Hydrogen Backers Punch Back at Plug-in Car Supporters

Fisker Karma

The Washington Post used a report from the National Research Council to criticize government subsidies for plug-in hybrids, such as the Fisker Karma.

After pouring billions of dollars of federal money into fuel cell car research over decades, the US Department of Energy recently cut way back on hydrogen funding—making long-time hydrogen supporters look like a losing team for now. Instead, the DOE shifted billions of dollars to plug-in hybrids and electric cars, although advocates in Congress saved some funding for hydrogen.

Last week, the federal government’s hydrogen wing punched back with a report concluding that plug-in hybrids will not produce significant savings of either greenhouse gas emission or fuel consumption for at least another two decades. Hmm. That sounds a lot like the argument that plug-in and EV advocates have used to cast hydrogen as a very long-term solution to oil addiction.

The report was produced by the congressionally chartered National Research Council, and funded by the DOE. The researchers are associated with the “Committee on Assessment of Resource Needs for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies.” The chairman is Michael Ramage, a retired ExxonMobil executive.

Collateral Damage

In the tit-for-tat feud, Vice President Joe Biden recently got poked in the eye, when a Washington Post editorial criticized the veep for his role as public spokesperson for the plug-in movement, and for bringing an auto plant for Fisker Automotive—an as-yet unproven start-up plug-in car company—to Deleware, with the help of a half-billion dollar DOE loan. The bickering is all about politics, and does almost nothing to further a fact-based public conversation about the real promise of both hydrogen and plug-in hybrid cars. Most analysts and engineers see plug-in hybrids and electric cars as an immediate strategy for greener cars, and hydrogen as a much longer-term—but by no means less real—technology.

The NRC’s main conclusion is that plug-in hybrids will be more expensive than conventional cars—including conventional hybrids—for many years, mostly because batteries will continue to be expensive. Fair enough, but Team Hydrogen hit below the belt by grossly overstating the long-term cost of the batteries. The NRC projects that the battery pack for a plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range of about 40 miles, like the Chevy Volt, will cost about $14,000, resulting a vehicle price of about $18,000 more than an equivalent non-hybrid.

Pike Research, in collaboration with HybridCars.com, issued a white paper last week with some of the same conclusions as the NRC study. For example, we said that plug-in hybrids and electric cars will be more expensive than conventional cars for many years. That’s a no-brainer. Even our battery cost estimates, in the current period of very low volume production, at about $1,000 per kilowatt-hour, is similar. But the NRC folks say those costs will barely drop in the coming decades, while Pike Research indicates that the cost will fall by about $100 every year for the next five years as global production of lithium ion batteries ramps up. That will make plug-in cars much more affordable in a relatively short period of time.

We also said the market for conventional hybrids, like the Toyota Prius, will become bigger and faster than plug-in hybrids, electric cars or hydrogen, and therefore have more impact on displacing petroleum.

Counterpunch Counterproductive

The NRC report is kicking up big flames in legislative circles. Unfortunately, the situation is turning into a pile-on melee, with pro and con government players and advocacy groups from both sides throwing kicks and punches in all directions. That’s a shame, because what we need is a calm reasoned discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of both technologies, so that we can devise a thoughtful near- and long-term plan for reducing the energy and environmental impact of cars and trucks. The NRC report, and the resulting squabbles, will make that less likely.

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  • Anonymous

    The NRC and DOE doesn’t differ on reaching $500/kWh in 3 to 5 years for batteries but for a plug-in hybrid vehicle to be $5900 more expensive than an advanced gasoline vehicle you need a battery that is $300/kWh. This requires a high energy density battery vs today’s high power density batteries. The formulation for the former is not even known today. Whereas fuel cell system costs have been peer reviewed at $61/kw in mass production and hydrogen storage system costs have been projected today at $13/kWh to $20/kWh that projects to a $5300 more expensive vehicle with today’s components when mass produced. The point then is to begin commercializing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles today, while plug-ins should wait for 5 years before the commercialization process can proceed.

    Either electric platform is going to be more expensive than an advanced gasoline vehicle or a hybrid. However, if we are to decrease greenhouse gases by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, only electric vehicles can get the job done. The federal government needs to step up and make that happen. How? Initially provide 50% cost share for fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure in support of the California Zero Emission Vehicle mandate of 4000 FCVs by 2014 and 40,000 FCVs by 2017. Then provide tax credits and feebates for production volumes to 2023 as outlined by ORNL report (TM 2008/30). Lower fuel costs on a cents/mile can help offset the initial higher vehicle costs thru leases. Those lower fuel costs have been documented as being possible from biomass, coal or natural gas with carbon sequestration. Secretary Chu’s decision was based on four misconceptions about hydrogen vehicles and has been refuted.

    It is time for DOE to step up.

  • Anonymous

    Funny how the pro (anonymous) fuel-cell advocate left out the all the costs for the required hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

    Nothing to see here, move right along.

  • AC

    I think the biggest issue with hydrogen vehicles is the ‘KA-BOOOOM’ factor. At this point, there is a very low comfort level with driving around a small car, with super compressed hydrogen onboard. It sounds like a good idea, but no thank you. Just give me a battery pack.

    I also think may be part of the issue with battery pricing is the high profit margin manufacturers are trying to obtain so early in the game. With so many different companies competing/racing to make their own battery, it just makes the break even point much further down the road.

    However, if they consolidate their development to a few companies/manufacturers, the battery output of each company would increase, thus reducing the production costs per battery. As production and costs drop, and they can sell more hybrid/electric cars at a good price point. Then, each car company can invest in developing their own proprietary battery if necessary, and introduce it into an already high demand market.

    (hummm…I thought that was what GM, Chrysler and Ford were supposed to be doing with the billions from the government…)

    Instead, what we have happening is that each auto manufacturer has their own exclusive battery development/manufacturer, and each has to pay for similar R&D which keeps the battery price high, which keeps their individual volume low. (Ford/Magna excluded)

    It seems they are not understanding that this race for the most miles per charge won’t last for long, because there will be little value for the average commuter to be able to travel 300 or 500 miles on a single charge, when it’s ‘docked/charged’ each night.

    For the consumer, eventually the battery aspect should be invisible, like a gas tank, or a given, and what really make the purchase decision is style, safety, comfort and accessories. Not how big the gas tank/battery is.

    So maybe when the manufacturers stop competing with each other, and start working with each other, they all will benefit as finally consumers will have hybrid and EV vehicles at a reasonable price.

  • Greg Blencoe

    If you want to read some very interesting information about plug-in battery cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars from extremely credible sources, check out the following two articles.

    “Top 20 quotes from Toyota and Honda executives criticizing plug-in battery cars”


    “7 reasons to love Toyota hydrogen fuel cell vehicles”


    Doesn’t it make a lot of sense to pay A LOT of attention to what the greatest and most innovative car company in the world (Toyota) says about both of these technologies?

    Greg Blencoe
    Chief Executive Officer
    Hydrogen Discoveries, Inc.
    “Hydrogen Car Revolution” blog

  • Mr.Bear

    Fuel cells and PHEV/EV have the same problems: expensive, new technology, lack of infrastructure.

    Are fuel cells really that much much cheaper than lithium ion batteries? Is a home H2 generator cheaper than a home 220V or 440V charging station? Will H2 fueling stations pop up around the country faster than rapid charging stations? Will people adopt H2 tech faster than PHEV/EV tech?

    The Prius has been a reasonably priced hybrid for almost a decade and now it dominates the new car market. Either that or it sqeeks out a meager 3% of the car market. In a like manner, no new tech will dominate the car market in the next 20 years.

    Let’s also not forget fuel cells are not zero emissions or greenhouse gas free. They need the electrical grid to generate the H2 and compress it plus they emit water vapor, which is also greenhouse gas.

    How would a city like Phoenx or Las Vegas be affected by having 100% of the cars emitting water vapor. Say goodbye to the “dry heat.”

    I’m not convinced H2 is “greener” than PHEV/EV. I think making it “either this or that” is a false choice.

  • DC

    “Committee on Assessment of Resource Needs for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies.” The chairman is Michael Ramage, a retired ExxonMobil executive.

    That M. Ramage may be retired from ExxonMobil, but its very clear he hasnt retired form the dirty fossil fuel cartel. The only reason the fossil fuel cartel supports FCV, is because they know full well, they will never work as a replacement for the ICE. But, since the US goverment was handing out billions to the auto-oil cartel to make prototypes of vehicles that were never intended to suplant the ICE, why not take it? A high-tech dog and pony show funded by taxpayers that could drag on for years, decades if necessary, and best of all, it doesnt cost the fossil-fuel industry a dime. FCV are like flying cars, techically, you can build them if you really, really want to, but they would never be truely safe, practical or even remotely cost-effective, both economically or from an energy standpoint. Even the US government (sort of) caught on finnally and at least cut the flow of cash somewhat.

    EVs work-NOW and are cost effective both to own and operate, or would be if anyone besides tesla actually bothered to, you know, build them. But FCV and EV’s do have one thing in common, no is actually one building them or makeing them available to the mass-market. I say, let the h2 scammers chase there fantasy that unreliable. million-dollar prototypes will magically become “affordable” a few years from now, or that H2 willl suddenly stop evaporating through solid steel pipelines, or that the laws of physics will thoughtfully suspend themselves for the FCV advocates so it wont take 4 units of raw energy to produce 1 useable unit of motive power in a FCV, etc etc.

  • NIMA66

    “Whereas fuel cell system costs have been peer reviewed at $61/kw in mass production and hydrogen storage system costs have been projected today at $13/kWh to $20/kWh that projects to a $5300 more expensive vehicle with today’s components when mass produced.
    Where did you find these figures ?

  • jjpro

    The short-term amortized cost of putting in hydrogen fueling stations comes to about $600 per hydrogen vehicle. The short-term cost of putting in recharging stations at home and in the public arena will average between $1000-2000 per battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle.

    Also, the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle using hydrogen from natural gas is just as efficient well-to-wheels as a battery electric vehicle using a clean grid (like California’s). Fuel cell vehicles are 3x more efficient than today’s gasoline-powered vehicles and about 1.5-2x more efficient than current hybrids. Hydrogen from natural gas used in a fuel cell reduces the carbon footprint by over 60%.

    Hydrogen vehicles are relatively safer than currently gasoline-powered vehicles. Hydrogen doesn’t pool like gasoline and dissipates quickly if released into the atmosphere. Hydrogen storage tanks add structural integrity to the vehicle. I feel much safer in a hydrogen vehicle than I do in a gasoline vehicle or a battery vehicle for that matter. What about the fire risk of all that lithium on-board?

    When people really start to look at the issues, they will become hydrogen advocates and drivers.

    There is a need to have a short-term interim hybrid technology to reduce petroleum consumption, but the idea of putting all that money into plug-ins and BEVs just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Oh, did I mention that hydrogen vehicles only take less than 5 minutes to recharge for a 350-400 mile range?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks HybridCars, the article made clear what I had concluded based on how lame the argument against Plug-in EV technology.
    I had concluded years ago, when President Bush kept talking about “fool cells and hydrogen economy” that it was a fiction created by those who produce gasoline.

    We have small battery cells that have an energy density of around 250 Wh/kg, and we have large cells, with long cycle life and calendar life, but with only around 125 Wh/kg energy density. And we have stories about 3D structure and nanowires that provide 10 times the energy density. So, I think it is reasonable to expect within the next 3-5 years, we will have large cell lithion ion batteries that provide 10 kwh of usable energy storage for 10 years, that cost about $500 per kwh. So the next generation of the Volt and Prius PHV will enable foreign oil independence. Lets spend our tax money making that happen over the next 3-5 years.

  • Douglas Hvistendahl

    In former decades, some innovative technologies were pushed by prizes for working solutions, with no pre-choosing which solutions should work. Keep an eye on the X-prize competitions.

  • jjpro

    It really is ashame when people discount a technology because of who endorses it, instead of looking into the technology themselves. I am no fan of the Bushies, I disdain most of what the man stands/stood for as president. But, just because he mentioned hydrogen doesn’t make it a bad thing. He happened to be right on this account; about the only thing he was right about.

    Do people know that hydrogen funding started to increase under Clinton in the 90’s? And, hydrogen has progressed as much as it has without the billions of dollars that the battery industry is asking for right now. Do you really think battery-only -powered vehicles will really take off without huge subsidies? They have failed several times in the marketplace, once in the beginning of the 20th Century and again at the end of the 20th Century. It was the batteries that killed the electric car.

    Batteries will very unlikely be able to compete with fuel cells on a cost/kw basis, on volumetric and gravimetric energy densities, or on consumer friendliness.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    Should we all stop using hybrids, plug-ins, EVs, and other alternative vehicles until we have hydrogen vehicles? I think not! Even if the hydrogen vehicles are truely the future, it still is the future and not now. Mr. Bear is right about water affecting climate. CO2 controls ~50% of the weather until water is added in. When water is added in, CO2 controls only ~25% of the weather. Hydrogen will not eliminate moisture generation. I think it is a shame that everyone is fighting for only their favorite technology. It does not help everything to move forward. Our oil/gas consumption is damaging to us, our children, our children’s children, etc. And for everyone, that believes in that, to lose sight of that fact is extremely damaging to the positive possibilities of the future. There are people that still believe all this and global warming is nothing but scare tactics and hoax. We still have to get their heads out of the sand and smell the coffee. If the latest article that National Geographic put out is close to accurate, the future is in for a rough time – even more so than our present hard economic times.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Of course the Hydrogen industry is fighting for their favorite technology. They’ve been living off of a multi-billion dollar pork barrel that was created to kill California’s plug-ins from the 1990s and don’t want to actually have to go out and get a real job where they’ll have to produce something.
    If plug-in infrastructure is so scarce and difficult like hydrogen supposedly isn’t, how are a bunch of engineers and sales-people from the leading plug-in vehicle company driving from LA to Michigan right now in a pure plug-in vehicle without any support staff?
    While I don’t oppose hydrogen for any reason except that it won’t accomplish anything, I wish its paid stooges would at least quit lying about it and its competition – witness the nonsense the shills are spewing here.

  • PeaceLoveAndUnderstanding

    Above blog entries only embolden the lunacy of fighting between the two technologies. Read the article again. Author is correct, BOTH have their role, NEITHER are “here today” at costs that matter to the masses or the environment. Each will need to have costs reduced and technology advancements. Each has it’s role, each has values to society, each can both jointly (battery development) and singly (performance, range, scalability and refueling time) meet the needs of consumers AT SOME TIME IN THE FUTURE. Both show CAPABILITY today, which is a far cry from MASS MARKETABLE today. Tesla is proving that challenge now (too costly, limited function) and Honda is proving the challenge (too costly, need more stations). The NAS study is agnostic, and DOE would differ that it is a tool for hydrogen advocates. After all, hasn’t the battery / EV community had many years of unfettered FC/H2 bashing using EVERY negative (or realistic) article about fuel cells? Glass houses prevail here. The truth is long overdue, now the level playing field is better defined, so let’s all get to work and make BOTH happen. In the meantime? Hybrids, early PHEV’s (notwithstanding higher costs), CNG and others WILL be a slow and gradual pathway for BEV’s and FCEV’s. Any continued sniping makes you all look like a bunch of elementary schoolboys comparing penis size.

  • Samie

    What people are missing here is the distribution aspect. This is not a question of the long-term need to move towards hydrogen vehicles, I think many can agree on that but only short-term interest is in how to get Americans hooked on another centralized fueling system is what the push back is really about in the Hydrogen crowd. With electric technology, you have many inputs and choices on where the energy comes from, which can have a decentralizing affect on our energy systems and in my view is as important as any environmental advantages. Again distribution is what is at stake and it goes back to trying to make markets inelastic for some.

    Any alternative technology has baggage ie. the use of coal for EV’s or imports from CNG or Hydrogen. Let’s not get too bogged down in some of the costs we put on technologies today. I’m not convinced that the push for Hydrogen is a 30 to 40 year investment plan, but merely a fight to control short-term fueling systems. My comments may seem silly to some but lets not forget about the nature of Congress and why people like Michael Ramage are fighting to minimize government support for electrification of our transportation system. Short-term interest groups don’t want to see third/forth generations of EV’s winning over a majority of American drivers, and they will try to derail consistent government support, especially if we see Obama/Clinton administrations will into the next decade.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    What you don’t realize is that the pro-EV advocates are not being paid to support plug-ins. They just, through experience with the EVs from the ’90’s and the few that survived the purge (see “Who Killed the Electric Car” if you are unfamiliar with the purge), realize that plug-in EVs actually are feasible, TODAY, for REAL markets if not all markets and their ability to address all markets do not require any engineering breakthroughs, only normal product maturity cycles.
    Essentially (there may be an exception but I haven’t seen it yet) all of the Hydrogen advocates are being well paid through the same auto/oil sponsored political/economic pressure that drove the purge.
    The laws of physics and economics (as well as thrilling vehicle performance) are strongly in favor of the plug-in while the interests of incumbent economic power are in favor of hydrogen because it isn’t a threat to the status quo. We, the people, have real problems with fuel access and pollution but can’t allow big business with self-serving interests to manipulate the truth in order to prevent the changes that are needed to solve our problems.
    Nobody yet has shown a viable, sustainable, affordable, source of hydrogen, not even theoretically.
    I wish that Peace and Love were enough but that’s in a different, rosier world than we live in.

  • veek


    This is all SO speculative and nebulous now, and anyone who thinks they know the answer doesn’t know what “Chaos” means!
    The Journal Science, whose authors are about as consistently credible as you can expect, has had several articles on the subject of alternative energy sources and their conclusions seem to include that the outcome depends on the speculative assumptions you make, that the end of oil as the cheapest source is unpredictable (but will probably come without as much warning as we would like), that currently predictable outcomes for energy sources are best expressed within a very wide “plus-or-minus” range, and that the laws of physics are unlikely to be repealed anytime soon [despite the grandstanding of our lawmakers –ed.].

  • shellock

    Long term PHEV and fuel cell might very well be the same car. The fight bewteen the two techonoglies is arbtrary and short sighted. PHEV, fuel cell, and EV are all basically an electric drive car. It might be reasonble to assume that one could get a PHEV that uses a fuel cell extender not a ICE.

  • ACAGal

    Funny, I recall being told the hydrogen highway was 10 years out, then 7 years out. Time passed and 7 years was as close as I heard. Eventually I was told 2020 or later before the Hydrogen highway would roll out…..What happened???

  • John K.

    Let’s see, H2 infrastructure? major new undertaking. Chicken & Egg problem w/infrastructure vs H2 cars.

    EV/PHEV infrastructure? partial upgrade of the electrical grid already in place. No C&E problem! Slow upgrade to grid as EVs/PHEVs slowly increase in market share and gasoline side of infrastructure is already in place!

    The above also answers the questions of experience with both, likelihood of unforeseen problems implementing both, and safety issues with both.

    H2 just doesn’t make any sense anymore (not that it necessarily did years ago).

    And if EEStor comes through, that really puts the stake in the “hydrogen future.”

    Last thought: electricity can come from many sources (e.g., your own roof top solar and/or wind (“Let’s get going Blue Green Pacific!”) w/excess stored on site (“Let’s get going EEStor!”)), whereas w/H2, you will always have to buy it from someone.

    H2 might give us national energy independence, but EV could give us national and *individual* energy independence!

  • wooac

    It really doesn’t matter how efficient a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle might be if a driver can’t buy hydrogen at a fuel station. For $6-10K extra you can mod your newer Prius and have a PHEV now. You can plug it in your garage now.

    Who do you think is going to build this hydrogen infrastructure? Oil companies 🙂

  • Shines

    Hybrids are at 3% market share… in less than 10 years
    the article states:
    Last week, the federal government’s hydrogen wing punched back with a report concluding that plug-in hybrids will not produce significant savings of either greenhouse gas emission or fuel consumption for at least another two decades.
    at 5% of market share hybrids must be considered significant. This is very likely to happen in much less than 20 years.
    Maybe some day hydrogen vehicles will be significant. Still we will be able to buy highway capable electric and plug in hybrids in 2010. (soon to be this year).
    Maybe some day hydrogen vehicles will be significant.

  • PhxPrius

    EFFICIENCY = useful work (energy) out / energy in

    INPUT: Electricity at a power plant
    OUTPUT: Electricity at the car’s electric motor.

    Efficiency of a hydrogen system to fuel-cell vehicle (best case):

    HYDROGEN SYSTEM:      23%

    Efficiency of power lines to battery vehicle:

    BATTERY SYSTEM:        69%

    This is a STARK difference. IF your source is electricity at a power plant, you will need the output of THREE TIMES AS MANY POWER PLANTS to drive a hydrogen-based transportation system.

    Here is the detailed analysis:

    If you want to ‘cut to the chase’, go to the graphic on page 10.

    The assumption in this analysis is that you start with electricity at a power plant, because that is the form that renewable energy general comes in. Certainly, if you start with natural gas, you are likely to get different numbers. But then you haven’t really solved the carbon problem.

  • Joe Johnson

    Very interesting comment KA-BOOM factor related to hydrogen. I guess you have now looked at the KA-BOOM factor in regard to Lithium Ion batteries. This type of battery is very thermally sensitive and in the early days, we had to monitor the battery temperature to prevent explosions. The KA-BOOM factor is most likely very similar. Remember that hydrogen is lighter than air so it will leave the seen of the accident, unlike gasoline, and while it is highly flamable I’m not sure that the risk is as high as Lithium Ion batteries. Of all current battery technologies which are sufficiently advanced to be considered only Lithium Ion has high enough energy density to be used.

    Please do not get me wrong, I am NOT endorsing either type of vehicle as I see major problems with both technologies. I am simply correcting the misconception that hydrogen is more dangerous than batteries.

    Remember that only existing technology may be considered if we want to produce a solution for the near term, (5 to 10 years). Remember hydrogen fuel cells trace back to 1836 while Lithium Ion batteries trace back to 1970. Both of these are well understood technologies which could be exploited.

  • sigmund gronich

    Perhaps anonymous responder to my prior post did not read the entire NRC report. The infrastructure costs for hydrogen were significantly less than electrification such as $8 billion vs $20 billion for the electric option in each user’s garage that doesn’t include a national network which has been estimated as higher than home electrification. Hydrogen infrastructure isn’t that daunting with a regional rollout strategy that has been described in National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports. You start in LA and NY and move out to 22 cities with 70% of the population in the next 10 years. Toyota and Honda have talked openly about the costs of plug-in hybrids as being expensive. And both plan to market commercial hydrogen vehicles by 2015 with a vehicle that will be reliable and durable, with exceptional fuel economy at an affordable price.

    I don’t recommend funding for either option be decreased but support both and let the better technology win.

  • Dan Scherer

    When are you guys going to stop talking and start taking action.

    You all sound intelligent so lets get the politics and global warming out of the way and look at the reality.

    Incentives are in place now for Solar, Wind and Fuel Cells along with Net Metering. I will get to how this applies to my transportation wet dream at the end of this blog.

    I live in Michigan, just South of Detroit, 1.3 rural acres. My 4.2kW solar array installation begins Monday 2-1-10. As soon as that is done my next step is adding a small Wind Turbine within the next two years

    Here’s the way I see it. My home energy expenses are increasing more than 10% annually. I either pay those bills monthly or take that money and invest it into alternative energy and fix my homes energy expenses for my lifetime. I’m not getting that rate of return from my 401k, so I stopped contributing to it for now.

    The government and my utilities are offering incentives which off-sets my expense for these systems by 67%. This being said, my system will cost me $12,000 out of pocket by the end of 20 years at today’s rate of $.14 per/kWh. Last year it was $.12 per/kWh.

    Here’s the beauty of my plan. Plug in Hybrid, EV and/or Fuel cell vehicles. They will all be available and in full production next year. I just came from the 2010 NAIAS at Cobo Hall and rode in them. Tesla was there along with A123 who is providing the power pack for it.

    MIT has developed the nano tube technology. This is being fast tracked by the DOE and it will evolve expediential over the next 2 to 3 years and these battery pack’s will get smaller/lighter and have 200 to 300% more power density. The old model battery pack’s will slide right out of your vehicle and the advanced pack will slide right in.

    The Tax incentives are in place for these cars/trucks/big rigs right now and will be in the future and the manufactures are going to build them.

    I’m 50 years old. I’ve been working on and in the Electric Forklift Truck and now Heavy Duty Transportation industry for my whole career. So I know how fast/efficient and dependable electric drives have evolved in just the last 8 years since AC drive systems have been developed.

    I’m currently an active member with the EPA Smartway and Clean Cities transportation groups and attended many engineering meetings involved with Hybrid/Alternative fueled vehicles. This all came about because of the $4.80 per/gal diesel we had to put in our HD Trucks in 2008. I’m meeting with these people who are engineering this technology and believe me when I tell you that none of them have any doubt that it’s not going to become a reality.

    Do you want to sit by and watch or are you going to get involved.

    My goal is to get myself strapped into a Tesla, charged from my own home produced energy, never having to pull into a gas station again.

    No I’m not rich, I’m cheap!

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone noticed that Tesla already has a roadster than can go 214 miles? Their Model S will have 3 battery options: 160/230/300 miles. I’d be happy with 160 and, on the occasion that I NEED to travel further than 70 miles or so from my home, I’ll borrow my wifes car, or, rent a car. Plus, if I have an electric vehicle I can power it from solar cells and STILL don’t have to go to any filling station – gas, hydrogen, or other.

    I want to CUT the tie to ANY filling stations!

  • pingnak

    WHAT ‘expensive electric option’? The only high tech device you need to charge a BEV or plug-in hybrid is an EXTENSION CORD. Where is an extension cord going to be more expensive than modifying your garage roof to vent CONSTANTLY leaking hydrogen?

    A 220VAC circuit would be better (and there is NOTHING BUT 220VAC in most other countries, but the U.S. was an ‘early adopter’ and we have that legacy 110VAC), but even if you don’t have an extra circuit, one new breaker and wire/conduit from Mr. Circuit Box to Mr. Car isn’t that expensive in most cases. At least an electric car can be PLUGGED IN to ANY existing AC outlet. Where the heck will you find compressed hydrogen gas?

    If you want a car as efficient, inexpensive and reliable as a SPACE SHUTTLE, go hydrogen. They don’t have their ‘infrastructure’. They have no economical way to produce the hydrogen gas required by a fleet of hydrogen cars, nor to deliver or pump it. They STILL don’t even have a way to STORE the hydrogen in the car. Hydrogen amalgamates with, then tunnels through ALL KINDS of metals, travels through wires and gets INSIDE electronics, where it poisons solid state circuitry (you know, like everything that makes a ‘fuel cell’ EV work). Every microscopic flaw in material becomes a hydrogen leak. If the car has any kind of range, it’s a rolling bomb. BEVs ALREADY go further than Hydrogen cars that don’t have some sort of high-pressure cryogenic storage.

    So, if you don’t mind spending $200,000 for a car that goes 20 miles between non-existant hydrogen fuel pumps, and completely destroys its self within three years, enjoy your hydrogen car.

    There are already CNG cars and buses that have acceptable range and cost. No need to ‘reform’ your natural gas into hydrogen/CO2/water in a refinery (and this is the ONLY commercially viable way to mass-produce hydrogen fuel at the moment), only to have most of it leak out into the atmosphere (and probably be lost to outer space) before it manages to even move a car. Just fuel them up with CNG from household gas and either run an ICE or fuel cell subsystem (ala ‘Bloom Box’) DIRECTLY off of it. CNG molecules are BIG and relatively easy to contain. Though like petroleum, ‘natural gas’ is a fossil fuel, which isn’t replenished at anywhere near the rate it is consumed. Coal gasification can ‘help’, but eventually you run out of that, too. Anyway, you end up with CO2 as well.

    Hydrogen is nothing but a distraction from REALISTIC alternative fuel technology. This hydrogen scam is only designed to keep us dependent on petroleum while the unobtainable ‘hydrogen economy’ remains forever ’15 years from now’.

    BEV is the ultimate ‘alternative fuel’ vehicle. Coal, Gas, Wind, solar, hydro, wave, nuclear… whatever can make a difference in electrical potential will make these vehicles go. It isn’t even a question whether batteries can economically do the job anymore. It’s only a matter of which batteries will do it best for the longest and for the least money.

  • joe

    I just want a lambo! I sell products for Expand @ http://www.ExpandEnhancement.com so I hope I can get one soon!