GM, Honda Team Up for Fuel Cell Vehicle Technology
July 3, 2013 7:40 AM
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Duo hopes to commercialize fuel cell technology by 2020
GM and Honda have announced a long-term definitive “master agreement” to co-develop fuel cell system technology and hydrogen storage technologies with the goal of commercializing products within the 2020 timeframe.
The two automakers believe that by sharing expertise and economies of scale they can bring the technology to market. GM and Honda also plan to work with other stakeholders to advance the hydrogen refueling infrastructure that is critical for the viability of fuel cell powered vehicles.
Honda and GM together hold more than 1,200 hydrogen fuel cell-related patents between them.
General Motors Vice Chairman Steve Girsky (L) and Honda North America President Tetsuo Iwamura (R)
“This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM’s strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technology,” said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “We are convinced this is the best way to develop this important technology, which has the potential to help reduce the dependence on petroleum and establish sustainable mobility.”
GM and Honda also point out that fuel cell vehicles have a range of up to 400 miles, need only about 3 minutes to refuel, and the propulsion system can be used in small, medium, and large vehicles.
GM has been working with hydrogen fuel cell-powered extensively over the past decade and launched Project Driveway in 2007. That project has a
fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles
that have accumulated about 3,000,000 miles of real-world driving. Honda began leasing the Honda FCX in 2002 and has 85 units in use in the U.S. and Japan, including the
Honda also plans to launch a hydrogen fuel cell-powered successor to the FCX Clarity in the Japan and the U.S. in 2015 (the vehicle will hit Europe at a later date).
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RE: What happens first...
7/3/2013 3:49:55 PM
Yes, but a hydrogen vehicle IS an electric vehicle without a battery pack. It takes all the benefits of EV's with non of the drawbacks. You get torque and reliability, while also getting fast <5 minute refueling similar to a fuel pump and lighter weight than a battery pack.
The only problem is infrastructure and how to produce hydrogen inexpensively. Nuclear power plants emit thousands of tons of hydrogen as waste. It could be captured and delivered to hydrogen stations just like gasoline.
Of course we'd need more than the 104 nuclear power plants we have operating in the USA today to maintain a steady supply of hydrogen to eventually replace petroleum fuel. But with the 104 plants we have, we could likely provide sufficient fuel for at least 50,000 hydrogen EV's.
Hydrogen EV's are a great stand-in until battery technology matures, because lets face it, Lithium is the best we've got (for energy density, charge time, and weight) and it is FAR from being good enough for mass adoption. It is sensitive to heat and cold, it can be unstable\unreliable and its very expensive.
RE: What happens first...
7/4/2013 12:47:39 PM
Producing hydrogen from clean power and then back to electricity through a fuel cell is less than half as efficient as a battery.
I need more info about this nuclear plant H2 waste, but 50k is not enough for a bridge to EVs. There's already 100k+ EVs/PHEVs on the road in the US. That amount of H2 per plant probably isn't worth capturing anyway.
In reality, hydrogen will be produced from natural gas. Honda's own Home Energy Station produces hydrogen this way. NREL did a paper on H2 cost:
The raw production cost can be $1.57/kg (1 kg H2 has almost exactly the same energy as a gallon of gas) for $4/MMBtu gas (industrial price is now $5/MMBtu and expected to keep going up a bit), but compression, storage, and dispensing adds another $2.46/kg.
While fuel cell vehicles get a bit more mileage than a Prius on the same energy, you're still looking at fuel costs pretty much the same as gasoline's $4/gallon (though I'll admit that Honda's 60 miles/kg is better than a Prius). Add in the fact that fuel cells are still very pricey (Honda's FCX costs $600/mo to lease), and it's disingenuous to say batteries are too expensive by comparison.
The EV comparison is besides the point, though. Why do you think it's better to go H2 instead of directly with CNG when the most economical way to make H2 is with CNG?
"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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