Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Sales In U.S. Just 2,300 In 2018

JAN 27 2019 BY MARK KANE 161

The FCVs were left behind by plug-ins

We were promised by some Asian manufacturers that hydrogen fuel cell cars are the future, but as we check the numbers for 2018, it seems that sales are not only meaningless, but also haven’t changed much over the year.

The total volume seems to be above 2,300, similar to 2017, which is not even 1% of the number noted by plug-in electric cars (361,307).

The most “popular” FCV – the Toyota Mirai noted 1,700 deliveries, which is 7.5% less than a year earlier.

With the Hyundai NEXO on the market, sales sure can go up, but the plug-ins will be so far ahead that we can’t imagine how FCVs will ever catch up.

Categories: Honda, Hyundai, Sales, Toyota

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161 Comments on "Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Sales In U.S. Just 2,300 In 2018"

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Rasmus Birkegaard Christensen

Can’t wait for a comment by @hydrogenfirst
What is great with an ev is the ability to charge everywhere, if fcv was to win the race that would probably be game over.

If a FCV was an EREV, like the Volt (Which, by the way, has a Gas Engine driving a 50 kW Generator, but, I did see, in person, an early Design of a 1st Gen Volt Mule, that had an 80 kW Fuel Cell, in place of the Gas Engine), and owners could drive up to 60 Miles on Battery Power, with the FC only for backup power, flexibility, or Road Trips, they could put more H2 Stations out of Cities, on Open Road Freeway Runs!

Such a car, in the city, would reduce the need to “Gas Up” to just a few times a year, when not traveling, to maybe at most, once a month, for most buyers, like current Volt Owners!

It would reduce the need for delivering H2 to stations from Steam Reforming H2 at Oil or Gas Refinery Location, and trucking it out! Straight Electrolysis H2 Generation could be more Suitable, where there is room for onsite Solar Generation, too.

Who wants to pay >$10,000 plus a large space penalty for a range extender, though?… If you have that kind of money, just buy a long-range BEV.

Instead of a 80-100 Kwh battery, reduce it to 40-50 Kwh, you saved Money, Space, and weight, Now add fuelcells and a H2 tank in the available space and money. Charge your vehicle battery at home for short distance travel and quick refuel hydrogen for long distance travel as optional. You don’t have to wait hrs to charge at superchargers.

You are spot on; Hydrogen was introduced by oil interests at the time GM crushed their EV-1s …the whole idea is to reform hydrogen from oil, gas and huge amounts of heat and water, and use hydrogen to keep the oil companies in control of the World’s energy. The current energy system would remain the same and hydrogen would be served at the gas stations instead of gasoline.

Electric Cars empower the individual as you are not dependent on the oil monopolies, OPEC, etc., for fuel…solar power to charge your car locally will make you free.

H2 is not some big plot by the oil companies.

It must be because there’s no other reason to push technology that uses 3x the energy of an EV other than, you sell energy. However since ultimately energy used drives economics and economics will wIn, FCEVs are dead man walking. They only sell them now because they wrap the cost of the fuel into the car price and heavily subsidise the car price as well
They had their chance 15-20 years ago to put this tech into production and kill pure EVs at birth but they missed it because they were happy with the status quo of selling oil for transport. It’s too late now.

And that is the problem they face. With solar panels and windmills, a lot of people can generate power for charging BEVs at home. Not even controlling the power utilities ensure they can get the money back.

The push for hydrogen is because they know most people are not willing to pay for the compressor, cooler, high pressure storage needed to make hydrogen at home. Going hydrogen means you must still keep going to their refueling stations, going hydrogen while they crack gas for fuel means they can keep the equipment they are already using and not have to write it off. Going hydrogen means 100% will still be controlled by the same fossil fuel energy companies of today.

This is the configuration I have mentioned for years, a FCPHEV Volt.

Pointless. If I want an range extender I want an fuel that’s readily available everywhere without planning. That is not hydrogen and never will be. For 5% the cost to rollout a national infrastructure for H2 you could provide one for electric shich would mean no one would need range extenders. Who would pay for the H2 filling stations when by definition they would be hardly used? Follow the money.

I think @hydrogenfirst changed their name to zzzzzzz on and on.

With 90+% of hydrogen coming from hydrocarbons, it’s a good thing.

All kinds of energy come mostly from hydrocarbons now as it is cheaper, is it it news somehow? Electric, thermal, whatever, not just hydrogen.

When you have cheaper dispatchable source of energy other than gas or coal, electric or not, it can produce hydrogen as well. It is just how economy works. Actually electrolysis doesn’t necessary require dispatchable source of energy like electric grid, heating, or many industrial processes. 50-80% capacity factory is good enough for electrolysis.

Not in Washington where 80% comes from hydroelectric dams…

Not in Ontario Canada where less than 5% of the energy comes from fossil fuels.

For the past couple of years, around 46% of the hydrogen sold for fueling HFCVs in California has been renewable hydrogen. By law 33% of hydrogen sold for transportation fuel in California must be renewable hydrogen. Also, 12 of the 39 hydrogen fueling stations dispense only 100% renewable hydrogen.

Renewable hydrogen percentage for each station, PDF page 85 of 128, document page 67:
https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/ab8/ab8_report_2018_print.pdf

Impartial Observer – quote: “For the past couple of years, around 46% of the hydrogen sold for fueling HFCVs in California has been renewable hydrogen.”
——————
Then arguably what a waste! If the electricity used to generate that hydrogen had instead been used to charge batteries in BEVs, then all else equal it would have given three times the mileage!

No way if you include all the energy that is needed for mining and manufacturing these giga batteries, that most of the time are just hauled around unused as average driving distance is something like 30 miles only.

Besides you can’t even charge them directly from from intermittent solar/wind electricity, you need to store it first in another set of battery, killing any hypothetical savings.

It is estimated that is cheaper (more efficient) to overbuild solar by around twice and curtail it, discarding production spikes, instead of using long term battery storage.
https://www.utilitydive.com/news/minnesota-study-finds-it-cheaper-to-curtail-solar-than-to-add-storage/546467/
Cheaper batteries may pay off in short term storage, like daily at most, but that is all. Li Ion batteries have calendar life – either you use it or loose it.

zzzzzzzzzzzz – quote: “Besides you can’t even charge them directly from from intermittent solar/wind electricity, you need to store it first in another set of battery, killing any hypothetical savings.” —————– This is simply not true. Battery storage is around 80-90% efficient or more – versus around 25% for storing electrical energy via electrolysis/hydrogen/compression and back to electricity via a fuel cell. Intermediate storage via another battery would still be likely 70-80% efficient versus hydrogen as energy storage. So still far more efficient. Yes, energy is needed for mining and manufacturing for BEVs – but likewise for the materials for any car, and fuel cell vehicles have their own problems in this respect. At least Lithium is plentiful in the earth’s crust, and “hauling around extra weight” is less of a problem in a car with regenerative braking. Also – fuel cell cars are hardly lightweight (eg the Mirai). The weight of the battery may indeed be less – but then you have the weight of the fuel cell and the weight of the hydrogen pressure vessel. Worst of all for “green” hydrogen is the cost of the electrolysis stations. To get value for money out of capital, these need… Read more »

Tunny:
” Intermediate storage via another battery would still be likely 70-80% efficient”

Yes when you don’t account for half of the things, like manufacturing. How convenient, batteries grow on trees and don’t create 15-20 tonnes CO2 per 100 kWh emissions when making them! /s

“electrolysis stations. To get value for money out of capital, these need to be operated as close to 24/7 as possible to get max return on that capital”

24/7 is of course ideal, but you don’t need to get acceptable return on capital. It is not year 2005 anymore when electrolyzers were low volume lab equipment.
500 EUR/kW cost is normal for big ones now including production scale-up.
https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0360319917339435-gr3.jpg
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360319917339435

This is $0.30/kg CapEx over 10 years for 50 kWh/kg electrolyzer. $1/kg for 33% capacity factor. Try running electric grid at 33% capacity factor that varies over year seasons 😉

zzzzzzzz – quote: “Yes when you don’t account for half of the things, like manufacturing. How convenient, batteries grow on trees………….” ———————- This really is a classic example of FUD. Take something with a grain of truth in it, ignore other relevant facts, and present it in isolation as “proof”! In this case, the “truth” is that manufacturing the batteries does involve a CO2 penalty – but relatively small compared to the overall CO2 hit of manufacturing the car. (Whatever type of car.) And also small compared to lifetime fuel emissions if such ultimately is via fossil fuels. Likewise, the fuel cell and pressure tank etc also come with a CO2 penalty in their manufacture, which you conveniently seem to forget? —————– quote- :”24/7 is of course ideal, but you don’t need to get acceptable return on capital. ” —————– Let’s just let that one sink in……….. In any industry (except in a centrally planned economy) acceptable return on capital is absolutely fundamental to success. In this case, for a given amount of hydrogen to be produced, then if in an ideal case (24/7) the electrolyser capacity required is x kg/hour, then if it is only y% utilised, it has to… Read more »

And those fuel cells need no materials? The compressors and coolers came out of thin air? The storage tanks just existed without high tech manufacturing? Interesting in your strange world we look at all the costs to get the batteries in the car, but all the equipment in fuel cell cars and charging stations come at ZERO material costs.

Weird, a home charging station cost $500 for BEV. How much is for a home hydrogen charging station? Can’t be cheap considering standard hydrogen station cost about $1,000,000 down from the $1,400,000 a few years ago.

If you think EVs are too heavy, you must really hate FCEVs, because they are even heavier than equivalent EVs and PHEVs.

So now you are going to ignore the precious metals that have to be mined and refined in the FC stack? How about the materials in the battery that the FC car has?

Charged from a grid 40% coal and 40% efficient generation
with loses totaling 20% with transmission, conversion and storage.
BEVs are not the wonder many would like to think.

“46% of the hydrogen sold for fueling HFCVs in California has been renewable ”

And the electricity in CA that I put into my car is 100% renewable and 100% carbon free. Your point?

By far in the US and especially globally electricity is sourced by fossil fuels. That is not expected to change for years into the future, especially with nuclear generation being rapidly dialed back.

100% renewable? Try 43%:
https://www.energy.ca.gov/almanac/electricity_data/total_system_power.html
Small renewables are 29% and large hydro is 14%. 57% of electricity is natural gas, nuclear and coal (in that order).
When considering in state only, renewable generation is a bit better at 47%.

He said “…in my car…” What neither you nor I know is whether he is generating all his electricity from rooftop solar. I purposely charge my car either when my solar array is producing near maximum output (it’s 6 KW/hr at maximum) or late at night when it’s most likely that the electricity is generated by wind power (our utility allows us to choose to have wind-generated power when available, it costs only about 5% more).

H2 can be made from renewable methane.

But it mostly isn’t, unfortunately.

Most power plants also produce electricity for BEVs by burning hydrocarbons. More importantly, even if an FCEV derives its hydrogen by fracking long chain carbons, it will still produce fewer emissions on a well-to-wheel basis than a BEV. Because the weight of batteries won’t change, this dynamic will not change. BEVs simply cannot compete with FCEVs in terms of fuel efficiency. And when we begin producing hydrogen through hydrolysis (and existing technology), the emissions gap will widen further.

D.O.A. Technology for cars.
Give it up Japan but I think they are too set in their ways. Watch out for a range of FCV Nissans to replace the Leaf now that their old boss is in pokey.

That will put the nail into non-Japanese Leaf sales.

How many were fleet vehicles? How many were repeat customers?

I remember following the Honda Clarity concept way back in the 90s. Yes, they have been pitching it that long. I was attracted to the “home fueling station” concept promised by Honda. It was promoted as being powered by a combination of natural gas and solar power (which using natural gas is pretty much the standard method for reforming hydrogen). They weren’t pitching full electrolysis for obvious reason, but it seemed promising in the 90s that solar would indeed be possible support to our ever-growing insatiability for energy. I don’t live in an urban area so home fueling was a must. I never stopped to think of how many thousands of dollars the home hydrogen fueling would cost. Well until in 2011 when I bought a Chevy Volt that plugged into an existing 110V outlet in my garage. Then I remembered the words of Elon Musk, “Pretty soon the answer will be obvious.”

“. I was attracted to the “home fueling station”

You needed a garage to house the home fueling station and the cost was almost as prohibitive as that of the car.

Most of the FCEVs go out of service when their three year lease is up.

Expired Leases on FCV’s, could be a good source of EV Conversion Donor Cars! Those big H2 Tanks, already made a big space for Batteries! Drivetrain is already Electric! Just at Cells and BMS / TMS, and you are on your way!

Maybe, an EV Conversion of the FCV Clarity, could get more range than Honda’s own 89 Mike Range Clarity EV? That would be wild if EV West demo’d that, at CES, for example!

The idea of millions of people creating their own free hydrogen in their garages terrifies me. Everyone of them an explosive risk.

I don’t know. As a lawyer, you should be wringing your hands in glee at the potential….

Lol

This will only go as far a California CARB credits will take it.
The California taxpayer is fully funding the whole thing.

Where is the hydrogen coming from? Methane conversion to Hydrogen?
It has no green-house gas savings, and no benefit to the state of California.

The only reason FCVs exist is CARB.

More particularly: “CARB’s missplaced Credits for them, due to ‘Fueling Speed’, being a thing”

To be current, CARB no longer factors fueling speed into the calculation for credits. CARB just offers a bigger rebate for FCVs ($5000 vs. $2500). See, CARB is still putting their thumb on the scale.

You mean Tesla maybe? As California compliance automaker it indeed would not exist without CARB credits.

FCEVs would likely be fine with support of Japan and Korea governments only even without CARB, and with H2 station network rapidly expanding in Europe now as well.

No “rapidly expanding “H2 station network here in Europe.
Even Mercedes have called it a day.

Alas German automakers are followers now, not leaders or inventors in new technology, despite the fact that they make very good luxury vehicles. As far as new tech is involved, they switched places with Japanese and Koreans years ago.

Germany alone has 60 opened H2 stations, up from 20+ in 2016. 34 more under testing/construction:
https://h2.live/en
You can go cross continent now at whatever speed you want on Autobahn, with no more than 5 minute refueling stops, no hour long stops every 100-200 miles (depending on speed, wind and temperature) to cool and recharge battery are necessary, nor special electrified parking places.

No. Benz have a plug in HCV

Now you’re just trolling. I would respond that many few gassers (and fewer FCVs) would exist without being propped up by Big Oil and the federal government. At least everyone can see where your bread is buttered.

We sure do. Not only the credits are bigger for H, there is no income cap for tne credits! WTF?! Is H special or something?

HFCVs and BEVs get the same number of ZEV CARB credits based on their range with a maximum of 4 ZEV credits per vehicle.

https://d2t6ms4cjod3h9.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/CARB_ZEV_Credit_Calculation.png

CARB provides twice the rebate for FCV purchases than EV purchases. ($5000 vs $2500).

More support, as it is understood to be Harder Tech to make work, compared to BEV”s, or even PHEV’s. And… Probably… Some Heavy Lobbying / Hands in Pockets of, CARB Leadership! Same as when CARB LET HUMMERS IN!

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are super complicated Rube Goldberg machines

It is still way simpler than to making 100 kWh Li Ion batteries to be cheap and light enough, and to work across full ICE product lineup, not just selected performance cars.

Completely false. You’re lies will not work here.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

https://cafcp.org/by_the_numbers

Bookmark that page to see the slow growth.

Even Toyota have given up now, with the “maybe commercial vehicles first” comment and JV with Panasonic. Next year will be the Tokyo Olympics and Toyota is a major sponsor. They’ll no doubt have the same kind of hydrogen tech demos we’ve seen for the past 15 years.

“Toyota sees global sales of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) increasing significantly after 2020, to at least 30,000 per year from today’s 3,000. To prepare for this growth, the company unveiled plans for two major new facilities today: a brand-new building near its original automobile factory for expanding fuel cell stack mass production…”
https://newsroom.toyota.co.jp/en/corporate/22647198.html

Hyundai:
“In 2019 and 2020, the group and its partner firms will invest 300 billion won to increase their annual FCEV production capacity from 3,000 to 11,000. They are expected to create 1,300 jobs during the course. In 2022, the investment will be increased to 1.5 trillion won for an annual capacity of 40,000 vehicles. The target figures for 2025 are 2.9 trillion won and 130,000 vehicles.”
http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=27389

GM & Honda:
“Announced on Jan. 30, 2017, FCSM is the auto industry’s first joint venture formed to mass-produce hydrogen fuel cell systems. Production is expected to begin around 2020 with the output shared by Honda and GM, which will then use the systems separately in their respective products. “

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Oh, yes, plans. Implementation’s the problem.

Both Toyota and Honda are currently production constrained with regards to HFCVs. That will change. Toyota also expects to get the cost making a HFCV down to the cost of making a Corolla.

http://www.thedrive.com/tech/26050/exclusive-toyota-hydrogen-boss-explains-how-fuel-cells-can-achieve-corolla-costs

Yep. Decades ago is was said that, “Eventually fuel cells will be the wave of the future”. And you will be claiming that same thing ten years from now. By the time Toyota gets its fuel cells cheap, batteries will be solid state and cars will fly. And you and I will be in our graves.

Fuel cell are already quite cheap, close to hybrids if produced on similar scale when initial factory cost can be shared. That is without accounting for technological progress that is also going on. They may reach more significant scale by 2025, while the same Toyota are not so optimistic about solid state batteries reaching mass production at the same time as before. Neither they expect solid state to reduce cost so much, it still needs the same cathode materials.

But keep ignoring what is going on, wait until you see everything on street by your own eyes and longer. As new automotive product cycle takes at least several years, you will wait long time.

It’s not a point to discuss what is better, FCV vs EV, both tech should keep being developed, and both will take a role in fight for cleaner and greener world. Most likely fuel cells won’t be mainstream in cars, but for sure it should have an important role when it comes to heavy trucks, diesel trains replacement, ships and other vessels and other heavy machinery…

Actually at $16/kg H2 doesn’t make economic sense for any type of transport. The hydrogen lobby needs to figure out how to reduce that number by ~80% but so far prices have been going up rather than down.

Why would you expect prices to remain the same when the distribution network matures?

Because most of the costs are due to physical realities which cannot be changed. For example, the high-pressure pumps needed at H2 fueling stations will always cost far more than the simple pumps found at gas stations.

Also, there is no practical way to reduce the number of energy-wasting steps in the complex and expensive supply chain needed for supplying pressurized H2 fuel. Reducing the cost, or improving the efficiency, of any one step has little impact on the overall cost or inefficiency, because of the large number of steps in the chain. That’s an obvious application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (“No reaction is 100% efficient”), which those promoting the “hydrogen economy” hoax would like everyone to forget.

Most of the costs are fixed lump sum per station not depending on capacity, if you ever bothered to read cost breakouts provided by DOE. But you didn’t of course, just memorized some obsolete talking point list from last decade. High pressure compressors are indeed expensive, but if you look at natural gas fueling stations, you can find ones that fuel at 3600 psig nominal (245 times atmosphere pressure) at below $2/gge with tax and are just fine making money. These are 2-5 stage (depending on initial pressure) mechanical compressors, each stage increasing pressure something like 4 times. Just one extra stage is enough to increase it 3x more times to 10,000 psig nominal H2 pressure. There are many alternative ways to pressurize gas. Ionic compressors that use liquid that doesn’t contaminate fuel are in use for a while. Liquid pump and evaporating liquid hydrogen may avoid need of compressor at all, as used by some Linde stations. It is likely to be the way for near future higher capacity stations. High pressure electrolysis that raises pressure on site when electrolysing water was demonstrated by Honda prototype station years ago. Electrochemical compression and hydride compression were also demonstrated, although not… Read more »
I’m usually in agreement with you zzzzzzz but this time your calculations amount to pig latin. The energy embodied in 10,000 psi H2 is wasted in the vehicle as it is dissipated in heat, but as you say it is only 1360 wh /kg. So what? The vast majority of the compression energy is dissipated in the Heat of Compression. This is lost work. In fact, the typical large Hydrogen dispensary uses around 500 kw of motive power. Yes electric motors are very efficient, but the station still has to pay the electricity bill. We will have to see if more economical schemes come about in the future, but right now, the price is not likely to come down much without a needed technology advance. Maintenance and Real Estate costs are also quite high with the current State-of-the-art. Yes, Electrolysis only stations are more compact but these tend to use more input energy – negating this advantage. The only thing that makes sense to me is all these CEO’s just assumed engineering challenges would be quickly rectified – but the point is – when something has not happened yet, it is unwise to put all your eggs into a currently… Read more »

Bill Howland:
“The energy embodied in 10,000 psi H2 is wasted in the vehicle as it is dissipated in heat, but as you say it is only 1360 wh /kg. So what?”

It is theoretical minimum that is needed to compress H2 to 10,000 psi.
It was response to previous poster claim about some thermodynamic limits or whatever he has in mind, nothing more than that.

Compressor motor peak power and electrical rating may be high, but it is different story, and it doesn’t mean it is sustained power requirement.

zzzzzzzzz – quote: “It is theoretical minimum that is needed to compress H2 to 10,000 psi.”
——————–
And “theoretical minimum” is exactly what it is – with emphasis on the theoretical. In the real world – as any scuba diver will know – if you compress a gas it gets hot, let it expand and it gets cold. It’s the whole principle behind a refrigerator.

In this case, that heat (as with a dive cylinder) is simply a nuisance and has to be dissipated – it’s (in this case) wasted energy. And (as Bill correctly says) it’s far more than the 1.36kWh you are referring to – by an order of magnitude in a practical compressor.

The big Chestnut so far with Hydrogen Dispensaries is they cannot use relatively reliable reciprocating compression (which he states by comparison with 3000/3600 pound per square inch (PSI) compressed gas systems (which I am greatly in favor of since their wells to wheels efficiency really IS there and has for decades now been proposed to be used for home refueling – excepting that the CHEAP Reliable home refueler has never yet arrived)). If you read zzzzzz’s link – it is only a theoretical arrangement for a hydrogen station and they are still arguing among themselves which Noble Gasses to use to make it the most efficient (!!!!!). Seems to me that is far far away from being a ‘turnkey’ design. What zzzzzzz apparently DOES NOT KNOW, is that YES, adding another one or two stages to the 4 stage compressed methane compressors will get you up to 10,000 psi – what he doesn’t say is that for a quick fill station (what is always touted), they typically run at 15,000 psi, and besides you can’t use reciprocating compressors of any kind with Hydrogen since they haven’t solved the blowby (oil) issue – once oil gets in the hydrogen it will… Read more »

Pushi : 2nd thermo law is, in so many words,

“You must input additional energy to move HEAT from a sensibly colder body to a sensibly warmer one”.

Sensible heat is the kind you can feel, which the (dry-bulb) thermometer in your living room responds to.

It doesn’t refer to ‘reaction efficiency’.

Real word, mechanical stuff. No brakethroughs expect, maybe, cheaper electricity, which, in turn will make H2 case look worse.

Name the month & year the Hydrogen “distribution network” will mature.

It is still around $7/kg for US bus deposits producing their own H2 fuel.
Or around $10/kg in Europe or Japan, where it is already close to taxed gas at pump for regular ICE cars.

Fuel is just fraction of TCO anyway, and it would be stupid long term idea from environmental point of view to incentivize more unnecessary traffic and pollution with cheap fuel.

You have a point that it is apparently of great interest in China – so that is where I’d expect technology advances to occur.

Ok, I’ll bite… Exactly what is the format of the $7/kg bus depots? Does this include maintenance/repair costs – OR just the input fueling cost?

It is more than just distributed delivery cost. I didn’t dig into detailed breakout of it, just saw the number mentioned in recent NREL report on FC bus status:
https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy19osti/72208.pdf
Breakout should be in some other documents if you are interested.

Thanks for providing the link – I’ll take a look.

Ok just read the 50 page report. Currently the $2 million dollar bus costs about 48 cents per mile to refuel, compared with 38 cents with #2 fuel oil (Diesel), and 28 cents with Compressed Natural Gas (methane). Saw 7 mpg (DGE) and also that ‘those having their own hydrogen stations paid about $7 /kg – but no detail. If you go to a retail station they appear to be in the range of $13-16/kg H2. The question I would have about these dollar figures is – these prices are subsidized currently to a greater or lesser extent – they HAVE to be because of the current high maintenance cost of H2 dispensaries. (To be fair, the Solar Panels on my HOME I only put in due to basically the 1/2 price I got on the system due to tax credits – it is perfectly fair to call my system uneconomic if there had been zero tax advantaged purchases – and I also realize that TOTALLY UNSUBSIDIZED solar installations are really only compelling in southern California, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arizona. But my point is, is that in THOSE states, it is Silly *NOT* to use Solar power since… Read more »

” FCV vs EV, both tech should keep being developed…”

No, it is many years past the time for the overgrown science experiment of hydrogen-fueled FCEVs to be ended. There’s nothing more to be learned there. It’s not possible to “improve” the hydrogen molecule. As has been said in posts above, the only reason Toyota is selling the Mirai in the U.S. is because CARB regulations favor the car in a very unbalanced way.

There might be a future for FCEVs, but only if they’re powered by a more practical and more affordable fuel.

Waste of money by now.

These numbers aren’t a sign of demand, they are a sign the numbers their makers are willing to subsidize for compliance purposes. At real cost sales would be zero but if it makes sense from a compliance viewpoint the subsidy tap can be opened more to sell more.

It’s a dog and pony show with little bearing on consumer preferences or the commercial viability of the product.

I don’t think non-plug hydrogen FCEV’s will ever become a mass product, but a flexible-fuel cell as a range extender for a BEV might – replacing the ICE, not the battery.

“t a flexible-fuel cell as a range extender for a BEV might – replacing the ICE, not the battery.”

Agreed. An FC as a range extender would mitigate the high cost of hydrogen as well as diminish the investment required for fueling infrastructure, and at the same time mean a smaller FC stack which also lowers the cost, weight, and volume required.

If a plugin had say 80 miles of Battery range than for a typical US driver about 90% of all miles could be charged at home or work. The remaining 10% could be A combination of DCFC and H. This means your H fueling infrastructure can support 10 to 20 fold more vehicles than an H only user base.

It also means the high cost of H is a non issue since users would only need it for a fraction of their mile driven. Even then they would have the option of paying less if the are willing to wait for DCFC.

With all that said I doubt FCEVs will ever be more than niche players.

The problem with H2 as a range extender is the longer you keep H2 in the tank the less you have. I’ve only filled up my Volt once a year in the past. You can’t do that with H2. It leaks out and is vented when it warms, that’s why Big Oil wants it. Buy it today and if you don’t use it you loose it.

Even a Propane Volt, would be an owner challenge: only 2 Propane Fueling places, versus 9 Gas Stations, within 4 Kms of me!

Hydrogen has that issue, in the extreme! And, if GM is dropping the Volt, going all BEV, it seems, even they are “Getting it!”

It is gaseous, not liquid, how can it “leak when it warms”?? Tank permeability is part of tank certification process and it is negligible, enough for multi month storage. Unlike Li Ion or gasoline/ethanol mix.

Because it is hydrogen! It always will leak.

You can change the materials to slow it down but it will still leak – that is what hydrogen does – it leaks.

PS. In the past a number of people died in the rocket field because they thought hydrogen did not leak so much, they were wrong.

I am talking a flex-fuel FC, not hydrogen.

@Markh21518

That is not true. It’s a myth. You’re spreading FUD. The new hydrogen tanks with polymer lining do no leak and do not vent when warm. And it’s “lose it,” not “loose it.” For example, you loosen a screw, but you lose your virginity.

READ THE REPORTS AGAIN! The leak rate has been reduced, it has not been reduced to zero. Read the report yourself and point me to where the leakage has stopped – it has not -reduced, but is still there.

See:
https://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/pdfs/iiia5_lessing.pdf
https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/review14/st112_mcwhorter_2014_p.pdf
https://info.ornl.gov/sites/publications/Files/Pub48513.pdf
https://prod-ng.sandia.gov/techlib-noauth/access-control.cgi/2013/138904.pdf

I have seen, an early 2010 Mule, of a FUEL CELL EREV VOLT, but never heard, or read, much about it! It was at a GM Event, I got an invite to, in Toronto, Ontario!

It was an 80 kW Fuel Cell Power Unit, that essentially “Replaced” the 50 kW Gas Engine Generator, of the standard Volt. Unfortunately, it only had an 8 kWh Battery, if I remember correctly. But, today, that same space of battery, ‘Could’ hold 16-20 kWh, based on Leaf and i3 battery upgrades! So, it could still get about 50-60 Miles BEV Range!

However, the Complexity of adding the Fuel Cell, Tanks, and Valving, is now outweighed by just going straight BEV!

Probably another reason the Volt is being dropped by GM! Complex, and Bolt EV simplicity! With expansion of EV Charging Infrastructure, PHEV/EREV’s will dwindle in demand, I suspect. Model 3 Demand, and Uptake, is Demonstrating what a good BEV can do, for sales! Pretty Sure GM sees its sales numbers, too!

All FCVs already are basically BEVs with a range extender since the fuel cell takes time to start. In very extreme weather it can take close to 10 minutes to reach 100% rated output.

I agree that if there is a place for fuel cells then as smaller range extenders to sustain the average and not peak power demands.

“All FCVs already are basically BEVs with a range extender ”

Agreed. Part of the problem though is that they don’t currently offer a plug and the batteries are so small that it doesn’t make sense to add one. They are similar to the Nissan e-Power Note or Serena which have all electric drive trains but are powered100% by generators running on gasoline.

“All FCVs already are basically BEVs with a range extender since the fuel cell takes time to start.”

No. All production BEVs are plug-in EVs, but very few FCEVs are plug-ins.

It’s true that FCEVs are fully EVs, in that they use only an electric drivetrain to turn the wheels. But most FCEVs get all of their miles from burning hydrogen or other fuel, not from electricity drawn from the wall and stored onboard.

Electrochemistry for dummies: Fuel cells don’t burn any fuel. They oxidize hydrogen in electrochemical cells and produce water and electricity. No burning, firing or combustion involved.

You are not gaining any points here with this minor nick-picking.

Thats why I wrote “basically BEVs” – adding a plug is not complicated nor expensive.

Fueling a small ICE to serve as range extender backup makes way more sense than filling with hydrogen at stupidly high pressure at stations which don’t exist and won’t be built, let alone maintained.

Thank you!

It gets very tiresome reading all the suggestions that H2 powered fuel cells should be the range extender for plug-in EVs. That’s absurd. The problem with using highly pressurized H2 for fuel won’t go away by reducing the demand to merely what’s needed for a range extender. In fact, by reducing the demand for H2 and thus reducing the demand for H2 fueling stations, that would merely make the impracticality and high cost of H2 fueling stations even worse than it already is.

But, if Ford sold them in F150 Volumes (FC-EREV), the demand for H2 Fueling could be much higher, for example.

Maybe even better: H2 Stations won’t need to be so much in cities.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Public charging of BEVs is expensive, but overall it doesn’t matter because home charging is the vast majority of miles. A similar principle applies with PHFCV.

PHFCV would also, similar to home charging BEVs and public charging, reduce the required density of filling stations, which would make it cheaper to provide the necessary coverage to establish a market. In contrast, HFCVs would require more regular fills, so more conveniently located filling stations.

In a scenario in which the fuel cell stack costs decline significantly, but the fuel costs remain high, PHFCV (which in contrast to PHEV would not need to add an electric motor) could replace the hybrid battery with a larger battery and charging capability and operate as an EREV, reducing the fuel costs while providing faster refueling and still have no toxic tailpipe emissions and electric drive.

A question to all people who thumb-down FC threads (and probably don’t even understand that I am specifically talking about non-H2 FC’s): why do you even read a FC-related article?

Disgrace.

These numbers put to shame those in the past touting FCVs so strongly. John Rosevear wrote his 2015 article “Why Toyota’s Hydrogen Car Should Worry Tesla Motors Investors”:

https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/09/05/why-toyotas-hydrogen-car-should-worry-tesla-motors.aspx

It’s yet another historical example of FUD thrown at Tesla, specifically using Toyota’s now-proven-foolish errand into FCVs worldwide.

Some laughable Rosevear lines: “Toyota says fuel cells are “a better battery”” and “Toyota’s electric-car experts came to the conclusion that recharging time would prove to be an insurmountable obstacle in the mass adoption of battery-electric cars.” – Compare this 2300 FCV sales to the explosion of plug-in sales in the “Plug In Sales Scorecard”. “Toyota (and others) are investing in networks of hydrogen-refueling stations, just as Tesla has invested in its charging network.” – That was 2015, and by 2019 the yield from that investment is ridiculously paltry and nothing like the effectiveness of Tesla’s investment in its network. “And right now, there are very few hydrogen refueling stations in the U.S. For most consumers, it doesn’t make any sense.” – True in 2015, and it’s still severely lacking in 2019 and still “doesn’t make any sense”. Rosevear’s concluding sentence: “I think that anyone investing in battery-electric automotive technology needs to ponder the Mirai — and the thinking that led to it — very carefully.” – The US has had 3+ years to think about it so carefully and decided to give Tesla 100x the market share of Toyota’s FCV sales in 2018. What a resounding pro-Tesla message from… Read more »

Rosevear is a comedian now.

It’s too bad that the Oracle From Omaha has not presented that information, on National TV! While you present the facts, only a few inside EVs readers read them!

When Tesla Pays its large Bond Debt, in this Q1 period, and “Still” shows a Profit, maybe Wall Street will think about changing their Negative Tune on Tesla, too! (Maybe, but unlikely!)

Well, it’s certainly an example of why we should ignore, or at least be highly skeptical of, what passes for “arguments” and “reasoning” in Tesla bashing screeds posted to investor sites such as “The Motley Fool.com”.

It depends on the author. Daniel Sparks “gets” Tesla, so read his articles.
Back when Fool.com had comments I had many spats with Rosevear, including this article.

Hahaha!!! I think Tesla’s car (and cars like them) is giving Toyota just a bit of worry. They have said the “Mirai is much more important to Toyota than even the Prius”.

To me, that even sounded dumb at the release of the Mirai….. Don’t these CEO’s realize that just WANTING a technology to reach maturity is not the same thing as actual realization?

Perhaps they have been watching too many H2 powered Star Trek reruns there in Japan. A few hundred years from now they may be having something totally compelling. But none of us will live to see it.

If utility scale, fuel cell power plants show up to replace natural gas fired power plants, it could make sense. Fuel cells could then prove they are more efficient than the 60% efficient, combustion plants. But we’re not seeing that in real life.

Without a significant, thermal mass, a fuel cell power plant should be easily throttled. They could provide a topping service like the Tesla battery system in Australia, Hornbrook. However, they aren’t there … are they.

GENCEL reports it takes 70 gm to make 1 kWh of electricity. In California, hydrogen sells for ~$15/kg. So that makes each kWh, (70/1000) * $15 = $1.05 / kWh. In Huntsville, we pay $0.10 / kWh. California would have to see a 10 fold decrease in 99.99% pure hydrogen to reach parity.

And interesting that with electrolysis about 45kWh to make a kg of hydrogen (uncompressed – at least a third more to 700 bar) – put another way, a kWh will make about 22 grams.

So as energy storage, via the hydrogen route, you’d need at least 3 kWh to make enough hydrogen to be able to generate 1 kWh in a fuel cell – more if you needed to compress it. This is where quotes of hydrogen being grossly inefficient in terms of energy storage cf batteries come from.

Yet, if H2 can be supplied, and give a needed run time, for less WEIGHT than Batteries, some may see an advantage, yet, inspite of all the losses and control complexity. Occupied VOLUME, however, might be another problem!

Robert – the *hydrogen* may weigh less than a battery, but the weight of hydrogen *plus pressure vessel and fuel cell* is a different matter! So overall, much less difference than you may think. And with regenerative braking overall weight is far less an issue than with a conventional car – more energy needed to accelerate or climb a hill, true – but get a lot back when “braking” or going downhill.

But “Crazy Does Not Need Facts!” Especially like yours! Lobbying, Bribery, and Favor Pedling, seem all the rage, in the world of Fuel Cells, so why would they let such logical facts get in their way?

Here in Ontario I pay $0.068 cents at night for power.

PS> That is CDN so even 30% cheaper in USD.

I haven’t seen any data suggesting that even large-scale fuel cell stacks are more than 50-60% energy efficient. The stacks are made by assembling many small fuel cells, aren’t they? So where would the advantage of scale apply in energy efficiency? And some efficiency would be lost in the reformer that would be necessary for such power plants to use a practical fuel — probably natural gas since that’s the cheapest and it’s quite abundant.

I suppose that would result in lower pollution than actually burning natural gas to produce power, altho I’m not sure it would result in lower CO2 output (which I don’t consider “pollution” as it’s not toxic), since the reformer would emit CO2 when stripping the hydrogen out of the hydrocarbon (natural gas) fuel.

Top selling fuel cell car sees 7.5% sales drop.
Is that the fat lady getting ready to sing?

Be interesting to see what happens at the Olympics in Tokyo next year.

They were touting using them to “show off superior Japanese technology” and hydrogen fuel cell cars and 8k television were two of the subjects scheduled to be promoted. With Toyota and Honda both now seeming to be moving to BEV production, and fuel cell car production stagnant at best, I wonder if we’ll see an emphasis shift at the Olympics as well – atheletes being driven around in a (new) Toyota BEV instead of hydrogen fuel cell.

If that was to be the case, I’d see that as the final nail in the fuel cell for cars coffin.

(I don’t think they can have a minority place for cars. I agree that for a considerable time to come BEVs may not suit some users, but more sensible for such to simply continue with diesel/petrol/hybrid for the next 10-20 years – not set up a completely new infrastructure for what will only ever be a small minority of cars. And for users who will probably be happy with BEVs of 20 years time anyway.)

Insideevs, can you please do a research and post a news article on what is behind Hyundai’s (desperate) push of the “fool cells”. They are the only automaker, besides Toyota, that still talk fuel cells are the long term solution, while everyone else have already moved tovards EVs. One interesting thing I noticed while closely following their new car development over the past couple of months is that every press release the publish and is related to their EVs, also mentions fuel cell vehicles and how they are superior tech compared to BEVs. I wonder why they are doing this, but seems like “someone” is urging them to do that. Why would they do that, when they obviously build the most efficient EVs out there?? In addition, I am attaching some of the articles proving my point (please editors, don’t delete them & use them in a future news article). So, here we go: 1. Title: Hyundai Motor heir named co-chair of Hydrogen Council Source: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190124000592 2. Title: Korea to produce 6.2 million hydrogen cars by 2040 Source: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190117000468 3. Korea sets FCEV target at 80,000 units by 2022 Source: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190116000671 4. Title: Hyundai Motor to build 2nd fuel cell… Read more »

FCVs are toast. I don’t see them working as a mainstream LDV technology, as a range extender, or as a heavy duty truck power source. The economics are awful and the energy/climate flows are equally bad.

As I’ve said before on this site, I have to wonder how we’ll unwind from this hydrogen boondoggle. There could well be a program in which, for example, Toyota says that if you’ve leased a Mirai and there are no longer any fueling stations within X miles of your house (because they’ve started closing) you can turn the car in early and cancel the rest of your lease.

Who is the “we” who needs to unwind from this boondoggle? CARB needs to end its subsidy for fool cell cars, period. Failing that, at the very least it needs to adjust the rules so they don’t favor fool cell cars over plug-in EVs.

I’m sure nearly all California taxpayers would be glad to cut off this crazy funding of the “hydrogen economy” hoax, if they really understood the issue. No “unwinding” necessary. Big Oil is behind the push to build public H2 fueling stations; Big Oil can certainly absorb the costs of such stations being abandoned. And if Toyota has spent billions of dollars throwing more good money after bad down the rathole of fool cell car development, despite the very clear rules of thermodynamics and basic economics (EROI) proving their impracticality beyond any reasonable doubt, then that is nobody’s fault but Toyota’s. Ditto for Honda, altho at least Honda hasn’t been promoting the idea that fool cell cars are “the future of automobiles” as Toyota has.

“…the Toyota Mirai noted 1,700 deliveries, which is 7.5% less than a year earlier.”

How disappointing that Toyota can still found ~1700 people in the U.S. to buy their fool cell cars last year, even after most of the former fool cell fanboys have finally faced the reality that there is no magic way to make hydrogen into a practical or affordable fuel.

At least we can find some comfort in the fact that sales are finally declining on a year-on-year basis, but it’s disappointing that sales have not yet dropped off a cliff.

Pushmi-Pullyu – quote: “How disappointing that Toyota can still found ~1700 people in the U.S. to buy their fool cell cars last year……” —————– But I believe they’re offering a lease price which includes ‘free” hydrogen? So the cost *to the user* may make a lot of economic sense (to user). But nothing comes without cost – in this case the hydrogen is effectively being subsidised. And as with other subsidies, that’s one thing in the short term with limited quantities – quite another in the longer term, or if Toyota greatly increased production. And if each car is effectively costing them money, are they going to increase the numbers made greatly? Simple answer is “no”. It’s one thing to make a loss in early developmental stages – not sustainable long term. And having now seen that BEVs are selling well, I suspect Toyota will be less and less happy to make cars that are destined to make a large overall loss. No doubt continue small scale as a “hedge your bets” insurance, and against too strong a loss of face, but the tide does look to have turned. That’s why I think it will be interesting to see what… Read more »

I confess I don’t understand how it makes economic sense for Toyota to subsidize up to, what is it, $15,000 worth of H2 fuel over the time of a 3-year lease? Surely the CARB credits they get from leasing one Mirai aren’t worth that… are they?

You’re 100% correct to say that there is no way that Toyota could scale up sales and maintain that level of subsidy. It’s economically impossible.

I understand the attraction for Japanese auto makers to make fool cell cars, when Japan subsidizes those (or did) up to as much as nearly $20,000 per Mirai. That makes economic sense. I do not understand why Toyota offers the Mirai in the U.S. where they have to subsidize the sales with such an enormous “free fuel” offer. Surely the ZEV credits aren’t worth that much… are they???

I have long entertained a personal conspiracy theory that Big Oil is funding Toyota and other Japanese auto makers under the table, to support their development and production of fool cell cars. However, I have never seen even a shred of evidence to support that conspiracy theory.

Pushmi-Pullyu – I normally find “cock-up” is a more likely explanation than “conspiracy”, and I tend to think that here. Hydrogen and fuel cells were first considered when they seemed the ONLY technology for getting zero-emission exhausts. Batteries then were simply too expensive to be considered by most.

Subsequently, they – like many projects – develop a life and inertia of their own. Once a company has backed an approach as “their” way, then even when a newer and better solution comes along it’s hard to turn a juggernaut around.

In the early days of a technological development, it’s normal for an element of subsidising to be involved to get something off the ground, into mass production and to then let economies of scale take over to profitability. With fuel cell cars, that should have happened several years ago, and with every year of further battery improvements and lowering costs, such mass take up looks further and further away.

Toyota may have been prepared to accept a loss on each fuel cell car in the early days, but the longer it goes on, the less tenable such becomes.

If Toyota “Sold” the Mirai, instead of Only Leasing it, I wonder how many would have traded it in on a Model 3?

Toyota does sell the Mirai outright to customers. Stop making stuff up.

I’m shocked there were that many. Were they fleet sales subsidized by the manufacturers? I don’t believe 2300 individual consumers decided to buy one of these white elephants with just the standard EV incentives.

So, about 80% of Tesla First Roadster Total Sales? Or, about 3 Days worth of Model 3 Production? Wow! Super Impressed!
/S 😂🤣

I’m surprised they sold that many

Hydrogen fuel cells are a solution in search of a problem to solve.

Lol @ people that actually spent their money on fool cell vehicles

You guys should know perfectly well that nobody has promised more the few thousand per year volume of FCEV production until around 2021, when higher volume factories, that are in construction now, will go into production.

Yet you keep bashing this zero tailpipe alternative. Are you feeling so insecure by cars like Nexo that demonstrate future technology that potentially leaves Tesla in dust by range, TCO and ability to provide drop-in replacement of ICE across full product range without unrealistic requirements to change your way of life?

Yeah, wake me up when a commercial FCEV demonstrates total cost of ownership (TCO) better than a comparable BEV. That ain’t happing any time soon.

Hyundai Nexo: 380 miles range, range extension from 0 to 100% in 3-5 minutes. Lease in CA: $399 or $449/month depending on trim, including fuel and options. Closest comparable Model X BEV with lower range leases for several times more, plus electricity cost.

Older Mirai: 312 miles range, range extension from 0 to 100% in 3-5 minutes. Lease: $350/mo including fuel, options and maintenance. Closest comparable Model 3 BEV would lease for over $752/mo, if you can lease it at all, plus electricity, options and maintenance. That is including mostly the same CARB credits and other incentives.

Industrial vehicles are traditionally BEVs, now are being replaced at mass scale in big multi-shift warehouses with FCEVs because of TCO advantage. Check payoff numbers provided by USPS for H2 conversion in their recent national distribution center near D.C. Payoff is under 2 years comparing to BEVs.
https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/review18/ia003_burgess_2018_o.pdf

All this doesn’t work for everybody and everywhere of course, and scale is very low so far. But it does demonstrate technological and TCO advantage under certain conditions, and it means it is going to expand. Of course BEVs may have better TCO under different conditions.

The Hyundai and Toyota FCEV lease costs, including hydrogen fuel, are not representative of actual costs of the cars and fuel.

The industrial vehicle pilot program used by the Post Office compares fuel cell tech to old lead acid battery tech, which went out the window for automotive use back before the turn of the century. The fuel cells were able to save them money because they save on labor time wasted by switching and charging batteries. A modern lithium ion battery pack should enable one charge per day instead of 3 charges/swaps per day, and the batteries should last more like 10 years than the 3 years that they get out of lead acid. The presentation says that they had compatibility issues with the fuel cells for Class 3 PIVs, but does not elaborate about what the problem was.

Yet uber efficient, cost cutting businesses like Amazon and Walmart are replacing their lead acid forklifts in their warehouses with hydrogen fuel cell forklifts and not lithium-ion forklifts. Why? Because their warehouses operate 24/7 and charging a lithium-ion battery would take much, much longer than the super quick 3 minutes it takes to refill a hydrogen forklift. Also, hydrogen fueling costs are nowhere near $15/kg when you own the refueling equipment and don’t have to buy hydrogen on the spot market.

Li Ion battery forklifts are available and evaluated for a while but they don’t have all the magic properties you list and so are not going into use as quick. They still discharge early, take long time to charge, require charging room, are too expensive for full day work sized battery, are fire hazard, don’t work in freezers and so on.

Ok then to make a one liner of it “When COST IS NO OBJECT, Fuel Cell Vehicles are the way to go!”.

I’ll grant you that. But there is no car driving or bus riding that I do that is so important that I don’t have to worry about costs.

CARB limits consumers to three rebates. So I guess you can lease nine years of FCVs and then your days of sucking $5000 from the taxpayers are finished. So use it now because you won’t get many more opportunities to fleece CARB on a science experiment.

Besides, once Toy and companies start selling more, do you think they are going to be willing to subsidize a $55K FCV for $65K? And to be precise, TCO means OWNERSHIP, not a three year lease.

Nope. There is a two rebate limit for rebates issued after January 1, 2015.

“Rebate Limit”
“Except for rental, public and car share fleets, no single entity is eligible to receive more than two CVRP rebates either via direct purchase and/or lease as of January 1, 2015. All rebates issued prior to this date do not count toward the two rebate limit.”

https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/eligibility-guidelines

Come on guys – and Mark Kane!
Nobody promised hydrogen cars to compete with EV’s by now. Hydrogen is a future technology that will have it’s role in transportation. Plenty of places on this planet have an insufficient grid that cannot deliver what it takes to power a nations fleet of EV’s. And hydrogen can be produced locally by renewable power sources, and that alone makes it a valueable ressource in the long run.
And mentioning how bad steam reformation is from an energy conservation view is just so low. The electricity that powers an EV could just as well be made from coal, and therefore have a huge CO2 footprint. It is in fact in some countries, but that does not make EV’s bad.
As long as the US keeps fragging massively for natural gas, hydrogen will not have a chance. But once carbon based fuels become scarce, a whole new era with many more power source and distribution channels than today will become a reality.

I think hydrogen has too many drawbacks and limitations to become an effective fuel for uses like personal transportation. They will need to use a liquid fuel like ethanol or methanol, or maybe compressed gaseous methane, which carries energy much more densely than hydrogen. Fuel cells will likely find a place in our future energy economy, but I doubt that hydrogen will be a widely used fuel.

Using a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell running on ethanol as a range extender is more likely a realistic approach than the Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells running on hydrogen.

Methane is more dense in theory, but in practice it already standardized on 3000-3600 psig fueling, not 10,000 psig, and needs quite low efficiency ICE to work. So far it works fine for heavy duty trucks, but nat. gas cars in US have died together with oil price bubble. They may still have chance in Asia and some other countries.

PEM fuel cells just have higher efficiency than ICE, no tailpipe emissions or vibrations. But they need pure hydrogen, not methane.

Solid oxide FC may run on methane or any hydrocarbons, but they are high temperature that is needed to reform methane to hydrogen, and so they can’t quickly start up and down as needed for automotive application. There are some compact SOFCs developed that use electric heaters for quick startup, but it’s estimated that they would need something like 28 minutes of running to “pay off” for electricity lost when heating up cell. May work for a car like BMW i3 ReX with big battery, but just that.

Then if the goal is to get renewable energy from sources like solar/wind, it is hydrogen, not methane. You can synthesize methane from hydrogen, but it would be just extra step, quite dubious, when Nexo already demonstrates 380 mile range, comparable with gasoline crossovers, without compromising interior space significantly. Future FCEV generations are likely to be further improved.

If you burn or use methane in automotive FC, you have CO2 released, there is no practical way to capture it on road. On the contrary, if you go other way around and reform methane in a plant, you have pure CO2 stream that is easy to capture and is done in practice at large scale. Or you can use methane pyrolysis instead that produces H2 and solid carbon, avoiding gaseous CO2 altogether. Pyrolysis output is somewhat lower than steam reforming, but if you assign value to CO2 emissions by one or another way, e.g. $50 per tonne, it gets cost competitive with steam reforming, and that is what is proposed by some nat. gas producers now.

You can make bio-methane, methanol, or ethanol, all promising energy carries, via agriculture and processing. We have a big problem with agriculture releasing methane to the atmosphere at present, actually.

the dane – quote: “Nobody promised hydrogen cars to compete with EV’s by now. Hydrogen is a future technology that will have it’s role in transportation.” —————— They were promised by now! Back in 2009 there was a report about Hondas first hydrogen fuel cell car, reported (at the time) with tones of “why are japan so far ahead of us in this technology?” Answer (from local hydrogen enthusiast) was along the lines of “we weren’t expecting competition until around 2012”. He then went on to say that the Honda car meant HFC’s would take off pretty quickly. That was in 2009………. They were only initially considered as they seemed in the early 2000’s the only viable technology for zero tailpipe emissions. Batteries were seen as too expensive to be viable. Roll on 20 years, and all that has changed, not only have battery prices/technology improved to make such viable, the improvement has rendered hydrogen and fuel cells non-viable. It’s only struggling on at all thanks to vested interests and subsidies. And if you say (due to an insufficient grid) the answer should be hydrogen produced via solar locally, then why not (far more efficiently) just use that solar directly… Read more »

PHEVs haven’t had a year with so few sales since 2010, when they had ~845 between the Tesla Roadster, Chevy Volt, and Nissan Leaf. (Tesla had ~60% of the EV market that year, and ~100% in 2008 and 2009! I feel mislead by the amount the Karma gets talked about with relation to Tesla… really, it debuted so late it was more a competitor to the Model S than the Roadster, which was already winding down in the US by then.)

By 2011, sales had shot up to about 18735 between Leaf, Volt, Roadster, Ford/Azure Transit Connect Electric, Fisker Karma, and Mitsibishi i-MiEV, over 8x higher than Fuel Cell sales in the US in 2018.

PEVs

They can if gas companies are will to spen on infrastructure

If I was about to buy a FCEV in 2018, I had waited for the Hyundai NEXO.
This is a state of the art FC, and it`s a family SUV. Why buy yesterdays technology when you know you can get the next generation by waiting a few months ? 2019 will be a different story.

Non of these were sales but giveaway leases with free H2. Nonsense.

The Mirai is available for purchase or lease.

Hydrogen and Electric are no more competing technologies than Jetpacks and airplanes. They will co-exist. There are advantages to each and the Future belongs to Hybrid technology. Vehicles that can harness multiple energy sources and transport mechanisms will win.. The Hydrogen Hovercraft that can run off batteries charged by the sun or fueled by water or that can extract heat or exothermic energy. One day you will get there. This planet is just so very very very far behind right now.

The good news? There were only 2300 people in 2018 foolish enough to actually take delivery of a FCEV.

The wave of the future.

Yes I wave at the extremely rare Fool Cell vehicles I see as I pass them in my real car of the future– my Model 3!

All you have to do is look at the stations. There are a handful of stations around San Francisco and LA and a few more sprinkled around the state, and that’s it, for the entire USA. If you are in LA and want to drive to see Death Valley, too bad. There are no stations. You can’t drive there. This is true for most of California outside LA. The biggest cities in the San Francisco Bay Area are San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. There are a few stations sprinkled around the area, but how many are actually in these three cities? Only one station, in San Jose. Sure there are planned stations. There are always planned stations. I’ve been watching the California hydrogen station map for the last 10 years. Lots, if not most, of those planned stations never get built. They cost millions to build, and more importantly, they cost a lot to maintain. And how many cars can they handle? Lets look at that one station in San Jose. It has 115kg of H70 hydrogen (the higher pressure hydrogen that lets you fill your tank). At 5kg to fill a car, that’s 23 cars. After 23 cars… Read more »