China’s Battery Electric Cars Versus Japan’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

NOV 15 2015 BY MARK KANE 66

BYD's Qin, e6 and Joint-Venture (with Daimler) Denza EV

BYD’s Qin, e6 and Joint-Venture (with Daimler) Denza EV

Chinese and Japanese efforts in developing zero or low emission vehicles aren’t focused on a single technology like all-electric or hydrogen fuel cells, as nothing is really black or white, but a recent Reuters article (“Auto power play: Japan’s hydrogen car vs China’s battery drive”) notes that there are significant differences in both countries.

Japan drifts more to the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, while China sticks with all-electric and plug-in hybrids.

In regards to FCVs, the biggest bets come from the largest Japanese carmaker Toyota, followed by Honda. But Japan has Nissan (BEVs), Mitsubishi (BEVs and PHEV), as well as the largest battery maker for BEVs (Panasonic).

In China, there are many different BEV and PHEV manufacturers with several new ones emerging.

James Chao, Shanghai-based Asia-Pacific managing director for industry consultant IHS Automotive, said:

“We’re reaching a crossroads. It’s difficult to exaggerate the significance of the choice between batteries and hydrogen.

“Billions of dollars will be invested in one or the other and may determine which companies will lead the industry through the end of this century.”

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

The Japanese government is supporting the hydrogen infrastructure rollout with a goal of 100 stations by March 2016. But earlier they also threw an unprecedented amount of cash out for thousands of CHAdeMO chargers for BEVs.

Koei Saga, Toyota’s senior managing officer in charge of vehicle powertrain technology said:

“It’s not that we’re not doing anything about the EV. Technically speaking, EV is a relatively easier technology. But it needs to evolve. If you’re looking for the ultimate solution, the EV probably isn’t it.”

In China, investments go mainly for the charging infrastructure and incentives for BEVs and PHEVs.

“China, meanwhile, is running full tilt at electric vehicles, and has opened its automotive industry to deep-pocketed technology firms to invest.

The move has bred more than half a dozen Chinese-funded EV start-ups, backed by the likes of Baidu, Alibaba, Xiaomi [XTC.UL] and Tencent, as well as LeTV, a streaming video and web-connected television provider.”



Source: Reuters

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66 Comments on "China’s Battery Electric Cars Versus Japan’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars"

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China will grow larger 🙂

In the long run (2030+) one hundred percent of fuel will come from renewable energy–of that I am sure. In that respect it doesn’t matter which technology wins. There will be differences in cost, range, weight, fueling time, and performance, but the real story is that solar will be extremely cheap, very soon, and the real problems will be in storing that energy cheaply in massive quantities. Using batteries, storing half the US electricity output for a day would cost around around $800 billion, and storing 25% across seasons would cost roughly $145 trillion, so that’s the real challenge, and an opportunity for any competing technology which can come in cheaper.

Three Electrics said:

“Using batteries, storing half the US electricity output for a day would cost around around $800 billion, and storing 25% across seasons would cost roughly $145 trillion, so that’s the real challenge…”

Regarding that $145 trillion figure: Surely it would be far cheaper to simply build out 4x or 5x as much solar capacity as we need on a bright sunny summer day, so that we still get sufficient power on a cloudy winter day. We shouldn’t ever need more regional storage capacity than 2-3 days, even to deal with the effects of major snowstorms. If the grid was beefed up to allow large amounts of electricity to be shifted from one region to another, then we could get by with significantly less generating overcapacity, and significantly less storage.

I absolutely agree: it would be cheaper to overbuild. However, the lowest cost option will likely use at least some energy storage; if summer energy is wasted otherwise, it matters less how efficient the energy storage is, which can make it quite cheap.

I would love to have a power grid which spans the Panama Canal into South America so that North America can take advantage of Chilean solar in the winter time. However, I suspect the US would rather like to avoid the risks associated with energy dependence on Latin America. Europe’s push for renewables is at least partially motivated by a desire to move away from reliance on Russia for winter gas.

“…the lowest cost option will likely use at least some energy storage…”

Oh, absolutely. If we’re gonna depend on solar power for most energy needs, then obviously there must be sufficient night-time storage to last thru those long winter nights. Plus, there needs to be some “slack in the system” to allow for fluctuations in demand.

I just think it’s a bit myopic to talk about storing electricity for an entire season, yet I see that discussed quite a bit. Building out more generating capacity will be far cheaper than building out that much storage. A cost/benefit analysis will have to be done to find the “sweet spot” for the least expensive combination of generating overcapacity and storage capacity. And that sweet spot is going to be different for different regions.

Exactly. A cost analysis has to show in which cases it makes sense to storage electric power using a certain tech. A decentralized grid has definite advantages. However I cannot agree on that the grid has to be built out stuff cause this is something big three electrics come up with regularly. Putting the same amount of money on home storage would vastly reduce peak grid usage. Everyone knowing p2p file sharing should be able to see that this concept can also work with the electricity grid. Ain’t that the reason why 5G will use more p2p? I guesstimate that if every household had local storage for 2 hours that would already nearly flatten demand curve to a straight line. Add some internet controlled load management where it would be easy to to implement like phone, laptop, car. I am confident that that would be a cheaper and safer way to increase grid quality. And it would reduce dependence on the network companys. I do also see why in this forum people tend to fight about hydrogen and battery storage. For the mobile sector the choice is obvious. For centralized local storage physics gives hydrogen one advantage due to the… Read more »

Generally costs are higher for distributed vs centralised unless significant infrastructure is needed. For grid storage, central likely makes sense. For hydrogen to FCEVS, distributed is best to avoid the need for more infrastructure–once electricity becomes effectively free, making hydrogen directly at a fueling station can be cheaper than bringing it in, depending on location.

Planning for the future is not myopia. The future is why I own three electric cars, with a deposit on a fourth. The future is why I haven’t purchased gas in three years, and source my electricity from hydroelectric power. The future is not oil, it’s not natural gas, and it is not nuclear. It is renewables, either stored with batteries, compressed air, or hydrogen.

As grand as that will be, one cannot assume people will not store quantities of energy for long periods of time in a renewable future–especially if there is over capacity, which encourages cheap storage. In any scenario, you’ll see a significant amount of storage deployed. The cheapest option is compressed air, which is fantastic but less than portable. The most expensive option is batteries, by far, though for storage time measured in hours, the economics are much better. The goldilocks option is H2. In my mind, it is clear that will guarantee substantial H2 infrastructure, but predicting the future is hard. I can merely present my own point of view.

For winter storage you can store methane underground from conventional sources or from biogas, you can also store wood and other bio based materials that can be burned in conventional power stations. Last but not least household garbage can be burned seasonally to produce electricity instead of continuously. The aluminum industry can be maintained in the winter instead of at random and other high energy consumers can also be trimmed down in the winter.

Burning wood produces increases in CO2.
Just ask Europe that has replaced some coal fired plants with wood pellets from the USA on the fraudulent claim that wood (because it can be grown) is renewable.
Huge mistake.

“The future is why I own three electric cars, with a deposit on a fourth”

Lucky you! I’m still saving to buy just one. 😉 May I ask how big is your family that you plan to have 4 cars?

Question – what are the Factors to observe, Measure, and consider in calculating how many Millions, Billions, or Trillions of US$ will be needed – to use Solar + Storage replace the Energy Produced so we could Shut down Any Coal Powered Base Load Generators – Individually (Per Power Plant), and State Wide, in any of the States? I am thinking of – How Much Energy is Produced Daily per Plant using Coal Power, and how much is produced per week, and per Month – so we can then calculate the amount of kW of Installed Solar, in kW, Acres, and Dollars needed to replace such specific Coal Electric Power Plant, for the various development points of: 1 hour, 8 hours, 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month! Obviously – you can’t actually replace the Coal Plan with just one hours worth of output being generated by solar power, but – would you need exactly 24X as much as one hours worth of output of the plant in installed solar to replace 1 days worth of the coal plant’s output – or would it be higher, and by how much higher, if so? So – one of the key factors… Read more »

This report:

… while hard to interpret, puts the cost of 6 hours of renewable storage using H2 at roughly six cents per kwh, which is 1/4 less than Bolt battery cost. That’s the best case for batteries as use for long term storage increases cost multiplicatively. In the H2 case the majority of the cost is in electrolyzer (specific power), which makes it more appropriate for long term storage.

Regardless, at these costs it is likely cheaper to store for the winter rather than overbuild storage capacity–thiugh that could change if solar drops to less than two cents per kwh and these costs do not decrease commensuratively.

Seriously, Three Oil Companies, you’re still trying to flog the dead equine of promoting the “hydrogen economy”?

Round-trip energy storage using hydrogen is, at best, about 50% efficient. Round-trip energy storage using batteries is about 81% efficient, or perhaps even slightly better.

No matter how much Big Oil is paying you to shill for hydrogen power, you can’t change actual physics or actual facts.

Beside, storing energy isn’t constraint to electricity or any other medium.
It’s already done with heat and cold where you just pack in ice or heat to recuperated in proper time of lesser availability of electricity or on peak expensive time to save some money and infrastructure.

But of course, three oil company, prefer to look as everything is a nail as he only have that obsolete hydrocarbon hammer.
It’s either called being narrow minded or interest driven behavior. Your call!

It’s difficult to engage in a rational debate when my positions are mischaracterized. Yes, it’s easier to attack the person than the argument. Lord knows, it is tempting. However, I have stated repeatedly that I have no connection to the energy or vehicular industries. I hate oil companies. I haven’t purchased gasoline in three years. I would never even source my hydrogen from natural gas, because I live in an area dominated by cheap hydroelectrity, and it’s strictly worse for the environment. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am, however, and in the next ten years there will occur a revolution in renewable energy and carbon regulation where it is probable, in my view, that hydrogen technologies will play a huge role in improving the lot of mankind. That is my analysis, impartially derived. That does not make me a shill for your favorite boogeyman. If you can’t recognize that fact, it’s hard to give you the benefit of the doubt that you recognize any other facts. Now, to the aforementioned facts: efficiency is far worse with hydrogen storage than battery storage. However, efficiency is what you point to when you can’t compete in cost. My argument is strictly… Read more »

” If you can’t recognize that fact, it’s hard to give you the benefit of the doubt that you recognize any other facts.”

well said, I believe he is working on his 500th re-post of the efficiency argument.

Ignore him Three Electrics, your views/posts are appreciated, waste No more time replying to his plugged ears. Anyone that stoops to name-calling is deservedly Ignored (as easily as the last person-with-a-mission, look for the icon, scroll and kee-eep scrolling).
Until we get the Big Button (twice in two days, I can’t go higher than my current $200 ‘bribe’ mods, but sure wish I could as this is number one on the list).

I like your story of Edison and Tesla.
Only problem is you don’t tell all of it.
It wasn’t an efficiency problem alone as Edison knew all too well the limitation of D.C. but since he could not himself solve and manufacture A.C. motors and mostly because he own the D.C. power plant and distribution system, he has no interest to change its fortune.
Does it look like a monopole to you?
Do you see any link with actual liquid energy provider?
The rest of the story:
So convince that an A.C. motor was not possible, he challenge one of his arguing employee, Nikolai Tesla to build one.
The next morning, of course, Tesla the genius show Edison the sketch and a few day after an A.C. motor.
Edison fired Tesla and stole his idea.
Now who is the true believer here?

6 cents per kWh is ridiculous. It’s possible only if you consider amount of best effiiciency solar energy to produce hydrogen with no distribution and compression. Once H is made, you have to convert to get it out. Even if H is converted to electricity in situ, 50% efficiency of fuelcell would make it 12 cents/kWh.

But you can’t store H in room temperature in any quantity without cryo or compression. At about 15% loss to compress (5 kWh for 33kWh of H), price is 14 cents/kWh. Then you add maintenance cost (pumps, etc), and you’re already past retail electric prices.

But this assumes 6 cents/kWh to make it in the first place. Best case projection I’ve seen is $1/kWh (still way too low for FCEV application). Then it’s far more expensive than battery.

I would encourage you to direct your concerns to the author of the above report.

Oops, the last comment is wrong. Not $1/kWh, but $0.20/kWh ($6.60/kg). I got confused with propaganda $1/kg. It would be $5/kg with minor miracles, $12/kg for now.

Try reading this:
It is obvious that power-to-gas technology is going to evolve and improve as it is needed to store solar/wind energy for long term. There are few practical alternatives if you’ll ever go to 100% solar/wind/hydro electric grid. You may get very little solar further North in winter, and huge energy demand for heating. Just overbuilding solar will not help, power lines across continents are either too expensive, not reliable enough, or not possible at all due to political reasons.

Once you have power-to-gas widely deployed anyway, hydrogen becomes cheap source of energy for transport and the “ultimate solution”. It may be cheaper because it can use excess electricity for electrolysis, while battery cars would use much more expensive electricity from grid. Battery cars just shift the problem from streets to grid, maybe making it somewhat smaller, but that is all they can do.

If hydrogen is the best way to store excess energy then we should use it. I don’t see the point of moving it all around the country to power cars, though. Just use it to make electricity in the winter.

Yes, you can convert hydrogen back to electricity on demand and then distribute in electric grid at loss, and store in car battery at loss again. But it is not necessary most efficient way if you can just use the same hydrogen in car/truck/plane fuel cells.

If hydrogen is to be a viable grid storage technology, a bulk of it must be used to make electricity. It’ll be competing with far cheaper and proven alternatives like pumped storage in that role.

All this is just talk right now as hydrogen is still in demonstrations stage for storage (esp. the large scale storage where it has an advantage over batteries).

Storage capacity of the German natural gas network is more than 200,000 GWh. Pumped storage is just 40 GWh. Natural gas storage is already available in many countries relying on natural gas. Pumped storage is great when you have cheap land and you have geography at hand, but it is not common case, and it also may cost a lot.

While hydrogen is not the same as natural gas, it is not new thing. Coal gas was used everywhere before natural gas which is half hydrogen.

I certainly hope you are wrong. The Chinese have it right, the cheapest electricity will come from LFTRs. Clean nuclear with no long-term radio-active storage problems. LFTRs run on cheap thorium and are liquid so a melt-down is literally impossible. Only China is developing this style of reactor. It will produce the cheapest electricity on the planet, even less than coal. LFTRs are also naturally load following so no excess power has to be generated at night (or any other time). No expensive electrical storage required.

Why do people always compare everything to coal. It depends on the region.
New solar plants vs new coal plants in Chile.
Solar is 23% cheaper.
Since LFTR’s are still in the development stage
how can you say it’s the world’s cheapest electricity.
If the oil companies dictate energy policy
why is renewable energy growth far out pacing
all other forms of energy. This is true in USA and around the world including China.

Renewable electricity production is out pacing all other new electrical projects because there is a lot of pressure and government incentives to produce clean energy. Not because it is cheaper.

Now that method is just silly.
Storing more than 10% grid of daily needs just isn’t needed as far cheaper to just make it on demand.
Solar, coastal wind make power when needed most.
Hydro, biomass, synfuels, geothermal, metal/air FC’s, solar CSP, make power on demand 24-7-365.
Only other wind is variable and the new WT’s have 35-75% capacity from better
Next DG battery, power sources like EV’s, homes, buildings that both make, store their own and need much less power in the first place.
These easily solve the non problem of storage and 24-7-365 far better than grid battery storage at a tiny fraction of the
Fact is done right cost only 4 yrs of FF generation cost then much lower, more stable cost forever than FF’s.

I would say China’s all in with ev s and Japan is about 70 percent in with ev s

You can capture by your own energy from sun, winds and others, store it for later use or recharge your car.

H2, not much.


Quoting the article:

“Technically speaking, EV is a relatively easier technology. But it needs to evolve. If you’re looking for the ultimate solution, the EV probably isn’t it.”

I can certainly see that it may seem that way from the perspective of someone who grew up in China, where it’s difficult or impossible for the average citizen to (a) find a parking stall for a car within walking distance of his apartment, and (b) get the parking garage owner to install an EV charger reserved for his personal use.

In other words, not a technical problem at all, but rather a cultural one.

I’m an outsider looking in, but I get the impression that China has a unique problem with being much more resistant to cultural change than to technological change.

That quote was from a Toyota employee. I don’t think he was particularly talking about China.

Thank you for the correction.

Just another Toyota mouthpiece spouting Toyota’s current, and hopefully temporary, official anti-EV company policy, then.

That FCV’s need 4x’s the energy/mile of an EV alone makes them a sad joke.
In just a few yrs battery costs will be where ICE’s in 90% of the cases replace FF cars and FCV’s can’t by basic physics ever compete.
Other batteries like Metal/air will give any EV, ever semi’s fast refueling and 1,000 mile range in car EV’s if needed.
Their is a reason even in the FC community they are known as foolcells.
There are places for them using other fuels than H2 like home, building power/heat where their waste heat can be used if their prices can be brought down to $1k/kw, but that is far away too.

Toyota’s interest in a hydrogen future has more to do with erecting barriers to competition than finding the optimal engineering solution to zero emission vehicles.

Count the new BEV and PHEV market entrants: many.

Tesla has demonstrated a viable business model and invited others to follow.

Count the new FCV market entrants: zero.

As has been pointed out here so many times before, hydrogen does not solve the fossil fuel problem.

It does however “solve” the competition “problem.”

I don’t quite understand, what “competition?” Fuel cost for FCEV is 6 times gasoline cost, best case would be comparable to gasoline cost with minor miracles. I don’t see how it’ll compete against gasoline, let alone BEV.
I completely agree, SparkEV. From a consumer perspective, FCVs do not look like a competitive, attractive solution given the current source and prices of retail H2 fuel, even less so in an era of 200 mile EVs and decent all-electric-range plug in hybrids. The issue I was addressing is why is Toyota building them at all? One reason is for the CARB EV credits. But those go to parity in 2018 and it seems extremely unlikely that the Mirai will be cheaper to build than, say, a RAV4 EV any time in the near future. One way to control a market is to control the standards. If Toyota had been successful in implementing a FCV consensus, and convinced governments to invest in an FC fueling network, it would be able to maintain market dominance because it is so hard to develop competing FCVs. Other OEMs could do it, but not new market entrants (startups). That strategy has been effective for over 100 years for the auto industry (product complexity, enormous capital requirements, expensive regulatory compliance). Tesla is on record as saying that they could not have entered the market if they had to build an ICE. Unfortunately for Toyota, the… Read more »

If H prices get reduced by 50% to $6/kg due to economy of scale, etc. they will be competitive to gas cars if gas prices are $6/gal. Much of Japan pays about that much already, making H far more attractive for them (meanwhile, BEV “fuel” would cost about 1/4 at baseline usage). In Japan, it could have some competition to gas cars if H price ever gets that low.

So the real question is why is Toyota selling in US when it’ll at best cost twice gas cars? ZEV credit would be one reason, but I didn’t think there was any kind of competition for that; CA just gives them out if you sell “ZEV” don’t they?

I’m still not clear on competition. Do you mean competition for what little brain matter that exist between the ears of our politicians?

If you trying to reduce it to such short-term vision, you should note that battery vehicles are also no way competitive to gas cars right now, they are under 1% of the market, except for golf carts. F-150 with aluminum body starts under $30,000, can tow a boat or trailer, “recharge” in 5 minutes using cheap $2/gal fuel, can load lots of stuff and go anywhere without any charging stations. What is the point to burn the same fossil fuel in a power plant and distribute electricity long way and at great cost to your battery charger?

1. Electric is much more thermally efficient than gasoline. Electric is about 80-85% efficient while gasoline is only about 30% efficient. Remember $3.00 per gallon gas? You only get about $1 worth of propulsion for the $3 you spent—the rest goes out of the radiator and exhaust.
2. Not all electricity is generated with fossil fuels. More is electricity is renewable every year.
3. There is quite a bit of electricity tied up in gasoline. It takes a huge amount of energy well-to-fuel station to deliver gasoline.

Why not go for both technologies with the fuel cell as an optional hybrid option? As batteries get cheaper and better < $100 / Kwh we could think of a car with let’s say a 50kwh battery at a battery cost below $5000 with an optional fuel cell for people with range anxiety.. With a system like this the fuel cell could be relatively small and light. It would charge the battery at a constant load which should make the system less complex. I could fit a 2-5kw fuel cell in the frunk of my Tesla and never have to worry about charging when away from home. Just fill up and start the fuel cell to keep the battery topped off during weekend trips. This could also be useful for people without access to home charging. You would also get the benefits of the all electrics like instant torque etc.. After driving my Tesla for 2 years I cannot see any point at all of a car with the fuel cell as the primary energy source but a hybrid option could kill of any remaining concerns for people who loves to spend time at the gas station… To cover 100%… Read more »

Because hydrogen is more expensive than gas and doesn’t have any environmental advantage to this kind of use.

Because hydrogen requires another new fuel infrastructure.

Fuel cell is about 50% efficient. That 2-5kW cell would be generating heat of about what your Tesla provides for cabin comfort in winter. In winter, no problem except for space.

Assuming the cabin is well insulated from frunk, you can run the AC from fuel cell. Power is about what typical AC would use.

To have any kind of H storage just to run heat/AC for few hours (not actually run the car), you’ll need to fill up your entire frunk with H storage tank, maybe even more. To actually get any range to drive the car (eg. 300 miles), you need the space of Mirai’s H tank.

Meanwhile, you’ll be paying 6 times the cost of gasoline to run the fuel cell. The price could could go down in the future, or maybe they’ll go UP. Remember, H price is related to natural gas prices.

‘Fool Sells’ and Toyota, they just want to sell parts and service. How much pays and service is there for a BEV or a PHEV, I know with my Volt I’m already better than any Fuel Cell well ever be.I drive 95+% EV and I can still drive country anytime. I can tell you that my carbon footprint is way smaller than a fuel cell
Will ever be. Leave it to Toyota to move backward. Yes I have 6+kWh solar array

If you lean toward Hydrogen cars make sure you watch this

BEVs are much easier to produce than FCEVs. Of course China is going to gravitate toward BEVs.

I’ve seen a number of home-grown BEVs. I have never seen a home-grown FCEV.

Toyota and the Japanese govt have done incredible work with fuel cell technology, but it’s becoming obvious they’ve backed the wrong horse.

I can’t see when you already have an established EV market with huge projected cost reductions in the next 5 years; what the advantages of fuel cells are. EV infrastructure is just an extension of the grid, in a time when utility companies desperately need to prop up electricity demand in the developed world.

No government or car company outside Japan will want to invest in the technology.

They are exactly in the same position that battery cars were against gas cars a decade ago. Too expensive and to unpractical. It doesn’t mean it is not going to change. Battery cars are just extension of dirty grid power, with fundamental obstacle for 100% adoption – as grid will require upgrade to accommodate peak charging power at that point.
While hydrogen can be generated without grid from cheap excess solar/wind electricity, stored and used on demand.
I don’t know if fuel cell cars or trucks will ever go mainstream, but it is certainly too early to dismiss them or promote batteries as full solution.

Then there is the growing number of Solar Thermal Stations – which are like a Sun Powered ‘Coal’ Power Plant! – See this List of solar thermal power stations – – Quote – “These include the 354 megawatt (MW) Solar Energy Generating Systems power installation in the USA, Solana Generating Station (USA, 280 MW) and Solaben Solar Power Station (Spain, 200 MW). The 392 MW Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, located in California’s Mojave Desert, is the world’s largest solar thermal power plant project currently in operation. There are plans to build many other large solar thermal plants, including Miraah, a 1,021MW plant from GlassPoint Solar.” Also – as mentioned above in a long post there is a fairly large and growing number of Solar Photo-voltaic Power Plants producing over 50 MW – “As of January 2015, the plants on this list have a combined capacity of over 6 gigawatts (GW)” – – For Reference – “As of November 2014, Topaz Solar Farm was the largest PV solar plant in the world at 550 MWAC in central coast area and a second 550-MW plant, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is located in the far eastern desert region of Riverside… Read more »

So there is one country not under the thumb of the oil cartel. Oil companies dictate energy policy to almost all the rest of the world’s governments. Besides promoting FCVs as superior to BEVs, Oil companies (Along with conventional nuclear energy companies) suppress the deveopment of LFTRs. Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors hold the promise of cheap, safe, clean nuclear power with no long term radio-acive waste problem. This will produce the world’s cheapest electricity. A perfect compliment to BEVs and only China will have it.

I think China will be willing to sell us some reactors if they can make a nice profit.

We have engineers. If it works, we’ll make our own. We don’t need China for that.

China is too smart to sell reactors. They will build reactors here and sell us the electricity at great profit back to China.

Yes we could build our own (It is a US design built and tested for 10 years in Tennessee 1960s) but political forces won’t let that happen.

“While the global automotive giants struggle to find a winning formula for electric vehicles (“EVs”), approximately 100 manufacturers in China have already identified a large potential market undiscovered by the traditional players. The common problems faced by EV automakers — high cost, driving range, and the availability of charging stations — are not issues for these manufacturers because their target customers are satisfied with low-speed and limited range EVs, as long as they provide affordable transportation. In 2014, 400,000 so-called “low-speed” EVs were sold in China, compared to only 84,000 conventional all electric and hybrid electric vehicles.” “How big is this potential market? It’s estimated that there are over 90 million motorcycles and 120 million electric bicycles now being utilized in China. Subject to affordability, all of the individuals using these forms of transportation are potential buyers of low-speed EVs, and Chinese companies are expanding aggressively to fill the growing demand. There are already at least one million low-speed EVs in use in China, and companies in the industry expect sales to increase by at least 50 percent and top 600,000 units in 2015, and to reach at least one million units by 2020. In fact, some industry observers believe… Read more »


I think there is room for both technologies for sure, although hydrogen fuel HAS TO BECOME CHEAPER. For now, electric cars certainly has that advantage. So maybe fuel cell cars are still about 10 years away for any serious market penetration. And they gotta solve the refueling technology with hydrogen.

Hydrogen is dead on arrival.

Out of Wiki – (So China is on the correct track).
“Other people consider that the whole idea of “the hydrogen economy” is flawed. Compressed hydrogen has an energy density of only 5.6 megajoules per liter. Robert Zubrin looks at the practical problems of using hydrogen as an energy storage medium in Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil.[24] He considers that hydrogen is a very poor form of storage, and that batteries, methanol or dimethyl ether would be better. This point is reiterated in Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy[25] and in David MacKay’s book described below.”

Having read quite a bit of the discussion I conclude: People see some technology (EV,ICE,PHEV,REX,solar,nuclear,wind,coal,hydrogen,hydro,battery,fuel cell,compressed air,energy efficiency,local storage, centralized storage, gird topology A/B/C, charging standards) as “the best solution”, “the winner”, “cheapest way” and only few people see that there is no need to fight about that. Yeah, let’s discuss all the possibilities! It’s good that we have them! All of them! They are all great! We just have to take into account the “use case” which includes a variety of factors. Aside from the obvious ones: power, energy, cost we sometimes fail to include factors like: location (topology of terrain, climate, state of current infrastructure, economy in that region/country), culture, legislation, education, maintenance cost, flexibility, future proofness, reliability… (to be continued in the readers brain…) With just 5 factors it get’s really messy in a human brain. With interdependency it get’s even more messy. With uncertanty in the “fundamental” data it get’s even more messy! This is why lot’s of us just want to say: “This is the best.” There are so many “use cases” that the scorecard leaves enough space for every technology mentioned to be a winner, even for those which I really don’t like… Nonetheless… Read more »

You didn’t include environment. It is going to have to be cheapest to achieve environmental goals. A statement was made that we would be 100% renewable by 2030. Oh what a happy day that would be. Unfortunately, that is just not achievable in 15 years. The fear of many here is that we spend tons of money to allow the oil companies to reform hydrogen with their existing product, for as you say, it is the cheapest way.

“You didn’t include environment”

Nice one 😉 Thank you for mentioning that! That’s funny ain’t it? Next time I’ll try not to forget the obvious things…

“A statement was made that we would be 100% renewable by 2030. Oh what a happy day that would be.”

Comletely agree on that!

“Unfortunately, that is just not achievable in 15 years.”

IMO this depends on what we include… Is it achievable in USA? Technologically? Financially? Politically?

Is it achievable in Norway?

Is it achievable in India?

And what does 100% renewable mean? Electricity? Energy? Raw material?

And on which timescale? If you wait long enough, even nuclear is renewable (depending on how cosmic expansion will continue…)

Japan gets it wrong again.
Their politically-driven “hydrogen economy” on the false premise of extracting hydrogen from undersea hydrogen hydrates will collapse soon enough.
Hydrogen is DOA and Japan, Toyota and Honda will pay the price of the financial write off coming. Nissan is smarter by “slow walking” hydrogen and will escape the hydrogen fool cell fraud

Toyota and Honda are being paid well by their government to promote FCVs. They will not loose money when the market fails. All costs are born by the taxpayer (who is not given a say in the decision, same as here in N.A.).

How many people in California actually want to pay the $Billions for the “Hydrogen Highway” they are building? Only the tiny percent who will actually benefit by it.

Hydrogen isn’t an automotive technology; when it comes to cars, EVs are more efficient, more powerful, and cost less. However, if you’re doing something where energy density for weight is paramount, as are fast recharge times, hydrogen takes over.

The Japanese are screwing up; basically, the Mirai and the Clarity will go nowhere. On the other hand, implement a hydrogen semi truck, you’re going places, a hydrogen prop plane, a hydrogen container ship, etc. It’s not a bad technology, tbh, they’re just attacking the wrong market segment.