuel is widely avaialable in more competetively priced than diesel. They actually save money switching. The constant refrain about the need for Hydrogen for big Diesel Repacements and Long haul trucking, rings hollow when those are already converting in large part to NG (the H2 feedstock). It is hard to imagine how FCVs will win back this market, with a more expensive vehicles, running on a more expensive fuel that is harder to store, and harder to transport and requires yet more expensive infrastructure. Hydrogen remains a utopian dream, where advocates cite claims about the future after the H2 infrastructure is already built, after the vehicles have already reached large scale mass production and all the costs are already driven down through massive economies of scale on all fronts. But what actually gets used, is what works and what is economical today. There is no getting to the magic H2-FCV endgame unless there is a real case for it today and unlike NG, there isn't that case for H2. There simply won't be enough subsidy dollars to compete with solutions that can stand on their own merits to build the H2 utopian endgame.
      Pancakes
      • 5 Months Ago
      I've seen the production of hydrogen from gas, it's extremely clean since you also get hydrogen from the gas. Of course, elecrolysis of water is also possible. Anyway, hydrogen cars are truly the future, all we need is the infrastructure now.
        Pancakes
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Pancakes
        from the steam* sorry, you get both hydrogen from the gas and the steam during production, which makes it extremely easy to extract
          paulwesterberg
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Pancakes
          If CO2 has value then why do oil companies flare off natural gas and allow all of that valuable CO2 to be released into the atmosphere? http://www.rtcc.org/2013/07/31/north-dakota-gas-flares-equal-to-a-million-extra-cars-on-road/
          Joeviocoe
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Pancakes
          @ Letstakeawalk @ Pancakes --"you get both hydrogen from the gas and the steam during production" Steam is not "something you get" from SMR.... it is something you "put in"... which means boiling water. Ideally, you already have steam from some other industrial process, but it ain't free. --"CO2 can be stored, and then used in other applications" That has been the Greenwashing Mantra for the past decade. Do you remember the whole "carbon sequestration" debacle? Or do people just forget when they rebadge and remarket something? Autoblog Comments Enhancer (ACE) v1.0.0 - bit.ly/Autoblog_Comments
          Letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Pancakes
          The CO2 can be stored, and then used in other applications. It has a value, so it won't be wasted.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Pancakes
          "CO2 can be stored, and then used in other applications" Like what, putting the fizz in all those sodas? Awesome!
          Marco Polo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Pancakes
          @ EVsuperhero, No energy technology is completely pollution free on a large scale. However, since you are so worried about the problem of CO2, there are over 100,000 ship burning marine grade number 6 (bunker) oil, each ship contributes more CO2 to the bio-sphere than 50 million cars ! HFCV technology has the potential to reduce that impact by up to 99.6% ! The conversion of just twenty vessels would offset the world entire passenger car fleet ! HFCV trucks and buses, large agricultural machinery etc, all have the potential to utilise HFCV technology. Not perfect, but infinitely superior to waiting for an ESD breakthrough which may not occur for many decades.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Pancakes
          Oops sorry guys our C02 capture unit broke down. Looks like we need to shut down for maintenance or just release it into the atmosphere. Please pay us more or we release. Thank you for driving our fossil fuel cell car.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Pancakes
          Flaring happens when there's no way to store or transport the natural gas. Your article makes it clear that the industry wants to reduce flaring, and take advantage of the value. "“Although the state’s oil and gas industry is stepping up its efforts to curb flaring, the total volume of flared natural gas continues to grow. Investors are looking for producers and regulators to take more aggressive action to prevent the loss of this valuable fuel.” In any case, flaring natural gas in remote locations is a completely different issue from carbon capture at power and SMR plants. Carbon dioxide is produced through many industrial activities, and the decision by the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide has ensured that industries will find a way to use that CO2 instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. http://www.ccsassociation.org/
          paulwesterberg
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Pancakes
          What happens to the carbon dioxide?
        Val
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Pancakes
        Yeah, rught, CO2 can be stored, which means that electricity amde from coal could be GREEN, if the CO2 is captured and stored. Right?
          Val
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Val
          write back again when they do on something larger than a wood stove. And electricity users will comprehend its value when they look at their bills, and they probably won't be extatic. Not only the ones who may have an EV.
          paulwesterberg
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Val
          The Washington Post had a good article about the dismal state of carbon capture efforts: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/22/is-china-the-last-hope-for-carbon-capture-technology/
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Val
          LTAW, thanks for providing that info. It is quite laughable. All that storing and transport piping only to inject it into the ground. They don't say a thing about injecting a saline solution to neutralize it and how many years that takes. It is truly laughable when you think of the scale that they want to reformate NG for hydrogen. You have to realize at once they cannot do this on scale. Many places in the US will be incompatible for sequestration. The elaborate expense they went to do this little bit, what a joke and it was all paid for by our tax dollars to prove that clean coal or hydrogen is possible, what a waist. Sequestration was a dead horse five years ago. A pipe dream, a tiny solution to a huge problem. May as well start posting about how clean coal is. This is like one plane flying over the gulf oil spill and dropping chemicals on the oil and saying, "their we fixed it, done!"
          Letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Val
          Since we're talking about SMR CO2 capture, here's an example in operation: "Air Products has retrofit each of its two steam methane reformers (SMRs) located within the existing Valero Energy refinery at Port Arthur, Texas, with vacuum swing adsorption (VSA) systems to separate the CO2 from the process gas stream. The capture facilities also include compression and dehydration equipment as well as a new cogeneration unit to supply electricity and steam to the SMR plants and VSA systems. The SMRs produce hydrogen, which is widely used in petroleum refining to remove impurities such as sulphur. The hydrogen produced is used by Valero at its refinery and by other West Gulf Coast customers supplied via pipeline. The SMRs are owned and operated by Air Products. Valero Energy is providing additional land and rights-of-way required for the project, as well as utilities support. Each VSA unit is designed to remove more than 90 per cent of the CO2 contained in the reformer pressure swing adsorption unit feed gas that it would process. The carbon capture processes concentrate the initial gas stream (containing 10-20 per cent CO2) to greater than 97 per cent CO2 purity. The first SMR began capturing CO2 in December 2012, the second in March 2013. When operating at full capacity both plants capture approximately 1 Mtpa of CO2. The captured CO2 is transported within Jefferson County through a 21 km / 13 mile, 8-inch diameter pipeline connector where it will tie into Denbury’s existing Green Pipeline. The CO2 will then be transported approximately 137 km / 85 miles via the (24-inch diameter) Green Pipeline to the Hastings oil field in Brazoria County, Texas (where Denbury owns and operates an interest in the field). The Hastings oil field was discovered in 1934 and has produced around 600 million barrels over its life (from both West Hastings and East Hastings). Primary production peaked in the mid-1970s and fell to around 1,000 barrels per day in 2009 / 2010. Denbury bought a majority interest in the field in early 2009. CO2 injection in the West Hastings Unit began in December 2010 (upon completion of the construction of the Green Pipeline and using naturally occurring CO2 sourced from Jackson Dome, Mississippi). Oil production from CO2-EOR operations began in January 2012. Injection of anthropogenic CO2 from the Air Products SMR EOR Project began in early 2013. Oil reserves recovery is from the Frio sandstone formation. The CO2 injection is in a moderate depth (1,700 metres / 5,700 feet) formation with light, sweet crude oil with a gravity of approximately 31 degrees." http://www.globalccsinstitute.com/project/air-products-steam-methane-reformer-eor-project Feel free to browse others. http://www.globalccsinstitute.com/projects/browse
          Letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Val
          I'm glad to see that you comprehend the value of CCS. The DoE and EPA are hard at work trying to implement it. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ccs/
        futurecars
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Pancakes
        What I understand from nissan, small cars electric, large cars or suv will uses hybrid/ fuel cell, I understand that is the same route for daimler. However Ford is silent.
      bluepongo1
      • 5 Months Ago
      Good luck with your Rube Goldberg vehicles ... Daimler in 2017 !!!!! (9_9)
        Dave
        • 5 Months Ago
        @bluepongo1
        A fuel cell vehicle has fewer parts than an ICE vehicle. And much much fewer than a range extended BEV like the Volt. Here is a rundown of the components: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWWfWMMNlFs
          Dave
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Dave
          "....the entire process from usable fuel production to the vehicle itself....." Do you realize that petroleum refineries are the largest consumers of hydrogen? The production of hydrogen is only one step in the production of gasoline. The production of hydrogen is massively more simple than the production of gasoline.
          bluepongo1
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dave
          ( Volt = Hybrid ) Leaf / Tesla = BEV ( have fewer parts than ICE, deisel, & any hybrid FCV included ) Rube Goldberg refers in this context to: the entire process from usable fuel production to the vehicle itself ... good luck . (9_9)
          bluepongo1
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Dave
          *cough* Ridiculously high compression *cough* special needs tank and maintainance *cough* entropy *cough * more wear parts than true BEV *cough*
      Spec
      • 5 Months Ago
      Fuel of the future . . . and always will be. ;-)
      Jim T.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Carbon capture is not feasible - still too expensive (doubles the operating cost of the only plant in the U.S. that can do it). Turning natural gas to hydrogen is also NOT a 'clean' process given the massive amounts of CO2 emitted.
      Dave
      • 5 Months Ago
      2017 makes sense. The Linde group (with whom Daimler has been working) is building 50 hydrogen stations a year in Vienna. By 2017, there could be just enough to travel anywhere in mainland Europe. And the gaps will fill in pretty quickly from there. "Munich/Vienna, 14 July 2014 - Technology company The Linde Group continues to advance the introduction of hydrogen as a fuel: Today the company officially opened the world's first small-series production facility for hydrogen fuelling stations in Vienna..... The expansion of production capacity in Vienna to 50 units a year dovetails with the introduction of the first series-produced fuel-cell cars by leading manufacturers such as Hyundai, Toyota, Honda and Daimler between 2014 and 2017. Experts predict that tens of thousands of fuel-cell cars will be travelling Europe's roads by 2018." http://www.linde-gas.com/en/news_and_media/press_releases/news_20140714.html
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Dave
        Linde also promised additional public H2 stations in California by 2012... and those project quietly went away. Don't bother repeating their marketing hype... report when they actually open a station, and tell us how many KGs of H2 per day can they ACTUALLY support... not estimates and future proposals which exist solely to get investment.
      Aaron
      • 5 Months Ago
      I saw an A-Class FCV at a car show waaaaaaaaaay back when Daimler and Chrysler were married. Mercedes isn't behind the game -- they've been working on it for decades. I think they're waiting to see if the infrastructure manifests itself first before committing to production. That is an intelligent decision, IMHO.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Aaron
        Mercedes already has a dedicated fuel cell production facility in BC, Canada. http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-archive/2012/june/mercedes-benz-opens-automated-automotive-fuel-cell-production-facility-in-canada
      Marco Polo
      • 5 Months Ago
      Predictably, each time an article on HFCV development appears, a chorus of derision appears from HFCV haters, who seem to believe that HFCV's are an immediate threat to EV sales. Their opposition is a little schizophrenic, since on the one hand they claim HFCV development will never happen,( in which case what are they getting so upset about )? On the other hand, they claim HCFV's are real threat to other technologies. The truth is that despite some very remarkable advances by companies like Tesla, EV progress is still limited to a very small market, and almost exclusively restricted to passenger vehicles. Replacing gasoline/diesel will be a long, and difficult, process. A handful of vehicles in the suburbs of a few affluent nations, has very little impact on the global transport dynamic. No replacement technology will be perfect, and without some drawbacks. No technology will be 'perfect'. From an environmental impact aspect, passenger road transport is only a relatively minor pollutant. No energy solution is "perfect ". Advocates for each solution, always alter the reality of circumstances to suit the inadequacies of the technology. When Joe Public doesn't accept the technology, these advocates demand the government(s) enforce their particular chosen technology. (usually chosen to suit the advocates personal ideology and personal circumstances). Eventually, those governments that listen to such ideologues disappear, but the vast amount of public money and defunct industries, discredit and distract from more practical solutions. HFCV technology is worth pursuing because it has the potential to replace gasoline-diesel, on a global scale, without much disruption economically, and across a very wide range of transport. It's certainly not a perfect technology, but can the planet afford to reject any valuable technology, because it's merely good, and not perfect ? But it doesn't have to be one technology or another ! Both HFCV's and EV's can co-exist for many decades as they both develop to replace the common rival, gasoline-diesel . So, I welcome MB's HFCV efforts, in the same spirit as I welcome the astonishing achievements of EV pioneers like Elon Musk and Carlos Ghosn.
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 5 Months Ago
      Why are all hydrogen cars so slow? 0-60 in like 10 seconds. They are all so boringly slow. When will they build a fast one? Maybe if they attached a wind mill to one they could go faster. Wait! I got a idea, put a ICE on the car to make it go faster, problem solved and the gasoline will be cheaper and have less subsidies than hydrogen. Can't wait till we start exporting hydrogen. More fossil fuel jobs for everyone, nespa?
        canuckinaz
        • 5 Months Ago
        @EVSUPERHERO
        @EVS and Spec You both realize, of course, that EVs and FCVs both use electric motors, right? The transients on fuel cells are slower than batteries, but that's certainly not a reason that a vehicle will have a slower 0-60 time. None of the FCVs have been designed for quick acceleration...but they could easily if that's what the designers were going for.
          Joeviocoe
          • 5 Months Ago
          @canuckinaz
          @ canuckinaz --"but they could easily if" No, the limitations for acceleration is the power flow from either the battery pack or the fuel cell stack. FCVs are so expensive already... a larger stack would cost so much more... and if they go with a larger battery, then might as well go with an EV or PHEV... which ruins their marketing strategy that says batteries suck. So not an easy thing to do. Autoblog Comments Enhancer (ACE) v1.0.0 - bit.ly/Autoblog_Comments
        Spec
        • 5 Months Ago
        @EVSUPERHERO
        They have a way of solving that . . . they put big batteries in the car. Yeah . . . I know.
        Marco Polo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @EVSUPERHERO
        @ EVSUPERHERO Just curious, how desperately urgent are your journeys that a few seconds, are so important ? Is it really that important to be first away from the traffic lights, only to pull up at the next set, just in front of less competitive motorists ?
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Oh come on Marco, you do know Doge just came out with, Challenger, the OEM's fastest muscle car ever. I agree with you Marco really. However, as Rodney Dangerfield put it, you can't get "no respect" with a gutless wonder automobile. EV's suffered from this same effect and so will hydrogen's fossil fuel cell cars until they build a bruiser. Good things about EV's is, even though they can have all that power, if you don't use it, it gets the same mpge as a less powerful model. Example would be the P85 gets the same mpge as the 85 if they are both driven without attitude. Heck, the Tesla with all it's power gets the same mpge as a Leaf cruising down the hwy. Tesla finally got rid of the, "I can't get no respect" line in reference to EV's. You don't really have to drive it fast because everyone knows how quick they are.
      Joeviocoe
      • 5 Months Ago
      Predictably, each time an article on HFCV development appears, the same minority of delusion appears from HFCV advocates, who seem to believe that HFCV's are an improvement over EVs. Their claims are a little schizophrenic, since on the one hand they claim HFCV fuel will be cheaper or similar in price to gasoline,( in which case what are they claiming mass adoption )? On the other hand, they claim HCFV's fuel will be cleanly produced using renewable sources ( which they use to greenwash ). The truth is that because of some very remarkable advances by companies like Tesla, EV progress is advancing into more and more markets, and the rate of adoption is accelerating. Replacing gasoline/diesel will be a long, and difficult, process. The majority of vehicles are in the cities and suburbs and new technology almost always is first adopted in a few affluent nations. No replacement technology will be perfect, and without some drawbacks. No technology will be 'perfect'. Yet consumers are becoming less skeptical of the drawbacks of EVs. From an environmental impact aspect, passenger road transport is the largest 'single' block of pollution which stands a reasonable chance of cleaning up quickly. No energy solution is "perfect ". Advocates for each solution, always alter the reality of circumstances to suit the inadequacies of the technology. When Joe Public doesn't accept the technology, these advocates claim that government(s) do not need consumer support and that they can enforce their way into market success. Eventually, those governments that listen to such ideologues disappear, but the vast amount of public money and defunct infrastructure, discredit and distract from more practical solutions. HFCV technology isn't worth pursuing because it only has the potential to replace gasoline-diesel, with HUGE economical cost, and continued subsidy. (see Ethanol). It's certainly not a viable technology, and the planet cannot afford to get distracted by unsustainable technology,... Because PHEVs and BEVs are merely good, and not perfect ? Do we really need absolutely zero local emissions for long distance trips.. when PHEVs can do 90%+ reduction and long range, and BEVs can do 100% zero local emissions for most driving? It doesn't have to be one technology or another! Both HFCV's and EV's can co-exist for many decades as they both develop to replace the common rival, gasoline-diesel. But just as other alternatives have... one of the technology will dominate each market... for passenger vehicles, BEVs/PHEVs.. for niche fleets, FCVs (just as CNG today).
        Marco Polo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        @ Joeviocoe I guess imitation is the most sincere form of flattery ! However, I notice that you make some pretty outrageous claims. 1) " passenger road transport is the largest 'single' block of pollution which stands a reasonable chance of cleaning up quickly " . This is an absurd claim ! Is it easier to replace 1 billion auto-mobiles, each with a different owner, or just twenty ships ? 2) "EV progress is advancing into more and more markets, and the rate of adoption is accelerating" I wish that was true, but it's not ! The US had record Auto sales last year, but the number of EV's remained insignificant, despite substantial government incentives. It's always easy to claim a high rate of adoption when starting from a very low base, after all, if last year you sold only one car and next year you sell two, the increase is 100% ! But it's still only one car. ... That's the problem, despite some progress, the pace of adoption is very slow, and entirely restricted to nations with heavy subsidies and incentives. Unfortunately, you are an EV fanatic, ( that's not necessarily a bad thing) , but simply ignore the potential virtues in other technologies and denigrating all but your favoured technology is simply being narrow-minded and afflicted with tunnel vision.
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        @ Marco Polo Imitation is not always flattery, but sometimes a remark on how hypocritical a person can be when accusing others of being "predictable", when you always post the same root-level ranting comment that feigns objectivism. 1) 20 ships is a myth. http://www.ecofys.com/files/files/asn-ecofys-2013-world-ghg-emissions-flow-chart-2010.pdf http://www.wri.org/sites/default/files/resources/us_greenhouse_gas_emissions_flowchart.pdf ...both show how road transportation is a bigger contributor to GHG emission by several times... even after you account for the 1/3rd percentage of road GHG that is sourced from passenger vehicles alone. All the passenger vehicles in the world emit more than all the ships. 2) You insist on ignoring the "rate" of adoption as a useful metric.. but instead only focus on the current ratio of EVs to ICEs (which have had a 100 year head start). Just as the fool looks at the mountain and counts the steps remaining to the summit.... the wise person can see the rate of climb to know that success is inevitable. The "pace" of adoption is NOT what you are seeing in Australia... but in the US and China (the large markets) the "pace" is accelerating rapidly. Any serious driver would know, that instantaneous speed is NOT a good measure of the race's outcome, but the rate of acceleration. So although EV adoption is still slow now... what was it just 3 years ago? 5 years ago? The acceleration has been exponential... and by the time FCVs are ready to launch out the gate, there will be no catching up even for an evenly matched distribution of passenger vehicles... but rather, as my prediction, BEVs/PHEVs will dominate and FCVs are limited to niche fleet usage like CNG today.
      Joeviocoe
      • 5 Months Ago
      The Great Hydrogen Backpedal continues....
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