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He said the best hydrogen fuel cell technology doesn't compare to the energy density of lithium-ion batteries

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has made his view on hydrogen fuel cell cars clear: they're bullshit.

In a a speech at a new Tesla service center in Germany, Musk told employees and enthusiasts that those who oppose electric vehicles (EV) but are onboard with new technology like hydrogen fuel cell cars need to know that it's more of a marketing gimmick than a real clean energy solution. 

 “And then they’ll say certain technologies like fuel cell … oh god … fuel cell is so bullshit. Except in a rocket," said Musk.

More specifically, Musk said that even the best hydrogen fuel cell technology doesn't compare to the energy density of lithium-ion batteries, such as that found in Tesla's Model S. 

Check out the video below for Musk's comments, which start at the 29-minute mark:


Musk may hold this opinion because his company only offers EVs for the time being, but not all automakers feel that hydrogen fuel cell is a waste of time.

Earlier this month, Toyota said it was passing up EVs in favor of more hybrids and its first hydrogen fuel cell release in 2015. According to Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, EV batteries need at least two major breakthroughs before they can replace gasoline or hybrid vehicles. 
 
"The reason why Toyota doesn’t introduce any major [all-electric product] is because we do not believe there is a market to accept it,” said Uchiyamada. "I personally expect a lot from this hydrogen fuel cell technology. If government and industry work together, this might be part of the long-term solution."

Back in July, General Motors (GM) and Honda announced that they'd team up for fuel cell vehicle technology as well. They hope to commercialize the technology by 2020. 

However, GM still has a foot in the EV market as well. In fact, it wants to directly compete with Tesla by offering a 200-mile affordable EV. Tesla said it is working on a new vehicle with the same range, which aims to be more affordable than the current Model S. GM is also gunning for Tesla with luxury Cadillac EVs

Others onboard with Musk's love for EVs is Volkswagen, which wants to lead the EV market by 2018 starting with the eGolf and eUp!, and Nissan, which has upped its EV efforts by cutting purchase and lease prices of the all-electric Leaf and even offering free charging for a year to Leaf owners in Texas (and eventually other states).

Tesla is certainly a superpower in the EV startup realm. The company successfully paid off its $465 million government loans nine years early, pulled a surprise profit for Q2 2013 with a revenue of $405.1 million, unveiled new tech for its Model S (swappable battery tech) and the Model S even snagged the highest safety rating from the NHTSA. It makes sense that Musk would try to keep this momentum going by advocating EVs over hydrogen fuel cells. 

Source: Wired



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RE: Quite frankly, he's right
By Mint on 10/23/2013 2:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I'm not against them trying. But are the car companies actually trying, or just putting up a facade to look green, as Elon alleges?

There's a lot of talk about fuel cells and little action. The gov't had big credits for them, too:
http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Corporations/Qualifi...
If there were any fuel cell companies that had a viable plan, they'd get ATVM loans as well. However, they didn't.

Cost isn't the problem with hydrogen. It's a lot cheaper than gasoline. The problem is distribution and storage.


RE: Quite frankly, he's right
By ven1ger on 10/23/2013 4:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/hydrogen-cars-hi...

GM has a working model of a hydrogen fuel cell car that seems to be doing extremely well. But, of course, the question is about the transport delivery of the hydrogen for refueling is a matter for debate.


RE: Quite frankly, he's right
By ven1ger on 10/23/2013 4:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.treehugger.com/cars/toyotas-new-fuel-ce...

Toyota concept looks very promising. Even the idea that fuel cell technology could be utilized in other venues is definitely interesting. Fuel cell technology may be in its infancy commercially, but like everything else, it has to start someplace, and just like when everyone was opining about EV cars, hybrids they are here and will be sticking around. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is facing the same uphill battle against the detractors, but I think it has excellent promise for the future.


RE: Quite frankly, he's right
By purerice on 10/23/2013 8:03:26 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking of facades to look green, Elon should know very well.
The total ecological cost from production through scrap of a Tesla is higher than for most LEVs, yet the "zero emissions" is one of the primary points Elon and his supporters keep harping on. Slightly hypocritical.

One thing I don't get though with hydrogen is that water vapor is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. It doesn't hurt you to breathe in and it doesn't stink, but as far as the environment is concerned, oil is cleaner.


RE: Quite frankly, he's right
By Mint on 10/24/2013 12:53:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The total ecological cost from production through scrap of a Tesla is higher than for most LEVs
Most LEVs don't compete with 15-20 MPG luxury sedans.


RE: Quite frankly, he's right
By Spuke on 10/24/2013 7:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Most LEVs don't compete with 15-20 MPG luxury sedans.
Which luxury sedans are these?


RE: Quite frankly, he's right
By Mint on 10/25/2013 1:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Quite frankly, he's right
By JKflipflop98 on 10/25/2013 7:02:51 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it's not like there's naturally water vapor in the air or anything.


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