Honda is holding a media event this week to show off their FCX fuel cell car that is due to go into limited production beginning in 2008. AutoblogGreen is here to learn about the FCX and get a chance to drive it at the Laguna Seca racetrack. During a wide-ranging discussion over dinner, Stephen Ellis, Manager of Fuel Cell Marketing for American Honda Motor Company talked about his company's philosophy, as well as hydrogen critics.
Honda has always been an engineering-centered company. They see technical problems and regulatory requirements as engineering opportunities. Honda is working on many different paths toward more environmentally friendly transportation including diesels, natural gas, hydrogen fuel cells and electric vehicles. The key is that all of these technologies (and others) have potential to reduce carbon emissions to varying degrees. At this stage of development, everything is still evolving and it's too early to rule out any path. There are costs and benefits to all of these approaches and Mr. Ellis, who is actively promoting alternative fuels in Southern California, wants to see all potential solutions developed. However, he says there is a group of "EV Zealots" who are constantly criticizing all hydrogen related work based on flawed arguments and without examining all the costs of a plug-in system. The "EV Zealots" complain about the costs of producing hydrogen, the storage systems, and the fact that a lot of hydrogen is produced from natural gas or methane while ignoring the costs of producing electricity, along with the transmission losses and battery issues. He would prefer that instead of dismissing ideas out of hand, people should look at the potential costs and benefits from a complete end-to-end perspective. Much more on Honda's thoughts on hydrogen coming soon!
[Source: Stephen Ellis]