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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: *boom*
By Mint on 10/23/2013 7:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hydrogen pumps could be added, holding tanks and the distributors could just add new trucks to the fleet.
So basically the same cost as building a H2 station from scratch?

The only thing they save is the simple payment/store part. All the other stuff you mentioned are really expensive, and they're not going to invest in it until there are lots of FCVs on the road to get revenue from.


RE: *boom*
By tng on 10/24/2013 1:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So basically the same cost as building a H2 station from scratch?
LOL, no.

City zoning and approvals, cost of land in areas where there are already established traffic patterns, Local and sometimes State permits, Environmental Impact studies, etc...

No it is not basically the same cost.


RE: *boom*
By Mint on 10/26/2013 6:48:23 AM , Rating: 2
LOL yes.

Those factors aren't any cheaper for existing gas stations. If you use some of your space for an H2 pump & tank instead of gas, then you lose revenue to pay for land/permits.

H2 and other fuels have their own safety and permit issues. You think a propane tower & pump can be tacked onto any existing gas station without additional permits?


RE: *boom*
By tng on 11/1/2013 4:26:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
. You think a propane tower & pump can be tacked onto any existing gas station without additional permits?
No, but you are making a bad point with that as well.

Propane refill stations in many areas near suburban middle class neighborhoods are very popular. It is not even arguable that they would sell more propane than Hydrogen, yet even though there was a fairly large profit involved, they did not just go out and build a bunch of new stations just to sell it. They leveraged existing gas stations because of land use rules.


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