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Honda's FCX Clarity  (Source: Honda)

  (Source: Honda)

  (Source: Honda)
The next generation fuel cell from Honda is trickling into the hands of a lucky few

Honda is among the automotive giants leading the charge to explore hydrogen technologies.  The culmination of its efforts to date is the Honda FCX Clarity.  The Clarity features a slick and curvy design, a 100 kW V Flow fuel cell stack that has shrunk 65 percent since Honda's initial design, 171-liter, 5,000-psi hydrogen fuel tank, a lithium ion battery pack, and a 95 kW (127 HP) electric motor.  At 68 MPG and a range of 270 miles, the Clarity is very competitive with other sedans.

This week, the first mass-produced units of the hot new zero-emissions car rolled off a Japanese assembly line in Takanezawa, Japan. However, they're not going to stay in the land of the rising sun for long; they're headed for the U.S.  The units are going primarily to Southern California, where a lucky few will receive them.  Among these are movie stars and starlets, who will help give the car, and Honda's hybrid efforts, a high profile.

Among these VIPs are
actress Jamie Lee Curtis and filmmaker husband Christopher Guest, actress Laura Harris, film producer Ron Yerxa, as well as businessmen Jon Spallino and Jim Salomon.  The group was flown to a special ceremony where they were presented with the cars.  Harris, who played villainess Marie Warner on the hit TV show "24" loves the car.  She states, "It's so smooth.  It's like a future machine, but it's not."

The new fuel cell vehicle is certainly promising.  Its two times more energy efficient than a gas-electric hybrid and three times as efficient as a traditional gas engine, brags Honda.

Honda is deploying a "few dozen" units this year to kick off production.  By the end of 3 years, this number will have jumped to 200.  The cars will be available to lease for $600 a month, which includes maintenance and collision coverage.  The actors and others receiving the early shipments will be able to drive home their vehicles starting in July.

In California alone, Honda received 50,000 applications for the cars.  Anyone living in the state could apply on the company's website.  The vast majority of these people were rejected as they did not live close enough to the three hydrogen stations in Torrance, Santa Monica and Irvine.

The enthusiasm from Honda was infectious.  John Mendel, a senior vice president at America Honda Motor Co. cheered at the ceremony, "This is indeed a historic day for both Honda and American Honda - a new chapter in our nearly fifty-year history in America.  It's an especially significant day for American Honda as we plant firm footsteps toward the mainstreaming of fuel cell cars."

Major obstacles remain, however, for fuel cell cars.  First and foremost, there's a lack of hydrogen fuel stations and an infrastructure to pipe fuel around the country.  Second are the issues surrounding the stack: high price and less than desirable lifetime.  While advances have helped alleviate these problems slightly, they still exist.

To Honda, its fuel cell efforts are a new chance to win over its rivals.  While Honda broke ground by releasing the first gas-electric hybrid in the States in 1999, Toyota quickly outpaced it with Toyota's Prius.  Toyota recently announced the sale of its millionth hybrid Prius, while Honda ended up struggling, discontinuing two of its hybrids -- the Honda Insight, and the Accord hybrid.

Honda will be releasing the Clarity in Japan this fall, and it will also be going hybrid crazy, trying to battle back against Toyota.  It will release a new gas-electric hybrid-only model and will be releasing hybrid editions of the slick CR-Z and Fit subcompact.



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Hydrogen is the future
By AntiM on 6/17/2008 9:45:29 AM , Rating: 5
To me, hydrogen fuel cells seem to be our best hope for the future. Since hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it's doubtful we'll run out anytime soon. Certainly, there are many obstacles. The fuel cells are expensive to manufacture and hydrogen is difficult to store. But it's a promising alternative to fossil fuels in the long term future.




RE: Hydrogen is the future
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 9:54:19 AM , Rating: 5
I agree that its a good alternative. However what really pisses me off is that while GM has been working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for years, everyone has blasted them for it saying its a waste of time. Now Honda comes and puts one out, and they're praised for it as if its never been done before. I guess its because they gave the cars to actors and such.

Not people who could truly use the cars to save money. It's really doubtful that these vehicles will become available in large quantities in any reasonable time frame. And my bet is that these vehicles will sit in the celebrity's garage until they want to take it out to look like they care about the environment.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By vapore0n on 6/17/2008 11:40:59 AM , Rating: 3
I though it was because the American public wanted bigger and heavier SUVs, so GM dropped their environmental approach.
But now that the new "it" is getting fuel efficient cars... GM lost what ground they had gotten on H2-powered Cars.

That is where GM looses every time. They don't think about the future. See the mess they got themselves in right now.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 11:47:41 AM , Rating: 4
GM has been developing hydrogen fuel cell cars for more than the past decade. For GM the issue has never been whether or not they could build the car. Because they have and they can. The issue is providing it cheaply (a $600 a month LEASE is not cheap) and having somewhere to fill it up. If gas stations nationwide started offering hydrogen tomorrow, GM would be on task to start providing cars because of all the work its done.

Yes they might have been selling SUVs. But as you said its because thats what people wanted. And GM sells what people want. That doesn't mean they stopped thinking about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. They just weren't selling any.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Lord 666 on 6/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 2:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't you have to account for refueling costs? Doesn't the refueling station run off of natural gas?


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By dever on 6/17/2008 4:36:06 PM , Rating: 2
The $600/month is just for show. These vehicles are strictly advertisements for Honda... notice the press they're getting. I believe these vehicles cost around $1M each, so $600/month doesn't go far.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By elgueroloco on 6/17/2008 6:36:42 PM , Rating: 2
Is that 1M each total cost or variable cost? If they had 50,000 orders for these things in CA alone, they could very well reduce that price drastically if it is variable cost and they put it on the open market. They just need to get their Home Energy Station working so people can use the cars in any city.

I would suggest they use the latest advances in cheap, powerful solar panels to power the HES, as well as making the skin of the car out of those new cool thin solar cells, and have them powering a Hoffman apparattus which turns the exhaust water back into hydrogen and puts it back through the fuel cell.

That being said, there is still a fundamental flaw with hydrogen fuel cells: hydrogen requires slightly more energy to make than you get from consuming it. Hydrogen is therefore not an energy source, but a battery. Hydrogen plus fuel cells is probably not nearly as cost-effective a battery as Li ion. It may not be as energy efficient either. Therefore, there probably is no real reason to continue pursuing hydrogen fuel cells, unless they find a way to drastically reduce the costs.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 8:46:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Is that 1M each total cost or variable cost? If they had 50,000 orders for these things in CA alone
Maybe so but there will only be 200 total over the next three years.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By tdawg on 6/18/2008 12:27:35 AM , Rating: 2
Wow! Whereabouts do you live? And are you far away from a park & ride?

I take the metro bus to work each day and my monthly bus pass is only $81 per month. A full year of metro bus service at the highest rate here in Seattle is just over $750, I believe. So $530 a month for public transportation is shockingly expensive!


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By BarkHumbug on 6/18/2008 10:58:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
$530 a month for public transportation is shockingly expensive!


What, cabs doesn't count? ;)


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By tdawg on 6/18/2008 11:01:02 AM , Rating: 3
Do they?

I guess when I think "Public Transportation" I think of buses, trains, light rail, etc. Whatever is available to move large amounts of the public from point A to point B.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Hiawa23 on 6/17/2008 4:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think it is great to find alternatives for vehicles but those expensive hydrogen vehicles will do nothing for our vehicles today, & I bought a MITSU Lancer Ralliart 2006 back in 06, & also own a 97 Honda Civic, so I don't plan on buying another car. What can they do to bring down costs for the substance that our cars run on today is what I want to hear. The hydrogen, electric cars may be the future, but we need relief now. That's really all I want to hear.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/17/2008 12:12:25 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe they would have been praised if they were the first to market with a car, such as Honda did with this. But alas, Honda was first, and also, I love my 05 SI, it's fun :)


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 12:28:41 PM , Rating: 4
They're leasing out a few dozen. GM gave out 100 hydrogen powered Equinoxes last year for a 3 month trial to get feedback on them. I would hardly call a car that has less than 50 units on the road a production car. GM could easily do what Honda is doing. But its pointless and purely a PR move.


By TimTheEnchanter25 on 6/17/2008 3:14:47 PM , Rating: 5
Why do you assume that these cars would save people money? I'm pretty sure that hydrogen is still a LOT more expensive than gasoline.

Besides they aren't very practical when you can't drive more than 135 miles away from the filling station without calling a tow truck to get you back.

It is just a PR stunt to show people that the technology works. We are a good 20+ years away from this going main stream.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By onwisconsin on 6/17/2008 8:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However what really pisses me off is that while GM has been working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for years, everyone has blasted them for it saying its a waste of time.


If by everyone you mean the press like the AP? I recall car magazines (and some science programming) earlier this decade were giving a good amount of attention to the concept and the working, running concept of later on.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By dagamer34 on 6/17/2008 10:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
Getting the energy in order to make hydrogen fuel is the only major obstacle. And really, the only continuous source of energy in order to make the electricity we need is from the sun. I'd hope we start drastically increasing funding of solar energy research otherwise we're going to have a World War III over the last remaining bit of oil in the Middle East sometime this century.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 10:21:40 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
we're going to have a World War III over the last remaining bit of oil in the Middle East sometime this century.
I guess we won't be involved in that war because the VAST majority of our oil comes from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela, in that order. Don't believe the hype.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 11:50:50 AM , Rating: 2
And the fact that we've got more recoverable oil in US territory than most of the other countries combined.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By spluurfg on 6/17/2008 12:12:55 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
And the fact that we've got more recoverable oil in US territory than most of the other countries combined.


It's recoverable, but it's not included in the US reserves because there is no significant commercial extraction as yet, and the economic viability of production is difficult to assess. Processing oil shale requires lots of water and energy.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Ringold on 6/17/2008 2:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
He may have been referring to the off-shore oil that we refuse to tap as well as the on-land sources. In that case, China has had no problem pumping it out off the coast of Key West from within Cuban water.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By spluurfg on 6/17/2008 12:06:09 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
I guess we won't be involved in that war because the VAST majority of our oil comes from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela, in that order. Don't believe the hype.


Except for Saudi Arabia at #2...


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 10:23:46 AM , Rating: 2
> "I'd hope we start drastically increasing funding of solar energy research otherwise we're going to have a World War III "

We don't need major research into solar power to find a solution -- we already have one. Nuclear power plants, directly using their heat to disassociate water into H2 and O2.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Penti on 6/17/2008 11:09:44 AM , Rating: 3
Don't do it inside the reactor though :P Accidentally that is.

BTW i fiend it pretty funny that it's only Switzerland that has nuclear power plants that are used for district heating. We had it in Sweden a while ( see Ågesta - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%85gesta_Nuclear_P... ), but is was really for getting fissile materials which never happened (more heavy water-reactors where planed) and using un-enriched uranium. However it's only the Beznau plant in Switzerland that's used for it today, providing 5 TWh of district heating. And it's a old plant from the 60s.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By geddarkstorm on 6/17/2008 11:22:04 AM , Rating: 2
One can lead a horse to water, but one can't make it drink.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By ccmfreak2 on 6/17/2008 12:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
we're going to have a World War III over the last remaining bit of oil in the Middle East sometime this century.


Nah, I don't see that at all. There is tons of oil in the US. Some have estimated that we have more oil in the Rocky Mountains that the gov won't let us touch than Saudi Arabia has in it's entire country. The question is "At what point is it more important to keep our country going and use a portion of the Rockies for oil, than to protect a few moose."


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 1:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
McCain just announced he's willing to consider lifting the US ban on offshore oil drilling. Obama is, unfortunately, still against it.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By therealnickdanger on 6/17/2008 4:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
Of course he is, it's still far too trendy. Until mass media stops using words like "Big Oil" and associating their profits with the sweat on your brow, we'll never make forward progress toward affordable energy production in this country. Meanwhile, politicians like Obama will continue to use the lies to their advantage.

(I'm not singling him out, just staying in context of OP)


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By andrinoaa on 6/18/2008 4:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
If Obama is a lier, what the hell is Bush? I thought Bush was an oil man? If I was an oil man, I would be singing in the shower with joy at these oil prices.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/18/2008 10:03:46 AM , Rating: 2
Bush divested himself of all oil interests long ago...which anyone not living under a rock already knows.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By tdawg on 6/18/2008 12:45:00 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not an economist or anything, but tapping US oil reserves within our territory won't be a magic cure-all that instantly reduces a gallon of unleaded gasoline to $2. US companies will still own the oil field and the drilling operation and will still be selling it to consumers. With shareholders constantly looking for ever larger profits from the oil companies, they're not going to just give away oil to make our lives cheaper. As long as demand for oil stays high, the price will climb. It's not until we reduce our overall consumption of oil that the price will fall.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/18/2008 1:29:27 AM , Rating: 2
> "With shareholders constantly looking for ever larger profits from the oil companies, they're not going to just give away oil to make our lives cheaper"

Oil companies don't set the price of oil...its all done via commodity traders, attempting to match supply and demand. If the US began tapping its own reserves and adding 3-4 million barrels/day into the system (which it easily could) the world price of oil would decline considerably. This is inescapable.

Would it bring us back to $2 gas? That's doubtful, but it certainly would shave at least a dollar of the price of a gallon. More importantly, it would add trillions of dollars back into US hands, rather than it flowing overseas.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By tdawg on 6/18/2008 10:59:21 AM , Rating: 2
I'm just thinking if we tap our resources in an effort to suplement the oil we get from foreign entities, especially OPEC, they'll just trim back oil production to keep their supply:demand ratio steady and maintain the price of oil. So, our supply goes from being primarily foreign to primarily domestic, but we can't outsupply the demand to the point that gas becomes cheap again. True, it would pump a lot more money into US oil companies, and I would guess help bring the strength of the dollar back up.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By callmeroy on 6/18/2008 9:10:53 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
McCain just announced he's willing to consider lifting the US ban on offshore oil drilling. Obama is, unfortunately, still against it.


Yeah its a step in the right direction there, but what I didn't like and what I though was kind of contradictory was he gave the nod to lifting the US ban on offshore drilling but then he turns around and says he still wouldn't allow drilling in ANWAR.

Environmentalists man they are gonna be the downfall of us all....

hmm...anyone know of a energey company that can convert the corpses of environmentalists into oil? ;)


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/18/2008 10:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
> "hmm...anyone know of a energey company that can convert the corpses of environmentalists into oil?"

No, but if you provide me with a few, I'm willing to run experiments for free.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By tdawg on 6/18/2008 11:05:16 AM , Rating: 2
Why do we need to drill in every last possible spot at the risk of destroying whatever beauty and serenity this country still has to offer? Do you really want the country to look like one huge industrial complex? Where would you go for vacation if you could never escape the raping of the American landscape?


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/18/2008 12:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
> "at the risk of destroying whatever beauty and serenity this country still has to offer?"

First of all, a few oil derricks in a few thousand square miles of arctic wilderness or empty ocean isn't going to "destroy beauty and serenity". It'll certainly have much less of an impact than wallpapering a far larger area with solar panels or windmills.

Second of all, how many people vacation in the norternmost Arctic tundra? Or in the middle of the vast, uncharted ocean for that matter?


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By callmeroy on 6/18/2008 12:43:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Second of all, how many people vacation in the norternmost Arctic tundra? Or in the middle of the vast, uncharted ocean for that matter?


Yeah each year when I go up there for my annual polar bear hunting expedition -- its like empty man....


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By callmeroy on 6/18/2008 12:40:28 PM , Rating: 2
Well first let's start drilling SOMEWHERE before we have arguments/heated debates over drilling "in every last possible spot"....that's the base problem -- we aren't doing anything right now in the way of drilling.

Secondly ONCE the drilling does start unless we went absolutely nuts with it (which I doubt -- look at the effort it takes just for us to get a single drilling effort going) I hardly think drilling off the coast of florida and some spots in ANWAR (which isn't a small place btw) is going to be "EVERYWHERE" that disturbs the serentiy and beautiful of our country.

Finally, to an extend some measure of sacrifice is going to be needed eventually -- some degree however minimal of sacrifice is going to have to be paid....like anything in life you can't have your cake and eat it too...


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/18/2008 12:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
I want to further add that, with all due respect, the attitude displayed in your post is not only counterproductive, it's dangerously misanthropic. When man and his works are seen as ugly and evil, inferior to anything "natural", the whole of industrialized society is at risk.

Personally, I find:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/unccp/scp/images/cities/ny...

Far more beautiful than I do:

http://la.water.usgs.gov/nawqa/graphics/lacassine2...

The former is certainly far more conducive to the health and happiness of mankind...which explains why more people live in cities than swamps.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By randomly on 6/17/2008 12:51:25 PM , Rating: 4
These Hydrogen powered cars are being marketed very deceptively to get PR and 'Green' points. Even looking at the information that Honda is releasing it has been couched and tilted to show it in the best possible light while obscuring the actual efficiency of the hydrogen system overall. Hydrogen is not a wonder solution, ask any engineer actually involved in the field. The common answer from the technically informed is that 'Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and always will be.'
I highly recommend people go research what the actual efficiencies of Fuel cells are, and not theoretical co-generation facilities either, but something you could actually put in a vehicle.
Fuel cells return about 50% of the energy available in the hydrogen. You lose another 12-30% of your energy in compressing or cooling your hydrogen for storage. Natural gas reformation to hydrogen is about 80% efficient. All these steps and stages whittle away at the system until Hydrogen fuel cell hybrid cars are only about as efficient in energy as a regular gasoline hybrid car. But they are hugely more expensive to produce and they don't last as long.

All the numbers and hype are also based off the assumption that the hydrogen is produced by reforming natural gas which is a fairly efficient process. As soon as you go to hydrogen generated by electrolysis you lose another 50% in efficiency. Compared to a battery powered car, a hydrogen fuel cell ends up being 3 times less efficient.

Hydrogen fuel cells are equivalent to batteries, just much less efficient. The only advantage hydrogen has currently is the energy storage density is better than batteries, but that gap is narrowing.

The statement 'Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe' is constantly used by hydrogen advocates, yet it is totally irrelevant to it's use as an energy storage medium. It's just included because it sounds good. Sure there is lots of hydrogen around, but it's all bound up chemically so you can't use it as an energy source (except for sources like hydrocarbons). There is no source of available hydrogen, you have to make it from some other source of energy. It's just an energy storage medium like a battery. When you say 'we'll never run out of Hydrogen, you're wrong. We are already out of hydrogen and are forced to make every bit that we use from some other source of energy.

Hydrogen is difficult and energy costly to store, difficult and energy costly to transport, and inefficient to make.

Electrolysis is a complete loser. Converting water to hydrogen and then back to water in a fuel cell you end up throwing away 3/4 of your energy for nothing. I can't think of a single example where the electrical energy couldn't be used directly with vastly more efficiency than used to make hydrogen.

Should research continue on fuel cells? sure. There are even some niche applications where it may prove to have an advantage, although probably never a large advantage.

But these big PR campaigns based around Fuel cell vehicles are exactly that, advertising PR campaigns. The cars are extremely expensive, the fuel cells degrade and wear out quickly, they are not economically feasible, the benefits are minimal, they will never be manufactured in any quantity to make even a slight impact on energy shortages or pollution.
From the well to the wheels they are no better than the vastly cheaper hybrids. You can even find this out if you do a little digging and and ignore the press releases.
Here's just one link.
http://www.toyota.com/html/hybridsynergyview/2005/...

The best near term technology that has a chance of really making a difference are the plugin hybrids like the Volt.

But Fuel cell vehicles get a lot of PR and a lot of press. They're real advantage is their fantastic value as a Marketing tool.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 1:03:08 PM , Rating: 2
> "All these steps and stages whittle away at the system until Hydrogen fuel cell hybrid cars are only about as efficient in energy as a regular gasoline hybrid car. "

So? The point is that the hydrogen cycle is renewable. Hydrogen-- coupled with an abundant source of energy source as nuclear -- is infinite, as far as mankind is concerned at least. It's also essentially pollution-free.

> "The best near term technology that has a chance of really making a difference are the plugin hybrids like the Volt"

I'm excited about the Volt also. But as long as plug-in vehicles require hours to recharge, they're still not going to fill the needs of all people. If you're looking for a car for short commutes, a plug-in is perfect...but if you're driving long distances, a fuel cell is a better fit.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By randomly on 6/17/2008 3:40:34 PM , Rating: 4
Every energy storage medium is renewable and coupled with an abundant source of energy is infinite.
Whether you use your energy to make Hydrogen, or store it as electricity in batteries, or pull CO2 out of the air and make gasoline with it, or pump water up hill for later hydroelectric use all of these are carbon neutral, material neutral cycles.

What counts is where you get the energy to begin with. Other than geothermal there are currently only 3 large scale viable energy sources. Old solar power stored as hydrocarbons (oil, coal, natural gas), New solar power in the form of photovoltaic, wind, tidal, hydroelectric power, and Nuclear energy. None are free, all have costs associated with them.

Then comes your energy storage system. Gasoline, Hydrogen, Metal powders, Batteries, compressed air, flywheels etc.
What matters in energy storage systems is the conversion efficiency from your energy source to the end use of the energy, and how cost effective and transportable that storage system cycle is. If your energy storage and transport system has only 25% efficiency you have to produce 4 times as much energy as you actually need, at 4 times the cost.

If you start with electrical energy from say photovoltaics or wind power and then convert it to hydrogen via electrolysis you lose 50% of your energy because of the poor efficiency of electrolysis, and then convert the hydrogen back to water and extract electrical energy to run a motor you lose another 50% of the remaining energy. So start to finish it ends up being only about a 25% efficient transfer of energy from your source to the end use. If you were to use something like Lithium batteries instead the efficiency would be above 90%. If you can hook up wires from your energy source to the end use it's even better.

Given the overall energy efficiency of the hydrogen cycle it's not clear that it has much if any advantages over competing technologies. It certainly loses out against batteries.
The only advantage hydrogen fuel cells have over batteries is a greater energy density. At 5000psi hydrogen has about 900Wh/liter of stored energy which is 1/10 the energy density of gasoline. That's about 3 times better than current Lithium batteries though. So the tradeoff is 1/3 the efficiency for 3 times better energy storage density. That trade off has some appeal if you are trying to store enough energy in a space limited vehicle to get several hundred miles of range out of it.
Here is a link to results that Toyota has achieved in it's Fuel cell vehicle prototypes that show more realistic results.
http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/tech/environment/fchv/f...

Another link to general Hydrogen information that covers a lot of the misconceptions and problems with Hydrogen energy.
http://www.tinaja.com/glib/energfun.pdf
http://www.tinaja.com/h2gas01.asp
Although a bit bombastic in tone the information is pretty accurate.

Also just read through the Wikipedia article on Fuel Cell and the associated references.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cell


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Suntan on 6/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Hydrogen is the future
By randomly on 6/17/2008 9:01:25 PM , Rating: 4
Don't pull out the bogus 'Solar energy is Free' line. If it's free I suggest you run your house on it and save all that money your spending now. Run the whole country on it, it's free after all.

My god I thought you were an engineer.

Your statement just screams IGNORANCE. You have to make the equipment and facilities to collect that energy, you have to maintain them. They have a limited lifespan of useful operation and then they need to be replaced. All that costs money, huge capital investments and maintenance costs.

Using your logic oil is free, it's just sitting there in the ground waiting to be taken. Nuclear energy is free too for that matter. I'm sure the engineers and scientist that have spent the last 50 years trying to get the cost of photovoltaic power low enough to compete with oil that all their efforts were a waste of time since now we know solar energy is ...free.

The actual cost of electrical energy from photovoltaics is still considerably more than from fossil fuels. It's not free at all. So wasting 3/4 of that energy by shoving it through a hydrogen fuel cycle seems wasteful in the extreme since you are quadrupling the cost of that energy by wasting most of it.

Suntan you may work for a company with fuel cell vehicles, but you are no engineer.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Suntan on 6/18/2008 5:19:43 PM , Rating: 2
You’re the one that brought up solar power running electrolysis. Personally, I do not see that as a viable method for large scale hydrogen extraction in my lifetime. However, as you brought it up, I’ll give you a scenario. One of solar’s biggest drawback is that generating electricity (not talking about the photovoltaic) where the sun is most plentiful and transferring it where the people are most plentiful is expensive and inefficient. Extraction of hydrogen could occur out in the desert and then be transported to populated areas. It may sound expensive to haul tanks full of hydrogen out from the middle of the desert, but that is currently what we do with a lot of the oil that we consume.

In any case, I am not trying to pass myself off as an expert on the subject of hydrogen extraction. I have worked on the cooling system of the fuel cell, capacitors and motors, not the extraction of hydrogen. My opinions are based on the first hand experience I have in the short time that fuel cell development has occurred at the systems level. The efficiencies that we are already seeing over traditional ICE systems is impressive for so young of a technology.

As to your belief of my profession, that’s fine. The scary thing for you is that it is highly likely that every day you are reliant on things that I have designed.

-Suntan


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 6:17:03 PM , Rating: 2
> "The only advantage hydrogen fuel cells have over batteries is a greater energy density"

That, and near-instantaneous recharge times. You can fill up a fuel tank in a few minutes...charging a large battery array can take hours.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Suntan on 6/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Hydrogen is the future
By randomly on 6/17/2008 3:55:27 PM , Rating: 3
See the links posted above for starters. If you are really an engineer then you should be able to read up on current fuel cell technology, membrane degradation, catalyst poisoning, electrolysis efficiency, Fuel cell efficiency, Hydrogen storage etc.

Comparing Fuel cells efficiency in a car with a straight ICE is not a fair comparison. It should be compared to a Hybrid ICE since the Fuel Cell cars themselves almost invariably are also in a Hybrid system. When you do that, the advantages are not nearly so rosy.

Also comparing by MPG isn't really valid either since so much of that depends on the weight, drag, rolling efficiency, and hybrid efficiency of the individual vehicle and tells you nothing about the efficiency of the motor system, ICE or Fuel cell or whatever. You can have 100 mpg gas cars and 1 mpg Fuel cell cars. It doesn't tell you anything about the engine efficiency.


By therealnickdanger on 6/17/2008 4:14:38 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
You can have 100 mpg gas cars and 1 mpg Fuel cell cars. It doesn't tell you anything about the engine efficiency.

Quote of the year.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Suntan on 6/17/2008 4:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
See the links posted above for starters. If you are really an engineer then you should be able to read up on current fuel cell technology, membrane degradation, catalyst poisoning, electrolysis efficiency, Fuel cell efficiency, Hydrogen storage etc.


I’m sorry, but if your 20 second google search results brought you that website, then we have nothing more to discuss here. I read through about 10 sentences and then closed the page. You can just keep believing whatever google’s servers find for you to believe.

quote:

Comparing Fuel cells efficiency in a car with a straight ICE is not a fair comparison. It should be compared to a Hybrid ICE since the Fuel Cell cars themselves almost invariably are also in a Hybrid system. When you do that, the advantages are not nearly so rosy.


I was referring to even a hybrid. Hybrid cars are still just propelled by ICEs. You want to talk plug ins, that’s fine. However, you then need to start dealing with the usability issues of plugging your car in for the evening. As I said above, narrow arguments are fine for a web forum debate. They don’t holdup when you are trying to sell someone a car.

quote:

Also comparing by MPG isn't really valid either since so much of that depends on the weight, drag, rolling efficiency, and hybrid efficiency of the individual vehicle and tells you nothing about the efficiency of the motor system, ICE or Fuel cell or whatever. You can have 100 mpg gas cars and 1 mpg Fuel cell cars. It doesn't tell you anything about the engine efficiency.


I said *real world*. What I meant is comparing a car with similar features, size, space etc. etc. Basically what a person would do when they go to buy a car. It really doesn’t matter to the success of a vehicle what the bench efficiency of its engine is, ICE or electric. Further, steady state tests mean very little in the *real world* either. You first start that ICE up (be it in a hybrid or not) your going to be getting 4 maybe 5 mpg for the first bit.

Look, the fuel cell is not ready for prime time. There are still significant hurdles that need to be addressed to get it there. However, the success or failure of it will not be dependent on a bunch of armchair quarterbacks that hang out on a web forum and race off to google anytime they need some web-proof to back up their arguments.

Anyway, yeah, I bet you are right. Every major car manufacturer is working on fuel cells. I bet they aren’t doing it because they think they can make it into a viable product to compete and/or replace the products they currently sell. I bet they are doing it just to stick it to a bunch of uninformed snots on a website forum.

-Suntan


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By randomly on 6/18/2008 9:01:01 AM , Rating: 3
http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/tech/environment/fchv/f...

A direct comparison between an ICE hybrid and a comparable FC vehicle both built by Toyota. About as fair a comparison as you're going to find.

Notice the well to wheels efficiency of the ICE hybrid Prius?

32%

Notice the well to wheels efficiency of the FC hybrid?

29%

Sure there is room for improvement, but there is also room for improvement on ICE engines. FC vehicles have not demonstrated that they have any clear advantages over ICE hybrids.

This is from an MIT study on hybrids and fuel cells

"Hybrid cars, which combine electric motors with small petroleum engines, will outpace the environmental benefits of hydrogen fuel cell cars until at least 2020, according to a university study. Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have low emissions and energy use on the road, but converting a hydrocarbon fuel such as natural gas or gasoline into hydrogen to fuel such vehicles uses substantial energy and emits greenhouse gases."

However if you are unwilling to read or absorb information I guess it's all irrelevant.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Suntan on 6/18/2008 4:57:54 PM , Rating: 2
Well, continue to believe what you want. I suppose it doesn’t matter that the information you quote is from a TOYOTA web page. They are currently selling that car that they show as being more efficient than a fuel cell, wouldn’t have any motive to arrange their bar charts to make it look better than fuel cells would they?

Also, it probably doesn’t matter that the data is being compared for the Japanese 10-15 standards, which is significantly more centered on city driving and less dependent on highway performance, an condition where hybrid systems excel. It is perfectly fine for Japan as it represents their driving conditions, but it is not representative of the US and not really representative of EU conditions either.

Lastly, they site the main handicap of fuel cells as a 58% efficiency in extracting hydrogen from natural gas. While some processes are that in-efficient, there are more efficient processes. Even the usual golden standard for facts on this forum (wikipedia) in this case clearly states an 80% efficiency for hydrogen extraction. In any case, taking a set number as it stands today is only good if you just *want* to see it as a waist of time. The amount of research that is, and will continue to be put into, coming up with more efficient ways to extract hydrogen will increase efficiencies further in the years ahead.

Yeah, that Toyota marketing page should be looked at as the definitive proof on the subject.

As for your sound bite from some MIT article, 2020 is only a little over 10 years away, that is not that long when talking about completely new automotive systems. Personally, that statement is reflective of the great potential that fuel cells have in the long run.

I have no delusions that fuel cells will replace every form of current drivetrain system overnight, or that they will do it over the longhaul. The technology does have extremely high potential though and adding a new, viable alternative drivetrain system to choose from is a good thing.

As I said before, sure I bet the naysayers are right, I bet ALL the major automotive companies are working on this technology because they all think it is a big waist of time…

-Suntan


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By randomly on 6/20/2008 9:31:54 AM , Rating: 2
You didn't read it very carefully. The 58% efficiency is from 'Well to Tank'. Yes the actual process of reforming natural gas to hydrogen is around 80% efficient, but the well to tank figure includes the large losses incurred in compressing, transporting and storing the fuel which you forgot to include.

I am not aware of any studies or research that indicates that hydrogen fuel cells can exceed the well to wheels efficiency of a Diesel hybrid now, or projected in the future.

If you have any links to any information that refutes my position or gives data points you feel are more valid please post them.

Electric power lines are a much more efficient means of energy transport than Hydrogen under virtually all conditions where the source and destination are stationary. Hydrogen only becomes competitive for mobile fuels.

All renewable energy sources are much better spent reducing the demand of fossil fuel energy grid needs than throwing away 3/4 of the energy putting it through a hydrogen cycle.

By the time enough renewable energy becomes available to start applying it to vehicles, battery and other technologies will probably have outpaced fuel cells for most vehicle needs. Hydrogen almost always is going to lose out against electricity.

Even if fuel cells become useful for some niches in the future, my main complaint is the deceptive marketing being used on them today touting them as a clean green miracle cure. They are being used for marketing, PR, and political agendas when the actual benefits are many years away and may be marginal at best against competing technologies.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Amiga500 on 6/17/2008 6:28:38 PM , Rating: 3
The efficiencies of a *real world* fuel cell car can be much better than a *real world* ICE car.

NOT when you include the energy that goes into "creating" the hydrogen from water or whatever in the first place.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By ajdavis on 6/17/2008 7:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
Did you forget that it also takes energy to make gas? Huge drill rigs and pumps that never turn off aren't powered by pixie dust...


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 8:54:27 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Did you forget that it also takes energy to make gas?
That's not the point. The point is that it takes MORE energy to make hydrogen than it does for gas.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Anonymous Freak on 6/17/2008 2:36:02 PM , Rating: 2
Honda built Hydrogen fueling stations that get 100% of their Hydrogen from water. It uses solar panels to perform the electrolysis. Meaning one of these fuel cell cars is as environmentally friendly as a motorized automobile can be for the moment. (Assuming you don't believe in the 'direct water fueled' cars.)


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By s12033722 on 6/18/2008 12:04:29 PM , Rating: 2
Have you looked at how environmentaly friendly solar cells are recently? Using solar to make the hydrogen is actually a very silly and inefficient way to do it, but I am sure it sounds nice to most people who do not consider the costs involved in collecting the solar power in the first place.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By tapa on 6/18/2008 4:58:32 AM , Rating: 2
Do you realize your numbers say that making hydrogen from natural gas and using it in fuel cells is more efficient than making gasoline from oil and using it in ICE? The FC in the Clarity is 60% efficient and if reforming is 80% then natural gas hydrogen + FC is 48% minus compression and logistics. Tank to wheels efficiency is little less than 60% as electric motors are very efficient.

Now the gasoline ICE tank to wheels efficiency is something like 12.5%. That's a very bad start, never mind the losses at refineries and transportation. And things only get worse for gasoline as we start making it from coal, biomass or other alternative feedstocks as int that case hydrogen production us orders of magnitude more efficient. And then another one for you - how will you make gasoline from wind and solar energy once the oil production starts declining?


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By pauldovi on 6/17/2008 1:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
As the president of SAE Powertrains said, "Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and it will always be the fuel of the future".

Hydrogen has horrible energy density and is not easy to convert to a usable form. Sure hydrogen is the most abundant atom in the universe, but no in usable form. It requires a good bit of energy to make it usable and it is not worthwhile.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 1:36:49 PM , Rating: 5
> "Hydrogen has horrible energy density "

On a volume basis, it's not as good as gasoline...but its certainly not horrrible.

On a weight basis, however, it's one of the best chemical-based fuels in existence....which is why it's used for the Space Shuttle.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Amiga500 on 6/17/2008 1:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
On a weight basis, however, it's one of the best chemical-based fuels in existence

Correct - storing the damn thing while keeping weight down that is giving problems for most applications.

But, the volume is also important for aircraft - there have been cryoplanes fly before (B-57 in the states, Tu-154 in the USSR) the problem is minimising intrusion of the fuel tanks into payload volume (or minimising drag if carried in wing pods.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By tapa on 6/18/2008 5:23:09 AM , Rating: 2
70 MPa hydrogen has an energy density 7x worse than gasoline but that's not nearly the whole story. It's tank to wheels efficiency is orders of magnitude better than gas-ICE. So in the end you'll have a 2x bigger storage tank but you would also have gotten rid of the bulky ICE. So generally speaking the problem in hydrogen storage is cost rather than energy density.

Just take a look at the FCX Clarity. It has a 35 MPa 167 l or something storage tank and it still gets a 270 mile range. If it were to use liquid hydrogen, its range would increase to more than 450 miles. Future Clarity's will definitely use 70 MPa tanks and would either give more range or take up less space. You could also get it a bigger battery and power your commutes to work from the electric grid.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By namechamps on 6/17/2008 6:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
You do know that hydrogen is not a fuel. It is no more a fuel than electricity, kinetic flywheels or batteries are a fuel.

H2 doesn't occur naturally anywhere except in atmosphere. Due to it's high boyancy and relative low concentrations "harvesting" hydrogen from atmosphere is foolish and insanely expensive.

Instead all hydrogen must be produced:
by reforming - breaking down natural gas or methane to H2
by electrolysis - using electricity generated from the grid to break H20 into H2 and O.
By thermolysis - using massive heat to cause breakdown of H20 into H2 & O. Nuclear power would be the only source of continual heat large enough to produce industry wide thermolysis.

Hydrogen is useful.

* It gives us a choice of energy. Hydrogen can be produced form nuclear power (thermolysis or electrolysi). It can also be produced via electricity from anything that produces electricity. Coal, wind, solar, natural gas turbines, nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal, etc.

* It is easily refilled. Compare a hydrogen car to electric car (assume both get power form grid). Electric cars take 6-8 hours to recharge making maximum range limited. With enough fueling stations (fill up takes <10 min) a hydrogen car could have unlimited range.

* It has densities that far exceed battery power. Pound for pound a hydrogen car can pack more potential energy than an electric car.

Regardless HYDROGEN isn't a fuel. Right now 60% of electricity in US is produced from coal. If electricity is used to produce hydrogen you can conclude the Honda vehicle is a coal powered car (coal->electricity->H2->vehicle tank->H2 fuel cell->electricity->motor).

To support H2 we need to think economically. Solar and wind currently cost about 2x-3x the cost of nuclear. A H2 economy based on solar would be equivalent to $6-$9 gallon gasoline. Since H2 costs are based on production choice we need to think long and hard about how in future we will produce millions of gallons (equivelent) of H2. Replacing $6 gasoline for $9 H2 doesn't make much sense.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 6:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
> "A H2 economy based on solar would be equivalent to $6-$9 gallon gasoline. "

More like $10/gallon -- $11, if you assume any reasonable tax rate. It would be much cheaper (around $2.50/gallon) with nuclear, and even cheaper still with steam reformation, though the last option obviously still relies upon fossil fuels.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By andrinoaa on 6/18/2008 4:49:55 AM , Rating: 2
You guys are assuming gas will never catchup in cost and solar will never come down in cost. Have you checked the costs lately and compared them with the last five years?
You maybe surprised!lol


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By namechamps on 6/20/2008 7:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
No gas will most certainly rise.

Electric cars (either in form of battery or H2) will become more efficent.

Ultimately you can produce electricity any number of ways to produce H2 (or simply power car directly).

Solar power costs about 4x as much as nuclear power. Period.
The price per watt of solar panel has been pretty constant at around $5/watt for almost a decade. Add in other fixed costs (inverter, grid tie system, cabling, installation, etc) and ammortize and the cost per KWh is 4x as high as cost per KWh of nuclear power.

Solar does has advantage of being able to produce energy locally (where it is needed) and that could eliminate transmission costs but still Solar is 2x-2.5x more expensive than H2.

If gas costs $8/gallon and thus tank costs $160 to fill up.

Let's say same range car running on H2 takes $250 to fill up with H2 from solar or $100 to fill up on H2 from nuclear.

Which option do you think resonates with consumer.
Pay more for vehicle and replace $160 fill ups of gas for $250 fill ups of H2.

OR

Pay more for vehicle and replace $160 fill ups of gas for $100 fill ups of H2


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By Davelo on 6/17/2008 8:04:39 PM , Rating: 2
If your carrying around a 170 liter tank of 5,000 psi H2 (I don't even want to contemplate what kind of bomb that would be in a collision), why not simply burn the H2 with a ICE instead of converting it to electricity to run an electric motor?


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By namechamps on 6/17/2008 8:12:27 PM , Rating: 3
Most the "cost" in terms of energy is getting H2 into a liquid form in the tank. Once there it makes no sense to burn it. Efficency from tank to wheels via fuel cell is roughly DOUBLE an ICE engine. ICE isn't going to get any more efficent fuel cells may improve another 30%-50% making the disparity in 10-20 years a 2.5:1 or 3:1.

The hard part in term of energy is getting the energy in the form of a cooled, compressed, liquid H2. Once there fuel cells are the "easy" part.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By tapa on 6/18/2008 5:33:43 AM , Rating: 2
Gasoline, diesel, methanol, autogas, hydrogen - they're all energy carriers and all need energy to make them.

Gasoline, diesel and autogas are made at refineries from oil using energy. Naturally more energy was used to make them than is stored in the final carriers.

Methanol and hydrogen are made from natural gas and they too needed more energy than is stored in the final product.

The big difference is that making hydrogen from natural gas is more efficient than making gasoline from oil. And using hydrogen is more efficient too. The main reason we don't use hydrogen as our carrier of choice is because of the cost of fuel cells and storage systems.


RE: Hydrogen is the future
By someguy743 on 6/19/2008 12:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
Once Honda, Toyota, and GM say they can build a hydrogen fuel cell car for about $60,000, THEN I'll start getting fired up about them and start talking about how we can get cheap, environmentally friendly hydrogen and the infrastructure that goes with it.

Til then, the car companies SHOULD keep on developing it for other applications like for corporate truck fleets. Get those garbage trucks, delivery trucks, and big rigs running on hydrogen fuel cells if possible. If fuel cells prove to be durable and financially doable for corporations they'll probably be able to trickle down the technology to us mainstream car buyers.

I'm guessing that might be a possibility by 2017 or so. It's all about the PRICE of the fuel cells and the PRICE of the hydrogen ... they gotta come down somehow. I would love to buy a 2018+ Chevy Volt that has a fuel cell range extender in it instead of a polluting IC engine that runs on super expensive gasoline. As long as the "fuel cell range entender" designed for the Volt isn't too expensive and I can find cheap hydrogen to fill it up with (about 5-6 times a year or whatever), that'll be fine with me.

We won't need hydrogen stations every 10 miles for people that buy the Volt. With 50+ miles of all electric range (from a home plug), people won't need to fill up their range extender very often. It would be a once every 6 weeks or so thing where you could drive to your nearest big town or city when you see your hydrogen tank running low. They won't have to have as many hydrogen stations as there are gas stations today.

Until they figure out all the pricing and lower those costs for hydrogen fuel cells, the NEAR future is plug-in hybrids (also called "series hybrids" or RE-EVs or E-REVs) like the Chevy Volt that's coming out in 2010. Series hybrids like the Volt are THE most technically advanced kind of hybrid that get up to 150 mpg. It's basically a pure electric car with an onboard gas engine generator like those Honda generators that campers use.

Watch the Brookings/Google.org speech by Troy Clarke (GM-President North America) for details. Lots of good information here for people wanting to learn more about the plug-in hybrids that are on the way.

http://www.stefanoparis.com/piaev/WhyWeNeedPlugIns...


sounds good but...
By mfed3 on 6/17/2008 9:38:58 AM , Rating: 2
$600 a month to lease for the next 3 years with no ramp up in production to offset costs?
hydrogen stations?

sorry but $ comes first, the general public is not going to spend loads of extra money to "save the environment"

the only way i see hydrogen cars working out is if hydrolysis machines (water to hydrogen gas) start being mass produced, and we can eventually afford them in our homes.

solar powered hydrolysis machines used to store up hydrogen are definitely a bright future automobile fuel source and will also make it to homes.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0315/p12s01-sten.htm...




RE: sounds good but...
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 9:55:10 AM , Rating: 2
With droughts plaguing many areas, that doesn't sound like such a great idea.


RE: sounds good but...
By Aloonatic on 6/17/2008 10:02:38 AM , Rating: 2
With rising sea levels we'll all have plenty of water to use? :D

Maybe a fuel cell boat is a better solution if Green Peace and Ali G are to be believed?


RE: sounds good but...
By jimbojimbo on 6/17/2008 3:23:00 PM , Rating: 2
Ever look at a dehumidifier after it's all dried up when you use regular tap water? Now imagine ocean water and you'll have more gunk than imaginable. Whatever device you're using to make your hydrogen then has to get cleaned up constantly.

There was a time that a gallon of gas cost less than a gallon of distilled water.


RE: sounds good but...
By Aloonatic on 6/17/2008 4:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
lots of salt left to put on my fish and chips? :)

Maybe a fuel cell powered water distiller?

/joking


RE: sounds good but...
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 10:34:02 AM , Rating: 2
> "With droughts plaguing many areas, that doesn't sound like such a great idea. "

Err, compared to the nation's per-capita water usage rate (over 1,000 gallons/day for each and every one of us) a few gallons more turned into fuel isn't going to make an appreciable difference...especially not when the hydrogen, once burned, converts back into water.


RE: sounds good but...
By Tryek25 on 6/17/2008 11:03:43 AM , Rating: 2
Most of these cars will probably be bought by city folk who have short commutes, so I don't think droughts will come much into play for these people.


RE: sounds good but...
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 2:47:23 PM , Rating: 2
I'll remember to tell Arnold that the drought in California isn't a problem.


RE: sounds good but...
By Suntan on 6/17/2008 1:44:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With droughts plaguing many areas, that doesn't sound like such a great idea.


What do you think happens to the 2 hydrogen atoms when they combine with an oxygen atom in the fuel cell?

-Suntan


RE: sounds good but...
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 9:16:20 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
What do you think happens to the 2 hydrogen atoms when they combine with an oxygen atom in the fuel cell?
We get a Suntan?


RE: sounds good but...
By Aloonatic on 6/17/2008 9:59:31 AM , Rating: 5
Yep, $600 a month is pretty pricey, but I guess it's got to start somewhere.

And as they are going to Hollywood more money than sense types with more than a little environmental guilt on their consciences (as they fly around and use far more energy than the average person) Honda can pretty much charge what they want.

A (barely) production fuel cell car is a great thing to see on the streets. How many people thought that there would be one available by the end of 2008?

Now (along with the hydrogen production problem that the OP pointed out) if they can only make them from energy taken from non-carbon based sources (inc nuclear?) and have an interior free of oil based materials then we will have a winner :)

I'm not asking for much I know?!

I tip my hat to Honda and Toyota for at least making an effort at fuel cell cars, may their progress be swift and profitable.


RE: sounds good but...
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 11:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
GM had a group of hydrogen fuel cell Equinoxes running around LA, New York, and Washington D.C. last year. And has done many more such tests.

http://www.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2007/...

But I guess that doesn't matter since Honda is far more popular.


RE: sounds good but...
By Aloonatic on 6/17/2008 12:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
I revise my last paragraph and tip my hat to all those peeps out there with white coats and lots of different coloured pens in their top pockets from all over the world who are helping to solve the problem of the oil free (fuel) car.

Thanks for the link, they look like pretty normal cars.

It will be fun to see how car designers come to terms with and take advantage of the different layouts and design options that the new power cells/drive trains and such will allow.


RE: sounds good but...
By Suntan on 6/17/2008 1:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And as they are going to Hollywood more money than sense types with more than a little environmental guilt on their consciences (as they fly around and use far more energy than the average person) Honda can pretty much charge what they want.


Well, LA is a logical place. How many hydrogen fueling stations do you have around your neighborhood? The greater LA area has a couple. When we do fuel cell testing here we have to buy hydrogen by the tank and constantly deal with having it delivered on a weekly basis. In the winter months, when we do our testing out in the LA area, there is a refueling station just down the street from our test site.

Also, more money than sense may be accurate, but like it or not they are the early adopters of this technology with money to spend on it. How many people would say the same about a $600 SLI gfx card setup from 2 years ago that my decent, but by no means outstanding PC can beat today?

How else does one expect to make such a sizeable shift in a product that is so pervasive in our society? Do you just flip the switch one day and start pumping out fuel cell cars to ever dealer across the nation? No, it is going to be in (massively subsidized by the manufacturer) little lease programs that slowly grow in size and geographical location until the infrastructure is there to support it full stop.

-Suntan


RE: sounds good but...
By Aloonatic on 6/17/2008 2:51:34 PM , Rating: 2
It never ceases to amaze me how people can take a throw away comment and write a whole reply about it and take it so personally on DT?!

You don't know where I live, I may even live in LA myself.

More money than sense was a tongue in cheek comment by which I meant no offence, and with the amount of money that Hollywood Stars have, they would have to have a multiple Nobel prize winning weight of sense to switch the ration around.

I think it's great that they are taking up the mantel and essentially taking on a beta testing role whilst raising the profile of the hydrogen fuel cell car, and in turn supporting and funding the growing infrastructure that will be required if they are to be adopted on mass.

Please don't delude yourself that they are doing this for purely altruistic reasons. It's a fashionable cause and they do need to assuage some of their guilt for their massive personal energy usage and the grossly disproportionate rewards for the little work that they actually do, compared to the vast majority of people on the planet.

There's no argument that this is a better way of dealing with their guilt than looking for answers in the form of ancient aliens trapped in people's bodies and trying to help people to extract them or whatever.

Calm down Suntan, maybe a higher factor or staying in doors around midday may be required?


RE: sounds good but...
By Suntan on 6/17/2008 3:57:31 PM , Rating: 2
I didn’t think I was getting excited. You posted a comment and I replied to it. I didn’t call you names or tell you that you are wrong or tell you that you are stupid like so many other posts that get put out around here.

It never ceases to amaze me how so many posts are made where people just want everyone else to take what they say as fact and get annoyed when someone has a slightly differing view than theirs.

As for celebrities getting on the eviro bandwagon because they feel guilty, I don’t think that is the case. To have guilt would infer that they have knowledge of what they are doing and what they are talking about. I don’t believe most of your regulars have much of either. Most of them (not all) went from no money, working a no talent job to make the rent to the system making them a star and instantly handing them large amounts of cash and an attentive audience that wants to hear what they have to say. They float around from one fad to the next, from little puppies and snowboots in summer to environmental causes and mystic religions. They are doing it because they are shallow and not capable of independent thought. They have the notion that it is cool to be enviro so they want on that bus.

Now, whether you are upset with me not fully appreciating your amazingly witty and original “more money than sense” comment, it still doesn’t change the fact that it is a smart move by Honda to pick as they did. Like it or not, the LA area is one of the best areas to pick from a hydrogen infrastructure point of view. It also stays relatively warm throughout the year (another weak point for fuel cells) and none of those people are actually going to rely on their crappy, under featured eviro car for any trips of significant length like a normal person would. It doesn’t hurt that they get the free publicity that goes with J6P being infatuated with the happenings of the dinks out in Hollywood.

-Suntan


RE: sounds good but...
By Aloonatic on 6/17/2008 4:41:49 PM , Rating: 2
I think you miss interpreted the nature of my comments, which are light hearted and by no means meant to be taken as fact, just opinion.

LA does seem like a good place to roll out these vehicles. Lots of roads and good weather, no argument there, and I never offered one. I never said LA was a bad place and that I didn't think Honda should do it there.

My "more money than sense" comment was tongue in cheek, light hearted, whimsical and a throw away line, meant to cause on offence. I never intended it to be seen as a witty master piece, meant as an audition for a writers job on comedy central as you seem to think it was???

This just highlights one of the down sides to these types of forums. All tone and intonation is lost leading to a comment being taken out of the context, especially between 2 people (I'm assuming) from different sides of the pond.

Essentially, I think we pretty much agree?

*holds out hand to be shaken


RE: sounds good but...
By Suntan on 6/18/2008 5:43:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
*holds out hand to be shaken


Fair enough. It is a rare site to see here to have someone try and de-escalate an argument started by misinterpretation. Good show.

In any case, I never was really trying to disagree with anything you wrote. Merely adding my opinion to what you had said.

-Suntan


RE: sounds good but...
By Penti on 6/17/2008 10:40:52 AM , Rating: 2
Well it's not a production car really. It's more like the all electric cars that was existing in California in the 90-ties. They did disappear as soon as the laws for emissions changed, this car probably will too if they stop promoting fuel cells as the future of cars. Experiment cars will continue though, but this is also a experiment and test, but it is also intended to build up image and prepare for a possible future where government and or state will promote hydrogen as a fuel through legislation.

It's not intended for the average public, it's not intended to be mass produced, it's not intended to replace fossil fuel-burning cars. It hasn't even yet reached the low level the E85 cars has yet. Here in Sweden we could produce ethanol for 50 000 E85 cars, but in reality thats not even enough for the ethanol thats mixed in our 95 octane gasoline, so most is imported, last year the E85 cars on the roads surpassed 80 000 cars, and the number of cars on the road surpassed 4 300 000. Nobody really wants to replace oil and natural gas. Thats both politicians and car manufacturers. That's why we don't see any shift in the market for any real alternative. And experiment cars like this will always cost a lot, there will be no infrastructure or for that matter all electric cars will be expensive. Series hybrids will be the cars that one might actually be able to buy and use. There are no big projects that can replace any significant of oil for transportation yet. EU talks about 10% biofuels for transportation in 2020, and thats pretty hard too achieve. Stuff like cellulosic ethanol through hydrolysis and fermentation just isn't there yet neither is it the most resource efficient solution. Even if it worked, which we haven't seen yet. In any large quantities that is.


RE: sounds good but...
By meepstone on 6/17/2008 10:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
You apparently didn't read where this price includes insurance. Considering its a brand new car and not many of them and the price of repairing one has to be high cus of a limited supply of parts. I don't see why this isn't reasonable. Also, rich people are getting these anyways and obviously don't need the money.


Distance?
By TedStriker on 6/17/2008 11:17:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"a 100 kW V that has shrunk 65 percent since Honda's initial design, 171-liter, 5,000-psi hydrogen fuel tank, a lithium ion battery pack, and a 95 kW (127 HP) electric motor. At 68 MPG and a range of 270 miles, the Clarity is very competitive with other sedans. "

Am I reading this wrong? It looks like it will only go 270 miles on 171 liters of hydrogen. Thats 6 mpg on hydrogen. What ar they projecting the cost of hydrogen to be at the filling station? It would have to roughly $.20 per liter to equal the cost of driving an equivilant gasoline powered car. (30mpg @ $4 a gallon)




RE: Distance?
By judasmachine on 6/17/2008 11:44:58 AM , Rating: 2
This is what I'm curious about. If I fill up my 98 civic, i can usually get well over 320 miles (that's the math without actually writing it down) out of the tank.


RE: Distance?
By 67STANG on 6/17/2008 12:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
I get about 520 miles to a tank in my bmw 528i, big tank though.

Hydrogen should be cheap as it is relatively easy to generate. If you had solar/wind at the filling stations, you could renewably generate tons of hydrogen-- with no associated fuel transportation costs to pass on to customers. Perhaps the government wouldn't tax hydrogen fuel either, that would be nice.


RE: Distance?
By blaster5k on 6/17/2008 12:59:59 PM , Rating: 2
It's nowhere near cheap once you start trying to generate it via solar/wind.


RE: Distance?
By 67STANG on 6/17/2008 3:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
Sure it is. Solar--> Electrolyzer --> Storage Tanks --> Done.

You have a 1-time equipment cost and a water bill to feed the electorlyzer...

There are tons of people on youtube with $10 worth of hardware from home depot making hydrogen.


RE: Distance?
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 1:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
> "If you had solar/wind at the filling stations, you could renewably generate tons of hydrogen"

Do you have any idea how many thousands of acres a filling station in most areas would need to generate enough hydrogen to fill its needs?


RE: Distance?
By 67STANG on 6/17/2008 3:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
No. How many?

I wasn't able to find the details on the solar/wind hydrogen stations that currently exist , but from the pictures, they don't seem to be much larger than standard filling stations...definately not thousands of acres...


RE: Distance?
By namechamps on 6/17/2008 8:09:05 PM , Rating: 2
SCALE SCALE SCALE.

First thing is electricity is electricity. An electric car uses a LOT of electricity. It doesn't matter if it is a full-hybrid like Volt (gas engine produces electricity only), or a plug in electric car or a hydrogen car.

The stations are small because total # of cars is couple dozen. There is one service station for every 500 cars on road right now. Likely density of H2 stations will need to be even higher since is sheer numbers there will be less.

Let's start with power demands of 1 H2 car.

1 Gallon of liquid H2 = 8.99KW of electricity.
Pure a simple a H2 car is an electric car. It simply STORES electricity as linquid H2.

The Honda goes 270 miles on 171L tank = 6 MPG of H2. A typical H2 car going 12K miles per year will require 12,000/6 = 2,000 gallons of H2 per year.

To produce that requires 2,000*8.99KW = 17,980 KW ~18MW.
Hower that is a 100% conversion between electricity and H2. Best electrolysis methods are about 65% efficent. So true energy is 27.7MW. You also need to store and super cool the gas H2 down to liquid. Add another 20% overhead for that. So the "cost" in electricity of 1 H2 car (going 12K miles) is 33MW).

So we got 1 car down. Now say you want to build 1 station per 1000 cars. 33MW * 1000 = 33,000MW.

Now in CA the Sun produces about 6KWh/m2/day. In a year thats about 2.2MWh/m2. Now best COMMERICALLY VIABLE solar panels are <20% efficency. So of that 2.2MWh of radiation the panel produces 0.44MWh of electricity.

So to have large enough array to produce power for 1000 H2 cars would require 33,0000MW /0.44MWh = 776625 meters squared. Another way to look at that is a square almost 300m on each side. Imagine a grid 3 football fields by 3 football fields.

Now this assume an average yield. In reality the panels would produce MORE than used in summer and less in winter. To be completely off the grid would require panels capable of producing all the energy required in the winter which would double the cost and the footprint.

Electricity is Electricity. In terms of square footage solar panels produce very little.

The good news is is look a H2 car would require about 33MW of electricity per year (assumming 65% electrolysis efficency, and 20% overhead for liquifying & storage). In my area buying off the grid @ $0.10 KWh = $3300 = ~ $2.76/gallon GASOLINE EQUIVALENT.

H2 is a viable solution but it is still produced by electricity. Solar costs about 3x to 5x as much as nuclear power or natural gas turbines. A H2 car powered by solar power will cost 3x to 5X as much alos. Just as a house powered by solar power does or a light powered by solar power.


RE: Distance?
By masher2 (blog) on 6/18/2008 1:23:38 AM , Rating: 2
Your figures are pretty close (ignoring a little unit confusion between power (KW) and energy (KW-h) ). However, to bring them a bit more in line, the energy required for hydrogen liquefaction in a small-scale plant is on the order of 60 MJ/l, which is closer to a 35% overhead, rather than 20%. You also didn't factor in bleedoff, which is high for liq. H2.

The types of solar cells practical for this application would be more in the range of 15% efficient, rather than 20%.

The 6KW-h/m2/day is a bit high...Southern CA might see that, but Northern CA certainly won't -- but let's leave that alone for now.

Working all that in works out to 0.12 sq km per station ... if that station only serves 1000 vehicles. But there are six million cars in Los Angeles. So if everyone switched to these cars, that's an area of 720 sq. km...or roughly 180,000 acres of land just to site these filling stations.


RE: Distance?
By Suntan on 6/17/2008 2:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hydrogen will be contained as a gas in a fuel cell vehicle (completely impractical to store it in traditional tanks as a liquid), “gas” that you currently use is in liquid form.

Therefore, the amount of fuel that you can hold in a traditional car is limited by the volume of the fuel tank. The amount you can hold in a fuel cell car is limited by both the volume and the max pressure that you store it at.

Most mobile fuel cell applications are looking to run 5000psi tanks with a couple looking at 10,000 psi tanks. While you can carry more in a higher pressure tank, the tanks themselves get bigger/heavier/more expensive due to the increased strength needed to handle the higher pressures. Onboard storage amount is one of the hurdles needed to be continually worked on for mainstream fuel cell cars to be viable.

-Suntan


RE: Distance?
By tapa on 6/18/2008 5:48:24 AM , Rating: 2
Liters of hydrogen doesn't matter as you could store the same amount of energy in 1 liter as in 1000 liters. Gasoline is not a gas and therefore it's volume is closely related to the energy content.

What you need for hydrogen is weight. The Clarity does 270 miles on 5 kg of hydrogen. Its 170 l tank only has 5 kg of this stuff. The mpg rating is calculated, I guess, by taking into account the production efficiency too so it's not that simple.


H-bomb is correct name for it...
By rvd2008 on 6/17/2008 1:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
...and I am guessing terrorists would be first customers. I would prevent these cars entering public places and government sites if I could.

Beside obvious threat, this car is not solving anything. We are not going to drive it through the entire Universe. Lets care about Earth instead. Where on Earth would you get H2 in such quantities? Electrolysis is expensive and we'll get it from oil/gas then we are back to the problem. So why bother?

Instead of this gimmick H-bomb car I am waiting for more reasonable Volt designed to run for 40 miles on electricity alone. In the evening I will plug it in and will keep couple gallons of gas just in case I need to go over.




RE: H-bomb is correct name for it...
By namechamps on 6/17/2008 10:05:30 PM , Rating: 2
The who terror scare over everything is getting old.

H2 has much less power per unit of volume than fossil fuels like gasoline or diesel. As I recall the trade center collapsed because someone flew a plane filled with Diesel into it. The Oklahoma city bombing was caused by a plain just Rider truck filled with fertilizer. Using a H2 car as a bomb would produce an explosion about 30% smaller than an equivalent sized gasoline explosion. I am not sure why terrorists would want to spend 3x as much to produce a slightly smaller and "cleaner" explosion. Unless it is terrorist concerned about the carbon footprint of their Jihad.

Even if H2 was the end all of WMD why couldn't a terriroist just fill up a couple tanks of H2 and put them in the bed of a truck?


By masher2 (blog) on 6/18/2008 1:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
> "Using a H2 car as a bomb would produce an explosion about 30% smaller than an equivalent sized gasoline explosion."

You've forgotten the mechanical energy involved in compressing hydrogen to 5K or 10K psi. Even ignoring the chemical energy in the fuel itself, that's equivalent to the explosive potential of a large artillery shell.

But I agree with the thrust of your remarks...there's certainly no need to conjure up images of terroristic threats from the use of hydrogen-fueled vehicles.


RE: H-bomb is correct name for it...
By tapa on 6/18/2008 5:58:24 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see what terrorists would do with these cars as gasoline is much easier to use and can do far more damage. The hydrogen will immediately travel upwards at high speed while gasoline will stay to burn up.

And saying that hydrogen can somehow be of more use in making hydrogen bombs than gasoline is plain silly. Hydrogen has been available to the general public even before gasoline yet no one (of the general public) has ever made a nuclear device out of it.


RE: H-bomb is correct name for it...
By rvd2008 on 6/18/2008 10:05:05 AM , Rating: 2
It's a joke about H-bomb! Not sure why you even bring nuclear discussion here :-)
Anyways, all jokes aside, compressed at 5000 psi H2 is much more dangerous than tank full of gasoline. Even though gasoline may pack more energy per volume it can not release it at once easily. There is HUGE difference between simple BURNING and EXPLODING.


RE: H-bomb is correct name for it...
By tjr508 on 6/21/2008 9:21:24 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you.
It seems everyone here is blind to the dangers of pressure. I work with rpessure every day and if we had a tank that big with 5kpsi on location, (just any compressable gas, not even flamable) there would be warning signs allover, but it seems not even an issue to accelerate these things over 70mph all over our highways.


By Sooticus on 7/10/2008 1:18:17 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention the fact that a ruptured tank would freeze a great deal of its surroundings as the pressure was released... But Honda have most likely tested this already and engineered the fuel tank to reduce the risk to people to "acceptable levels"


Hm?
By DeepBlue1975 on 6/17/2008 9:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
a 100 kW V that has shrunk 65 percent since Honda's initial design, 171-liter, 5,000-psi hydrogen fuel tank, a lithium ion battery pack, and a 95 kW (127 HP) electric motor. At 68 MPG and a range of 270 miles, the Clarity is very competitive with other sedans.


Does this mean it has two engines adding up 195kw of power?
Otherwise... What is a 100kw V? Or just tell me what do you mean with V here just for clarification's sake. Voltage doesn't make so much sense to me here, and if it is current I don't know current of what.

Thanks




RE: Hm?
By PlasmaBomb on 6/17/2008 10:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
The 100 kW is the output rating for the (mark 5?) hydrogen fuel cell. The batteries are present to store energy from the fuel cell, and likely to enable regenerative breaking.

There is only one engine rated at 95 kW. Hope that helps :)


RE: Hm?
By Pipperox on 6/17/2008 10:19:14 AM , Rating: 2
It reads: 100 kW "V Flow" fuel cell stack.
This means that the fuel cell provides electricity for a sustained 100 kW of power, which is matched by the 95kW power used by the electrical engine.


RE: Hm?
By Chudilo on 6/17/2008 10:23:00 AM , Rating: 2
The V comes from a conceptually new fuel cell configuration that improves the efficiency of the fuel cell while shrinking it's size.
The motor is 95kW.
Actually alternate designs have a large motor powering the front wheels and 2 smaller in-wheel motors powering the rears. This car however just has the one large motor in the front.


How will hydrogen fix our energy needs?
By deanx0r on 6/17/2008 1:13:55 PM , Rating: 2
Hydrogen is just a vector for energy. It takes energy to produce hydrogen. What will we use to produce hydrogen on a massive scale? Oil, coil, nuclear?

The FCX is a nice engineering showcase and exercise, but at the same time, it is a waste of precious resources pushed by environmentalist PR.




RE: How will hydrogen fix our energy needs?
By Suntan on 6/17/2008 2:30:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hydrogen is just a vector for energy. It takes energy to produce hydrogen. What will we use to produce hydrogen on a massive scale? Oil, coil, nuclear?


Yes.

quote:

The FCX is a nice engineering showcase and exercise, but at the same time, it is a waste of precious resources pushed by environmentalist PR.


Piss off. The FCX is an amazing accomplishment of engineering. It is the successful development of a technology that has been known about and used in lab like conditions for many years put into a package that could actually be viable to let stupid little teenagers use while they drive down the road texting their BFFs.

If you can’t appreciate the engineering work involved (by a great many companies, not just Honda) in getting the fuel cell to the state it is at today, then just kindly sit down and stfu.

This is not a push by environmentalists. Your average environmentalist is too stupid to actually cause something like this to come to fruition. Enviros just jumped on the bandwagon after many years of hard work by smart people got this technology to the point that a couple of TV stations felt like doing a puff piece about it to fill the time slot after the sports scores. Before that, your average Enviro was still promoting hemp based clothing and shoes as the solution to the world’s problems.

Another thing, the fuel cell may very well turn out to be a waste of resources, but it is being developed in the same way that all the other new technologies of the last couple hundred years have been developed - A lot of hard work by a lot of good people, with good money supplied by government and private sector both. What the hell good have you contributed to society recently?

I swear, if there was an Anandtech back in prehistoric times, there would be a thread with individuals sitting there pissing and moaning about how fire would never catch on.

-Suntan


By Reclaimer77 on 6/17/2008 8:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Piss off. The FCX is an amazing accomplishment of engineering.


Thats great. Now can we please drill for more oil ?

quote:
If you can’t appreciate the engineering work involved (by a great many companies, not just Honda) in getting the fuel cell to the state it is at today, then just kindly sit down and stfu.


I appreciate it plenty. I also appreciate the Slinky and the miracle of sliced bread. So ? What has hydrogen done for me lately ? Why don't YOU 'stfu' and support us drilling more oil ?

quote:
What the hell good have you contributed to society recently?


Tax money.

quote:
I swear, if there was an Anandtech back in prehistoric times, there would be a thread with individuals sitting there pissing and moaning about how fire would never catch on.


No. Actually there would be cavemen like you pissing and moaning about how CO2 from the campfires were killing the environment and they needed to search for alternatives.


By Spuke on 6/17/2008 11:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What the hell good have you contributed to society recently?
LOL!!!!! What have you?


This stinks ..again..
By DukeN on 6/18/2008 10:19:31 AM , Rating: 2
Totally reminiscent of the electric car bait and switch by the big boys.

Make really fuel efficient car full of promises. Make it really difficult to lease, forget about owning - multiple applications to availability ratio, lots of 'caveats', etc. Drive people away once they are "sold" these imperfections and back to the money making status quo.

Honda, Toyota, GM and Ford had all electric cars up and running about a decade ago here on North American streets.

All banished to the scrapyard simply as they weren't profitable enough because it killed their cash cow - the high margin service business.

I think just about everyone working in an office would be up for buying a car for the daily 100 mile or less commute, plug in to charge overnight and to top it off maintenance costs would be much lower.

Of course what's good for the consumer != what's good for big business.




RE: This stinks ..again..
By masher2 (blog) on 6/18/2008 10:56:31 AM , Rating: 2
> "All banished to the scrapyard simply as they weren't profitable enough because it killed their cash cow - the high margin service business."

Stuff and nonsense. They were "banished" because the cars were utterly impractical. Piss-poor performance, incredibly short ranges, which could dip to under 5 miles in extremely cold weather, and a non-subsidized price that would make your eyes pop.

But what sunk them most of all was the incredibly low price of gasoline...a dollar a gallon at that point in history. What electric car can compete with that, when gas is four times cheaper than bottled water?

So-- do you want to blame automakers for gas prices? Or maybe "big oil" for selling their product to us too cheaply?

Now that oil prices have risen, and battery technology has progressed, electric cars are now pushing viability. But the fact remains they weren't in the 1990s. Not even close to it.


RE: This stinks ..again..
By DukeN on 6/18/2008 2:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
The EV1s were actually released in Late '99:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_EV1

If they are now pushing viability, howcome there still isn't a single product being promoted that is all electric? 8 years should be enough time to make a production product way more efficient and feasible.

Simple - all the vehicles are 'hybrids' because complexity means return business. If there was a simple purchase for a similar price for a vehicle that would not require as much servicing, why would anyone come back to the dealership service garage?

Another example - the Civic GX, barely sold anywhere, if at all.


RE: This stinks ..again..
By masher2 (blog) on 6/19/2008 12:18:50 AM , Rating: 2
> "The EV1s were actually released in Late '99:"

No, the EV1's were first released in 1996. They were closed out in 1999.

> "If they are now pushing viability, howcome there still isn't a single product being promoted that is all electric?"

I guess you haven't heard of GM's Volt?

> "If there was a simple purchase for a similar price for a vehicle that would not require as much servicing, why would anyone come back to the dealership service garage?"

I know how popular a good conspiracy theory is, but the fact remains that automakers get nothing from the labor charges at a dealership service garage. They do receive a fair amount of profits from aftermarket parts, but its trivial compared to first-sale revenues.

By your theory, cars should be getting less and less reliable over time, as that would increase aftermarket profits. But just the opposite is happening. Why? Because consumers buy RELIABLE cars first and foremost.

No automaker is unwise enough to intentionally make a car that fails more often. If they could make an ultra-reliable vehicle, they'd corner the market in a heartbeat and score massive profits. In fact, Toyota grew to the world's largest automaker just by making cars that were slightly more reliable than the competition. And, despite the fact that their models hit the shops less often than other carmakers, they're making vast profits, while Ford and GM are losing billions.

So much for that theory.


Gas
By bobcpg on 6/17/2008 9:41:34 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
"It's so smooth. It's like a future machine, but it's not."


That car will not be the only thing full of a gaseous substance.




By CatfishKhan on 6/17/2008 11:34:51 AM , Rating: 2
According to wikipedia, the clarity is available for 36 month leases. At $600 a month, that is a cost of over $21,000 for just three years. Does anyone know how much it costs to fill one of these up?

I'd prefer to own a car personally. With an all electric range of 40 miles, the Volt sounds good to me. After that, a 50mpg gas engine kicks in (I think, but am not certain, it is more efficient than a normal engine since it only has to run at one speed to charge the battery.)

http://gm-volt.com/
http://gm-volt.com/chevy-volt-faqs/




By Reclaimer77 on 6/17/2008 8:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
Pffft. This thing is a fu$%*#ng joke.

Honda, the last time you gave me a boner was right before you stopped making the Prelude. I'm sure BradJolina will love this ultimate expression of smugness, but this is so far from being mainstream its not even funny.




These things are great!
By tjr508 on 6/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: These things are great!
By Capsaicin on 6/17/2008 9:42:27 AM , Rating: 5
...unlike gasoline cars.


RE: These things are great!
By amanojaku on 6/17/2008 10:08:48 AM , Rating: 5
Exactly.

tjr508, why don't you complain about something important like price, build quality (short lifetime,) and the seemingly inherent butt-ugliness of non-gasoline cars?


RE: These things are great!
By Mitch101 on 6/17/2008 10:22:16 AM , Rating: 1
You left out crash tests/death trap assumptions when coming into contact with SUV's.

I'm all for getting a fuel efficient/green car I just want it to be cheaper than getting a government tax rebate. Cant the GOV just work out a deal with the car manufacturers and give them a kickback instead of me paying a premium price to support the dealer/dealership and higher amount on a loan to purchase the vehicle.

Maybe offer a second incentive because I would be trading in a non green car/less efficient car for a more efficient one? Yes part of the incentive is to have a more fuel efficient vehicle but the GOV could do more but GAS TAX is a great incentive for themselves.


RE: These things are great!
By othercents on 6/17/2008 10:45:46 AM , Rating: 2
I am more in favor of the government subsidizing the hydrogen fueling stations. There is plenty of demand for these vehicles, but no where to fuel them.

Other


RE: These things are great!
By GlassHouse69 on 6/17/2008 11:34:07 AM , Rating: 2
I agree totally.

There are SOOOO many ways to remove harmful landfill substances and create pure hydrogen gas.

theres a hydrogen gas incinerator/breeder you can purchase that is about the size of medium size construction dumpster. You throw something that has hydrogen in it that is combustible, and out pops ash and hydrogen.


RE: These things are great!
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 11:44:04 AM , Rating: 2
Yes but the issue is how much power does it consume to make said hydrogen. If it takes twice as much energy to produce the hydrogen as it would have just burning gas, you've achieved nothing. Granted if we were nearly or completely nuclear, it wouldn't matter. But the environmental lobby has stopped that as well.


RE: These things are great!
By jimbojimbo on 6/17/2008 4:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
Also, various hydrogen producing plants not only use energy but use various other chemicals. How much energy did it take to create those chemicals and what are the environmental factors that they cause? The ends don't justify the means when dealing with this stuff.


RE: These things are great!
By jimbojimbo on 6/17/2008 4:00:09 PM , Rating: 2
But if the government did that people would accuse the government of giving out money to large corporations again. It's a lose lose situation. The easiest way to increase the value of the technology would be to increase the price of gas even more. Then anything would seem cheaper.


RE: These things are great!
By Reclaimer77 on 6/17/2008 8:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm all for getting a fuel efficient/green car I just want it to be cheaper than getting a government tax rebate. Cant the GOV just work out a deal with the car manufacturers and give them a kickback instead of me paying a premium price to support the dealer/dealership and higher amount on a loan to purchase the vehicle.


Wow... I really hate you right now.


RE: These things are great!
By peter7921 on 6/17/2008 11:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
I usually hate the look of most of these cars, but this Honda looks pretty decent IMO.

Fuel Cell are progressing at a good rate, they will fix the life issues eventually.


RE: These things are great!
By masher2 (blog) on 6/18/2008 10:06:32 AM , Rating: 2
> "...and the seemingly inherent butt-ugliness of non-gasoline cars? "

It's called a Kammback, a shape common to nearly all fuel-efficient cars, and is designed for aerodynamic efficiency.


RE: These things are great!
By eye smite on 6/17/2008 10:40:32 AM , Rating: 1
I think the point he was trying to make is that gasoline vehicles don't have tanks under 5000 lbs of pressure per sqare inch. Over time that tank will begin showing metal fatigue and begin leaking or possibley even explode, and God forbid you get hit in the tank area by a Hummer. These are things people don't think about.


RE: These things are great!
By othercents on 6/17/2008 10:49:36 AM , Rating: 2
Wow a Hummer... I haven't seen one of those on the road for about 6 months and have never seen one involved in a traffic collision. However if you want to talk about statistics about unsafe vehicles you should look at SUVs and the extreme number of rollovers. I'm sure that those numbers outweigh the numbers of hydrogen explosions we will see.

Other


RE: These things are great!
By eye smite on 6/17/2008 11:09:29 AM , Rating: 2
Ok dippey, how bout a 3/4 ton extended cab truck? Ever seen one of those on the road? I think you totally missed my point, but that doesn't surprise me with some of the prejudice people that comment here at all.


RE: These things are great!
By omnicronx on 6/17/2008 11:34:37 AM , Rating: 2
Then what exactly is your point? That because SUV's are on the road we can not safetly drive hybrids? Your argument does not seem to make sense, we should all be moving to smaller cars unless our jobs demand it. There is no reason for a family of 4 to own a giant SUV, regardless if they happen to use it to go camping 1 time a year. Pointing out that a smaller car, will get demolished when crashing into a bigger car, only makes me think maybe we should not have these large vehicles in the first place.


RE: These things are great!
By RjBass on 6/17/2008 11:48:26 AM , Rating: 2
My family of four as well as our dog went camping for a couple days two weekends ago. We drove our little Suzuki Forenza all the way there and back (about 3 1/2 hours each way). It didnt bother us a bit and we did it all on 14 and a half gallons of fuel. No SUV needed.


RE: These things are great!
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 11:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
only makes me think maybe we should not have these large vehicles in the first place.
Very true! Let's start banning these ALL of these large vehicles. SUV's, pickup trucks, semi trucks, and RV's. Large trailers should be banned too because of possible jackknifes. People who really need these vehicles should have to buy a permit from the state along with an investigation to make sure that you really require these vehicles too. And their time on the road should be limited working hours with special permits for after hours use too.

I'm going to lobby my local state Congressman to get this done. I'll start locally first and work my way up to national level later.


RE: These things are great!
By sxr7171 on 6/17/2008 1:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
Whatever, I just like to see tears roll down their faces at the gas pump.


RE: These things are great!
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 11:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Whatever, I just like to see tears roll down their faces at the gas pump.
Why save it for just the gas pump? Why not have them crying ALL of the time?


RE: These things are great!
By 67STANG on 6/17/2008 12:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't matter... these tanks are specially designed with safety in mind. They have a vertical seam (facing the ground) that is designed to fail upon structural integrity loss... The gas expells rapidly through the seam upon failure.

Keep in mind however, a tank failure is VERY unlikely as this car has protective barriers all around it.


RE: These things are great!
By jimbojimbo on 6/17/2008 4:05:55 PM , Rating: 2
But you don't see the point. If someone hits you with their SUV you are the innocent victim. If someone rolls his own SUV because they were trying to make a call, it's their own stupid fault so who cares?


RE: These things are great!
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 10:58:20 AM , Rating: 4
> "Over time that tank will begin showing metal fatigue and begin leaking or possibley even explode"

It's no different than a scuba tank, and easily handled by a system of routine inspections and replacement.


RE: These things are great!
By eye smite on 6/17/2008 11:07:29 AM , Rating: 1
Right, and what average american is going to spend the money on routine inspections for such a tank? I'm sure some people will, but the majority of them won't. So how do you compensate for such a problem down the road? I can tell you now, the manufacturers won't, and they'll say "well if they didn't bring it in and spend a couple hundred to make sure the tank is safe, spend a grand to replace it if it's going bad, that's not our fault." Unless you can think of a different approach they might take on it.


RE: These things are great!
By amanojaku on 6/17/2008 11:17:41 AM , Rating: 4
I thought cars were required to get routine inspections? How would this be different? We'd just be exchanging one type of engine for another.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_inspection


RE: These things are great!
By Spivonious on 6/17/2008 11:18:24 AM , Rating: 2
Just make it part of the state inspection, just like brakes, exhaust system, lights, etc. are now.


RE: These things are great!
By bobsmith1492 on 6/17/2008 11:38:22 AM , Rating: 2
Many states don't do this...


RE: These things are great!
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 12:03:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, California doesn't have inspections.


RE: These things are great!
By icrf on 6/17/2008 11:08:34 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, the kicker is that hydrogen is significantly lighter than air and gasoline is significantly heavier. What does that mean?

When a gas tank ruptures, and they do as they're not under pressure and not built as comparitively strong, the fumes pool up along ground, around the people at the scene of the accident, where a spark can ignite it.

It takes a lot more force to puncture a 5000 psi hydrogren tank, and when it does, the fuel goes straight up and out of the atmosphere. It can ignite, but won't be nearly as catastrophic a blaze, as it will be very localized.

The only additional danger is from the H2 tank shooting off like a missle due to the pressures. I don't know the odds of each, but I'm guessing there'll be a higher percentage of injury by gas fire than H2 projectiles. Area affects always are.


RE: These things are great!
By GlassHouse69 on 6/17/2008 11:38:58 AM , Rating: 2
From what I understand, its just not one huge tank like a 30 dollar propane tank from the hardware store. The tank is really resistant to puncture in an accident, as well as the inherrent ability for hydrogen to compress.

Gasoline is incredibly dangerous. It does not dissipate, it lingers on the ground and floods areas RAPIDLY. Drop a gallon of gasoline in a field, pour it on the ground. good luck :) I wouldnt move for like 15 minutes at least. I did, and holy crap I almost died. Something ignited it, not sure what.... Didnt get burned as it was about a half gallon but the area was approximately 20 yards in diameter that went up from a simple spill outdoors.

Yeah, I love gasoline safety.


RE: These things are great!
By Amiga500 on 6/17/2008 10:14:53 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, it is safer to be in an accident with a hydrogen fuel tank than a gasoline one.

Hydrogen tank ruptures - hydrogen evaporates and burns above the accident.

Gasoline tank ruptures - gasonline burns in the accident (where you are located).

This has all been studied before for cryogenic aircraft. Hydrogen IS safer.


RE: These things are great!
By BruceLeet on 6/17/2008 10:30:57 AM , Rating: 2
Owen Wilson: I have one word for you, Zeppelin

lol I know its different dont have a fit.


RE: These things are great!
By Amiga500 on 6/17/2008 11:40:18 AM , Rating: 2
Do you know how many actually died from burns from the Hindenburg incident?

No, you don't or you wouldn't have raised it. ;-)

2 died from burns. The rest from jumping.


RE: These things are great!
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 12:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
Recent research also indicates the Hindenburg didn't explode due to it's internal hydrogen, but rather the exterior paint used, which -- believe it or not-- was essentially a variant of highly-flammable solid rocket fuel.


RE: These things are great!
By Amiga500 on 6/17/2008 1:39:39 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I had been aware a static discharge was the instigator (as per the historical reports).

Your saying the paint was the initial catalyst, and not the H2 - or that the paint was the instigator as well?


RE: These things are great!
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 6:17:57 PM , Rating: 2
The paint was supposedly the catalyst and propagator-- a spark still set it off


RE: These things are great!
By tmouse on 6/18/2008 10:28:39 AM , Rating: 2
That Addison Bain report is sited a lot however; it is based upon the idea that two separate layers of paint (completely ignoring the epoxide nature of the dopes) magically reacted to a form rocket fuel like substance. There is significant evidence to dispute this theory, but it makes entertaining reading. I agree a hydrogen explosion in itself would be rare but if it did happen I believe the percussive force would be far greater than a petroleum based explosion. What I am not too sure of is the long term safety of the tanks and filling stations. Peroxides are VERY explosive and while current stations use through vacuum loading precautions would Joes local H2 dumpiteria? Over time to save money would both the cars and stations build peroxides due to negligence? State inspections are quite frankly a joke; look at all of the ground water contamination from gas stations that are “supposed” to be certified yearly. Who does not know some one who gives a "quick" inspection? If a inspection finds a problem do most of us really think "thank god for the inspection, now I'm safer" or do we think "that crooked S.O.B. he just trying to rip me off". I'm a little worried if this get fast tracked the trade offs could be much worse. I think it’s worth pursuing but I'm also for using caution to the less obvious but more dangerous possibilities.


RE: These things are great!
By BruceLeet on 6/17/2008 3:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
JeSUS Harold CHRIST!

lol I know its different dont have a fit.


RE: These things are great!
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 11:49:33 AM , Rating: 2
I also believe these tanks are designed to puncture. They will not explode like a grenade in the event of an accident.


RE: These things are great!
By Mclendo06 on 6/17/2008 11:17:32 AM , Rating: 3
Hey, at least the ensuing hydrogen fire would be much safer for the environment than a gasoline fire would be (unless, of course, you consider yourself part of the environment).


RE: These things are great!
By GlassHouse69 on 6/17/2008 11:42:51 AM , Rating: 2
LOL! I like that comment.

True in many respects. Yes, hydrogen on the environment makes water and carbondioxide and thats just about it.

has anyone conisider the velocity of a hydrogen atom in air? Go look up the rate of movement. IT'S INSANELY FAST! The hydrogen you release is POOOF gone down the block in a flash of a second. The particle speed is insane. Gasoline just sits there and causes third degree burns and mutillation. yay.


RE: These things are great!
By sxr7171 on 6/17/2008 1:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah it'll burn you and then the water will cool you!


All a waste of time.
By Amiga500 on 6/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: All a waste of time.
By masher2 (blog) on 6/17/2008 10:30:21 AM , Rating: 4
Your post couldn't be more wrong. First of all, hydrogen is presently generated from steam reformation of natural gas, not electrolysis. Secondly, electric transmission efficiency is around 93% in the US, not 30%...and its even higher if you use the electricity near where you produce it (as an electrolysis would).

Third and most importantly, the source of the energy is what's important here. The US generates electricity from coal, nuclear, and hydropower...none of which comes from foreign oil.


RE: All a waste of time.
By Penti on 6/17/2008 11:24:58 AM , Rating: 2
I did understand it as he meant the total efficiency of power generation however that's not really true either. There are plenty of co-generation / CHP tri-cycle plants that's 60% efficient in electric production now and use most of the rest for heating. Resulting in 80% or over of thermal efficiency. That's way better then burning it in a ICE engine. =)


RE: All a waste of time.
By sxr7171 on 6/17/2008 1:25:35 PM , Rating: 2
Those produce a drop in the bucket of total electric power.


RE: All a waste of time.
By Amiga500 on 6/17/2008 1:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
That number of 30% includes thermal efficiency in the combustor and turbines, and not just efficiency of the generator (which can run up to 98%). Penti makes a good point in most power plants using multiple thermal cycles which will improve efficiency beyond what I have given here.

Natural gas for reformation & coal for electric are relying on fossil fuels. That natural gas will become increasingly expensive. I don't get the point about foreign oil - its a global market, you don't think Texaco are gonna sell in the states when they could make more money selling abroad do you?

Hydro comprises a miniscule amount of electricity generation (under 10%) of the US total - can not easily be expanded and is a much larger influence on greenhouse gases than any coal plant (yeah - check out the methane production!). Nuclear is of course the best way forward. But idiots like Greenpeace garner too much attention IMO.


RE: All a waste of time.
By Spuke on 6/17/2008 11:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't get the point about foreign oil - its a global market, you don't think Texaco are gonna sell in the states when they could make more money selling abroad do you?
Texaco doesn't sell coal.


RE: All a waste of time.
By Amiga500 on 6/18/2008 5:45:54 AM , Rating: 2
Never heard of the Fischer-Tropsch process then?


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