Energy Department Cuts Funding for Fuel Cell Cars

After pouring billions of dollars of federal money into fuel cell car research over decades, the US Department of Energy is cutting back on future spending. In the 2010 budget that the administration is submitting to Congress, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu proposed slashing more than $100 million from the Energy Department’s hydrogen program. That’s a cut of almost 60 percent and one that will almost entirely come from transportation.

Dr. Chu said yesterday that he holds little hope for fuel cell cars in the coming decades. In a press briefing, he said, “We asked ourselves, ‘Is it likely in the next 10 or 15, 20 years that we will covert to a hydrogen car economy?’ The answer, we felt, was ‘no.’”

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Pump

The US Department of Energy is cutting funding for fuel cell cars, reducing the prospects of hydrogen becoming a common fuel for automobiles.

The National Hydrogen Association and the US Fuel Cell Coalition quickly issued a joint statement criticizing the program cuts, but the federal government and the auto industry have already switched direction toward hybrid gas-electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and other battery-powered vehicles. “We think it is too early to be picking winning and losing technologies,” said Patrick Serfass, the National Hydrogen Association’s vice president for technology, in an interview with Edmunds.com.

Dr. Chu pointed to significant stumbling blocks to widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell cars, including the lack of a nationwide fueling infrastructure. Plug-in cars—such as plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric cars—also face significant obstacles in reaching a mass market, including lack of an electric recharging infrastructure and high costs for next-generation lithium ion car batteries. However, the obstacles for introducing those cars— which can be powered via the electric grid—are viewed as solvable, even though it could take five to ten years before plug-in cars reach 1 percent of the new car market.

Support for auto battery research will encourage adoption of all vehicles that are powered, to one degree or another, by electric power. Sales of today’s gas-electric hybrids, which represent nearly 3 percent of the market, are expected to be the fastest growing segment of “alternative” cars in the coming years. Forecasters predict that conventional hybrids will reach approximately 10 percent penetration in the next five to seven years. The Energy Department is also shifting resources to biofuels and development of lightweight materials.

The shift away from hydrogen fuel cells and toward hybrids and electric cars sends a clear message to auto companies—especially those seeking federal support for research and development. The change of direction could even further slow down the establishment of a hydrogen infrastructure—already viewed as way off in the future.


  • Joe

    More bad news! Again!

  • Shines

    Good decision. I think the element hydrogen is kind of cool in the fact that it is just a single proton and single electron. But as a fuel for internal combustion engines it doesn’t make sense.
    Save the hydrogen for H2O which in its abundance helps regulate the world’s environment.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a real shame. The government is making a mistake by putting all their cards in 1 technology (that is not nationwide scalable at the moment). In addition when you consider that hydrogen is one of the compounds with the highest energy for a given mass (gasoline has one of the highest energy densities) you should at least give the research a chance to continue. History will tell anyway.

  • green future

    I also agree with this decision. Hydrogen fuel cells remain a research interest, but they are not ready for use now. The cost is simply too high.

    I always felt that the Bush administration and the car companies like fuel cell technology because it made it look like they were working on fixes to the current situation without having to worry about actually implementing those fixes any time soon.

    To improve fuel efficiency and switch to renewable energies now, we need to use technologies that are available and affordable now. Hybrids and full electrics come closest to meeting those needs. We already have an electrical grid and the technologies required to make such cars. Now the big challenges are cost and natural resources (Lithium).

  • seant t

    I totally agree with this.
    Hydrogen is still far away in the future and if you want to concentrate the limited resources and money, then hybrid -> plug-in hybrid -> electric cars are much more feasible.
    Of course, there’ll be people opposing it with 1000 reasons.

  • Tom Me

    I think hydrogen is not in the near future, sure..and I’m uncomfortable with this cut. This is such a small small part of the US budget. Compare it to the hundreds of billions we spent in oil associated wars, dealing with people that don’t like us, etc.

    The real thing to see from the energy department is a clearly articulated policy of the future.. where energy comes from, how much we need, etc. Out of that, where do we put the research money.

  • David B

    Electric, magnetic, and batteries are the waves of the future. Wind, solar, hydro, geo, technologies should be in every home. This is the 21st century.

  • vapsa56

    I agree with the decision. And it is not like they are ending all research into the field. The problem is that we have limited resources right now. And we have to use the technologies that we currently have to start affective changes in the next 2 to 5 years.

    Although Fuel Cells have been around for years, the application has only been in large scale government work I.E. NASA. And that is because Fuel Cells are extremely expensive. Fuel Cells for everyday use, such as auomobiles, were always going to be 20 to 30 years down the road.

    The money needs to be spent on battery technology. Wether you are using and ICE or Fuel Cell as a generator, you NEED the battery. It must be powewrful, efficient and cost effective. And it must be made from a different chemisrty other than Lithium.

    Lithium’s chemical properties make for great batteries for sure. The problem comes from the countries that can supply Lithium. Most are just as hostile if not more so to the US the the countries of the Middle East. We would be trading one group of despotic governments for another one.

  • JJ albright

    NASA has spent billions on fuel cells and many more billions have been spent by researchers globally. The result – nothing, not even one break-through. However, this doesn’t mean hydrogen isn’t the best “fuel”, it just means an engine which fully utilizes the power of hydrogen isn’t generally know. That includes internal combustion by the way. The real technical break-through though may have just been made by the ZED engine research team. Their CEO was on national radio last Sunday. Its still under the radar, but what is known is that Greenberg Traurig of Washington, D.C. just finished the patents, and the #1 person of the Top 50 in the world “who can change the world” (Guardian newspaper – London) named Terry Tamminen (former head of California EPA)just met with the zedpower executive in Canada. Apparently the ZED engine packs 2.5-3.0 horsepower per cubic inch displacement which beats gasoline performance, and its fully scalable to any size vehicle, something electric will never do. For those in the know, apparently the best is yet to come.

  • rogelio

    Totally agree with Chu. Hydrogen economy is a full nonsense for just one reason: hydrogen is only a vector to transport energy. We all have an efficient vector to transport energy: electric transmission lines. Lithium battery is not the last solution; next will come metal hybrid fuel cells as zinc-air or aluminium-air battery and there is plenty of zinc or aluminium out there.

  • Tim DH

    I can foresee a movie in 2015 that is entitled, “Who Killed the Hydrogen Car”.

    To me things now seem to be moving in the right direction.

  • Anonymous

    I think Green Future in the above post almost hit the nail on the head. I am dubious that Lithium supply is a major challenge, but battery cost needs to be reduced to less than $500 per installed kWh.

  • JJ Lozano

    I don’t agree with this decision. We are a nation of progress and advancement in technology. By placing restrictions on funding and basically placing it in the “backburner” instead of the forefront of research, we are not only hurting ourselves but the rest of the world as well. The use of fuel by our country, and the rest of the world, is enormous; so this is not a trivial project we are debating. Fuel consumption should be taken very seriously, and likewise, funded appropriately. I don’t believe that electric cars and hybrids are the answer to our energy crisis. If we do not begin exploring bold ideas to critical problems, then the implementation of these new technologies will never be achieved. Sure implementation will be slow, but even 10, 15, 30 years to implement is not long, especially when we are talking about world fuel consumption. If we can start now, then we are that much closer to achieving our goals. Dr. Chu’s rational to slow our research, for the sake of self satisfaction today, is just ridiculous.

  • FamilyGuy

    Great, so instead of using oil to make gas, we’ll just use coal to make electricity. That’s okay, because there’s plenty of coal and that won’t run out. And to boot, we have “clean coal”. It’s all good. I’ll sleep better tonight. That’s right, wind and solar and nuclear. Sure.

    This is silly. Hydrogen is the most abundent element in the universe. Figure out how to get it and go.

    Electricty require wires. Are we dropping batteries off every where? Those gas stations in the middle of nowhere are there because some truck can just drop off the gas and go on it’s way. Now, you need to fire the entire flipping county. I thought that there was a move to wireLESS. Now you need to wire the everything to get the power there.

    Sure, in and around the city, electric sounds great. Short range, plenty of places to plug in. Anyone visit the mid-west? The open, vast plains? I guess we did it with phone lines, we’ll just do it again with more wires (good thing there are no tornados to wipe out the wires). Isn’t this why Third World Nations have more cell phones because they didn’t have to wire everything?

    I want a fuel cell.

  • Anonymous

    Stimulus PORK Killed the Hydrogen Car, just like the “Who killed the Electric Car in the 80′s!

  • hamilton

    There are loads of companies working to crack the code of the stationary fuel cell market, where many of the limitations around putting a fuel cell on wheels don’t come into play (distributed refueling, on-board storage, space constraints, etc). One or more of these companies will eventually succeed in commercializing the PEM fuel cell (the kind suitable for transportation applications), and thus start down the path toward creating demand for new hydrogen production + distribution infrastructure, building codes, etc.

    In the meantime, the DOE has several alternative fuel options that don’t require simultaneously solving quite so many challenges. DOE should revisit hydrogen transportation research periodically; but there are bigger fish to fry at the moment.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    This is great! The great promise of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells was one of the tactics used to kill the electric car in the ’90′s, now we can get on to the right solution, the battery electric vehicle or plug-in electric.
    While I have no problem with hydrogen of fuel cells, there is no foreseeable way to economically use them in consumer automobiles. Batteries and the electric power grid, on the other hand will do quite nicely today and even better in the near future.
    I’m glad we finally have a scientist with integrity in the White House that can stand up to the politicians and the auto companies.
    Onward! Away from Oil!

  • Chuck

    Apparently someone did not do his or her homework. Lithium Batteries cost a lot of money. They also take a lot of space. Why do you think the Volt can only go 40 miles on a charge? Batteries also take time to charge. It takes 8 kWh to go 40 miles. That is 8kw over one hour or 160Volts * 50 amps for one hour to go 40 miles Now to go 400 miles takes 10 times that. That is a HUGE battery and HUGE cost. Where do you get that kind of power to charge the battery? Who is going to wait that long at a station? Batteries are good for the interim but definitely not the solution. Gas has a lot of energy as a fluid. Hydrogen has a lot of energy. Hydrogen can be extracted from liquids. You have to respect Dr Chu, but I really don’t think he did his homework.

  • Allan

    Dr. Chu HAS done his homework. It is possible to drive four miles on the electricity required to make the hydrogen which will take you one mile. That does not include the electricity which will be consumed in the pressurization, storage and transfer of the hydrogen before it can be used. On top of that, hydrogen requires bulky and heavy tanks on board the vehicle in order to carry a useful amount. Still further, the infrastructure to manufacture, store and dispense hydrogen will be extremely expensive and must be in place before such vehicles will be practical. The challenges to the success of hydrogen as a vehicular fuel are OVERWHELMING. There just does not appear to be light at the end of this tunnel after many years and billions of dollars invested.

    It is a good time to focus attention on other things. IF some kind of breakthrough happens, we can return to this challenge.

  • Green Machine

    $100 Million is nothing in the national budget, but perhaps a great deal to the development companies in West Sacramento, CA.
    I don’t know where a whole lot of you have been, but there are already fuel cell vehicles, and even BMW has a fuel cell sedan.
    I can’t imagine Gov Schwarzeneggar is too happy with the message that this budget cut sends, as he was trying to develop a hydrogen highway in CA.

    I am a Bush supporter, but not on this issue. The Bush Admin was not pushing hydrogen. They were pushing ethanol, which some studies say burns dirtier than gas, and creates food issues, deforestation problems, and single handedly has placed Orangutans on the verge of extinction.

    One nice thing about Hydrogen, is that it’s byproduct is water. However, I am unfamiliar with the potential negative processing requirements to capture hydrogen and usage of the fuel cell.

    Most of these technologies do have a downside that needs to be studied better.

    Another thing that bothers me is someone mentioning the Energy Dept setting vision for our energy direction. The govt is the last organization that I want setting our direction, because generally that ends up putting the US into a box, and limits our potential and ingenuity.

    Either the govt or the large corporations have put us behind the Japanese on cell phone technology, and personal entertainment technology in general. That’s just one example where govt and monopolies (ATT) have put a stranglehold on American ingenuity.

    It is important for the US Govt to create an friendly buisness environment that equally encourages individual groups to continue to experiment with all technologies….that’s what will provide us with a clearer solution.
    Competition between the steam engine and the gas engine comes to mind.

  • sean t

    Chuck, how do u extract Hydrogen from liquids? Is it Electricity?
    Can someone tell me if the total amount of electrity used to extract Hydrogen is more than electricity itself used by a car to travel the same distance, why spend another cycle to extract H2?
    I’ve seen progress in battery tech. but not much in Fuel Cell tech, I may be wrong though.

  • Allan

    Sean, the way hydrogen is extracted is called electrolysis. If enough electricity is applied to water it will separate into its elements which are hydrogen and oxygen. When the hydrogen is exposed to oxygen as in the fuel cell (or anywhere else) it recombines with the oxygen explosively releasing useable energy. This is effectively the energy which was stored by the electrolysis process which makes hydrogen effectively a storage medium for energy.

    As a storage medium, it is very inefficient since, as I said above, it is possible to drive four miles on the electricity required to extract enough hydrogen for driving just one mile.

    The one advantage of hydrogen as power for a vehicle is that it can be transfered to a vehicle more like gasoline and the vehicle range (if the tanks are large enough,which is a very big challenge) can be more like a gasoline vehicle. This advantage, however, comes at a overwhelmingly large cost. For example, the cost of one station for refueling hydrogen vehicles would pay for ALL if the electric charging stations in a State like California.

  • Chuck

    Allan,

    What do you propose? Batteries won’t work. They cost a fortune.

  • iboomalot

    everyone is missing a point thats a clear winner

    Diesel style engines with high compression results in 25-40% better MPG vs gasoline.

    My TDI jetta is a med size fairly heavy car and gets 40 mpg.
    My 2003 — 8000 lbs Ford Excursion 6.0 liter Diesel– 400+ hp/700+ lbs tq (wasn’t stock) did 18 city / 23 hwy vs our 5,000 lbs 2001 Suburban with a 5.3 liter Gas getting 13/15 mpg

    Algea grown Bio-D is cleaner burning that gasoline.
    Diesel/Bio-D can be used in today’s infrastructure/transport system

    In a short period of time the following could be a reality.

    Full Size SUVs for families and towing boats etc etc 4.5 liter Diesel with Hybrid system 25-30 mpg
    Full Size Cars with 2.2 liter Diesel motors + Hybrid = 50-70 mpg
    Compact Cars with 1.6 liter Diesel + Hybrid = 70-100 mpg

    Ford Fusion 40+ mpg , Pruis 46 mpg , Insight 40ish MPG all could get 60+ on Compression style motors.

    Just some food for thought

  • Allan

    Chuck

    The dilemma which hydrogen as a fuel illustrates is that petroleum does not seem to have a successor as cheap and plentiful. In addition, in a historically short time, petroleum will be a historical curiosity. The only thing that is certain is that the sun shines and its energy can be captured for use many ways. Directly by solar panels, indirectly by wind and wave power and burning biomass, and other things. We will learn to do these things or do without energy as the world mostly did forever. That, of course, excludes photosynthesis, without which we could not live.

    But to suggest that an energy poor world can use an energy hog like hydrogen for vehicles is foolish and absolutely will never happen without innovations which are not as yet known.

  • simon@syd

    Absolutely right about the 10-15 year likely hood of fuel cells being viable. And I wonder about the feasability of it on any timescale.

  • sean t

    Chuck,
    Batteries cost a fortune but Hydrogen costs even bigger fortune.

    iboomalot,
    I heard ofa hybrid car of diesel and electricity w/ regenarative braking by a French car company (sorry can’t remeber which brand) but also heard that diesel+electricity is much more expensive than gas+electricity . . .

  • Mr.Bear

    Fuel cells are a step in the wrong direction. While being pollutant free, they are not greenhouse gas free. Water vapor is a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Don’t believe me, checkout their specific heats. Water vapor is as bad a greenhouse gas as methane.

  • TheShadowXX

    I think this is ridiculous i have huge hopes for hydrogen cars in the future. I am dissapointed that they would cut funds for this, I thought the US is suppose to be the leader of new technology yet were cutting our funding for it?

  • Shines

    H2O is a great source of energy and it is one of the most abundant compounds found on our planet. So even though there is a lot of hydrogen in water I’d just as soon leave water as it is. Our bodies (as well as almost all life forms we know of) need water to survive – not hydrogen. As far as extracting the hydrogen from water – it requires an exact equivalent amount of energy to separate the hydrgen from water as the energy in the hydrogen. In the mean time the water evaporates and falls on the land and in the moutains and is used to generate polution free hydroelectric power. The oceans of water around the globe produce waves and tides that are producing gigawatts of power that is right now grinding away the shorelines of all the continents. If this power were properly tapped there would be plenty to charge millions of batteries or simply power electric vehicles maybe in some way very similar to electric buses and trains. There is already a battery free electric infrastructure (buses and trains) in many cities that is much more viable than the almost 1 hydrogen highway in California. Electric power exists along almost every road and highway in urban America. Almost every home in America has electric power already being supplied to it (some are generating their own). Look at the screen that you are reading this from – is it powered by hydrogen, petroleum, or electric? 40 – 120 miles on one charge is a start for battery powered vehicles. 40 – 60 MPG using a gas-electric hybrid is also a start towards the reduction of fossil fuel use. Hydrogen is cool but not as a fuel. Let’s make sure we take maximum advantage of naturally occurring hydrogen compounds (such as water) before we get carried away trying to outdo mother nature.

  • ElectricBikeGuy

    If there were a Hydrogen economy, the primary source of Hydrogen (since it doesn’t exist in its elemental state on Earth – it just floats up and gets blown away by the solar wind) would be natural gas NOT water. The cracking of natural gas into H2 still generates carbon dioxide. And the electricity to crack that natural gas (assuming ‘dirty’ power) will generate even more carbon dioxide.

    Now, lets look at the life-cycle of Hydrogen:

    Energy –> Hydrogen –> Power to the wheels

    And lets take a look at Electricity:

    Energy –> Power to the wheels

    All Hydrogen really is, is a needless step between getting energy into our cars. Hydrogen ISNT a fuel, its an energy storage device (like a battery). Unless we lived on Jupiter where atomic hydrogen is just floating around in its unbound form, then it would be a fuel. But since we live on Earth, we have to get it from cracking water or reforming it out of a hydrocarbon (oil, coal, natural gas).

    The only main roadblock to batteries is recharge time. If you can recharge a car’s battery pack within the same (or similar) time-frame of a typical fuel-up with the same range, problems like cost and size of a battery pack will solve themselves.

    (and in my world, anything that has a tank of liquid hydrogen attached to it, is called a rocket :P )

  • RKRB

    Conspiracy theorists, unite!!

    Who Killed The Fuel Cell Car??
    Big Oil has unleashed a terrifying new tactic and bought off our previously-untouchable government (since it can’t buy off the car companies any more after they have become semi-bankrupt!!). Now, even the battery manufacturers and the manufacturers of other so-called “green” power sources, have joined Big Oil in this unbelievably obvious, blatant conspiracy to destroy the fuel cell car!! Hasn’t everyone heard about all the cryptic secret memos recently circulating around the DOE and the Defense Department?? Do you need any more proof?? Doesn’t everybody know that hydrogen is the most plentiful substance in the universe?? Why, why, why are They doing this to Us again?? Why are we taking this like a bunch of sheep?? And the most important question of all — why is Michael Moore not making another “documentary” movie about the alleged conspiracy behind this tragedy??

    ;-))

  • bif

    Fuel cell cars won’t work if it gets below freezing. Where I live that is 6 months out of the year. How can a car ever be massed produced with those limitations?

  • Patrick Serfass

    “Honda, GM Stick to Fuel-Cell Plans as Obama Guts Hydrogen Funds”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_en&sid=abc.hrgl1DPQ

  • Anonymous

    First off, I believe this cut is only in regard to fuel cell cars, not cars with hydrogen internal combustion engines, commonly called HICEs. There is a distinction between the two, but both require the hydrogen infrastructure so I understand why there is some minor confusion sometimes. Anyway, I’m sure Germany will come out with something nice soon. I thought BMW’s HICE car was a pretty neat idea about 6 – 7 years ago.

    Honestly, I don’t think this is a bad idea considering that the money will most likely be diverted to the research and implementation of coal gasification and CO2 sequestration practices which will probably make a bigger impact in lowering greenhouse gases to the atmosphere for our Nation (…US that is). Take a look at this article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/08/science/earth/08energy.html?_r=1&hpw

    I believe Dr. Chu, a Physics Nobel Laureate, is taking the right stance here.

  • hybridgreg

    I think that putting the fuel cell car on the back burner is probably a good thing in the short term. Fuel cells have problems that have yet to be solved to make it ready for prime time; despite years of trying. It is still true that hydrogen is an attractive alternative for hybrid vehicles. A pistion engine with hydrogen gas as the fuel source is already on the road in the form of the Honda Cvic GX.
    As far as the fueling infrastructure, we already have gas lines running into our homes that are being tapped right now for these hydrogen Hondas. Simply purchase the unit that hooks up to your gas line and it increases the pressure from 15 psi to 3600 psi. The natural gas line provides the hydrogen right at your home. You never have to stop at a gas station. If we couple this with a hybrid, then you have the hydrogen car that gets 50-60 miles per gallon. So, lets get that Civic engine into one of their hybrids. A hydrogen IMA engine sounds great to me! Or a Miller-Atkinson Hydrogen Prius sounds good, too.

  • Ron Tetrev

    That is a severe blow to the alternative fuel car. I always thought that hydrogen, an element in plentiful supply, was the best shot (at this time) of replacing fossil fuels.

    Consider the problems between hydrogen and other sources:

    - Hydrogen: only thing left needed is a fuel tank.
    Electric: a better battery.

    - Hydrogen: water has been shown to be splittable, using other electrical sources, for our fuel. No need for hydrocarbons in the process.
    Electric : can use electricity from different sources

    - Hydrogen: needs infrastructure for tanking up
    Electric: needs infrastructure (and better home-charging) for tanking up.
    Gas (1940-1950s): millions poured into infrastructure for tanking up.

    - Hydrogen: current efficiency rating 15-25%
    Electric: current efficiency rating 50-80%
    Gas: current efficiency rating 10-15%

    Conclusion: discontinuing hydrogen based on the “it’s not ready/too expensive” arguments is as disingenious as the idea of discontinuing electrical. Hybrids are one step, but only a temporary step; a more advanced pursuit of other energy sources should be distributed between many likely solutions, not hedged with only one or two.

  • Ron Tetrev

    Problem is, it only solves one problem, and not for the long-term future.

    Sure, diesels have come a long way. And their engines are more efficient. But we still generate CO2 emissions that warm the planet. And we still rely on outside (read: foreign) sources for our energy needs.

    And no, neither is biodiesel a possibility. The planet can feed us, or the car, but not both.

    Not a good solution, any way you cut it.

    America wants, needs, a long-term answer to our clunky hydrocarbon infrastructure. Electric is one solution. Hydrogen, I feel, is another that should be pursued.

    Remember, if you exercise a technology, it gets better. Look at your computer system, and tell me that it’s not so. :)

  • Ron Tetrev

    I never heard that, that fuel cell cars only operate in an optimized temperate climate.

    How can fuel cell cars NOT work below freezing? Hydrogen doesn’t have the same freezing range as gasoline, and whle fuel cells may operate slower in colder weather, that problem is no different from any other present fuel source. Gasoline and diesel have starting issues when cold. Gasoline is made bad mainly because of trapped water vapor turning into a (unstartable) liquid.

    Where have you heard otherwise?

  • Sherwood

    EXCELLENT move that really shows the intelligence of those responsible. Hydrogen fuel cells were basically a green washing supported by the auto and fossil fuel industry specifically *because* they knew it was not even on the distant horizon. No cars, no supporting infrastructure, and no carbon-free means of creating hydrogen. Get real, people. This was feasible only in la la land.
    Electric vehicles have more of an infrastructure than we give them credit for. Look no further than the plug in your garage! Since most Americans drive less per day than the range of even today’s EVs, this is all that is needed for a commuting car.
    Furthermore, electricity is the most flexible fuel there is – you will ALWAYS be able to create it – and it is far cleaner and more efficient than gasoline engines even if coal (the dirtiest of fossil fuels) is used to make the electricity.
    Finally, EVs can give back. Currently, there is NO means of storage in the electrical grid. This means both the grid and the power plants must be constructed to handle peak loads despite the fact that they rarely operate at full capacity. Storage of electricity in EVs would smooth out electrical supply and demand and actually reduce the need for power plant construction. Can hydrogen cells do that???

  • Sherwood

    One other MAJOR consideration. Consider the curent cost of EVs, ranging from under $25K sedans to ~$100,000 – the latter buying you a really SWEET Tesla Roadster or Fisker Karma or (my favorite) Lotus EV that gets up to 400mpg!

    Then consider the following quote from Edmunds.com on the Honda FCX hydrogen fuel cell vehicle:

    “Not for Sale
    Honda won’t be selling the Clarity . . . because it is largely hand-assembled and stuffed with hideously expensive technology. The company won’t discuss the cost of each vehicle, but nobody on the Clarity team blinks when it’s suggested that Honda would have to charge at least $1 million apiece just to break even on the immediate production costs.”

    OR, you could buy TEN TESLAS or 40 EV sedans!!!!

  • Hal

    Finally, an intelligent decision. Fuel cell cars are an expensive solution
    To the problem of transportation. For the short term, hybrids & electric cars are the way to go. My Prius does save on my fuel costs. The new
    Insight Is one example of hybrids getting cheaper.

  • WolfgangGullich

    I don’t get this. Not only has the price of the materials that goes into fuel cells gone down (to the point were a cell can be built for a couple thousand dollars, building the national infrastructure would not be difficult. Hydrogen generators are small and can be placed on the roofs of fuel stations thereby eliminating the need for a distribution network for the gas. Virtually all the big automakers (or the smart ones like BMW, Honda, Hyundai, and GM) have put $ Billions into researching this tech. This is a bad move on the part of the govt and just shows you the oil companies still rule the roost.

  • hybridgreg

    WolfgangGulich,
    The only reason that these car companies are investing in outragiously expensive fuel cell technology was that the US government gave them waivers on the tougher pollution standards for their fleet of cars if they would produce a couple of hundred altenative fuel vehicles. The waiver of strict emission standards for a given year’s production is “fueling” the development of these expensive “one-of-a-kind” vehicles, like fuel cell vehicles. The requirements to be given one of these waivers is more complex than I am stating here, but you see the point. Each of the 8 Toyota fuel cell SUVs produced, cost in excess of 1.25 million dollars. I actually have driven one. They are nice, but not practical at that price.

    Sherwood, read my explanation above of why these cars are made. Also, read my comment above on hydrogen gas. It is found in huge amounts, naturally, in the US (enough to power the US for a century or more). It already has a distribution network setup in homes in the US (the gas line that runs into the house) and it is very cheap (an equivilant BTU conversion to a gallon gasoline is about 70 cents per gallon). Oh, and we can convert existing gasoline cars to hydrogen just like converted gasoline cars to propane). So, again, there are some good solutions if we just connect the dots of technologies we already know works. Electric… great! Hydrogen…terrific! Biodiesel…it’s now clean and efficient! Piston engines…common! Hybrids…they work! The challenge…buy the fuel efficent car that meets your needs and put our money where your heart is.

  • fred smilek

    Fuel cell cars are an expensive solution to the problem of transportation. For the short term, hybrids & electric cars are the way to go. That’s what I believe.

  • macd
  • anon

    well I think fuel cell cars are OK but where is all the h20 that the car produces going to go??