BMW Exec: BEVS And FCEVs Will Co-Exist In The Future – PHEVs Will Disappear

1 year ago by Steven Loveday 80

BMW Hydrogen Fuel Cell

BMW Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Recently, Digital Trends interviewed BMW’s head of fuel cell development, Merten Jung, concerning his views on automotive power in the future.

BMW Hydrogen-Powered Vehicle Refueling

BMW Hydrogen-Powered Vehicle Refueling

Merten believes:

“We expect that battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell-electric vehicles will co-exist in the future, and plug-in hybrids are simply a temporary solution until we get to that point.”

The reason for this opinion is that Merten focuses on the quick refueling time that is a key feature with fuel cell technology. He admits that there is a substantial hold up in infrastructure that is impeding hydrogen-powered vehicles, but work is in progress. Fortunately, current gas stations can be switched over to hydrogen stations. Weight is also an issue that is being addressed through the use of carbon fiber.

EVs and hydrogen cars will seem identical to the driver behind the wheel. There are many similarities. Merten explained:

“The basic idea is that you take an EV with a large battery pack, and you replace the pack with a fuel cell, a hydrogen tank, and a smaller battery. From there on the drivetrain is identical; the electric motor, the electronics, the gearbox, it’s all the same. And they have the same driving experience, too.” 

Vehicle size will become the deciding point between the necessity of a build being a BEV or a FCEV. The larger vehicles will be more suited to fuel cell technology, because a tank size increase makes more sense than a heavier, more costly battery pack.

BMW is currently teaming with Toyota on the hydrogen drivetrain venture. Merten explained that BMW would be investing regardless of the partnership, however, due to costs it makes much more sense to work together. He said:

“There are currently no suppliers who can deliver a turn-key hydrogen drivetrain for a car, so the knowledge lies in the hands of OEMs.”

Hydrogen station programs and government support is primarily in Europe at this point. Merten emphasized that government support is a great way to “get the ball rolling”. He continued:

“Any time you roll out a new technology it takes a while for it to become profitable and affordable; in the end it has to be, though.”

The goal is that by 2020, BMW will have second-gen hydrogen powered components ready for a new round of pilot program prototypes. The first program impressed users as the cars drove well and mimicked EVs, but lighter and sportier options were requested.

In terms of the initial potential markets, Merten specified:

“We are probably going to start in Japan. In the United States we’ll start with California, and in Europe we’re mainly looking at Germany, Scandinavian nations, and the United Kingdom.”

He also noted increasing interest in China, with pilot programs using hydrogen-powered buses. The Chinese market is enormous, so the hope is that it will catch on there soon.

To read the entire interview, click the link below.

Source: Digital Trends

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80 responses to "BMW Exec: BEVS And FCEVs Will Co-Exist In The Future – PHEVs Will Disappear"

  1. jerryd says:

    They still don’t have a clue. No one is going to buy any car that uses $14/gal fuel.
    And a system that doubles the price of the car.

    1. Lou says:

      And what makes you think gasoline won’t be at that price in the future?

      Furthermore, Hydrogen can be produced from renewable processes. Petroleum .. well that will be gone soon!

      1. Nix says:

        Because if we are talking far into the future, the price of gas will be pushed down by the widespread success of EV’s.

        1. Rightofthepeople says:

          Actually, it might not. I realize supply-demand should pus the price of gas down, but cartels tend to mess up rules of economics. What might happen is the players who remain in the O&G industry (which will likely further consolidate due to massive decline and financial difficulties) may realize that the only people still using gas are the ones who can’t afford an EV or simply like the sound of thier old corvette or mustang, etc. In other words, they have to use gas. Combine that with massively declining volume, and the best business decision to make would be to steadily raise prices over time. If you can’t make money on volume, you make it on price.
          I’m not saying that will happen, only that it might.

          1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

            The key is that petroleum is about more than just gasoline. In PEVworld, the heavy fractions would still be valuable, but the value of the lighter fractions like gasoline (especially) and diesel (maybe) would fall.

            1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

              In PEVworld, although the price of those cheaper fraction _might_ be raised to exploit, the falling cost of electricity storage, and the low cost of renewable energy would combine to put downward pressure. And in any scenario where there were such exploitation, government policy would continue to push against the use of petroleum for transportation fuel.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Lou said:

        “Hydrogen can be produced from renewable processes. Petroleum .. well that will be gone soon!”

        Any fuel can be made from renewable processes, using large scale chemical processing. Including gasoline and diesel, if it’s really necessary, altho that would be pretty energy-intensive. Methane (natural gas) would be much easier and more practical.

        But even fully 100% synthetic gasoline would be a far more practical and far less costly fuel than compressed hydrogen. Heck, during WW II, Germany ran its war machine on synthetic fuel when their petroleum supplies ran low.

        So it’s not like making synthetic fuel is only some far-off distant dream… as is using imaginary too-cheap-to-meter electricity to produce hydrogen, which apparently unicorns will transport and compress directly into the tanks of all those fuel cell cars, avoiding all the real-world problems with compression, leaking, transportation, storage, re-compression, and finally dispensing… each step of which takes energy and adds to the cost.

        Again, I fail to see why it’s so difficult for many people to grasp that it is physically impossible for compressed hydrogen to ever be a practical or affordable fuel. Even if you could produce it for free, it still would never be able to compete with gasoline or natural gas.

    2. SJC says:

      H2 sells for $7 in southern California.

      1. wavelet says:

        What matters is the long-term real cost for scalable manufacturing (whether electrolysis or reformulation), not the short-term subsidized cost.
        Hydrogen production is by definition inefficient relative to electricity generation… However cheap hydrogen refining becomes due to cheap solar electrolysis, direct solar electricity will be even cheaper. That’s the basic physics, period.
        Now, there may be specific application where hydrogen makes sense (e.g., sea shipping), but it will never make sense as a general-purpose transportation fuel due to the issues with storage and/or transportation.

        1. SJC says:

          “..never make sense..”

          Never say never, absolute statements are easy to disprove.

          1. Nick says:

            Unless you’re talking arithmetic or physics. Where you should say: it’s unlikely.

            It’s unlikely that we’ll be able to go faster then the speed of light or have H2 fueling cheaper than BEV fueling.

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            SJC said:

            “…absolute statements are easy to disprove.”

            Good luck with finding any exception to the Laws of Thermodynamics.

            If you find a way around those, then don’t bother with anything trivial like making compressed hydrogen an affordable fuel. Just go directly to perpetual motion. That won’t be any more difficult, not in the slightest.

      2. Where in Southern California? What pressure?

        Diamond Bar is $14 kg.
        Harris Ranch is $16.50 kg.

        1. JakeY says:

          The older shell stations had a placeholder number of $5/kg for a long time. That obviously is not the real cost, but was just there as a preview.

          I’m curious which station he is referring to that has a $7/kg real cost. As you point out, the ones that do a pass through cost end up in the $10+/kg range.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            I read, some years back, that there were one or more East Coast stations that were selling H2 at $7 per kg, but I doubt those were actually public fueling stations, and obviously that was a subsidized cost. Sorry, I don’t have a link for that, and that info is likely outdated anyway.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        SJC said:

        “H2 sells for $7 in southern California.”

        Only at a heavily subsidized cost.

        I suspect one reason that the few public H2 dispensing stations are closed so much of the time, is because whoever runs the station is tired of selling it at a substantial loss.

        1. sven says:

          Your information is outdated. Things have changed for the better. California’s 17 new retail hydrogen fueling stations are pretty reliable, and are NOT closed much of the time. In the link below, you will see that all 17 retail hydrogen stations are open and online, as are all 6 of the older research (non-retail) stations, giving California 23 open and online hydrogen stations. (The Richmond station is open and online, but shouldn’t really count as it is not open to the public). The status of the stations in the link below is updated every 15 minutes, so it is practically real time.

          http://m.cafcp.org/

  2. MikeG says:

    I don’t know if a FCV will have the same driving experience as a BEV, unless you discount the low pressure that forms around your wallet when driving an FCV that isn’t present when driving a BEV.
    As an aside, the FC looks like an engine–intake, exhaust, tons of hoses.

    1. no comment says:

      keep in mind that a fuel cell vehicle *is* an electric vehicle. the difference being that a BEV operates from stored electrical energy while a fcev operates from generated electrical energy.

  3. Anderlan says:

    By the time the temporary PHEV solution has run its course, there will be no room for FCEVs in the market.

    1. Cavaron says:

      Right!
      Just think about it: Toyota Mirai range is about 300 miles, Tesla S range is about the same. Batteries will get better and lighter, 10.000 psi tanks won’t.

      1. Adas L says:

        Trucks. Heavy duty trucks. Long range heavy duty trucks. To haul 20mT of cargo for 700miles there is no battery on horizon. And since it’s mostly onespeed hway driving hybrid will do no good. The same goes for rails. Diesels out, FC in.

        1. Rightofthepeople says:

          IMO diesel plugin hybrid makes more sense for long haul trucks than hydrogen. Over time if you replace every big rig with a plugin hybrid power train with say 100 kWh battery and good regen, average fuel economy would go up significantly.
          Plus, infrastructure buildout is substantially easier and less costly. Imagine, for $100k each you could add 2 DCQC to every truck stop. Or, for $1 Million each you could add hydrogen refueling station.
          Putting they physical limitations of hydrogen aside for a moment, infrastructure buildout is a huge reason it will never take off (pardon the pun).

        2. Trucks are going toward CNG, not H2. Go to a trade show sometime. Then come back and tell us about all the H2 rigs you saw (none).

          Fleets are not going to buy vehicles which depend on a more expensive fuel that is not available nationwide.

        3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Long distance freight trucking is very sensitive to the cost of fuel. Fuel is about half the expense for an independent trucker.

          Since compressed hydrogen is so expensive, when compared to any practical fuel, it will be even less practical for long-distance trucking than it is for passenger cars.

    2. no comment says:

      if you had a viable fcev, there would be little need for a phev. what the fcev does for you is give you the kind of emission free electric driving of a bev with the convenience and flexibility of an icev.

  4. Loboc says:

    I’m thinking a PHEV version of FCV. In other words, enough H2 to drive long distances and enough battery to drive your daily routine/commute. Couple this with wireless charging and the revolution begins!

    Especially early on when H2 will be quite expensive.

    Hasn’t Tesla already solved the BEV/long-distance/charging-speed thing? It’s only a matter of reducing the initial cost now.

    1. Ash09 says:

      FCV equipment will take up a ton of room in the car. The Toyota Mirai has two hydrogen tanks in its car, and is a 4 seater as a result.

      Why not just pack more batteries into the space that you’d need for the FCV equipment?

      1. Get Real says:

        The other major problem with H2/fool cell as a range extender is that H2 is fundamentally unsuitable because of its tendency to leak and the ongoing energy the vehicle’s batteries would need to keep it cooled since its highly compressed.

    2. no comment says:

      i don’t see much use in a hybrid fuel cell and battery electric vehicle. the fcev generates electric energy while the bev stores electric energy. so if the fcev allows you to generate electricity while you drive, why would you need to store electric energy?

      the advantage of the proposed hybrid is that a person could operate their car by just recharging at home on a daily basis while using hydrogen for long distance driving and for a backup source for local driving. such an implementation would probably be more expensive than can be justified.

  5. Speculawyer says:

    The fuel cell vehicle probably will be Plug-in vehicles. They HAVE to have a battery because the fuel cell stacks are generally not all that powerful and can’t be throttled well, so why not make the battery big and add a charger?

    1. lewl says:

      Because oil companies have a vested interest in hydrogen production, and reducing someones consumption of their product by 95% is bad for business.

      I would not be surprised if there is never a FCV with a plug.
      Not because it can’t, nor because it would be expensive. But because of design decisions/policy.

    2. Because the you get the worst of both worlds. More expensive. Less room for passengers.

      And it still uses a fuel which is only available at about a dozen stations in the entire US. An FC is not too good as a range extender if you can’t refuel it wherever you’re going.

  6. Someone out there says:

    Yes of course hybrids, and by extension plug-in hybrids are just a temporary measure, that much has been obvious from the start. The questions is fuel cells. According to analysts FCEV won’t be competitive until the 2030-2035 timeframe. What will happen to BEVs in that time? Well historically battery capacity has doubled every 10 years. That means that we should be able to have 500-600 mile EVs in the same time frame – at least! (or cheaper cars with smaller batteries) At the same time charging infrastructure will have improved and expanded radically since long before that.

    I don’t see what FCEV have to offer at that point. A couple of minutes faster refueling, at best? That isn’t going to cut it when you can start your day with a full charge every morning instead. The few times you do make really long trips you will have to spend maybe an extra 30 minutes per day because of charging instead of refilling but at the same time the “fuel” will be a lot cheaper than H2. FC is already dead.

    1. KumarP says:

      Yeah. And even with heavy duty vehicles, aren’t you exchanging one problem (weight of batteries) for another (size of hydrogen tank), nevermind the whole explosive factor? I foresee tractor/trailer EVs before FC versions, if we ever see those at all.

  7. Tom Huffman says:

    This article makes no sense. It quotes the reason that PHEVs are just “a temporary solution” as being “quick refueling time that is a key feature with fuel cell technology.” But PHEVs have a quick refueling time as well, when using gasoline. You only do this on highway trips. For city travel quick fueling times isn’t important.

    Since for the vast majority of users, highway trips only constitute 10-20% of their total driving, PHEVs result in massive reductions in fossil fuel consumption.

    Something must have been left out of this summary of Jung’s interview.

  8. SparkEV says:

    You mean there won’t be PHFCEV? Why’s that? It seems that’s easy to do since all FCEV will have batteries.

    1. Ahldor says:

      Yes, it is strange that PHEV are getting fairly common while future FCV still wont come with a plug. To me a plug is required for fuel cell cars since it would drastically lessen the need for hydrogen stations. A 15 kWh battery would be enough for most daily commutes.

  9. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “We expect that battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell-electric vehicles will co-exist in the future…”

    Maybe on Mars. Certainly not on planet Earth! But I guess if you’re a physics denier, you can convince yourself that somehow the laws of nature can be changed to make compressed hydrogen into a practical, affordable fuel.

    “EVs and hydrogen cars will seem identical to the driver behind the wheel.”

    When the BEV driver can plug his car in at home or at work, at his convenience, and when the hydrogen-powered car driver has to pay $15-16 per kg for his fuel… believe me, they’ll notice the difference!

    1. KumarP says:

      THAT is a well-reasoned response.

  10. Speculawyer says:

    So BMW is telling us that their fancy i8 and the i3 with ReX are garbage?

    LOL.

  11. ffbj says:

    Here we see the rare FCV co-existing with the superior EV. Little is known about their nesting habits, but the very rarity of the FCV species indicates that they cannot continue to survive without human intervention.

    1. ffbj says:

      Selective breeding, habitat creation and continued governmental protections will be required to insure the continuance of this evolutionary dead-end.
      PBS: “The FCV. An Endangered Species?”

      1. TomArt says:

        🙂

    2. Rick Danger says:

      Hahahahhahahahahahhahha! Well done!

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      😀 😀 😀

  12. midimal says:

    Toyota, BMW, Honda, Hyundai and all others – we dont want your fool cells (hydrogen cars) we want 400kM EV thats all. So please stop to force us to like hydrogen incl. fool cells. We dont want them, nobody wants them. Its only you Toyota, BMW, Honda, Hyundai and all others who tries to push it. But once again: we are not interessted in fool cells!

    1. Lou says:

      Isn’t this what was said about electrics for the last 15 yrs or more? ?

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        The cost and usefulness of batteries as an energy carrier improve over time, as batteries come down in size and cost. Batteries are rather far from the limits of where technology can take them.

        If it was possible to improve hydrogen in a similar fashion, then most of us (or me, at any rate) would see a similar future.

        But it’s not merely hard to improve the characteristics of a element like hydrogen; it’s physically impossible.

        I don’t understand why this concept seems to be difficult for many to grasp.

  13. TomArt says:

    The only argument I can recall in favor of FCVs, from an ecosystem standpoint, was that you can use momentary excesses of renewable energy (wind and solar, obviously) to crack the hydrogen, basically using it as a storage medium, where the hydrogen would then be used in vehicles, releasing energy.

    Seems to me that would be a rather inefficient storage solution…it seems that there are plenty of other storage solutions that would be less lossy…Li-ion battery storage…phase changes (molten salts)…hydro-storage (pumps water up hills/towers, then falls to drive turbines).

    I’m sure there are studies on this, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen any…

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Yes, you’d be doing spectacularly well to achieve 50% efficiency even with a closed system, using hydrogen for energy storage.

      Batteries and, as you say, pumped hydro is much more efficient. Pumped hydro is on average about 70% efficient, and I’ve seen claims for, as I recall, 81%.

      Of course, using batteries is even more efficient, but batteries do wear out over time and have to be replaced.

      Pumped hydro is currently the best large-scale solution, but is only practical (and affordable) where there happen to be two water reservoirs near each other at different altitudes. Reservoirs built for drinking water supply and/or flood control, because it would be much too expensive to build them for energy storage alone.

  14. Bloggin says:

    Clearly, the oil companies are behind the hydrogen push, as it’s already part of the process, and more than four times their profits per ‘gallon’.

    Better and better battery technology, faster and faster charging technology, driven by free sun and wind power will be the clear winner world wide.

    Natural, unlimited electric power is the future for transportation.

    1. Alaa says:

      +100

      The question that brings itself now is “Why are the Germans still insisting on an oil solution?”

      To appease Putin and the Arabs that own big parts of their car industry. That is what I think. The Germans are not stupid. They know that these Oil based solutions are no good, but they will be a battle field soon; they have to appease Putin. As for the Arabs, well we all know that they want to burn all the Arabs but they will do that when the time is right.

  15. ModernMarvelFan says:

    By the time PHEV is no longer competitive or cost effective, then it means BEV has taken over with both technology/cost and infrastructure.

    At that point, why would FCEV exist if BEVs are good enough to replace PHEVs?

    FCEV are both more expensive than BEVs and have more limitation than PHEVs.

    Both BEV and PHEV can be “charged up” at home where FCEV have to be filled up at a public stations. Sure, there might be future home generation. But the cost to do it wouldn’t even come close to the cost of running BEV on the same energy level.

    Even if PHEV isn’t as clean, it can be easily switched to the few gallons that it needs to cleaner source such as Carbon neutral ethanol or methanol…

  16. Tom Huffman says:

    I am skeptical that–barring some momentous technological breakthrough–BEVs will ever replace PHEVs entirely.

    I believe that we will see 400-mile BEVs. I believe that we will see improvements in charging speed.

    However, I don’t believe that we are likely to see a battery recharging technology that provides the full range of the vehicle in 5 minutes. Without that, BEVs will remain at a serious practical disadvantage to PHEVs.

    1. MikeG says:

      When an EV capable of 400 mile range exists, you’ll be able to charge to 275 in 15 min or less and that’s far enough for the next rest stop.

      1. Mikael says:

        That assumes a bare minimum of 180 kW continuos charging an batteries that can handle 3C.

        Definitely not impossible but still a while until we get there. Even longer to get the prices down for the common man.

    2. Lou says:

      Why do we need to charge in 5 minutes? Where will all these electric cars be charging up?

      1. Foo says:

        Don’t you know? Everybody who drives 400 miles at a time only has 5 minutes before they must begin driving the next 400 miles. They are robots who never need to use the bathroom or eat. They just drive.

        1. +1

          It’s all a matter of cost. If people really want to pay what it will cost to have a non-PHEV with 5 minute refuel capacity (BEV or FCV) someone will build it, and the infrastructure to match. But it’s very unlikely anyone will really want to pay what it would cost.

          PHEVs or hybrid garage will price those options out.

        2. Rick Danger says:

          ^5 Foo 😀

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “However, I don’t believe that we are likely to see a battery recharging technology that provides the full range of the vehicle in 5 minutes.”

      If it took 10 minutes to super-fast charge your car’s battery, would that really be a deal-breaker for you? Remember that 90% of the time, or more, the average person will be slow-charging at home or at work, where they don’t have to wait. The wait time only becomes a consideration on long trips, where you must wait while the car is being recharged. If the car is charging while you sleep or while you’re at work, who cares how long it takes, so long as it’s sufficiently charged when you need to use it?

      BEVs don’t need to “fill up” as fast as gasmobiles. No technology is ever better in every way than the previous tech. Claiming that BEVs have to match gasmobiles for refill time is like claiming that horseless carriages will never catch on unless they can be powered by eating hay or grass, like a horse.

      1. Foo says:

        People who’ve never lived with an EV simply don’t get the “charge whenever I’m not driving my car” paradigm. They only think of terms of gas-powered car fueling patterns, where you wait until the “tank” is empty and then make a dedicated trip to the gas station to “fill it all the way up” again.

        They don’t understand that an EV, for the vast majority of usage, there is actually LESS waiting time (basically zero) for refueling than with a gas-powered car. You plug in and work, plug in and shop, plug in and sleep, etc. — taking only SECONDS to plug in. You’re not normally waiting for your EV to charge… you’ve plugged in and are already doing other things! Plus, the dedicated trip to refuel is eliminated, as you would typically refuel at work, home, or other destination.

        I don’t really see why people don’t get it yet. I mean, how often do we sit around “waiting” for our cell phones to charge? Guess what, we DON’T. We plug them in while doing other things… at our desks, on our nightstands. There is a cell phone “charging station” in every wall of every building. Cell phones are always charged and ready to use, with more than enough power for daily usage.

        EVs are kinda like that too, and they will only get MORE like that as battery capacities increase, charging times decrease, and charging opportunities proliferate.

        1. Rightofthepeople says:

          I agree with you 100% on this. But, as you said, it’s a paradigm shift and those take time; that is why most people don’t get it yet. If I hadn’t been convinced by economic incentives to lease my Leaf 18 months ago I still wouldn’t get it, but now I do. And now I share that with everyone I know, and eventually one or more of those people will try an EV (especially as longer range vehicles come to market). And then more people will experience that paradigm shift, and they will talk to everyone they know.
          Plugins will likely hit 1% market share in the US this year, and perhaps by 2020 5%. The more people driving them, the more people those drivers will reach and the more will eventually also try an EV. It will take time, but eventually most people will understand what you are saying.

    4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Doesn’t have to be 5 minutes.

      According to the 2009 US travel survey, 99% of (one-way) trips are 70 miles or less, and those trips made up about 85% of household miles. 140-mile round-trips can comfortably be done with 200-mile BEVs, which means that those don’t need public, on-the-road charging.

      So, assuming 200-mile is the norm, that leaves the 1% of trips which would require on-the-road charging.

      If:
      EV Fraction OTR charging is F
      Gas vehicle efficiency is m mpg
      Gas vehicle refueling rate is 5 gal/min
      Then to match the gas average, EV miles/min filling rate would need to be: F x 5m
      If m is 30mpg, and F is 15% then
      0.15 x 5 x 30 = 22.5 mile/min
      At a conservative 0.4kWh/mile that would be
      22.5 x 0.4kWh/min = 9kWh/min ~= 540kw.

      That’s a _lot_ of power.

      _But_
      – longer trips are also skewed towards shorter distances.
      – you start with a full battery so you only need to on-the-road charging to add miles beyond your battery’s range.
      – some buyers would opt to pay more for larger batteries with more range
      – hotel overnight charging and destination charging can reduce the number of on-the-road charging miles required
      – the footprint for charging is small
      – chargers can be put anywhere there is an electricity supply
      – range is better in good conditions and people drive more of the longer trips in good conditions

      Given that the 15% I used is a very high-side percentage for on-the-road charging, and given that it would be easy to have more charging plugs than there are currently gas nozzles, I don’t think that 5-minute charging would be necessary. B But, certainly, faster would always be better.

  17. JimGord says:

    FCEVs are DOA. The BMW head of fuel cell development is blind to the obvious.

    1. Lou says:

      Yep they are all a bunch of dummies. Stupid engineers. No idea what we need or how to build it. Give up now. Why waste your time?

  18. jmac says:

    What you get with the fuel cell cars is the same old gas station model that you had before with the ICE.

    The only difference is that instead of refining crude oil, the oil companies will make hydrogen by steam reforming natural gas.

    Same old treadmill.

    In contrast, with a true BEV you can charge at home or work. (or even while you’re shopping, if they will please hurry up and install those inductive chargers at Costco).

  19. So far, I’ve just been thinking who cares if large car companies invest in FC technologies. From a engineer point of view, it’s probably an exciting area.

    Then it occured to me that it’s actually us paying for it. By buying the currently available “normal” cars. Whether it’s a Toyota or fancy BMW, each and everyone of us buying of these cars support FC spending.

    1. Foo says:

      So don’t buy them.

  20. tosho says:

    Once you have 100kW chargers on every 70-100 miles of roads between cities both PHEVs and FCEVs become pointless. Even BEVs with batteries above 60kW will be overkill for 95% of the population.

    1. GSP says:

      +1.

      Exactly this.

      GSP

  21. Mark says:

    To me the best option is a ~100 mile range EV with range extender similar to the one in BMW i3. BMW got it well (in the EU version) but screwed up some details. They took a 45 kW scooter engine and crippled it down to improve efficiency and emissions when they should have done the opposite! I don’t care about efficiency, durability or emissions of an engine that is almost always off. They could have got more power from smaller and simpler but turbo-charged engine. I3 would be now able to drive at Autobahn speeds while recharging the battery. Big missed opportunity.

    Perhaps it is the regulations to blame. The rules for range extenders should not be as strict as for the engines that are on 100% of the time.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      No, the rules for range extenders have to be as strict.

      Engines pollute most at cold start. Plus engines pollute a lot when the emissions control systems aren’t working effectively.

      The small engine was chosen to limit weight and size. You only have to look at cars like the Chevrolet Volt to see that as much as people talk about the weight of batteries, the weight and volume of the engine has a significant impact.

      1. Mark says:

        Chevrolet Volt is a good example of what happens when you combine two cars in one. BWM i3 is much better approach – a full electric car with a small ICE to maintain the state of charge. Having an ICE is not a problem as it is more than compensated for by not hauling 100+ kWh battery at all times. The only drawback of i3 is the BMW badge (price) and all the arbitrary limitations imposed for reasons other than making the product better.

        Range extended EVs are our best option for making BEVs a mass market product, expanding the infrastructure and proportionally reducing overall fuel consumption. I sincerely hope regulators will be smart enough to recognize it.

  22. vdiv says:

    Yeah, it’s not what automakers say, it’s what they do that matters.

    As soon as people get a PHEV they will demand a greater all-electric range, more power/regen from the electric motor(s) and faster charging. Their following vehicle will be an all-electric. We are coming to the point where more people are becoming more comfortable with dumping the pump, whatever flammable or explosive gas or liquid it may be spewing.

  23. JakeY says:

    Not buying it. I don’t see a viable future where both can coexist. Success of FCVs depend on widespread infrastructure (approaching that of gasoline cars) and a large market for that infrastructure. They will never get to that point if BEVs are a success (as they are looking to be). I only see a situation where one dominates while the other is a small niche.

    I actually see PHEVs coexisting with BEVs (as they do today), because they don’t require new infrastructure.

    1. Nix says:

      Yes, and the gas/diesel infrastructure is still going to exist for heavy trucks for quite a while, so that infrastructure will continue to exist to also support PHEV’s

  24. Nix says:

    Here is the more likely evolution of the FCEV market:

    Step 1: FCEV owners will demand that their FCEV’s get a plug to charge their traction battery, the same way hybrid owners demanded that their Prius got a plug in.

    Step 2: When FCEV’s get a plug, buyers will demand more range out of the traction battery. The same way sales of the Volt and Ford Energy plug-ins crushed Plug-in Prius sales. Despite the Prius having a massive market headstart among green car drivers.

    Step 3: FCEV drivers will demand more and more battery range, the same way even Volt owners always want more and more range. Smaller cheaper batteries will make this possible, and the “More is Better” American market will force car makers to continually increase battery range to compete with each other.

    Step 4: The fuel cell will end up just being yet another choice for additional range after running on electricity. All cars (pure EV, ICE hybrid EV’s, and Fuel Cell hybrid EV’s) will have enough battery only range to operate on electricity for even long commutes, and will charge at home for the vast majority of their miles.

    Step 5: Developments in faster and faster charging rates, and more high speed charging stations closer together, and bigger battery capacities will eliminate the need for range extending technology in small and midsize cars. Only trucks and heavy vehicles that do heavy cargo OTR transport will need any range extending choices, like hydrogen or gasoline or diesel.

    Step 6: Everybody switches to the flying cars we were all promised in the 1950’s.

    1. It seems odd that you didn’t include natural gas as a range extending fossil fuel .

      Here’s how it will really happen… Diesels trucks will convert to natural gas and the natural gas trucks will convert to plug in hybrid natural gas trucks, and the electric range of those plug-in hybrid trucks will get longer and longer.