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  #11  
Old 06-17-2008, 09:56 AM
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Wink Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

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Originally Posted by sfousi View Post
I'm sure people saw the Honda announcement of limited production of the FCX Clarity in the U.S. today. I was wondering what people thought of Fuel cell technology. Production is going to be severely limited for the next several years, given that there aren't fueling stations available. Also, Honda said they wouldn't be producing an electric car..
I think we'll have practical fool cell vehicles about the time the first, commercial fusion power station comes online. The reason is:
  • current hydrogen production is uneconomic - we need abundant, cheap power and that requires a fusion power station.
  • current fool cell chemistry - only the high temperature, liquid carbonate cells have the power density, robust feedstock capability and scale to provide practical motive power. Unfortunately these only scale to semi-trailers, buses, and large utility and construction vehicles. We need an order of magnitude improvement (about 3 Nobel Prizes) in our understanding of organic and inorganic chemistry before small scale, fool cells become practical.
Otherwise, piece of cake if you are content to use a PowerPoint version.

Bob Wilson

Last edited by bwilson4web; 06-17-2008 at 09:58 AM.
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  #12  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:28 AM
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Default Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

As of right now Hydrogen costs about 2.5x less than gasoline for the relative amount of production. Yes we would need to make improvements on producing it, but that is more easily done than with gasoline. Through the use of a supplemental resources like HTE/Solar, or directly by electrolysis or biological production naturally produced hydrogen can be replaced with a renewable supply. (Much in the same way that people are trying to use ethanol to replace gasoline; only without the decrease in efficiency or problems with blending ingredients.) Secondly the cost of a FCX Clarity is roughly 120-140k right now with limited production. They hope to have hydrogen fuel cell vehicles realistically priced for consumers in the next ten years. Again I am not sure if it is realistic to have hydrogen replace gasoline, but it might give us that stepping stone needed till we can run on electricity alone.

Last edited by alteredsego; 06-17-2008 at 10:33 AM.
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  #13  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

The FCX Clarity is being offered SOON as a 3 year lease in a controlled trial. The $600 per month charge puts the list price at about $60k so this is not an inexpensive vehicle. I can buy a reasonable EV today for about $60k (3rd party upgraded ICE manufactured vehicle) with LIon batteries. Note that as Honda will take these back at 36 months, we won't get to evaluate the life span of the fuel cell from their trial. The Toyota plug-in trial is going on right now and the SALE of these is predicted to commence in the fall of 2009 (2010 model year). If Lion batteries don't prove to be effective, the patent on large format NiMh batteries (Exxon) expires in early 2015.

One more salient fact, The average ownership period of EVs tends to be much longer than 5 years due to their low maintenance costs, especially for those with the Panasonic EV95 NiMh batteries (Rav4 EV, Chevy S10 EV) which seem to hold up very well in EV use (too bad that these proven EV batteries are no longer available - blame Exxon).

JeffD
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  #14  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:57 AM
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Default Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

First off that $600 lease includes insurance costs. The car is insured through Honda since it is more of a prototype than a true production vehicle, and because its true value is hard to ascertain they list it as $60k; its actual cost of production is between $120-140k. Secondly Toyota has already said that the next gen Prius will be NiMH; at least at first, till they can get more data about the properties of lithium-ion batteries in real world scenarios. (Honda has been testing them since 2002 with Japanese government vehicles.) And yes you can get your vehicle converted to a PHEV, but it will still require you to plug it in, (something you don't have to do on the Clarity) and you will have to get on a waiting list for the right to pay over $30,000 for equivalent technology. ($25,000 for a Prius, plus 29,000 to 33,000 for the PHEV upgrade means in totally you pay 54-58,000. Given the level of luxury in the FCX Clarity, increased efficiency, and improved range, I would say $60k is a steal.)

As far as EV lifespans go, you can't judge them accurately with the models currently on the road. Like you said there are not a lot of them to go around, and so people looking to replace them are going to be short on options. When they do come up in decent condition they sell for nearly $50,000 to $70,000 used, ($60k looks like a value now lol) and then you have to worry about installing charging hardware. Not to mention the fact that the people that have bought EVs in the past were generally more environmentally conscious than the average consumer, and greener buyers will hold on to cars for longer periods of time. The average consumer, even with green buyers averaged in, gets a new car every 5 years. (Mine came up used because someone wanted a BMW after having it for 5 years for example.)

Last edited by alteredsego; 06-17-2008 at 11:09 AM.
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  #15  
Old 06-17-2008, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

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Originally Posted by Harold View Post
Do you really feel Honda and others are just playing around!!! Hello, H

If you look deep within the bowels of the currently in force CARB ZEV Mandates, you'll understand a primary reason why those who are deploying FCEVs are deploying them now and how they came to the numbers they plan to provide.

Peace,

Martin
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  #16  
Old 06-17-2008, 03:43 PM
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Default Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

Even if you get cheap, clean electricity to crack hydrogen from water, why not simply use that same electricity in a PHEV or battery EV? Why have conversion losses (from both the electrolysis, and the fuel cell) that you don't need to incur?

The only benefits that I can see are:

1. range (you may be able to store enough hydrogen on board to beat a pure EV).
2. refueling time (most battery EVs seem to need overnight).

But both of those advantages are problematic; you have to assume that battery tech will not improve enough to render these advantages moot. Based on current technology trends, though, I'd say the battery improvements are more plausible than the cost/longevity/fuel-storage improvements that a practical hydrogen FCEV needs.

Plus, we already have a distribution network for electricity - we're just missing outlets in some of the places (e.g. parking structures) that we'd need them.
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  #17  
Old 06-18-2008, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

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Originally Posted by sward View Post
Even if you get cheap, clean electricity to crack hydrogen from water, why not simply use that same electricity in a PHEV or battery EV? Why have conversion losses (from both the electrolysis, and the fuel cell) that you don't need to incur?

The only benefits that I can see are:

1. range (you may be able to store enough hydrogen on board to beat a pure EV).
2. refueling time (most battery EVs seem to need overnight).

But both of those advantages are problematic; you have to assume that battery tech will not improve enough to render these advantages moot. Based on current technology trends, though, I'd say the battery improvements are more plausible than the cost/longevity/fuel-storage improvements that a practical hydrogen FCEV needs.

Plus, we already have a distribution network for electricity - we're just missing outlets in some of the places (e.g. parking structures) that we'd need them.
I think battery energy efficiencies are LOWER than fuel cell and electrolysis efficiencies. Thats ONE reason. You never get all the energy back out of a battery that you put in and the losses are significant.
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  #18  
Old 06-18-2008, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

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Originally Posted by TeeSter View Post
I think battery energy efficiencies are LOWER than fuel cell and electrolysis efficiencies. Thats ONE reason. You never get all the energy back out of a battery that you put in and the losses are significant.
Any evidence for that? Because that is exactly backwards from what I've seen.

Now, I must admit that I don't have the counter-evidence handy either; I'll look for it when I get some time.
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  #19  
Old 06-18-2008, 08:12 AM
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Default Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

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Originally Posted by TeeSter View Post
I think battery energy efficiencies are LOWER than fuel cell and electrolysis efficiencies. Thats ONE reason. You never get all the energy back out of a battery that you put in and the losses are significant.
Regardless of whether fuel cells or batteries are more efficient, it seems a double whammy for FCVs since they require both to operate effectively.
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  #20  
Old 06-18-2008, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: how long before fuel cell cars make an impact?

Sure it'll be years before FCVs are viable for mass consumption ..... but you have to start somewhere.

If any of us were around 100 years ago when cars first came out, we'd have called them noisy, smelly, uncomfortable, unreliable contraptions. Then we would have gotten back on our horses and rode home.

You have to start somewhere.

And we SHOULD have started back in 1973, during the previous oil crisis. But our friends in Congress didn't want to give up the gas tax revenue, and their campaign contributors from Detroit preferred to keep churning out the same gas-guzzling junk they always had.

We're at least 35 years behind the curve, and obviously Congress and Detroit aren't going to provide any answers.

Same as it ever was.
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