Thomas Brachmann, chief project engineer of research & development in Europe for Honda, made some comments at the sidelines of the recent Geneva Motor Show that we thought we're worth sharing.
Brachmann, like several other Honda execs, continues to pitch this idea that hydrogen is somehow superior to electric, but like most of those other execs, Brachmann makes some comments that show he's really not in tune with reality.
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“Photovoltaic electrolysis as a means of producing hydrogen is feasible, because it’s the only means we have of converting renewable energy electricity into a usable fuel and, even more important, into a proper storage media for renewable energy.”
“For example, wind and sun can produce too much power during some days so either the wind-power generators are stopped, or they run and we have to sell the electricity to the grid for a very low price and, possibly, even have to pay the grid to take it because it may not be ready to accept more than it can handle."
“This means we have to find renewable energy storage. If we have bi-directional charging that’s fine with batteries, or else the other solution is hydrogen. Then we have to look at what is the value of the hydrogen and for which industrial purposes?”
Hydrogen Corridor Map as of January 5, 2017 (source: energy.gov)
Okay, so Brachmann is basically saying that hydrogen or battery works in this situation. However, he then goes on to state the following:
“Even if you have all-battery EVs, we have to consider very carefully the lifetime of the batteries. When does the degradation start by excessive charging and recharging, and what is the benefit for the customer?"
Well, battery degradation has been well studied and for most battery-electric cars, especially the most recent/longer range offerings, this isn't much of an issue at all.
But Brachmann is really all over the place in his comments. He goes from knocking EVs to supporting them in certain situations:
“As we said in our study of 2010, we see the smaller cars using battery power and the bigger cars using fuel-cell systems. So we need to look at where does the battery end and the hydrogen car start.
“We see the Honda Civic growing bigger and bigger, more or less for the European taste (and) replacing the Accord, and so we need to see if we can integrate this platform with this model level.
“The Clarity (FCV) is larger and developed for the U.S. and targeted as a chauffeured limousine as it would be also in Japan. It could fit into Honda’s European portfolio, too, and we have to see what is the development of (fueling) infrastructure.
“This is why we need to ramp up the availability of hydrogen fuel stations first.”
And therein lies the biggest problem with FCEVs. The infrastructure simply doesn't exist and it's too expensive to believe that it ever really will. Meanwhile, electric cars do the majority of their charging at home overnight where the infrastructure is as vast as the nearest outlet.
Source: Ward's Auto