Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Compared To Electric Cars – Video

JAN 31 2015 BY MARK KANE 122

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle vs Electric Vehicle – Energy Efficiency (source)

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle vs Electric Vehicle – Energy Efficiency (source)

Audi A7 Sportback h-tron

Audi A7 Sportback h-tron

Tony Seba published an interesting article titled “Toyota vs. Tesla – Can Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles Compete with Electric Vehicles?” with a video presentation (see below) on the general sense (sensibility?) of hydrogen fuel cell cars.

As one would expect, the answer presented by Seba is that hydrogen fuel cell cars make no sense at all.

Seba explains a little bit on how hydrogen could be produced, what efficiency we could expect and stresses that there is now no infrastructure.

Maybe the most important part is that, according to Seba, talks with automotive representatives shows that, in the best case scenario, hydrogen at stations would need to be sold for the equivalent of some $4 a gallon (ouch!).

“How do Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles compare with Electric Vehicles?

HFCVs and EVs are usually mentioned in the same ‘clean’ or ‘zero emissions’ categories. They are usually mentioned by the media as direct competitors to substitute the fossil fuel internal combustion engine transportation infrastructure.

How do HFCVs really compare with EVs? Is hydrogen really clean? Is it renewable? Do HFCVs have a chance against EVs?

This video looks at the facts to compare HFCVs and EVs.”

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122 Comments on "Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Compared To Electric Cars – Video"

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Hydrogen is the corporate world’s answer to centralized control of our energy supply. It is the same model of supply and distribution the oil companies have. I don’t see it gaining any traction in spite of how much it will be heralded.
Highly efficient methods of electrolysis have, and are, being developed which make on board generation of HHO very feasible (re: Stan Meyers, etc). Whether or not it will be implemented is another story.


It will gain traction because it’s something the government can tax


The only Way this Would make à réal break is for Ô il commpanys too subsadise thé hole transition , which
Would take ten years

Why the goofy characters?

He is French and posting with a foreign language keyboard on his iPhone? IDK.

On-board HHO is a minor tweak for an ICE using gasoline or diesel, giving marginal benefits.

Claims about it beyond that are nonsense, and you can’t even get close to FC efficiency, let alone EV efficiency.

Stan Meyers ran a car from coast to coast purely on HHO (no gasoline). He was about to go into production when he died under very suspicious circumstances. Like I mentioned, others are very close to replicating his system.
The control of energy is serious business. Research suppression of free energy and you’ll find Meyers was not alone by any means.

Claims for “HHO” are just one variety of perpetual motion claims.

Your dark hint of “mysterious circumstances” is typical of the sort of conspiracy theories favored by those who believe perpetual motion might be real. Right up there with claims that a supposed “300 MPG carburetor” was suppressed.

Even if that was true, so what? Electrolysis followed by combustion in an ICE is a horrible waste of energy, and you have to be retarded to think that doing so on board is of any use.

Stan Meyers is a complete fraud, even worse than Dick Weir and his EEStor scam.

Yeah, keep thinking that way guys. Don’t do any research or make up your own mind. Good sheep believe everything they’re told.

If any of this “very suspicious circumstances” crap had any basis in reality whatsoever, Elon Musk should have died 20 years ago. Yet there he stands.

I think that the “very suspicious circumstances” aren’t his death, but the fact that the claims and “research” he made weren’t recorded or are otherwise magically “lost”. I would sooner believe that this guy was a complete fraud than believe that big bad big oil caused an accident in their favour, in no small part because the physics don’t back up his claim.

The exact reason I drive an EV, charge it from my house batteries, that are charged with my solar panels. Zero marginal costs after the sunk costs are paid for.

Been saying this same thing for some time. Along with the other obvious (or not so obvious) issue of how are you going to convince consumers to buy a technology that doesn’t do anything better for them than gasoline (other than maybe being cleaner) when it costs several times more for the vehicle and the fuel than gasoline?

One of the best things about an EV is freedom from the pump. FCEV can’t do that.

He did not mention that H2 is the smallest atom we know and it is impossible to make a valve that does not leak. Do we really want to take the chance and have H2 in our garages and boom we have an explosion?


Yes, H2 makes the material of it’s containers brittle over time. Specially when under high pressure.

And there are problems with potential leaking in the fuel cell system. The problem is that no garage is built with a potential H2 leakage in mind, so the gas might be trapped inside the building with some serious consequences as a result.

The smallest atom is H

H is the smallest atom and H2 is the smallest molecule.

the people who criticize FCV seem to want to promote the view that FCV technology can never be more than it is today. yet the same people want to promote the view that BEVs have a technology curve for improvement. there are shortcomings with BEVs, and FCV is one way to address a major shortcoming – lengthy recharge times.

while EV enthusiasts may not mind waiting around for hour(s) for their cars to recharge, in many non-leisure contexts, such as commercial ones, you can’t afford that kind of down time. although apparently for some EV enthusiasts, and elon musk fanboys, it is easier to see FCV as some kind of “conspiracy” rather than as an attempt to develop a practical solution.

“while EV enthusiasts may not mind waiting around for hour(s) for their cars to recharge,”
You can’t make that kind of statement when 9 of the 20 available plugins have LESS wait time than ICEs in the form of a PHEV, with two sharing the pure electric experience in the form of an EREV (Volt and i3Rex).
If FCV really wanted to be a solution, they would come in the form of an EREV. That way, you overcome the filing argument, could grow into the hydrogen infrastructure, while spending much less time at the pump. FCVs do not want this comparison for you want sell enough product at the pump. Also, over time, EREVs become the gateway to BEVs not FCVs, which brings you full circle back to the speaker’s premise.

EREV is the best option for automotive use, with the objective being to replace virtually all gasoline usage in day to day driving with the flexibility that drivers have come to expect in going where they want, when they want (and no, i don’t think that most non-EV enthusiasts would be enthusiastic about having to wait around for an hour while their car recharges). EREV doesn’t work as well in commercial usages because you use up the stored charge and you have to keep the vehicles moving, so you end up using gasoline for a larger portion of the time. in that context, FCEV could potentially work better because of the ability to quickly refill and keep moving. in some respects, i see the real potential for FCEV is as a diesel fuel replacement. so i fundamentally see things differently from you because i see PHEV as being more of a gasoline replacement while i see FCEV as being more of a diesel replacement. of course, the technology of electric vehicles is still developing so it is difficult to say how it will ultimately evolve in the marketplace. but in any event, i see electrification as being an evolutionary process… Read more »

Why do we see fast gasoline fill up as standard and electrical recharge as a forced slow operation when it can perfectly be the other way around. You could be limited to using a dropper to fill you gasoline tank and take 10 h to do so, and you could recharge your ev at 1 MW in just 6 minutes at 6000 volts. The way it is now is more a question of choice not of possibilities. We psychologically think a battery should be limited to 400 v but there is absolutely no obligation for that, we could potentially increase the voltage to 24000 volts or at least 6000 volts. Today we kind of live in an ev world similar to what a gasoline world would be if pump stations where on purpose limited to droppers. It is just mind boggling why we keep on limiting voltage like that.

What’s the latest thing you want Priusmaniac? 1000 kw charge rate? Ok so thats like 1250 kw from the power stations.

So the means we’re gonna charge at a 12 c rate? So we are going to dissipate around 500 kw INSIDE THE CAR in heat, which is a 125 ton heat load.. So we need around another 50 kw to run the tow alongside refrigeration plant to charge your car.

Uh Huh.

According to this reference, charging a lithium ion battery at 10C can be 89.5% efficient: https://www.princeton.edu/~spikelab/papers/084.pdf

Given this efficiency, if you are charging a 100 kWh battery at 1000 kW, you should only have to dissipate something like 117 kW of heat from the battery. Since a conventional car dissipates more heat energy from it’s cooling system than mechanical energy it gets for its engine, getting an EV to dissipate 117 kW doesn’t seem too hard even if the EV isn’t moving.

Great… Do it…. I wagered 6 years ago the fastest you’d ever see cars practically charge is 150 kw. You know of some place that economically does it faster?

There are charging systems out there today that do 600 kW charging for electric buses. I don’t see why 150 kW should be the limit for cars?

I think there are atleast two or three different systems with >600 kW charging. There are even electric ferries that are charged with 600 kW.

150 kW charge rates would let us get nearly 200 miles of AER in just over 20 minutes of charging. (3.5 miles per kWh and only charging to 80%-90% of capacity)
That would be sufficient for the vast majority of us. Almost three hours of driving and then a 20 minute pit stop, then another three hours of driving. You can cover a lot of the country driving like that. Once you get the 200 mile recharge time under 30 minutes you have done 90% of the job. Getting closer to 20 minutes is nice but not completely necessary. The old fashioned folks that want to drive 2000 miles with just 2 breaks of ten minutes each aren’t going to be driving any type of electric car, anyway.

There are very sound economic reasons for wanting to get BEV charge time down to 10 minutes or even less. For example, the owner of a for-profit fast-charge station isn’t going to want a single customer tying up a charge point for half an hour. The faster that customer gets charged up and leaves, the faster he’ll get another paying customer to use that spot. And, if you were driving a BEV on a long trip and saw two fast-charge-stations, one offering a 10 minute charge, and the other a 20 minute charge, which would you pick? Tesla Motors’ CTO said they want to get charge time down to the range of 5-10 minutes. It seems inevitable that competition will indeed drive down charge times to that range. That said, we can’t just airly dismiss the increasing costs and difficulty of supplying BEVs with ever-faster charges. Cars must be built with more robust onboard charging equipment, and ultra-fast-charge stations will have to be supplied by high-tension electric power lines. There will be a tradeoff in decreasing charge times vs. increasing cost for both the fast-charge station and the BEV. Somewhere in there will be the “sweet spot” where the for-profit… Read more »

Unbelievable nonesense. Do you really think you’d ever see a car with a built in 40 ton refrigeration system to cool the charging/battery apparatus?

The biggest refrigeration systems ever put into a passenger vehicle were those HUGE cadillacs and lincolns (that wouldn’t even fit in most garages) that had 5 ton air conditioners.

Getting rid of heat at 240 degrees F is much easier than getting rid of heat at 85 degrees F.

I agree that the rate of heat transfer is proportional to the temperature difference. But the amount of heat that a high performance car (e.g. 1000 hp) has to dissipate is also a lot higher than 117 kW (a crude ballpark is 1,300 kW based on info at a couple of racing websites). If you are just trying to get the battery closer to ambient temperature, why would you need a refrigeration system rather than a conventional radiator? Granted it might take silly looking scoops like on the Mirai to get enough airflow. But I don’t see why it would require an air conditioner on steroids. But even if it did- why not have the air conditioner at the charging site rather than on the vehicle?

Mainly because there has not been a quick connect invented yet which will keep non-condensibles out of the refrigeration system. Perhaps you are talking about a different time in the future when battery longevity is unaffected by heat.

The Leaf drivers in Tucson would be much more interested in this than I am.

Of course if getting the fast charge time down to something like five minutes really is as difficult as you imply, then just go with battery swap. The swap stations might be expensive, but they are still probably cheaper than current hydrogen filling stations.

Refridgeration? Since when do batteries have to be at AC temperatures to recharge?

100kW is easy to cool in a car. A 500kW car will need to cool 1500kW primarily through a radiator that doesn’t go above 190F. Yeah, cooling at 90F is harder, but not 20x harder.

The limitation for charging is not cooling. It’s cell chemistry. Batteries that can take 10C charging either lose life doing so or are much higher cost.

Well, I would suppose what happens with my 2 evs if of no importance, but both airconditioners in both of my cars run in even cool weather when charging the batteries, although the volt, at a leisurely 3.3 kw rate, runs the air conditioner somewhat less often.

I always see people posting how EASY it is to charge a car at 24,000 volts, or 1,000 KW or whatever.

I’d just like to see these people show me a situation where this is matter of factly done easily and cheaply and reliably.

What is the ESR of this battery that supposedly can charge in 2 minutes?

This is right up there with the articles 50 years ago, about nuclear powered vacuum cleaners and toasters. They weren’t too far off, only our smoke detectors are nuclear powered, but we don’t use that phraseology and it still needs a carbon-zinc battery.

Frank Lloyd Wright (the big expert architect) also said we’d have Nuclear Powered Elevators.

He’s a big expert right so I should believe him?

The only thing that I’ve seen with a relatively low ESR is a supercapacitor. But I won’t see one of those thats better than most batteries in decades, or I might not see it at all.

But to quote a Scientific article with no science in it, is not very convincing. Not to someone who has been around the block at least.

You’re making a lot of poor assumptions.

A good battery can do thousands of cycles at even 120F:

Cooling liquid in a closed circuit to 120F or even 85F need far less refridgeration than cooling air to 70F, which is why air conditioners always blow much colder air.

Battery systems can have 94% AC-DC-AC round trip efficiency:
That means charging alone can be over 97% efficient today.

So for you to rule out higher charging solely due to cooling requirements is nonsense. That has nothing to do with it.

You know what is really a SCREAM??

Here people complain that I’m saying that charging at 1,000 kw is ‘difficult’, shall we say, and that I’m not keeping up with current technology.

But then when talking about the Chevy Volt, I say it wouldn’t be difficult to get the car to charge at 6.0 or 6.6 kw.

To which I’m instantly jumped on saying the wiring or water cooling, or whatever systems couldn’t conceivably handle such an EXTREME charging rate!!!

Don’t get me started on the tortoise like charge rate on my Chevy Volt… I was at a seminar with a bunch of GM bigwigs and they were repeatedly asked when the faster charge rate would be built into the Volt. They preached the company line, that only 5% of the charging is done at 3.3 kW away from the home. They completely fail to realize that that 5% of our charging is irritating as all he**.

Ultra-fast-charging for long-range BEVs is not going to be accomplished by massive air conditioning systems, either onboard or at the fast-charge station. It’s going to be accomplished by:

1. Using advanced batteries optimized for high charging efficiency, so there is little waste heat generated when they are charged.

(For example: “Ultra-fast charging batteries that can be 70% recharged in just two minutes”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141013090449.htm )

2. Using more robust (larger cross-section) electrical cables, bus bars, and wires for the charging connections, both in the external charger and inside the car, to provide lower electrical resistance, and thus minimize the problem with high current heating up the wiring.

It’s understandable that people look at today’s BEVs and say “There’s no way you’ll ever be able to charge that in 10 minutes.” This would be like someone looking at a pre-Model-T Ford automobile and saying “There’s no way you’ll ever be able to drive at 75 MPH for long distances on the highway.”

Mint you don’t know how to read your own links. In the first link, the charge rate is never more than 2c, and there is the DC-IR problem to use their jargon of up to 20%, even at a moderate 2c rate (thats 1/2 hour charge time).

The second link shows for a BYD megasystem (again relatively show charge and discharge rated at 91%), but UP TO 94%, the 94% only happening at very slow rates.

Neither link has anything to do with the fast charging wet dreams being bandied about here.

Both my ev’s use the existing air conditioning compressor and existing condenser to rid the heat from the battery system during charging, at relatively slow rates. If you have a problem with that, complain to Tesla and GM, not me.

one of the issues with megawatt EVSE is user safety: if a short develops with that much current running through the wires, there is no way that a circuit breaker would be able to respond quickly enough to protect you from getting fried.

A Tesla P85D can already pull around 515 kW out of the battery and send it to the dual motors. Why do think charging at a Megawatt is totally out of the question if it’s less than twice the power that already flows inside a consumer product?

Yeah I see a problem… I’m wondering who’s paying for it.

That’s my basic problem with Hydrogen cars. They are too expensive for any slight benefit you’d get… Maybe in Japan, but I’d doubt in the states.

“Yeah I see a problem… I’m wondering who’s paying for it.”

You know that time is money right? There you have it. Those who will pay for 1 MW ultrafast chargers are the people who pay for fossil fuel today. And trust me, it will end up being alot cheaper charging your EV at 1 MW than filling up an ICE with gas.

Reaching 1 MW may take a while though. I think around 2020 we will see 250 kW chargers.

I would be more worried about voltage. A short only affects you if you ARE the short. If it happens somewhere else you have a chance.

With high voltage, if you aren’t protected then there is a high probability that it will “jump” to you. The insulation on the cables would have to be stupid thick for 6000 volts. I wouldn’t recommend anything over 600 volts. More than that may require you to wear special insulated equipment to protect you against arc-flash.

30000 volt has been used in ICE spark plugs for years without problem. Now suddenly a mere 6000 volt would be a problem. We are talking 6000 volt not 600000 volt, big difference.

Fine, get back to me when you have built something that is reliable, not too expensive to build and maintain, and you also find someone to pay the electric bill.

I know you are going to say there are plenty of venture capitalists around just dying to give you the money..

SO do it then. Get back to me when you’ve got something.

First though, you might look at the cost of a typical 34.5 kv substation. It might give ou pause, since you are providing a certain amount of hardware in every vehicle. Not to mention the cooling requirement.

Oh , in your spare time you might also want to develop some decent batteries that are superconducting and/or can withstand 250 degree fahrenheit temperature, should you not feel like towing behind a refrigeration system the size of the car.

And you might want to lobby all the politicians in your town so that they will construct all the necessary charging facilities for you for free. If that is impracticable, please tell me what story you are going to tell your venture capitalist friends.

If it was that simple to go to 6000 V, there wouldn’t be any challenge to it anymore. But the challenge is more on the battery side then on the power or voltage side.
Take it the other way around what would be the situation if Tesla had limited its Superchargers to 10 KW instead of 135 KW (like most others by the way). We would have complained that it was too low and that it takes 10 hours to recharge. Actually the whole concept of the superchargers would have been impossible.
Likewise today at 400 Volt charging in 6 minutes is not feasible. Many people will say it’s ok, that is fast enough or why do we need faster, but getting faster is just a way to make the ev even more desirable and applicable globally. It also help to look at past progress and find out that something deemed unnecessary eventually found a use that allowed something we didn’t even think off. In a sense the supercharger is already that but if a hypercharger at 1000 KW comes along, we can be pretty sure to see the unexpected making use of that new possibility.

Hmm, 30,000 Volts through a heavily insulated wire to a heavily insulated spark plug to make sure that the spark only travels to the other side of the gap and not to the rest of the engine all in a fraction of a second is VERY different than 30,000 Volts for a sustained period of time through sensitive electronics that would need to withstand that constant high voltage.

You do understand why power lines are more than 30 feet above the ground right? So that the average person won’t get fried walking under them. I’m not sure you fully understand all the implications of what you are saying.

Here read this, page 3. It tells you that at a range of 750 V to 15 kV, which your 6,000 V would fall under, it is dangerous to be closer than 7 inches to a live wire.

Sorry, page 4. Working with high voltage is extremely dangerous.

7 inch is the safety zone to the maximum voltage specified of 15 KV. They didn’t find it necessary to divide the distance in that rough rule to fit 6 KV otherwise they would already have in proportion settle on 2.8 inch. But that is not the distance at which an arc typically forms but the distance considered still secured with a big safety margin for an arcing ARC (in the worst case scenario of wet or conductive dust in the air).
By the way the 6000 Volt obviously would not be life when removed from the car, but totally protected by plastic and the contacts would be isolated with a prolonged inner distance as well.

High voltage electrical systems routinely handle a lot more current than you apparently think is safe.

This is a problem which -has- been solved, even if you think otherwise.

Again, if you want to be taken seriously, please show an example of a real life piece of equipment which is demonstrating the point you are making.. Doesn’t have to necessarily be a car.

The posts are vague enough to slip an elephant through… Mention some specifics.

This guy never heard of corona or creepage.

What a joke! 6000 volt would have a hard time jumping a single centimeter of air. Do you have a single idea what voltage a centimeter of plastic can isolate from? You seem to be the kind that would be in panic if walking through the high tension poles of a power plant. Scary isn’t it. Get real it wont bite if you use it correctly like everything.

By the way aren’t you completly panicked when you pour highly flamable gasoline in you tank at a rate of 24000 KW?

Ok its time for this romper room stuff to stop. Its when you start talking details that you make is obviously you know less than nothing. Jesse Gurr is trying to politely tell you that electricity behaves a bit differently than is described in these blogs. I’ve gotten arcs over a foot long at a ‘mild’ 2400 volts, and that is in ambient air, not in a vacuum, which work fine, until the vacuum bottle explodes with explosive force. But to casually ‘drop’ voltages like 24,000 and then change your mind and make it 6,000 show you have absolutely zero familiarity with standardized construction for either voltage system. It still boils down to cost. I’ve said 6 years ago the highest practical charge rate will be around 150 kw, so show me another system for a car (hint: thats not a ship, or ferry, or bus – which are bigger operations and here 2400 volts may be conceivable for some of the larger operations, but there’s defitely a weight / expense tradeoff that you haven’t begun to consider) that’s already built. As regards Tesla, I keep asking for a financial analysis of the Supercharger stations, myself thinking that the $2,000… Read more »

“I keep asking for a financial analysis of the Supercharger stations, myself thinking that the $2,000 premium per car isn’t enough money to finance the whole network of stations.”

As an investor, I’d like to see such an analysis also. Otherwise, how do you know if it isn’t a pyramid/ponzi scheme that will at some point become unsustainable. There was a time when it was considered sacrilege to question Bernie Madoff and the financial returns his company generated for its investors. Besides recurring monthly electrical and maintenance expenses for the Superchargers, don’t forget there are also monthly rent payments for leasing the Supercharger parking spaces.

Tesla has to pay for the real estate also Sven? I thought Tesla only put chargers where all the real estate was effectively donated to them at no cost, so that the drug store or bar or emporium or whatever paid the property taxes on the supercharger station and supposedly would want to do this since they’d get increased traffic with the tesla people hanging around for 1/2 hour or so , so they’d go in and have a beer.

That might have been the game plan when the Supercharger plan was first announced, but business people aren’t stupid. They can see how many people Supercharging sit in their cars and read or eat their own food, and only come into the business to use the bathroom. In the UK, Tesla tried to covertly take over the charging stations at motorway service stations where Ecotricity had the exclusive right to provide EV charging. I highly doubt Tesla didn’t offer some monthly monetary compensation to the motorway station owner. Tesla must have offered the motorway owner more money than Ecotricity was paying, if Ecotricity was paying anything at all. Otherwise, why would the motorway service station owner risk getting sued for breaking a contract with Ecotricity. If Tesla was not offering to pay rent or more rent than Ecotricity, then why would the service station owner want to kick out the current EV charging provider (Ecotricity) whose chargers were being used quite frequently and bringing in customers to the service station’s businesses. There is also this comment from the CEO of Ecotricity about Tesla agreeing to a 15-year lease: “Before the misdirected email led to a spectacular fallout, the two firms… Read more »

Tesla also said it would make money from its Service Center, then wanted Model S owners to fork over $600 each year for a annual checkup before backing down.

So Sven, I read the link. I also knew that Musk has a dark propensity to break agreements, but this link brought it to a far deeper level than I was aware of.

A foot long arc with 2400 volt! I really wonder how you could get trough a foot of air with such a voltage. Did you use some king of very high frequency trick? Did you suddenly cut a super high amperage current flow? Because I don’t see how you could make that kind of an arc with such a low voltage otherwise.

On a more constructive note, how would you suggest to achieve 1000 KW charging rate without a just plain “can’t be done answer”?

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and people have ’emphasis’ on different things, but at a certain point stupidity has to be challenged. To answere your question, it was a ‘high frequency’ of 25 hz, and the load was 5 amps, 10% power factor, 2400 volts. Ionized air is very conductive, even at very low frequencies. More fun things happen at larger power levels, such as burned arms and faces, 800 pound circuit breakers being thrown through tile walls, etc. I’ve seen the aftermath of Foreman who “thought” they knew what they were doing.

When you look at electric equipment manufacturer’s brouchures you will sometimes see a technician providing routine maintenance on a circuit breaker while he is dressed up in big rubber boots, and has a face shield on so big it covers most of his chest. Those, as it turns out, are NOT unwarranted precautions.

Correction: I never said “It can’t be done!”, what I said is its absolute nonsense to believe that anyone would ever mass produce anything like that since the money doesn’t add up. In other words, who is going to pay for it?

Now, if the question is, ok Bill, for the sake of argument make up a 1,000 kw charging cable from the charger to the car, I’d use a 1500 volt, 666 2/3 amp socket and plug, since the products are already in existance in the mining industry so since they are existing you could get them at the lowest cost. 1,500 volts is high enough to keep the cable a reasonable size but not so high that corona and creepage become big problems. But that’s just for sake of argument. I don’t think anyone soon is actually going to suggest mass producing those things, simply because there would be a lot of eyebrows raised as to what work would be needed to be done to accomplish it .

30 to 60 minute charge times are no big deal to most people traveling especially when it is “free” and near bathrooms/food/shopping. Only 15 or 20 percent of Americans drive more than 100 miles per day. PHEV would/could work better and cheaper than FCV. You must be able to see that. No? Fuel Cells will have their place somewhere but no need to force them on the public more that BEVs.

i don’t travel all that much any more, but when i do, a 30 to 60 minute recharge time every 2 or 3 hours would be a *big* deal in a negative sense.

why is that?

By 2020 or so, Tesla will have model Ss with 400 miles of range. Meaning, you can drive 5 hours with only a 30 min stop to charge, and then drive another 4 hours before needing another 30 min charge.
If anyone can’t deal with that, well boo-hoo. Maybe those people need to have the exhaust pipe come out of the steering wheel to see exactly WHY we need to make the switch to BEVs as soon as humanly possible. Hydrogen is nothing but a BS measure to delay adoption of truly non-polluting cars. No matter how many times it’s explained to hydrogen trolls, the BS continues. I hope hydrogen takes Toyota to the brink of bankruptcy.

I basically agree with you.

Rick:: I totally agree with you. Charging at the max Tesla rate is absolutely fine for almost everyone. Show me any sort of number of drivers who can honestly drive for more than 3 hours without stopping? OK, there will always be that one out there who hauls the entire way, peas in a cup, and races to get there first. Most of us simply do not. We have kids, we have pets, we have enlarged prostates that you have to stop for(yes, I do!)…You get the point. Besides the fact that very few of us regularly travel 400 miles in a singe day, those that do are OK with stopping a few times. Any other argument is fake, said just to make a silly point. Most of us charge overnight at home and when/if we do so on the road, we’d be thrilled to get 200 miles in less than 1/2 of an hour.

As Bill H mentions, just finding “any” availble Level II is rare for many people. In California, sure, they are common, but not throughout the US. Let’s set our sights high, but be realistic also.


Maybe the Model 3 should have a prostate massage device in a Premium Package for drivers like you?

no comment, I have no idea why a 30 minute pit stop every 2 to 3 hours would be a big deal for anyone that is spending hours driving. You may not like electric cars and wouldn’t adopt the technology even if it was perfected with 5 minute recharges, but for the vast majority of Americans, a 30 minute recharge would not be an issue.
Teslas can already charge at a rate sufficient to get them 150 miles in 20 minutes and 200 in 30. Faster charge rates are a matter of time.

This simply isn’t true. It’s been amply demonstrated that most Americans don’t have the patience to wait more than 15 minutes for any routine thing. And much as I love EVs, I wouldn’t want to be -forced- to wait for 30-45 minutes to recharge every 2 to 3 hours of driving. If I was taking a long trip, I’d rent a gas guzzler instead.

Fortunately, competition has already driven down the time necessary to recharge a long-range EV (witness Tesla’s SuperCharger system), and it’s inevitable that competition will continue to drive down average BEV charge times to the range of 10 minutes or maybe even less. (And Tesla’s CTO says their goal is a 5 to 10 minute charge time, so that’s not merely my opinion alone.)

There is an easy solution today, without even having to wait for Tesla or some other 400 mile range pure EV.

The vast majority of 2+ car families can travel as far as they want and still drive 80-90%+ of their yearly miles in EV mode by simply buying a PHEV and and EV.

(For anybody who wants to bring up exceptions — Outlier examples just prove this rule true.)

Nice straw man. The leading electric cars like it Leaf, Tesla, and i3 come with fast chargers that only take 30 minutes to charge. That is not going to backslide to hours.

Further, lithium batteries have a long history of improving price-performance over time. The fuel delivery infrastructure needed for gasoline or hydrogen does not show the same in efficiency and price improvements over time.

But charging time is the last and only barrier for EVs to totally replace ICE cars. Cost is coming down so fast that after this next generation of batteries the generation after will be cheap enough that the payback for the extra cost in fuel savings over 5 years will easily pay for the slight initial cost. HFCVs have no such projection outside of pure speculation and wishful thinking. Then there is the added benefit of EVs having much lower maintenance costs over ICEs and even HFCVs. Tesla’s Superchargers have already increased their charging speed substantially since they introduced them just a few years ago and they will continue to increase recharging times through new battery chemistry and upgraded Superchargers in the next generation after this coming one. Other EV makers may be lagging in this technology but when Tesla perfects it you can bet the others will just follow. HFCVs do not have all of these promises however. Even with best case scenarios for HFCV it can’t replace the ICE with improvements like the EV can. Sure it can fill up fast but that isn’t an advantage over an ICE rather an advantage only over CURRENT EVs. Other than… Read more »

“But charging time is the last and only barrier for EVs to totally replace ICE cars.”

You forgot about two other barriers, the cost and availability of public charging for street parkers in densely populated urban areas. The cost of public charging is often more than the cost of gas if you were driving an ice, yet the cost of hydrogen never gets compared to the cost of public charging. Scaling up the number of chargers that will be needed to service all the street parking EVs in an urban area will be impossible, unless they can be charge EVs as fast as ICE cars fill up. Strret parkers won’t be willing to wait longer to charge their EV than it takes to fill up an ICE with gas.

PHEV/EREVs still are superior now since there are very little hydrogen station either. As for the future, it will be a lot easier to supply charging to those future street spots than build out a hydrogen infrastructure.

I don’t think you’d find it would support your case to compare the cost of for-profit EV charging stations, to the cost of public hydrogen dispensing stations– at something like $13-14 per kilogram! And it’s a bait-and-switch argument to use the cost of buying electricity at for-profit charger, since about 95% of plug-in EV charging is done at home or at work, where there is no surcharge. Even if we do accept that fallacious argument: As for-profit EV chargers become more common, the price will come down. It’s called “competition”. Contrariwise, the price for hydrogen fuel will -never- come down to compete with gasoline, let alone electricity. The laws of physics cannot be sidestepped when it comes to how much energy it takes to generate, store, and dispense hydrogen. Hint: it’s -very- inefficient. There’s no “clever” way around those limits. If there as, then we could all just use perpetual motion machines to power our cars; no hydrogen fuel needed! And I get more than a bit tired of all the hand-waving attempts by “fool cell” proponents to airily dismiss the high cost of producing hydrogen, by citing some future tech which will make electrolysis ridiculously cheap. First of all,… Read more »

It’s not a bait and switch argument to people who can’t charge at home or at work.

0% of EV charging is done at home or work for urban street parkers, because they can’t plug in at home and take public transportation to work.

If you live in a city with good public transportation and don’t need a car to get to work, wouldn’t it be better to get a zip car or take cabs rather than owning your own car? I used to live in San Francisco and fight for parking every night because it was a great city- not because I worked there. I still have the same employer in the east bay- and we have access to charging at work now. But I do know of people that live in LA and rely exclusively on Tesla superchargers.

You missed what I was saying. I used the Tesla Superchargers as an example because they are quickly figuring out how to charge batteries quickly enough that eventually it will be close or equivalent to filling up at a gas station. If you can charge a 250-300 mile battery in 10-15 minutes then you won’t need hundreds of thousands of street side slow chargers. It will be very similar to filling up at a gas station but for those who can charge in their garage it will just be icing on the cake. Already today if you own a Tesla you can get an 80 mile range ideally on a 135 kw supercharger in 15 minutes. The average commute is under 40 miles a day. So even if you didn’t have a garage but there was a supercharger on your way to work you could stop and drink your coffee for 15 minutes on the way to work every other day. Or you could stop for 8 minutes on your way to work every day for the same effect. Point for everyday driving and commuting a Tesla Supercharger is already fast enough even if you don’t have a garage. This… Read more »

sven said:

“You forgot about… the cost and availability of public charging for street parkers in densely populated urban areas. The cost of public charging is often more than the cost of gas if you were driving an ice…”

And when horseless carriages were new things, you had to buy gasoline in a can from the drug store. Things changed as automobiles became more common.

As plug-in EVs become more common, cities, apartment building landlords, and entrepreneurs will install slow-charge (Level 1 or 2) EV chargers wherever people park for hours or overnight. Competition will bring down the cost.

I completely agree that fuel cells will get cheaper over time as will the fueling stations. There are plenty of incremental improvements and economies of scale that could eventually make the unsubsidized cost of both the cars and the stations feasible. But the issue of efficiently generating and utilizing the hydrogen to propel a vehicle will be much harder to solve. Physics places strict limits on the efficiency of a hydrogen fuel cell, electrolysis under ambient temperatures, and compressing hydrogen gas. No amount of incremental improvements can fix this. Efficiently making hydrogen directly from solar energy or making hydrogen with high temperature electrolysis in a gen IV nuclear reactor could completely change the situation. But at least as far as I am aware neither of those technologies are feasible now or in the foreseeable future.

You might have missed this video from last week’s hydrogen story.


Just scroll up a little to see the video.

I did see that video. But I’m assuming long term we won’t have plentiful natural gas left to turn into hydrogen. And if you do assume natural gas is our main energy source, why not use natural gas directly in a different type of fuel cell and skip the whole hydrogen step? Current natural gas fuel cells aren’t up to the task at the moment, but I bet they could be in the long run if that is the best solution.

Or burn natural gas in a large power plant and send the electricity directly to an EV battery. That would still be more efficient than converting it to hydrogen, compressing it, transporting it, pumping it, then converting it back to electricity in a fuel cell.

Well, you go ahead and harp on the recharge time, because that’s the -only- place where “fool cell” cars are better than BEVs. In every other single way, BEVs are better. And yes, BEVs -are- going to become faster at recharging. They already have made great strides in that direction, and Tesla Motors says it’s not going to stop until the recharge time gets down to the range of 5-10 minutes. Good luck with finding a way to significantly reduce the price of producing hydrogen fuel, or significantly improving the abysmally low volume of fuel produced, at hydrogen refueling stations. Batteries have a lot of potential for improvement, and they are currently improving every year. Contrariwise, producing, storing, and dispensing hydrogen is up against the hard limits of physics (thermodynamics) and economy (EROI). Overcoming those barriers can’t be done using science or technology; you need a magic wand. It’s also pretty silly to tout the supposed advantage of fast refueling for H2 powered cars, when about 95% or more of Americans don’t live within driving distance of a public hydrogen fueling station! Good luck finding that magic wand, because that’s what you’d need to make “fool cell” cars practical outside… Read more »

you can’t look at the state of FCEVs today because today FCEVs are not practical. but unlike people like you, i don’t criticize FCEV research and development to see whether FCEV can be made practical. if that can be accomplished, FCEVs will address a major shortcoming in BEVs.

PHEV’s have already addressed that short coming of pure EV’s. No need for H2 vehicles.

The problem with FCVs isn’t the fuel cell or the car. It’s the difficulty and expense of generating, storing, moving, and dispensing hydrogen fuel. That’s a set of problems with no solution, and thinking otherwise is simply wishful thinking.

If you still can’t see the reality of that despite everything that’s been posted on the subject, then wait a couple of years and see what happens to those public hydrogen fueling stations they’re now building in California.

Mr No Comment — If in some time in the distant future, if H2 (the Fuel of the Future, forever) suddenly makes more sense than a PHEV, I’ll be sure to back it.

Now back to reality 2015. Right now for the typical US household who owns 2+ cars and a house with suitable solar exposure (and has the means to afford it) nothing beats solar panels and some sort of range-enhanced EV for daily driving and trips, and a pure EV as a second car purely for commuting.

The only thing that is hard to understand is H2 proponents who refuse to acknowledge today’s reality.

Well said Niix

The difference is that EVs, while having shortcomings, still have an addressable market right now even given those shortcomings (and many here would argue those shortcomings are overblown). And that market can help it grow while the technology improves.

FCVs, on the other hand, do not. The amount of money we have to spend to make it even viable for a very small market is astronomical (so the government is the only one willing to bear a bulk of the costs in the form of grants). And all that is only for recharge times during long trips (which isn’t viable in a FCV in the first place because of the cost and lack of stations).

Well *this* critic (and self-confessed Elon Musk fanboy) of FC tech understands that with all the improvement in the world there is at least one issue that can’t be improved upon – the fact that even the theoretical best efficiency of the H2FCV is only half that of a BEV. Meanwhile, all the other issues with H2FCVs are still there whether improvable or not. The main one of these has got to be the question of infrastructure. To bring that to the point of total practicality for BEVs is going to cost an order of magnitude less than for H2FCVs. Much of it is already in place – it’s called The Grid. Commercial uses for BEVs are also far more advanced than you (clearly) know. Charging large BEVs such as trucks and busses (even ships, FCOL) is a practical reality NOW – just google it. As for conspiracies – if you don’t think the H2FCV movement is a conspiracy I can only assume you have not yet lived long enough in a capitalist society. You’ll be saying what has happened to the price of oil in the last 6 weeks isn’t a conspiracy next! Bottom line:- you can stick an… Read more »

The blue / yellow graphic is one to hang up. Great for poking holes in the process. Tototya, in a smidge of fairness, has improved upon the “50%” loss at the fuel cell conversion to electricity. It’s nominal, if I remember correctly, and the more who understand these issues, the better off we are, IMO.

Even EREV, coupled with 20-100kwh, would be cleaner when a lack of stations, range-anxiety and not wanting to go too far out of ones way. FCEV would be left at home for the “combustion car” enough that whatever long-range ZEV virtue it hold, would be washed away by those times it isn’t the chosen vehicle. The 80-100 mile BEVs suffer the same effect.

This graph doesn’t show the most used method of producing hydrogen, reforming.
So it ain’t doing anything useful.
Just like arguing about fueling time that occurs for 15% of EV people 15% of the time and 95% of people not even caring about it anyway.
And most finding more useful to fill up at home avoiding wastful detour.
Irrelevent in both cas IMO.

No, it doesn’t show reforming, likely because reforming natural gas to make hydrogen produces CO2 as a by product. (NG, essentially methane, is CH4. Reform it to make a bunch of H2, and you also have to deal with all those C atoms that wind up as CO or CO2.) And reducing CO2, I would submit, is a REALLY big deal.

As I’ve pointed out countless times online: We MUST dramatically clean up our electricity generation is we’re to have any hope whatsoever of avoiding massively destructive climate change impacts. And when we shift to zero carbon electricity, then EVs automatically get very clean (like my Leaf that’s already recharged with 100% green electricity). Fuel cells will only get that same benefit if you make their fuel via electrolysis, which consumes 3X the energy per mile driven as a comparable EV. And that wasted energy is a luxury we can’t afford when we’re struggling to clean up the entire electricity sector (along with everything else) as quickly as possible.

To be fair, the cart also doesn’t show the CO2 generated as a byproduct from burning coal and natural gas to generate electricity for the grid.

Did you even watch the video? He mentions hydrogen steam reformation as being where 95% of the hydrogen comes from in the U.S. The chart is probably just one chart as the video skips around. As far not being useful I would disagree. Bottom line hydrogen efficiency is around 20% ev’s around 80%. Semantics don’t matter it is just chemistry.

Yes, I did watch, and still no practical comparison of efficiency for hydrogen produced by reforming and actual charging cycle of “battery” EV.
Since it’s the main way of producing hydrogen, why confusing with electolysis?
Because it’s not clean?
Well everyone agreed that coal produce electricity ain’t clean but keep going.
This is what I meant by irrevelant, since we want to compare comparable, not something that’s not in use, or won’t even be consider before (never) a long time.
It’s unfortunate because the video sum up fairly well the question and would be better without that “bug”
Just my view anyway.
And for the rest, hydrogen is a scam.

I see. You were saying since so little hydrogen is produced through electrolysis that the chart is not relevant to the discussion.

Tony Seba has explained The difference between an electric vehicle and a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with such clarity a child could understand. The push for hydrogen fuel cells has very little to do with cleaning up the environment and everything to do with controlling our energy supply. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles are not the the future of American transportation. Please keep those cars in California.

What I have been saying all along …
Fuel cell is an inefficient load of croc to
maintain the status quo of oil companies while wrecking our plant.

Unfortuately he didn’t clearly state how much Natural gas will be required to make effectively 1 mile of driving the typical hydrogen car.

And to be honest, since the natural gas is already piped to the station, I think in most places you’d see the reformer right there. But there was no cost analysis here.

There is a huge perception problem with the Hydrogen solution which is created by only looking at 1/2 the problem.

It’s becoming relatively easy (although expensive at the moment) to build a working fuel cell vehicle. Several manufacturers have produced one and people who see them working conclude it is a great solution because they do work well as a car.

But the impracticality and expense of producing and distributing hydrogen is rarely discussed by the average person beyond the assumption that “one day it will be here”.

VW’s Winterkorn summed it up well when he said VW could easily produce FCVs, but what’s the point when there is nowhere to fuel them up. Like several other car makers, they are building FCV prototypes because they have to demonstrate capability in a highly competitive industry. But they will never enter volume production because no one can demonstrate a viable hydrogen infrastructure (emphasis on “viable”).

Any hydrogen solution discussion should really focus on the fueling infrastructure issue, not the artificial excitement surrounding the vehicles. And so far it’s not looking good from a practicality or efficiency perspective.

so much invested emotion.

Again, I think the most basic issue is being completely overlooked.


Where are all these hydrogen filling stations going to be?

Who’s going to invest in their construction?

Hours of operation?

Who wants one in their neighborhood?

Fine, the most logical (to me) solution is an “at home” device that would crack water, store hydrogen, and dispense it into the vehicle. I would foresee a residential model being about the size of a residential refrigerator-freezer.

So now, this means you have to have a garage to place this device.

And how much will it cost.

And how long will it take for it to pay for itself?

No, I see the device being leased either by your local power company or by the car company.

Hydrogen vehicles are something that benefit from the economy of scale. As I’ve said before, I believe the ideal hydrogen powered vehicle will be a fleet vehicle that travels a known route with a specific range. Local delivery, postal delivery, yard trucks, etc.


You will never break even on an investment in hydrogen. It will never pay for it self. It’s a complete waste of energy and those who are trying to promote hydrogen are trying to create an hydrogen energy cartel. Your first hit is free but once you get addicted you will find out what the real deal is. The hydrogen producers are giving you their product free now, but once you get addicted ( create a market for their product) they will hit you with the real price.

Yup. Altho commercial production of hydrogen is massively inefficient -and- uses fossil fuel (natural gas) for 95% of what’s generated, and altho generating, storing, moving, and dispensing hydrogen fuel is so massively inefficient that you’d have a lower carbon footprint by driving a high-MPG gas guzzler, that’s -still- more efficient than trying to generate and compress your own hydrogen fuel at home.

There just ain’t no way to “fix” the impractical nature of hydrogen fuel. It’s too wasteful and too expensive all around, from start to finish.

One FCV can fill up faster (miles per minute) than one EV, and that probably won’t change regardless of the technology that comes out in the next decade. That is, as I see it, the ONLY advantage of hydrogen.

When you start factoring in volume recharging, a Supercharger has more capacity than an electrolysis hydrogen fueling station, costs far less to build and, and is more efficient. It just takes longer to fill up.

This chart has remained unchanged for nine years (see http://m.phys.org/news85074285.html) and completely ignores certain key advantages of hydrogen, namely:

a) Solar will soon become incredibly cheap. Efficiency doesn’t matter when the most expensive aspect of solar is the energy storage. Electrolysis is dirt cheap and with solar panels on every home and gas station generating hydrogen, there is little need to build out a transport infrastructure.

b) Renewables only account for 12% of US energy output. For the other 88% hydrogen steam reformation actually emits less or equal carbon than pure EVs. Until electricity stops being generated from natural gas and coal, fuel cell vehicles are greener than electric cars.

It never ceases to amaze me how hydrogen fuel proponents talk about some near-magical future way of generating very cheap electricity and using that to generate hydrogen cheaply… and completely ignore the fact that the same electricity could charge a BEV even -more- cheaply.

You’re also ignoring the reality that even if generating hydrogen fuel was free, it would still be expensive to compress, store, move, and dispense it.

this video starts out with a crazy premise: that hydrogen is not an energy source but an energy carrier. by that reasoning there is no such thing as an energy source with the exception of the sun. all energy “sources” that we use involve *conversion*. hydrogen is another “source” that must be converted to release the embedded energy. the same is true for gasoline, coal and natural gas. furthermore, by seba’s reasoning, there is no point in doing research to find improved ways of hydrogen generation because the ways that hydrogen are generated today are the only possible ways. i’m glad that we’ve solved that issue! i question the economics behind seba’s arguments. one thing about FCVs is that they scale, once you have the fuel stack the primary cost is the incremental cost of hydrogen. compare that to the economics of BEVs: a Tesla Model S has the battery capacity that is equivalent to about 7 gallons of gasoline – compare the price of 7 gallons of gasoline to the price of a Tesla battery. then pick a price per gallon and you can start to get a sense of how long it can take to get payback on… Read more »

Good grief. I don’t think I can even -count- all the fallacies in that post. I take it you either get paid a salary by Big Oil, or else you have a significant investment in Big Oil stocks?

Here’s just one of the larger fallacies in your post: You write as though the cost of batteries is comparable to the cost of gasoline. But gasoline is used up and has to be replaced every time you pull into a gas station, whereas the battery pack should (usually does) last the lifetime of the car.

Just like Davemart….

Well to me, the whole issue boils down to cost. There aren’t likely to be many Gen 3 plus Nuclear plants built in the states, and with it the cheap hydrogen those stations could produce. Hydrolysis is too expensive in general, unless that mechanical photosynthesis thing can be upscaled. I’m gathering that Inside Ev’s editorial board considers Hydrogen a legitimate ‘electric battery’. Or maybe its just been a slow news month since the VOlt story has been exhausted. I’m not in California, the land of the “Hydrogen Highways”. At least that’s what both the Governator and Gov “Moon Beam” have stated. I sure don’t see anything compelling being built anywhere near me. In these parts my fellow EV drivers would be overjoyed to get ONE L2 charger on a few roads between big citites. The closest we have now is a private car dealer voltec at 15 amps , 195 volts (obviously connected by about a 165 feet of #12 wiring) since the drop is 1 volt per amp. That’s our fastest charger kinda between cities: a whopping 2.9 kw ‘supercharger’. There’s no point worrying about what a new volt has since this thing wont even tax the old volt.

So is anyone ever going to discuss the even-more-ridiculous cost of commercial charging? ChargePoint charges $0.49/kWh for L2.

If you need a vehicle that can refuel away from home, gasoline is and will continue to be the cheapest option.