// Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed
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  1. #1

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    Reprinted from the LA Times, 3-31-05

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    GM and Daimler reach agreements with the Department of Energy to develop experimental fuel-cell-powered fleets.

    From Associated Press
    General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler have signed agreements with the Department of Energy to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles over the next five years, the automakers said Wednesday.

    GM, the world's largest automaker, plans to build a fleet of 40 hydrogen-fuel-powered vehicles. Under the program, GM will spend $44 million to distribute the vehicles in Washington, New York, California and Michigan. The Energy Department also will provide $44 million in the deal, which is set to expire in September 2009.

    DaimlerChrysler, which has the largest fleet of fuel-cell-powered vehicles of any automaker, will invest more than $70 million in its partnership with the Energy Department, the German American company said.

    "If our research program is successful, it is not unreasonable to think that we could be approaching commercialization and mass marketing of these kinds of vehicles in maybe 15 years," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said at the National Hydrogen Assn.'s annual conference in Washington, which coincided with the automakers' announcements.

    Bodman said "learning demonstration teams" involving ChevronTexaco Corp., Hyundai Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler, BP, Ford Motor Co., Ballard Power Systems Inc., GM and Shell would evaluate the fuel cells under hot and cold conditions and consider production options and hydrogen infrastructure.

    Under the agreement, DaimlerChrysler will place fuel-cell-powered vehicles with consumers who will give feedback on the vehicles' performance. The company said it already was testing 100 such vehicles in various locations around the world.

    DaimlerChrysler is developing a range of fuel-cell-powered vehicles, including the Mercedes F-Cell, a four-door passenger car; the Dodge Fuel Cell Sprinter van; and a fleet of fuel-cell-powered Mercedes Citaro buses.

    Fuel cells run on the energy produced when hydrogen and oxygen are mixed, rather than using gasoline. The only byproduct of a fuel cell is water. The technology has been used in experimental vehicles and as a power supply for some buildings.

    Detroit-based GM also announced that Shell Hydrogen would set up five hydrogen refueling stations in Washington, New York, California and along the Eastern seaboard.

    The automaker said the Army at Fort Belvoir, Va., and Quantum Technologies in Lake Forest would provide facilities for GM to store and maintain fuel cells.

    President Bush has pushed a $1.7-billion research program to develop hydrogen as the U.S.' next energy source and predicted that Americans would drive cars operated by hydrogen-powered fuel cells in two decades.

    Most major automakers are developing fuel cells but say the cost of the vehicles and a lack of fueling stations make them unmarketable at this time.

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  3. #2

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    looks like GM wants to play "aerospace company" and do research for years & years before bringing anything new to the market.

    don't expect anything new & exciting for at least the 5 years noted.

    by then hybrid technology should be pretty well established & toyota & honda will have the best market position for *new technology*.

    even if fuel cells get somewhere the concept of recovering breaking energy is something that every car should be using.

    see ya

  4. #3

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    I agree. YAWN!!! Hybrids are reality.

    I don't know if I agree on Toyota and Honda -- I think Ford and Hyundai are going to make succesful pushes into the hybrid market.

  5. #4

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    but with ford using toyota's technology then toyota is still going to stay a clear leader for a long time.

    too bad to see USA drop behind on technology so fast & so far. ~ on something really so straightforward as hybrids.

    i saw trade magazines where hybrids were being tested in the early 80's. and no one wanted to bring the methods forward to the market until japan did...

    see ya

  6. #5

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    Steve, GM wants to play "aerospace company" and milk the government for a few billions of dollars and then figure that the government will just cancel the project and cut funding before GM reaches the point where it actually has to deliver a working product.

  7. #6

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    that was exactly my take on the article. GM wants to make money on development & skip those pesky manufacturing & delivery issues!

    see ya

  8. #7

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    hydrogen as an energy source is a myth on par with perpetual motion. Well, not quite, but close. It takes energy to make hydrogen- it's not free. Where are you going to get that? Nuclear power plants? Oh wait, we don't have many of those. Oil and natural gas? Oh, that makes great hydrogen , but I thought we were trying to get away from dependence on foreign oil?

    Fuel cells have no more range than electric cars really, and they cost ten times more, wheather its a hydrogen storage tank or a gasoline-to-hydrogen reformer. I wonder how they expect them to ever be profitable? If electric cars failed, what makes them think hydrogen cars will succede.

    I'd rather see them put money into researching ways to make lithium ion electric cars, or improved internal combustion engines and cheaper hybrid designs (ie, compresed air hybrids, nitrogen gas hybrids, etc.)

  9. #8

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    you make a good point on "why not" make better combustion engines.

    i'm not a car engineer, but am a mechanical engineer and have been using computer aided design software for many years. today's solid molding software combined with finite element analysys software can enable virtual designs to be reviewed BEFORE making anything.

    also, for the past 4 years i was instrumental in buying rapid prototyping machines ~ star trek replicators in a sense ~ that enable parts to be made in what was otherwise impossible configurations. i have made a ball inside a ball inside a ball for demostration use. i have run the machine ( 3d system's vanguard) that can make parts direct to plastic, wax, or various metals all form a computer file.

    i would think that the basic piston-cylinder could be designed to more properly extract the explosive energy then via a basic "flat top".

    mating surfaces - in some explosive parabolic shape - would possibly gain a few percent more from the gas. explore the micro-second balloon occuring from the spark to the full expansion & shape a cylinder to match this. what's the gain? i never heard work of this in any trade magazines.

    point is so much of car design is really "the way we always did it" and not taking into account the design tools or new manufacturing processes available today.



    see ya

  10. #9

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    Alot of power is lost through the transmission in a car- the automatic transmission losing a certain percentage of the energy as heat. A computer shifted manual transmission is the way to go. Many cars in Europe are starting to come out with these types of transmissions. Sierra Club is pushing CVT's, but they are wrong on that issue; a CVT still has a torque converter and still loses power to heat. It's not caused by the gear ratios being fixed, rather its caused by the torque converters fluid coupling. Indeed, CVT's can have just as bad, or worse, fuel economy than a traditional 4-speed automatic. Auto transmissions now days do so well vs. the older ones because the final gears are higher, but this also makes them a little slower than manuals.

    Another thing they could attack for fuel efficiency- weight. Most cars now days weigh alot, being made of steel, even in places that don't really benefit the car much (the hood, for instance). Plastic body panels not only are immune to dents, they also weigh less and don't rust out. There's plenty of evidence that the weight of a vehicle doesn't matter in a crash, so much as the size (cars with crumple zones do better than those without- the VW Lupo does better in crash tests than the Smart). Aluminum cars are capable of being as safe as a steel car, and could shave off a couple hundred pounds.

    Tires/wheels are another area where cars lose alot of energy. It takes effort just to get the wheel moving. The rolling resistance of tires could be improved. Of course, low rolling resistance tires are not cheap but many will pay for themselves over the lifetime of the tire. Aluminum alloy wheels also reduced the effort needed just to turn the wheels.

    The biggest obstacle, though, is simply the idea that it is unacceptable for any car to accelerate to 60 mph in no less than 10 seconds. Indeed, many sedans now days accelerate 0-60 in less than 7 seconds. This kind of acceleration is simply not needed if people are A) obeying the speed limits and B) driving with good habits, especially lane discipline.

  11. #10

    Hydrogen Vehicle Deals Signed

    Hydro/elc car would be good Hybrid

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