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Published on May 30th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan

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Toyota Comes To Sense, Hopes To Maintain Relationship With Tesla

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May 30th, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
 
Tesla_Toyota

Oy, Toyota. We understand that you led the way into the hybrid era, but you really need to let go of that leadership in order to do what’s need to have a good spot at the table in the electric car era. Maybe it’s finally getting the point.

Despite a recent announcement that Toyota and Tesla’s battery contract wouldn’t be renewed, Toyota hopes to maintain a relationship with Tesla… and maybe use its technology again? Nonetheless, it is still keen on the dead end (or smoke and mirrors) of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. I love this comment from underneath the Gas2 post: “What a joke. Keep your foot in the door with Tesla, but still push for HFCV. Toyota is a schizophrenic.” Indeed.

Toyota, you do realize Tesla is stealing your customers (as well as Nissan, GM, and Ford), right?

Anyhow, here’s more from Chris:

Toyota Hopes To Maintain Relationship With Tesla (via Gas 2.0)

Though the three-year, $100 million battery deal between Tesla and Toyota is coming to an end, the Japanese automaker wants to keep its options open. For all the bravado Toyota has displayed in its push for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, it isn’t ready…

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • andrewstuart81

    Imagine a pv system with a electrolyser generating hydrogen in your home. You can store the hydrogen for the winter heating or use it to fuel your Toyota. It’s fee. No need for hydrogen fueling stations. And 300+ miles range easily achievable. My point is it does http://goo.gl/YUP3jb

  • Erocker

    The rav4 electric car was a flop but the scion EV with a litte bigger battery might be a hit with tesla batteries. I think Toyota needs to lick its wounds and get back in the EV game.

  • Choming Girl

    I can’t believe on this news because http://goo.gl/XI0lwP

  • apsley

    I think that the two mistakes Toyota made with the RAV4EV are that they modified an existing ICE vehicle design for electric use (instead of designing a new vehicle), and they didn’t address the charging infrastructure problem for long distance travel. Using an existing design limited the battery capacity, which limited the range. That, plus the lack of a high speed charging network for long distance travel and the high price made it very unattractive. They then convinced themselves that the poor sales meant that their customers had told them that they “didn’t want electric vehicles”. It’s particularly odd considering how much money they spent developing the Prius, which was a new type of vehicle. It’s a really good example of how much trouble traditional car companies have getting out of what I call “petroleum mode”. It’s not that Toyota isn’t capable of designing an electric car from the ground up, or building a high speed charging network (or even making the RAV4EV compatible with Tesla’s supercharger network), it’s just that they won’t do it. It raises the question of whether or not traditional car companies will ever be capable of making the transition to electric, or whether they will all have to be replaced with companies that make only electric vehicles. Time will tell.

    • Ben Helton

      You totally missed what an FCEV is. They fully believe in the ‘electric’ vehicle, just not one with a battery as its sole source of range. Dispensable fuel is important. Not just for long trips, but for off the grid applications that don’t have any substantial power sourcing set up. There would not be the ability for a long distance courier/service man/ technicians/ contractors / surveryors / etc, to be able to reliably drive their vehicle 500+ miles a day, or even work through the night. The difference between the BEV utopia is that it doesn’t factor in the working class. Toyota (partly because of their huge working class that makes up their workforce) knows the hardships that the average hard worker faces, and knows that you can’t increase the price of their vehicles while suddenly limiting their ability of continuous driving, being able to jettison to long distance locations without any fear of not getting there in time.

      For any of the average joe’s reading this; please rest assure, when we go to ‘electric’ vehicles, it will not be the damning experience of having a supremely expensive battery that still limits you. In other words, If you have a week off, want to take that 800 mile trip to visit the family, you won’t have to spend 4 days of your 7 day vacation driving. You will be able to still do it in two days (one there, one back), just like you have always…

      • Bob_Wallace

        With a 200 mile range EV and 20 minute, 80% rapid recharging range is not an issue.

        200 + 160 + 160 + 160 + 160 = 4 20 minute stops. 120 minutes charging/eating/peeing/napping/checking messages/walking the dog.

        I doubt that anyone driving a H2 FCEV is going to get there much faster. They’re going to have to fuel up at least a couple of times and do all that other stuff as well.

        And they’ll spend >2x per mile for fuel.

        BEVs are cheaper than FCEVs and will almost certainly reach “ICEV price parity” much sooner. Plus they will cost at least 50% less than H2 ICEVs and 75% less than ICEVs to operate per mile.. That makes them very much makes them the obvious choice for the “working class”.

        • EricR

          @Bob, it is not that simple. Often enough, I need to drive about 200+ miles over the course of the day for various appointments. It would be highly inconvenient to have to budget time to find a charging station (assuming there is a supercharger even reasonably close), then wait the 20 min (best case scenario), and then proceed with the rest of my day. There is something to be said for the potential convenience of FCEV refueling, which with today’s technology, is about 5 minutes.

          • Bob_Wallace

            There probably are a few people who would find it inconvenient to stop 20 minutes to charge. But most people do take a lunch break during their day.

      • Julian Cox

        I think you may have seriously missed the point. The affordable long range EV for the common man is MUCH closer to reality than the affordable long range FCV. The only way FCVs will be affordable in the short term is due to market manipulation (manufacturers taking $100K losses per vehicle to buy consumers and giving away hydrogen for free). If these promoters do succeed in destroying the market for EVs with a great deal of unwarranted help from the public purse and pack of lies about environmental benefits filling the media then consumers will have been faced with the largest and dirtiest bait and switch in human history.

  • Sambain

    Remember Rhythm & Hues and Enron? That’s where Tesla is headed.

  • Dirk Bowler

    Platinum is still required in the catalyst. Platinum is a precious metal. Precious metals costs increase with demand. Until fuel cells eliminate the need for platinum, fuel cell vehicles will never benefit from economy of scale or mass market acceptance. Toyota claims an entry price of $50k for a fuel cell car. This is obviously a subsidized price and thus a compliance car.

    • Hi Energy People
    • Oliver Arizona

      What about lithium and cobalt? I guess those are unlimited and free. These metals will not become more expensive with more demand. That’s why battery costs will decrease with giga-factory production numbers. Elon Musk is a genius.

      • Steven F

        Lithium is is about half way between the most abundant and least abundant elements. It is actually a little more abundant than Lead which is currently mined at about 5 million metric tons per year and we have been mining it for thousands of years. Roman production about 3,000 years ago is estimated at 80,000 tons per year.

        Current lithium productions is about 37,000 metric tons per year.Most of which is used in ceramics and greases, not batteries. Battery grade lithium Carbonate currently cost about $6000 a ton. An electric car needs about 50 pounds of lithium. There is enough lithium dissolved in sea water (about 230 billion tons) to meet our battery needs for thousands of years.

        Platinum has many more uses than lithium is much harder to find and, we can only manage to mine about 1,500 metric tons per year and it costs $1,400 per ounce.

      • mds

        Lithium-Cobalt is the 1970s lithium chemistry that has problems with spicules forming resulting in thermal run-away.
        Other Lithium battery chemistries that are newer and safer include:
        Li-FePO4, Li-TiO2, Li-MnO2
        …so Cobalt is not required, and yes, lithium is very abundant, especially when you consider how little is actually required in Lithium Ion batteries.
        Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity… Yes, Elon Musk is a genius.

    • Ben Helton

      Actually – they have reduced the fuel cell needs for precious metals to the same levels required in today’s catalytic converters. Because there is no need for an exhaust catalyst with a fuel cell, this is a direct 1-1 resource swap. You’re concerns are over-stated. The FCEV is running around $50,000 while a model S is running around $75,000. Both have the same problem ; quantity demand.

      I bet the prius drive-train cost a lot of money (potentially losing them money) when first introduced. Now that hundreds of thousands are made What you don’t know (which may hurt you) is that the Synergy electric drive system was first dreamed of to prepare for a conversion over to FCEVs. They have perfected the ‘electric’ drive train much better than Tesla, and it’s ready to have the small engine replaced with a fuel cell, while everything else is the same.
      Notice how many hybrid Lexus vehicles there are…. they are all made in a hybrid version. This is a silent infrastructure that is simply waiting to be swapped out with fuel cells for the power generation, rather than having an on board gasoline generator.

      • mds

        “Synergy electric drive system was first dreamed of to prepare for a conversion over to FCEVs”
        More Toyota company spin. The Synergy drive is well over a decade old. It was developed to make the HEV concept work. HEVs increase mileage by allowing the internal combustion engine to spend more time at the knee of the their efficiency curve. (ICEs are not efficient when used at varying speeds and they do not have good torque at low speed. This is why transmission systems are necessary.)
        Regenerative braking also helped, but is not heavily used in the Prius.

        The Synergy drive was a wonder of quality engineering in its day, but that day is gone. The Synergy drive is a complicated parallel/series transmission system. Complicated means more expensive.

        The Tesla drive system is newer and far better. When the Prius was designed/built electric motors were not large enough to drive the vehicle on their own. Now they are. The Model S transmission is far simpler, lower cost, and lower maintenance than the Synergy drive. The Model S doesn’t have a transmission. It is all done by the electric motor. This is the drive line system of the future.

        Now, if you want to use H2 to extend the range of EVs, then the correct way to do this would be in a purely series design, no combustion at all. The combination of electricity from your fuel cell and from your (smaller) battery pack in an FCEV would be accomplished through high power electronics. Goodbye Synergy.

        PS I’ve been driving a Prius for just about a decade now.

      • Julian Cox

        “Notice how many hybrid Lexus vehicles there are…. they are all made in a hybrid version. This is a silent infrastructure that is simply waiting to be swapped out with fuel cells for the power generation”

        What would be the point in increasing the manufacturing cost and reducing the power and emissions performance by doing that?

        As soon as people generally understand the fact that FCVs are not EVs, they are hybrid fossil fuel vehicles that produce more GHG emissions well to wheel than gasoline hybrids, then that is the end of it.

  • Ben Helton

    Is this a caption to the picture, or just a blatant bias alert?

    “Oy, Toyota. We understand that you led the way into the hybrid era, but you really need to let go of that leadership in order to do what’s need to have a good spot at the table in the electric car era. Maybe it’s finally getting the point.”

    • mds

      Ben,
      Zach is spot on. Toyota only has the RAV4 EV and there PHEV version of the Prius has a limited all-electric range. Toyota has gone from being the star of HEVs and leader of the higher mileage revolution, to being one of the biggest laggards in the EV revolution. They need to up their EV game!

      Ben and Hi People,
      You are both clearly H2 fan boys. I’m with Musk and some others here on H2. There are two problems:
      1. Hydrogen less energy efficient to produce using electricity and, as a result, more expensive to use as a fuel than straight electricity.
      2. Hydrogen vehicles are not yet being sold at reasonable prices. EVs are. EVs are clearly going to be lower cost than ICEVs in the near future. Will H2 vehicles ever be able to compete with EVs in cost?
      I’m not going to say we’ll never have H2 vehicles as a stable segment of the general vehicle market, but it doesn’t look good right now.
      The only advantages H2 vehicles have are range and refueling speed. In 5 to 10 years Lithium batteries are going to be much better (higher energy density, lower cost, faster charging), then what will we need H2 vehicles for? I just don’t see how they will compete. Maybe I will be proven wrong.

      H2 could play a role in the long term grid power storage that we are going to need, but even here there are numerous battery and other (eg compressed air) technologies competing for that role. …we’ll see.

      • Ben Helton

        Here is something to wake up to; Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, Kia, Ford…. all of their hydrogen vehicles (due out in the next 6-24 months) are all electric vehicles!

        • mds

          Yes Ben I’m well aware of how H2 fuel cell vehicles work. I would not waste time apposing them for that reason. I’m just questioning their economics. It will be interesting to see what these companies make available, and at what price, in 6-24.

          • Ben Helton

            For starters, the upcoming Hyundai Tucson (the ix35 internationally) is actually a fleet vehicle, and they are leasing it for $499 / month in Southern California (with fuel and maintenance).

            “I’m with Musk and some others here on H2″

            If you drink the Kool-Aid, you will not only being calling Hydrogen Fuel Cells bullshit, you will be planning your next home purchase on Mars….

            Musk is a man that lives on $300,000 / month despite being broke (if you don’t count inflated assets). This is not a person we want making ‘economical’ decisions for the rest of humanity. Lately, the tune of ’200 gigafactories’ has been brought up by him as the future of electricity storage, and to supply all the BEV needs. Talk about expensive infrastructure (that could build 1,000,000 H2 stations @ $1,000,000 pop)

          • mds

            Has to be for sale to the general public and I need a vehicle cost, not lease. You reference $50,000 per FCEV car below, that is a high cost vehicle. I can buy a Nissan Leaf for much less.

            I’m not planning on building a home on Mars, fishing is no good, but I think Musk might get there. He has a very clean plan for reducing space launch cost by a factor of 100x, TWO ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE, and they are making impressive progress toward achieving this.

            No, they are investing $billions, not $trillions. 1,000,000 x $1,000,000 is $1 trillion, not $1 billion. GET YOUR MATH CORRECT YOUNG BUCK!

          • Ben Helton

            my math is just fine.

            200 gigafactories x $5,000,000,000

            That’s most definitely a trillion YOUNG BUCKS

          • mds

            Fair enough, my mistake.
            Tesla has come up with the dollars to build. Where are you going to get that kind of money to build H2 pumps?

          • Ben Helton

            They have not come up with the dollars to build. Panasonic is looking to only spend around a quarter of a billion / year on production in this area. They are not just a battery company! From their inside officers, they like the slow growth approach. (Why kill battery prices and ruin your own business). A letter of intent means little until there is some kind of signed deal on the table. The bonds that Tesla is trying to sell have just been given a junk rating, not helping the case.

            I think the ‘gigafactory’ is about as much smoke and mirrors as the famous battery swap. And I’m getting a spine chilling feeling that the Model X is looking to possibility join in on that boat. Considering the lofty deposits people are putting down, this may warrant some investigating before re-collection of those $40,000 gets swallowed into bankruptcy courts.

          • A Real Libertarian

            The bonds that Tesla is trying to sell have just been given a junk rating, not helping the case.

            I’d rather invest in Tesla junk bonds then Bear Stearns AAA mortgage derivatives.

          • A Real Libertarian

            So all electric cars and all electric storage or a million Hydrogen fueling stations?

            I’m going with the batteries.

          • Ben Helton

            I tell you what. Have some greenhouse gas / environmental scientists go build a camp up in the artic circle where temperatures are always below zero C, have some food and other necessary living supplies dropped off, and then have the truck re-fuel them with some zero-emission fuel (in other words, not diesel, gas, propane, etc…) so they can stay warm, and have electricity for the various needs of staying alive in that environment.

            Solve that issue, and you will have the answer to the most practical, universal means of mobile energy in the world.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Solve that issue, and you will have the answer to the most practical, universal means of mobile energy in the world.

            No, you moron.

            Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures.

            If the problem can be solved 99% of the time with a dirt cheap solution then you use the dirt solution for that.

            Save the horrifically expensive solution for when it’s needed.

            It’s the difference between cars and planes.

            If 99% of the average persons travel distance can be done with cars and 1% needs planes the correct solution is to use cars for most and planes for the rest.

            Your solution would be to give everybody a personal plane and ignore the costs and impracticality of everybody flying everywhere.

          • Ben Helton

            That’s not just an extreme circumstance. How in the world do you think we mine all of that lithium to make these batteries? You think there is electrical infrastructures set up in the middle of nowhere to charge mining trucks that would need battery packs around the 500kwh size. Is it economically smart to put a $250,000 battery in one of these (at the current $500 / kwh battery build rate) and risk that it only last 8 years….? What about the mini-camps they set up? Should we be using large battery trucks to be hauling them humongous battery packs that will last just a few days and need to be swapped with a fresh one? Will switching to batteries for all of this help bring the price of batteries down??

            The fossil fuel problem is not just with you and I driving cars. It is embedded in everything we eat, every time you order something online, whenever you go to a movie.

            For those who live in the country (such as the farmers that grow your food), they understand the need for a stored fuel. The current most popular is propane, as it can run electrical generators, heaters, vehicles, tractors, etc. Diesel comes in as a second, but is slightly more limited. Batteries do not come on this list when it comes to a practical, high demand circumstance. Reason being that they are too expensive.

            This 1% figure you speak of lacks some serious real world validation. I’m no moron, thank you. I just happen to consider all walks of life…

          • A Real Libertarian

            1. Use solar for electricity.

            2. After the battery is used up, replace with a new battery using some of cost savings from the old battery.

            3. Yes, more batteries = cheaper batteries. Economies of scale.

            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/28/construction-begins-100-mw-new-solar-pv-power-plants-chile/

            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/13/byd-electric-bus-taxi-order/

          • Ben Helton

            I don’t think you actually read what I said… I don’t deny its possibility, I challenge it’s impracticality.

            Where will the large source of solar energy come from in the middle of nowhere? We will have to set up temporary fields of solar arrays to keep these vehicles juiced up?

            What happens if its cloudy for a week where we are trying to mine. Should we call corporate and tell them we are a week behind schedule because the laws of nature are against us?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Where? Wires. Transmission.

            Clouds? Wires. Transmission. Wind. Hydro. Geothermal. Dispatchable generation. Storage.

          • Ben Helton

            You think it’s ‘economical’ to set up mobile renewable sources of energy? (It’s barely economical to put up stationary forms)

            Transmission lines cost anywhere from about $285,000 / mile – $ 1,500,000 / mile. Should we just go ahead and grid up wherever we need the mobile power sources?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Mobile renewable? I never said anything about mobile renewable.

            Renewables are “barely economical”? Better catch up.

            Onshore wind is now the cheapest form of new generation in the US. PV solar is one of the three cheapest.

            What’s the difference between a rapid EV charger and a gas station installed in the “middle of nowhere”? (Other than driving with electricity about 25% the cost of driving with fuel?)

          • Julian Cox

            Lithium can be extracted from geothermal brine. Like fracking but without the pollution.

            All of the FCVs use rare earth magnet motors (because these clowns can’t figure out how to deal with a variable AC propulsion system to drive an AC induction motor).

            A Tesla Model S has probably one tiny rare earth magnet – the charging flap closure. Perhaps some other really tiny ones in electrical relays.

            Regards mining, maybe you are not aware, but a large proportion of heavy mining equipment is either electric (rotary excavators, conveyors, crushers, trains) or diesel-electric (massive dump trucks). It would reduce the cost of dump truck operations to run on battery power and considering the whole system is short distance and closed loop there is nothing to prevent battery swapping or relatively small batteries as a normal step in operations.

          • Julian Cox

            They just put up a wind turbine. Next.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Musk is a man that lives on $300,000 / month despite being broke (if you don’t count inflated assets).

            So he’s broke as long as you dismiss his $8 Billion as “inflated”?:

            http://www.forbes.com/profile/elon-musk/

          • Ben Helton

            You obviously know little about the difference between asset wealth and cash wealth.

            He is worthless if all three of his ventures fail. So far, if there was no such thing as government funding or subsidies for any of his three big ventures that make up his $8B, all three of his companies would have already failed. This is plutocracy making decisions, not capitalism.

          • A Real Libertarian

            You obviously know little about the difference between asset wealth and cash wealth.

            There is no difference when it comes to ranking billionaires.

            Or do you think Bill Gates has $70 Billion in his checking account?

            He is worthless if all three of his ventures fail.

            Warren Buffett is “worthless” if Berkshire Hathaway fails, does that make him a fake billionaire too?

            So far, if there was no such thing as government funding or subsidies for any of his three big ventures that make up his $8B, all three of his companies would have already failed.

            You mean like every Hydrogen fuel company would fail if they weren’t subsidized by the government?

            Or do government subsidies only make it fake profit when the money is going to companies you don’t like?

            This is plutocracy making decisions, not capitalism.

            Why is it that people blathering on about “Free Markets!!! Free Markets!!!” never understand how the economy works?

          • mds

            No, actually in Musk’s case it is not plutocracy making decisions. He is putting everything he has made up to make the world a better place …and is challenging the plutocrats with their monopoly businesses in the process.
            1. Tesla – challenging the production infrastructure and paradigms of the existing automobile industry to get us off of oil for light truck and car transport. Tesla repaid their government loan early and in full. They are not getting vehicle subsidies that are any different that any other EV/PHEV vehicle manufacture. (That subsidy actually goes to the vehicle purchaser, but they obviously benefit.)
            2. Spacex – challenging the rocket launch paradigms the remaining large aerospace monopolies to deliver radically lower cost delivery to space. His government contracts here, are well deserved and are going to save the US tax payers a bundle. They are in fair competition with another US company for lower cost space launch/delivery.
            3. SolarCity – challenging the paradigm of central power generation and centralized electricity distribution to cut our use of coal and eventually out use of NG to keep us from cooking ourselves like the short term yeast in a wine bottle that most of us seem to be. SolarCity is ahead of the game in providing low-cost storage integrated with their solar panels. This will cure the duck curve problem, improve the value of PV to customers, and increase PV use. Again, they are not getting any special treatment in terms of solar PV subsidies. Contrast SolarCity with the Oil companies still raking in far larger subsidies, mostly in the hidden form of tax breaks, while making huge monopoly based profits.

            Sorry but Elon Musk is one of the good guys. All three of his companies are pushing to curve of new tech to make the world better …at complete risk to his own personal wealth. All three of his companies are already delivering increasingly competitive products to the market.

            Please provide a few examples of viable market products that Bush’s $1.2 billion has produced.

            A viable H2 range-extender for EVs in the future? Maybe, Maybe not. Competitive cost is the issue right now.

            A viable long term (seasonal) H2 energy storage system in the future?
            Maybe, Maybe not. Again, cost verses other alternatives is the issue.

            Nocera made a much trumpeted breakthrough in lower cost H2 electrolysis. He and others started Catalytix to do residential energy storage. That effort failed. Why?

            I admire your energy and idealism, but you need to improve your reasoning. You are clever, but not disciplined. Your reasoning is lose. Lose doesn’t cut it for determining economically viable business approaches to new tech engineering solutions.

            Maybe you will prove correct on H2. It is one of the contenders, imo, for long term energy storage. That is not clear to me yet. I remain skeptical of the economic competitiveness of H2 use in vehicles.

          • Bob_Wallace

            H2 range extenders? Probably not.

            Were we to move largely to PHEVs we’d cut our fuel use by about 85%. That’s a small amount of fuel and might not be enough to cause investment in H2 infrastructure. More likely we’d stick with gas/diesel and use existing infrastructure.

            (With 50% EVs and 50% PHEVs fuel use would drop to less than 10% of current use.)

            We’re going to use some amount of petroleum for the next 20+ years during the time EVs/PHEVs push ICEVs off the market and off the roads. With the growth of EVs/PHEVs the fuel market is going to shrink and few people would want to invest in H2 infrastructure which would have a low long term presence.

            Realistically, we’re going to be looking at PHEVs with 200k on the odometer and 30k on the range extender. It’s going to be interesting to see if some car manufacturer will sell PHEVs without the range extender sometime in the future. With the limited amount of use the engine would get it should be usable for 4x or more PHEVs.

          • mds

            Bob,
            I agree with you almost entirely. I’m not ready to say H2 has no chance for a role as a range extender. I agree fossil fuels are more likely to be used. I’ve read there have been some studies suggesting algal biofuel could replace our current fuel use. If this is true then it could certainly replace 10% of that requirement for range extenders. Another more likely solution to longer ranges is the further improvement of lithium batteries. Clearly this is what Elon Musk is betting on.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m not saying that H2 has no chance. I’m just suggesting there are options and at this point H2 is not looking to me as the likely winner. Affordable 200 mile range EVs and ~20 minute 80% rapid charge systems would put EVs in a solid position and they would be hard to dislodge once in place.

            Some people make a big deal out of range. I drove 300 miles yesterday. Were I driving a 200 mile range EV I would have timed things so that I could charge while eating a meal and not noticed the time used.

            Same for a recent cross-country drive I took. Just a bit of planning would have meant very little extra time added to long drive days. One day I covered about 750 miles. Charging four times might have added a half hour to my driving day. (I would have napped a couple times while charging and had a more enjoyable drive.)

          • mds

            OK, spot on in that case.

            Actually, range and cost are issues for me. I’m still trying to decide if there’s going to be an EREV at a reasonable price that will fill my needs (all-electric 38+ per day plus longer range in HEV mode) or if I should just keep my Prius for long distances and purchase a low-cost EV.

            For a two car family that might be an easy decision …but you still have to negotiate who gets the longer range vehicle when its needed at times.

          • Julian Cox

            There is not really any justification to spend $billion on infrastructure just to create a temporary hydrogen solution for range extenders (especially not public money) that will be obsolete and worthless within one generation of battery tech. We have fossil fuel infrastructure already for range extenders and current PHEVs massively out-perform FCVs in both emissions and power (the 2014 195 Hp Honda Accord Plug In Hybrid) thrashes FCVs at 115 mpg-e. That is nearly double the well to wheel emissions performance of the Toyota 2015 FCV while developing 150% of the power output.

          • mds

            “There is not really any justification to spend $billion on infrastructure just to create a temporary hydrogen solution for range extenders (especially not public money) that will be obsolete and worthless within one generation of battery tech.”

            Please see recent comment above.

            I do not think H2 production for HFCEVs is ready to be commercially competitive yet. Yes, I agree that fossil fuels (hopefully mostly bio-fuels), or future improvements in battery technology, are more likely to fill the requirement of extended range.

            I would vote yes, for additional R&D on H2 electrolysis using some public funds. I would be opposed to building more than a few test sites for H2 fueling. It is not wise to invest great sums of money in a technology that is not ready and may not be for many decades. Certainly spending billions is out of the question right now.

            A friend once pointed out to me that unlimited power from fusion energy has been just around the corner for 40 years. That was 30 years ago, so now it has been “just around the corner” for 70 years. You can do some level of prediction of improvement based on economies of scale, or incremental technical improvement, of an existing technology. This plays in the case of Solar PV and Batteries. You can see there continue to be technical improvements being made in the laboratory. You cannot predict more scientific breakthroughs to the solution of more fundamental problems. Some remain problems for centuries. (I’m think of myself as a scientist, so I don’t like to say forever. Who really knows when, if ever?)

            For Ben: Which is which? Ah, now that’s the trick of it.

          • Julian Cox

            Ben, what are you smoking? Where do you find the capitalism in the fossil fuel industry lying its face off to politicians and the public about the environmental benefits of fracking in return for gobs of public money to build hydrogen infrastructure?

            At least Tesla paid back the money with interest. Where do you imagine the tax payer will be made whole from hydrogen?

            From what I can tell, in California, this hoax unless it is stopped will cost the tax payer half a $billion, plus ZEV credits (for moving the pollution down the road to elsewhere in the State), could damage California’s largest Automotive employer (Tesla), pump vehicles onto California’s roads at $100K tax write-off per vehicle payable by the state – and achieve nothing except for an effort to displace other ZEVs.

            Wake up – it’s a scam!

        • Julian Cox

          Ben – FCVs are fossil fuel hybrid vehicles. (Yes the hydrogen is from precisely the same fossil as the carbon). It is flattering (to EVs) that these marketers are so desperate to link their offerings to EVs but they have nothing meaningful in common that is not more in common with a gasoline series hybrid. The performance is down, the convenience is down and the pollution is up. FCVs are just pointless except as a method of harassing renewables in transportation with phoney green marketing from the fossil fuel industry and from a government desperate to believe anyone that can pretend that fracking can be sold onto the roads to a public demanding environmental progress. Musk is 100% correct – it’s bullshit.

          • Ben Helton

            It takes electricity to isolate hydrogen. If you charge your car from the same grid you are generating h2 from, the original source is identical.

            So if you have a hydrogen powered car that has fuel generated from solar or wind derived energy, how is that a fossil fuel vehicle? You can only think with your own brain, not somebody else’s. You should give it a try sometime.

          • Julian Cox

            You need to be aware of the conversion losses involved in translating electricity to chemical fuels.

            There is no more sense in making hydrogen from water than there is in trying to construct gasoline from exhaust fumes.

          • Ben Helton

            Really…?

          • Ben Helton

            I tried to relay this earlier – but moderator removed it…

          • Julian Cox

            Sometimes simple explanations are the best. I would hope any person concerned with A. The environment. B. Not being conned as a consumer. C. Not being ripped off as a tax payer

            Would respond similarly in a single voice to pedlars and pushers of FCVs.

          • Ben Helton

            Want to talk about getting ripped off as a tax payer? Tesla Motors wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for corporate welfare. They didn’t get a loan through the SBA like most other legitimate businesses (they wouldn’t have qualified for much). Instead, they get it through back channels (THANKS WASHINGTON). Then, after getting the red carpet treatment of loans, they collect both state and federal subsidies in the form of vehicle revenue. Then, on top of that, they sell excess (some fraudulent) ZEV credits that the company receives for tax breaks.

            Without all of this dirty business in the background, they wont make money even if they sell these things for $150,000.

            Some BEV revolution….

            And Go ahead, keep defending yourself for telling somebody to ” $%&# off ” That certainly shows off your outstanding virtues.

            In ten years from now, I truly hope your pride is terrible enough to never buy an FCEV while everybody else has been liberated from the wire.

          • Julian Cox

            No, Ford Motors Inc. would not be alive if it was not for the ARPAe loan program, not Tesla. ZEV credits no longer feature on Tesla’s books. ZEV credits are now sought by FCVs, which is genuinely fraudulent because they produce more GHG emissions than a similar powered diesel.

            Here is what Ford has to say about FCVs. Kudos to them for a bit of honesty:

            “Currently, the most state-of-the-art procedure is a distributed natural gas steam reforming process. However, when FCVs are run on hydrogen reformed from natural gas using this process, they do not provide significant environmental benefits on a well-to-wheels basis (due to GHG emissions from the natural gas reformation process.”

          • Julian Cox

            Also what part of economics 101 did you skip?

            Tesla is an American company that ever increasingly exports vehicles from US soil to Asia and Europe. Japan (RHD) coming up soon.

            Toyota is a Japanese company seeking US tax payers money to build infrastructure for it to help it attack said American company on US soil while claiming ZEV credits and producing tax write-offs in the state of California.

            This is not just corporate welfare this is corporate foreign aid to a US commercial enemy combatant!

          • Ben Helton

            Economics 101? Your figure of speech rings rather hypocritical considering this is coming from the same guy that is absolutely HATED by the RC and DIY Electric Car industry.

            Your batteries from FlightPower have been deemed junk by the people that actually received them, but what is further more troubling is the amount of people that have been flat out ripped off by you and and your scandalous business. Taking $20,000 from somebody and never actually shipping off a product? And this doesn’t appear to be just a one time occurrence.

            http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php/julian-cox-flightpower-problem-76397.html

            http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76916&highlight=julian

            I am honestly disturbed to find out not only do you call yourself some kind of expert in the energy world, but your contributions get taken seriously by honest, hard working people that would never dare rip somebody off so blatantly as you do as a common practice.

            Shame on you – all of your rants about hydrogen are simply to help further your agenda of selling batteries. Worthless bias if you ask me.

          • Julian Cox

            I not only have one piece of expertise to contribute in the energy world (first hand experience of building a global and socially positive business) I also have the experience of watching it get utterly destroyed along with my personal reputation by vested interests shilled for by people like you.

            I recognise the patterns and I know the early warning signs and symptoms intimately – that is why I am so concerned about flagging insidious assaults on positive environmental progress from hydrogen promoters particularly with regards to assaults on Tesla – the business that has the best shot at carrying forwards the vision of a better future for all mankind that I have worked my whole life for. If my knowledge and experience including experience of failure at the hands of pure evil can serve as a warning or as a shield to protect that vision then so much the better.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Ben – Julian

            This is not the place to work out your business differences. Take this stuff elsewhere. I’m taking down all posts that wander into this area.

          • Bob_Wallace
          • Bob_Wallace

            And removed it a second time.

            Post it a third and you will be removed.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You can produce hydrogen from renewable electricity. But you have to use >2x more than running an EV.

            FCEVs will cost more than 2x per mile to operate. The only way that FCEVs will gain significant market share is if they become significantly less expensive to purchase. No one is going to pay the same or more for a same-model car that costs twice as much to drive.

            The fossil fuel part is due to the fact that we currently get our H2 supply from natural gas. At this point in time FCEVs are fossil fuel vehicles.

  • Dirk Bowler

    Everyone interested in hydrogen fuel cell cars should do themselves a favor and read The Hydrogen Hoax, by Robert Zubrin. The article is online, I would post the link but some comments sections will flag a URL as spam. Just do a search for the title and author.

    • Hi Energy People
      • Dirk Bowler

        I reject your reality and substitute my own.

      • Oliver Arizona

        Better look him up on Wikipedia first. Robert Zubrin founded an Enhanced Oil Recovery company in 2008. He couldn’t possibly be biased.

        • mds

          George Bush Jr gave over $1 billion to H2 R&D. He was an oil man through-and-through. Why would he do this? Because H2 vehicles were “at least two decades away” and his oil buddies could continue to make a bundle for at least 2 more decades if EVs and PHEVs were stalled.
          H2 vehicles are still not being sold at a reasonable price. Toyota can continue to dominate the HEV market if they can distract and detract from the EV/PHEV market. Toyota is not helping the EV/PHEV market for reasons that are no better than George Bush Jr and the oil companies.
          I don’t care if Zubrin founded an EOR company. Address his criticisms of H2 cost. They are fair and accurate. If you cannot address them then maybe H2 is not the panacea you and a few others claim. Think about it.

          • Ben Helton

            First off, Bush didn’t give any money away. He helped pass legislation that would fund $1.2 billion through 2020 for hydrogen tech (not a whole lot every year when you break it up). His presidency was also plagued with ‘energy crisis’ from the start. The US was breaking records every year for energy demand. This was one of the few respectful things he actually did to help the problem in the long term. Most other were to satisfy the thirst.

            None the less, he said in 2003 that a child born that year may drive a hydrogen powered vehicle as their first car. That statement has become true….

          • mds

            1st paragraph: blah blah blah essentially yes Bush gave over $1 billion to hydrogen, but you thought it was ok, because you are all about hydrogen. 8 more years of Bush instead of Obama and we still would not have the current invasion of EVs and PHEVs (EREVs).

            2nd paragraph: Key word “may”. Sure that child “may” drive a hydrogen vehicle. They “may” win the lotto too, but odds aren’t that high. That would gives is the tell to the fact that Bush was just funding a distraction. Thanks to Obama that child “will” drive an EV or PHEV. They are becoming too common. It will be statistically unavoidable. Obama’s promise: “EV/PHEV at costs low enough to compete with ICEVs” He has two more years, but the case can already be made to a lesser degree.

            “Never let better be the enemy of good.”

          • mds

            Correction:
            “That would gives is the tell…”
            should be:
            “That word is the tell…”

          • Julian Cox

            “None the less, he [Bush} said in 2003 that a child born that year may drive a hydrogen powered vehicle as their first car”.

            Hopefully consumer education (of the parents) will prevent such a tragedy from occurring.

        • Julian Cox

          EOR is an attempt to improve the economics of CO2 sequestration. The idea is to pressurise oil wells with waste CO2. Saudi Aramco’s study on H2 production includes costings for EOR sequestering of CO2. It got the net cost of sequestration down to $3.50 per Kg of H2 (just for the sequestering). This is about the same as the cost of Hydrogen production, which is why CO2 will be dumped to the atmosphere if we are dumb enough to go with FCVs.

      • mds

        Your link to Robert Zubrin rebuttal does not address the cost of energy criticism Zubrin makes. The cost of energy (fuel), cost of vehicle, and cost of building H2 fueling infrastructure are very real issues. (Safe H2 fueling pumps are expensive to build.)
        (see comments below)

        • Ben Helton

          Direct sunlight hydrogen conversion…. Depending on use, the sun will send us a bill!!

          Come on man, listen to yourself. Research what an artificial leaf is.

          • mds

            Natural photosynthesis is inefficient. The conversion efficiencies are low compared to solar PV panels. This is true for state of art artificial leaf as well. The artificial leaf is a great concept. I wish the scientist working on this god speed, but it remains a science project, not yet ready to be a commercial product.

          • Ben Helton

            You’re right. Natural photosynthesis is a little slow (despite that we live on its reserves right now) Artificial photosynthesis is 10x faster, and the technology is taking leaps and bounds in efficiency jumps. The key discovery lately being that if you reduce the silicon to minor amounts (shaped in the form of leaf stems) you actually greatly increase the efficiency. This technology IS being used with waste waters to produce H2 and isolate the pollution to solid form.

            The fact of the matter is that capitalism is holding back; if hydrogen infrastructure developed faster than the FCEVs that would be consuming most of the generated H2, the price of it would tank, also ruffling some feathers elsewhere. With that suicidal investment mentality of jumping into something and destroying its natural supply and demand price, you could assume that the vehicles would sell so fast, that it would catch up. But this approach would bring enormous volatility to the market, and the price of hydrogen. The prospects of businesses investing huge amounts of money into this would degrade, and the technology would be feared for its volatile price nature. This would scare consumers away, the true invisible hand of the market.

            The slow approach is much, much smarter.

            The fundamental problem with this article is they fail to mention what Jim Lentz said about this whole deal. It was never about Electric Vehicles. It was about batteries. Toyota wanted a close look at the industry secrets they hold with panasonic on making lithium ion car batteries. Why? Because a key component in the hybrid vehicles is a high quality battery. The more experience and understanding about batteries they could add to their portfolio, the better.

            The DIFFERENCE of what Toyota wants vs Tesla is in battery size. Toyota only needs about a 1.5KWh (super high quality) battery to be the loader and unloader of the softly consistent Fuel Cell energy. In other words, it’s like a (long mode) capacitor. The vehicle’s range is never intended to be stored in a battery. That is the hydrogen’s job.

            Toyota has been making cars and trucks long enough to know that you don’t create a vehicle with a component in it that is REQUIRED for the whole vehicle to function, CANNOT LAST FOREVER, and single handed can cost excess of $30,000 to replace if it becomes faulty. This is a consumer nightmare, a manufacturer nightmare, and even an insurance company nightmare.

          • mds

            Please differentiate between Solar PV and Artificial Leaf technology. Solar PV produces electricity. The Artificial Leaf concept is to produce energy stored in a chemical or chemical compound, as is done in photosynthesis. This compound could be a synthetic fuel or it could be H2. Artificial photosynthesis is not yet 10x more efficient than natural photosynthesis, Solar PV is. The low efficiency of artificial photosynthesis means poor cost effectiveness. This is why it is still in the lab, while Solar PV is being widely adopted.

            “The fact of the matter is that capitalism is holding back”
            OK, the argument of almost every phoney baloney free energy system out there is they can’t find investors. This is nonsense. If there is money to be made then you can find investors. If it doesn’t make economic sense, or just doesn’t really work in the case of free energy tech, then you’ll have trouble finding investment dollars. Capitalism is phenomenal at directing money where it is needed. Plutocracy and monopoly market control is not.

            “The DIFFERENCE of what Toyota wants vs Tesla is in battery size.”
            Again, I’m completely familiar with how FCEVs work.

            1. All vehicles have parts that are REQUIRED to operate.
            2. No parts LAST FOREVER.
            3. The total cost of several EVs is less than $30,000 total now.
            The first two comments are just lame, think before you write.
            The last one is hyperbola and does nothing to further your argument, just the opposite.

            If you think FCEVs are better, then make a clear, and fair, case why they are better.

            Right now, I can buy a PHEV (EREV type) like the GM Volt. This would allow me to drive all-electric to work on a daily basis, further reducing my gasoline use …with the same smaller battery you have for an FCEV …but at a lower cost. I can take the same Volt and drive from Seattle, WA up to Vancouver Is., BC for work running on petrol, in HEV mode. The Volt does not have enough ground clearance and I can’t sleep in it when I drive out to the WA cost to go fishing. (I do that in my Prius now.) When can I do this in an FCEV? When will they have H2 refueling stations at the small coastal towns of Neah Bay, Westport, and Illwaco? Will this be more cost effective that a PHEV (EREV)?

            You see the problem? …the competition?

            No, I’m not representative of the larger market, but that does illustrate some of the issues.

          • Julian Cox

            The “artificial leaf” concept is a method of direct solar photovoltaic electrolysis, it works by submerging a photovoltaic electrode and is potentially more efficient in the conversion of sunlight energy to hydrogen energy capture (issues with accretion of minerals, algal growth and longevity not yet addressed). None the less even if it did prove to be commercially competitive with electrolysis it would still require a vast infrastructure to be built to produce any significant abundance of hydrogen, in addition to building a vast hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, all the while in direct competition with simply extracting abundant natural gas straight out of the ground in the case of FCVs or simply powering EVs directly from solar photovoltaics at 2 to 4 times the efficiency per mile instead of the usual 3 to 4 times.

          • mds

            “(issues with accretion of minerals, algal growth and longevity not yet addressed)”
            Yes, totally agree. You miss a point here. The efficiency of “artificial leaf” approaches to date have been very low compared to Solar PV efficiencies. The efficiency problem alone makes it non-competitive with Solar PV + EV/PHEV. It also makes the “artificial leaf” uncompetitive with current fossil fuel approach.

            IF, big IF at this point, the efficiency of the “artificial leaf” could be improved to be closer to Solar PV efficiencies then the “artificial leaf” approach would be ready for commercialization. It is not ready yet. Who knows when it will be?

            The problem with HFCEVs is that hydrogen production from water is too inefficient. Combine this with a requirement to purify the water (to reduce electrode fouling) and a requirement to compress or cool to liquid, the H2 in order to pack in a vehicle and you are talking about a process that is ONLY 50% efficient. Twice (“2 times”) the price of using that same electrical energy directly in a battery EV system. That is a significant economic disadvantage. More efficient electrolysis is a scientific breakthrough challenge and these defy prediction. i.e. Again, who knows when this will be solved? It could happen and H2 could become commercially competitive for range extenders on PHEVs (EREV), but I’ve agreed with Bob Wallace below: fossil fuels (hopefully most bio-fuels in the future) or further improvements in batteries are more likely to fill this need. (Actually, even if efficient electrolysis is accomplished H2 would still likely not find it’s way into wide use in vehicles. It might still be used for long term, seasonal, renewable energy storage.)

            Sorry, to preach to the choir here. Just making my position clear.

            I enjoyed your article here:
            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/06/04/hydrogen-fuel-cell-vehicles-about-not-clean/
            Almost 400 comments here. Almost like you went to a free energy site and said there was no such thing as free energy. Yowza! I think you make a very good point about HFCEVs being powered by NG and therefore extending the reign of fossil fuels over our car transport longer. I hadn’t really considered that. Thank you.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think Julian has a very good point about H2 FCEVs being powered by NG. People are going to take the cheapest route, in general.

            I don’t think we should be bringing artificial leaves or any other undeveloped technology into the discussion other than to say that things might change in the future. We have to recognize that it’s also possible for the cost of PV electricity to plummet and move us to very cheap daytime power. First Solar is claiming 35c/W panels in the very near future and one company has stated that they will be able to produce PV for 10c/W. But those price drops haven’t happened yet, so best to not treat them as “real”.
            We have preliminary, not confirmed, information that the production cost of wind may have dropped to ~3.5c/kWh in 2013. If that’s true then the math will change again. EVs will get even cheaper to operate and the gap between NG and electrolysis produced H2 will tighten.

            The important part, IMO, is that based on current realities it looks like H2 FCEVs would not be a help in slowing climate change.

          • mds

            Agree.

  • Republic

    Hydrogen is nothing but a distraction. Fuel cells are good for spacecraft, not automobiles.

    A home electrolyser with a hydrogen storage tank would be expensive and unsafe. Guess what I had to buy to refuel my Tesla? An extension cord.

    • Hi Energy People
    • Ben Helton

      Fuel cells are not what Elon Musk referenced when he talked about H2 being only appropriate for upper stage rockets. He is talking raw-rocket booster fuel in this case.

      He actually thinks fuel cells are ‘bullshit’.

      Which is beyond me, because they exist, and work, far better than a battery.

      Here’s a story of real world decision making from a true economic standpoint.

      Walmart runs warehouses 24/7. They use forklifts that need to not emit a toxic emission because of the warehouse size (no propane, gas, or diesel allowed here). Batteries seem like the only decision (and were for a time). But recently, they started the conversion process of going to fuel cell forklifts (with hydrogen tanks) <—- not in a rocket, BTW.

      WHY!? Because in a 24/7 facility, they couldn't afford the downtime of the fork-lifts being charged, and the other alternative was employing people separately to man battery stations to change out and charge batteries.

      Nissan (separate story) claimed as to saving 35 man hours / day just by getting their factory tug-carts off of batteries onto a more practical fuel cell system.

      • Canadian_Republican

        I think fuel cell technology is really kewl. But i Do not think its smart to put that technology in cars.The technology would never be good enough for Transport Trucks as the hauling weight will always be an issue. I doubt EV could even operate a Transport Trucks either tho.

        Hydrogen is not common on our planet in its H2 form. You need to create it. It can be created many different ways, but the main way is from natural Gas. There are now less environmentally damaging ways to produce it, but all the main ways cause a lot of pollution. Hydrogen in chemistry is considered an energy transport as it takes energy to create it and it takes energy to transport it, and it takes energy to use it.

        From an economic view, as more people start using hydrogen there will be more demand, thus the price will go up. Even as more producers of hydrogen appear, the more the cost will go up as no one will create enough to reduce the price. Has oil ever gone down in price. BC in Canada stopped useing their Hydrogen busses as they were too costly to operate. They produced the H2 from coal and then transported it to the area via train. I will say the buses ran great.

        The cost of the H2 vehicles will be high, and there will be problems when they are getting used by the general public. There will be cars that explode and such. With its limited testing there have been no issues yet, but this will change. I am surprised at the price of the korean hydrogen suv’s i will admit. Also look at GM’s record for testing vehicles.

        The air ships of the 20′s and 30′s made 100′s of transatlantic trips, only one ever exploded. That’s why hydrogen cannot be used for airships. Also BMW has already created a Hydrogen Combustion Engine that can run of Regular Fuel and H2 fuel. I think this would be a smarter route with H2.

        Japan is a good example of an economy where H2 may work out well. Japan has a small land mass thus putting up hydrogen stations is much easier. Japan has many nuclear plants that could produce H2 domestically from electrolysis. Japans main problem is that it imports most of its energy, H2 production from their nuclear infrastructure would help alleviate that. Japan is also an expert at manufacturing.

    • Oliver Arizona

      Please elaborate on how unsafe hydrogen is in homes and automobiles.

      Fuel Cell cars have logged millions of miles, I would be very interested in hearing about examples of explosions and other incidents that have occurred.

      Fuel cells are used all over the world in large scale utilities, hospitals, universities, data centers, and homes to generate power. Please provide some examples of safety incidents.

      • Ben Helton

        “Hydrogen is lighter than air and although explosive, quickly escapes upwards when released, meaning that fires typically begin with an explosion but quickly run out of fuel. This is unlike petrol or diesel, which are flammable liquids that result in longer-lasting and typically more dangerous fires when leaked. The US Department of Energy (DoE), via the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has long maintained a user-populated database of hydrogen incidents, H2Incidents.org. The database contains a total of twenty fuelling station problems recorded between 2007 and 2010, of which only eight are classified as incidents; of these eight incidents, three were the result of human errors, two involved no hydrogen release, only one resulted in ignition, and none resulted in major injuries or fatalities. By the end of 2010 there were 212 hydrogen refuelling stations in the world, according to the TÜV SÜD-operated database H2Stations.org, approximately 80 of which were in the USA, including a station at Los Angeles LAX International Airport that has been safely operating since 2004.

        Across 80 stations only one ignition was recorded. Although this assessment cannot be fully comprehensive, to put it into some context the US NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) reports that between 2004 and 2008, on average, one in every thirteen conventional service stations experienced a fire. These fires caused an annual average of two civilian deaths, 48 civilian injuries and $20 million in property damage. 61% of these fires were vehicle fires, most commonly started by gasoline ignition. A 2001 study undertaken by Dr Michael Swain of the University of Miami used two test vehicles to simulate two car fires, one created by a 1/16th inch puncture in a gasoline fuel line, the other by a leaking hydrogen connector. Images taken from his video recording of the experiment at 0 seconds, 3 seconds and 1 minute demonstrate the quick and contained upwards ignition release of hydrogen and the ignition of the gasoline tank engulfing the entire vehicle in flames.

        (see http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/analysis/analyst-views/2012/12-07-18-perceptions-of-hydrogen-fuelling-safety for images)

        There are many who still consider hydrogen to be unsafe, validated in this belief by escalated fears of isolated incidents. However, when taking a step back it is clear to see that hydrogen transportation can present a safe alternative to the incumbent infrastructure. Dispensing hydrogen through filling stations for vehicular use may be a relatively new field, but it is important to remember that the fuel has been produced, transported and stored safely in industrial applications for decades. When consumers can themselves see and experience the technology and its safe operation, negative perceptions will fade as, ultimately, a consumer cares far more for the benefits of a product than what powers it.”

      • Julian Cox

        Most FCVs can be expected to be a near miss or an actual explosion at end of their service life as hydrogen systems lose containment. Of these, most explosions will occur in enclosed spaces such as the garages of private homes, they are also most likely to occur with the driver or other family members directly exposed to the fire ball as static electricity from movement and the operation of switches is the most probable ignition source. Collateral damage from an exploding garage is likely to be devastating and routine. The safety issue is not the main reason to reject FCVs (the main reason is that they have none of the environmental benefits claimed by marketers and hence they are just a poor performance vehicle technology with inconvenient pumped fuel), however the technology is inherently unsafe because unlike any other vehicle type it is not passively safe. If simply left alone the hydrogen system will eventually breach with high probability of a catastrophic breach.

  • Hi Energy People

    betting on hydrogen is a very smart move for now. Hydrogen seems to be one alternative for very convenient distributed energy storage. Imagine a pv system with a electrolyser generating hydrogen in your home. You can store the hydrogen for the winter heating or use it to fuel your Toyota. It’s fee. No need for hydrogen fueling stations. And 300+ miles range easily achievable. My point it it does not have to be electric or hydro. Both technologies can co-exist. Both are perfect for the distributed energy generation model.

    • No way

      Convenient? I guess you have never tried to handle hydrogen :P

      Convenient is the absolutely last word I would ever use when talking about a future with FCEV’s.

      If they got serious about electrification of their cars then nobody would be bothered by their feable attempt of FCEV, it would just be a “fun” project for the future (which eventually would get scrapped). But now it just looks like they are not interested in a green future at all, just trying to live on old merits.

      • Hi Energy People

        No, I haven’t so far. I did some research about hydrogen. Why don’t you think it’s convenient? Do you have any experience with it?

        • Julian Cox

          Well for starters you would need 4 times the roof space and cost of solar for the same milage you would get from simply charging a battery. Perhaps 5 times considering a small electrolysis unit and compressor is unlikely to be particularly efficient. In addition maintenance of a hydrolysis unit is no joke. You would need to supply it with distilled water and regularly deal with corroded electrodes. Maintaining the compressor would be about the same thing as maintaining an internal combustion engine. Convenient? You are having a laugh. Meanwhile down the road all the usual suspects would be filling the skies with CO2 to provide H2 at a price that will make your home system look impossible to justify on a cost basis. (P.S. You already have a plug in the garage for an EV).

      • Ben Helton

        You don’t know much about this technology and it’s history. A fuel cell vehicle is the electrification of a car. The hydrogen is the dispensable and refillable battery. This is no side project my friend. Toyota, Honda, and other manufacturers have been working on this since the mid 90′s…. ask yourself what you were doing then. Toyota is very far ahead of you, and most anybody else on the subject. Billions have been invested in R&D, and they have road tested the vehicles silently for over a decade. Stations have been quietly popping up, and the use of media hype is the last thing a wise company would want to use on a potentially controversial subject.

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