More on Hydrogen Cars...

mekki

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I've been a bit of a fuel cell skeptic for precisely the reasons Darell has noted, and think BEVs are pretty neat. I own 3 electric scooters and two electric bikes, and have been in a few BEV cars (though nothing as sweet as the EV1). In short, I've been seduced by the torquey and quiet gee-whizziness of the electric motor /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif. I like BEVs cause I can at least get little ones (scooters and bikes) now, and they mostly suit my needs at a reasonable price. But,...

There was a good article in today's Vancouver Sun about the GM HyWire. In it, Geoffrey Ballard, the founder of Ballard Fuel Cells, raises some good points about hydrogen generation, automobile use in China and India, and the future of the auto industry. This article, though I've just read it, presents some compelling arguements (though based on iffy assumptions?) about the benefit of embracing hydrogen as the global energy currency.

Ballard is an unabashed believer in nuclear power for the generation of hydrogen, and thinks that the modular design of cars like the HyWire are what will enable China and India to enter the auto age. He makes the point that one HyWire chasis can have a bamboo rickshaw for tourist trips in Thailand, or a truck body for cabbage hauling in China. The savings of a universal chassis and snap on body are certainly compelling for auto makers, and hopefully these savings will translate into a cheap "VW Bug" for consumers. Of course, nuclear power is not without its issues and problems, but the potential to make oodles of H from a little U is certainly there, and is mighty attractive.

Anyway, it is an interesting article, and it did open my eyes to the future possibilities of fuel cells and their potential to help the developing world leap-frog the ICE and enjoy the benefits and advantages that ubiquitous, portable energy seem to produce.
 

Sean

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Hey Darell, can I put you on a talk show? I would love to hear you get this out to more people.

I was always skeptical of EV's until I read Darell's EV thread. I had always been spoon fed the down sides of EVs by the media. It sickens me to see this great "reality" (Not concept) go un-noticed due to obvious reasons.

Everyone I have ever talked to about EV's agree that they would consider or even buy one if given the chance. I know I would. My wife, daughter and I have one car and I would gladly sell it to buy an EV if I had the chance for the benefits Darell listed above. But no one sells them here in Illinois. Add up how much you spend on gas, oil and ICE maintenance. Why would anyone that is a commuter not want an EV?!
 

Darell

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[ QUOTE ]
mekki said:
I own 3 electric scooters and two electric bikes, and have been in a few BEV cars (though nothing as sweet as the EV1).

[/ QUOTE ]
Oh, but how I'd love to get you in the EV1 before it goes away!

[ QUOTE ]
There was a good article in today's Vancouver Sun about the GM HyWire.

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Hi mekki! Where ya been hiding?

I'm trying not to click the link 'cause I know I'll be up all night trying not to get upset. But I'll read it... just not until after I've made this post.

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the modular design of cars like the HyWire are what will enable China and India to enter the auto age. He makes the point that one HyWire chasis can have a bamboo rickshaw for tourist trips in Thailand, or a truck body for cabbage hauling in China.

[/ QUOTE ]
Yeah, I was worried about this. Been there, done that. This "modular" concept is something that GM has been harping on since the beginning of the "skateboard" concept. Yet there is nothing more modular than a battery EV. Why a FC vehicle would lend itself better to this modular concept is beyond me. Afterall, a FCV is simply an EV that is powered by something far more complicated and expensive than batteries. But I'll read the article and see if GM has come up with anything new.

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Of course, nuclear power is not without its issues and problems, but the potential to make oodles of H from a little U is certainly there, and is mighty attractive.

[/ QUOTE ]
Another one I've heard too many times to make me happy. If you can make enough H from X amount of U to travel one mile in a FCV, then you can charge enough battery from that same amount of U to travel four miles in a battery EV. Doesn't matter where those little electrons come from - they're used most efficiently in a BEV. If that means 1/4 of the nuclear plants need to be built, then I think we're ahead of the game by leaving H out of the equation. But then nobody asked me. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

[ QUOTE ]

Anyway, it is an interesting article, and it did open my eyes to the future possibilities of fuel cells and their potential to help the developing world leap-frog the ICE and enjoy the benefits and advantages that ubiquitous, portable energy seem to produce.

[/ QUOTE ]
There is nothing portable about H2 right now. That stuff is tricky. We have no existing infrastructure that can contain it, and no cost-effective way to transport it. Electricity on the other hand is EVERYWHERE right now. OK, ok. I'll go read the article. My hope for all of you is that I'll be too tired to respond after I read it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

Darell

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Nope, can't keep quiet. From the article:

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Ballard says the advantage of the hydrogen fuel cell is that it allows the storage of electricity for consumption at time of demand.

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This is precisely what rechargeable batteries were created for, no?

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This is what engineers call "by-wire" technology -- in that electrical impulses signal the brakes to brake and the steering to steer and the throttle to go faster or slower

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....and has nothing at all to do with the car being FC powered. We have drive-by-wire gas cars, electric cars, airplanes, you name it. The article makes it sound like the DBW technology was made possible by FC technology /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif I've heard this from GM MANY times. FC = DBW.

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The Hy-Wire won't challenge a big V-8, but it's faster than you'd expect. Since the sedan uses a direct drive motor, there are no gears to choose

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Well, of course it can't challenge a big V-8. There aren't enough batteries onboard. FCV's will NEED batteries for acceleration. The number of batteries used will determine how "fast" the car is. OR, we could do away with the $million FC component, and just use the batteries directly. But what fun would that be?

I don't know. There really is nothing new in this article. And there certainly isn't anything to give me hope, except maybe the wildly optimistic $1 million price tag to convert a gasoline station into an H2 fueling station. No mention of the price of the fuel, I notice. The cost of the fuel will, by necessity, be enormous. Certainly far more than gasoline per energy unit.
 

Darell

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[ QUOTE ]
Sean said:
Hey Darell, can I put you on a talk show? I would love to hear you get this out to more people.

[/ QUOTE ]
There are folks who are MUCH better at this than I am. In the grand scheme of things, I'm quite the EV novice, actually. It may sound scary, but I'm one of the more "tame" EV enthusiasts out there. It is impossible to compete with the advertising and legal dollars of one of the biggest industries in the world. The only real way to reach more people is to have more of these cars on the road. You don't know how many times I've been asked where to buy cars like mine. Sad to have to say "nowhere."

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I was always skeptical of EV's until I read Darell's EV thread. I had always been spoon fed the down sides of EVs by the media. It sickens me to see this great "reality" (Not concept) go un-noticed due to obvious reasons.

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I've always liked you Sean. Now I'm thinking about naming my next child after you. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

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Why would anyone that is a commuter not want an EV?!

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Indeed. The common "want" is to have a car that will do everything. Climb tall mountains, ford raging rivers, accelerate like a jet fighter, travel many hundreds of miles before refuelling. Yet in the average American household there is one workhorse that does nothing but drive the 30 mile round-trip to work every day. EVs are good at many things. They are spectacular at commuting. AND THAT IS WHERE WE SPEND MOST OF OUR TIME BEHIND THE WHEEL.

Ok. I'm done for tonight, and possibly the entire weekend.

I'd keep apologizing for thread manipulation and mutiny... but it wouldn't be honest anyway. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif Thanks for letting me ramble. It makes me feel better just to blow off some steam. As you can tell, this stuff gets quite frustrating.
 

Sean

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[ QUOTE ]
Darell said:
I've always liked you Sean. Now I'm thinking about naming my next child after you. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif


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Awe Shucks /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif

I just get frustrated when I hear a radio program about how we are all going to convert to hydrogen FC cars (someday) and no one ever mentions EVs. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ohgeez.gif
 

Darell

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[ QUOTE ]
Sean said:

I just get frustrated when I hear a radio program about how we are all going to convert to hydrogen FC cars (someday) and no one ever mentions EVs. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ohgeez.gif

[/ QUOTE ]
The guys telling you that today, were the same guys telling us in the mid 80's that we'd all be driving battery electrics in the 90's. Hmmm.

And before I REALLY go to bed - did I mention that the Hy-Wire has a 30 mile range? No, I didn't think so. Turns out that the slick modular skateboard design didn't leave much room for fuel for some reason. But I guess the new 10,000psi tank will make that issue trivial. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif Not. REALLY to bed with me.
 

ikendu

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mekki said: There was a good article in today's Vancouver Sun about the GM HyWire.

I agree, this is a good article. It really expounds with enthusiasm all of the wonderful attributes of electric drive! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Although...I have a different frustration than Darell. Here is a quote from the article:

"If carbon based energy sources must be set aside, then the only remaining viable energy source at this stage of our development is nuclear power," said Ballard at the Canadian Nuclear Association Annual Seminar in Ottawa.

In so many discussions about portable energy, the whole concept of BioDiesel is simply not present. It's not even that complicated...but almost invisible.

Which would you rather have generating portable energy?
...Nuclear radiation with highly toxic and dangerous waste products?
...Or, little plants soaking up sunshine, quietly using the miracle of photosynthesis to convert light, water and carbon dioxide to hydrocarbons that we can use for fuel?

I vote for the quiet little plants.

BioDiesel: It's now, clean, efficient, works, portable, made-in-America (or Canada!) and requires no super-expensive infrastructure to be created. Local fuel dollars stay in the local economy (not shipped overseas). I'm using it right now, in a car I bought in a local showroom with local people to service it. It's not experimental, not going to be available "someday". I buy my BioDiesel at a local farming co-op. I drive up, fill up and come back two weeks later for more. If I wanted to...I could make my own with a 55 gallon drum in my garage for about 40 cents a gallon (too messy for me).
 

CNC Dan

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[ QUOTE ]
Darell said:



Next, yes, if you purchase one car, and it is an SUV, you can commute in it and tow your boat once a year. But isn't that a bit like sticking a thumbtack in with a sledge hammer? If this is all about cost, the best thing you could do in the situation you describe is buy a small economy car, and rent an SUV for a couple of weeks each year. Everything about the econobox is cheaper to own and operate. You can even park the thing in a standard size spot at the mall. You'll be polluting less and saving gobs of money. But this isn't really all about cost, is it? It is about convenience. There are many conveniences associated with owning an EV, but they typically go unnoticed. How convient is it to change your oil? To take the car in for a tuneup? To stand and pump your gas? To "warm the car up" before using the engine's full power? To watch as gas prices leave your jaw on the floor? To wait while your transmission decides which gear would be best for the full acceleration that you just asked for?

An EV is NOT the perfect car for every situation. Not by a long shot. But then neither is an SUV. Or an economy car. Or a TDI. Or a hybrid. But for certain tasks there is no better vehicle than a battery EV. It turns out that the task of commuting (less than 30 miles!) occupies about 75% of American miles driven, and an EV is perfect for that task. Absolutely, hands-down the best choice.

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I think the big atraction for hydrogen is the quick refill time and the greenness.

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Consider that it'll cost the equivalent of about $30/gallon of gas to fill up with hydrogen, if you can find it. Then consider that infrastructure is at least 20 years out, if it happens at all (current prediction is that a full H2 infrastructure buildout would cost about the same as our national debt). Then realize that H2 vehicles are THREE to FOUR times less efficient than EVs, and I'm afriad that reality may not live up to the misinformed "attraction" of FC vehicles. Quick refill is great, if you can actually find a place to fill. And if you don't mind dealing with a 9,000psi connection. They typical fill will be much lower pressure, for obvious safety and expense reasons, and will take quite a bit longer. Like an hour. Or three.

Listening to the auto makers talk about this issue is pathetic. They tell us that they could bring to market an ICE H2 (burn H2 directly in an internal combustion engine instead of using it for a fuel cell) in just a year or two. The reason they can do this so quickly is because an ICE is an ICE is an ICE and it really isn't that big of a stretch. But the reason they *won't* build an H2 ICE? Have you figured it out yet? They say they won't build it because there is no way to fuel them. No infrastructure! Why build a car that you can't fuel? So, to avoid the ugly problem of having a vehicle ready before the infrastructure, they've decided that building FC's is a much safer bet. Since there is no way FCs will be affordable before 10-20 years or so, we don't have to fret about the infrastructure problem. By that time, somebody, as yet unnamed, is supposed to step up to the plate and install infrastructure that will make the financial tab for the Iraq war seem like peanuts.


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Darel:

I agree about the "buy a small car-rent a suv" thing.
And I agree about an EV being the perfect comuter car.
And about the silly fuel -> FC -> electric motor thing.

But I still think that H2 is a good choice for a fuel.

As a high pressure gas, it's too dangerous. But as a cryogenic liquid at low pressures it has more energy per pound than other liquid fuels. (energy per gallon is poor though) And we know how to store and transport LH now. No 'new' tech break throughs needed. And putting it into ICE's is easy. One of the big problems is like you say, the delivery infarstructure.

No one wants to buy LH2 cars if no LH2 fuel stations, and no one wants to build LH2 fuel stations if no LH2 cars.

So.... Build dual fuel cars. Start with gas/propane. Lots of propane stations around for our gas grills. And no worrys about getting stranded. Then there will be more demand for porpane fill stations. Soon (or not so soon) you can have propane only cars. Then propane/LH2 cars, and so on.

We can just ween ourselves off OPEC. Wouldn't that be great to be able to supply our own energy.

And as far as batteries for energy storage, that's great for overnight charging of an EV battery, but for grid supply the cost and up-keep would be too high.

And we can make H2 from HC fuels now and switch over to solar/nuke/hydro as the demand picks up and competition gets going. I once read in a book (the phenox project) that the solar energy falling on the desert regons of the SW USA could supply all of the countrys needs.( that may be and optosistic claim) And I'm not talking about PV cells either. We would need to make solar steam stations, or other.

But I have now doubt about the power of an EV. I drove a forklift for 12 yrs. and I know what kind of power can be deliverd from LA battery. Prehaps a LH2/battery hybred would be a good choice.
 

ikendu

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CNC Dan said: We can just ween ourselves off OPEC. Wouldn't that be great to be able to supply our own energy.

I love this logic of let's begin with what works and gradually transition to the best.

But my question (as you might guess) is...why not use BioDiesel to begin to get us off of OPEC right now? Today. No current diesel owner would need to buy a new vehicle. Just switch fuels. I have. Many are. Let's keep it building. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

CNC Dan said: ...batteries...grid supply the cost and up-keep would be too high.

Oooo. I don't Darell's going to agree with that! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif (and neither do I)

Our existing grid is sized for the giant load that summer day time creates for air conditioning. We could charge a LOT of BEV's at night without even touching our grid infrastructure.

Here's the future I'm bettin' on...

Single car households: Diesel/Electric Hybrids...with battery for short trips
Two car households: BEV for commute, Diesel or Hybrid for trips.

Of course...the diesel fuel would be BioDiesel! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

And heck...that future can be TODAY! It is, right now at my house. Just get a VW TDI (Beetle, Golf or Jetta...Passat in Fall 2003).

Day-time use of night-time electricity (which in a way is simply "wasted") is just too neat a factor for balancing our energy infrastructure to ignore.

Gradually we can build up our renewable energy infrastructure from on-house solar panels and giant, industrial wind machines in windy locales. Think about it. Solar panels create energy right when our systems need it the absolutely most...hot, SUNNY days.
 

Darell

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I'm loving this discussion, guys. I don't give a damn if folks believe anything we preach about battery EVs or biodiesels. What is important is that more folks get exposed to the options, and more folks think through the consequences of their automotive choices.

Dan - I think I posted elsewhere what ikendu has just said in regard to the power grid. Today, RIGHT NOW, we can support about 50 million BEVs in this country with no additional power generation or ditribution. In fact, connected BEVs can lower the need for power generation by time-shifting the supply (charge at night, feed back into the grid during peak times if needed). And as always, if we're comparing the power needs for charging a BEV vs creating H2 via hydrolysis, and then storing it cryogenically - the H2 situation is going to be SO much more electricity intensive that it boggles the mind.

I completely agree that we need to take the easiest steps to wean us from the oil teet. Biodiesel makes so much sense right now, that it almost hurts to think about it.

I just went through the paper-signing process for having my PV array installed. Want the good news? Adding the cost of the system ($11,000 after rebates) to my refinance added about $8/month. On average, throughout the year, the system should produce at least $38/month in electricity. So from day one, this big expense (which cost me nothing out of pocket) will be making me money every day. The array I'm installing will power the commute car at least 100%. The rest gets used by the house, or simply spins our meter backwards. Not a bad way to make $30/month, huh?

And before anybody bonks me over the head with the "yeah, but it takes more power to build PV panels than they'll ever produce" deal... don't bother. Depending on the installation, it takes between two and four years to replace the energy that was used in ALL aspects of a PV array. From materials to delivery to the packaging the panels come in to installation. After that two to four years, the next 30 years is all gravy. And this doesn't even take into account the roof shading that the panels provide - allowing the AC to run less for the same comfort level. And if anybody STILL wants to talk about energy consumption, let's talk about what it takes to build a car that then spends the rest of its life burning MORE energy. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Man this is fun. I'm bummed that I have to leave soon.
 

Darell

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[ QUOTE ]
CNC Dan said:
So.... Build dual fuel cars. Start with gas/propane. Lots of propane stations around for our gas grills. And no worrys about getting stranded. Then there will be more demand for porpane fill stations. Soon (or not so soon) you can have propane only cars. Then propane/LH2 cars, and so on.

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We have CNG (compressed natural gas) cars right now. Not much different from propane. Ford sells 100 of these cars per year, and calls that a success. Toyota sells 750 electric Rav4EVs in 8.5 months and calls that a dismal failure. CNG cars are great, and insanely clean. They are the only non-EV vehicles allowed in the HOV lanes in CA. But few people buy them since few people even know they exist. They are NOT marketed. Just like EVs were never marketed. You can't buy what you don't think exists. We have the ability to make all these cars that we're talking about. But the car makers don't want to build them. Now that more and more folks like us WANT to see these viable options produced - how do we convince the public to start demanding them? I see so much resistance to change. Many drivers don't even want to consider any of the benefits of alternative fuel vehicles. Often, all that is percieved is the direct inconvenience to the user. We've been visiting gas stations forever. We know it. We're comfortable with it. Gas is everywhere, and is cheap. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif So far, the best thing that has ever happened to the EV industry is the spike in gas prices. The interest in my EVs has probably doubled in the past month. But predictably, as prices creep lower, the enthusiasm wanes.
[ QUOTE ]

We can just ween ourselves off OPEC. Wouldn't that be great to be able to supply our own energy.

[/ QUOTE ]
I'm *personally* going to be creating my own energy very soon. And yes, this "grow your own" energy deal is pretty nice.

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I once read in a book (the phenox project) that the solar energy falling on the desert regons of the SW USA could supply all of the countrys needs

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I have it on good authority that it would take a PV array about 100 miles square to do this. There are spots in TX that wouldn't even notice it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif Cost would be somewhere in the bazillions, but yes, in the grand scheme, it really doesn't take all that much realestate to proved 100% clean power for US consumption. Heck, I'm only using about 250 sq feet of roof for 50 miles/day of EV juice.
 

Brock

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Darell you will have to start another thread about the system your installing. I am particularly interested if you went battery or battery-less and what inverter or inverters you using.

By the way my diesel wagon finally came in, got it Monday, already put 200 miles on it and it is still above the 7/8 mark on the fuel tank. Anyone car to wager when the low fuel light comes on, my wife is betting on 600 miles.

I think the closest bio-diesel station to me is about 60 miles, but I will have to make the trip and fill up some extra tanks this summer.
 

Darell

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[ QUOTE ]
Brock said:
Darell you will have to start another thread about the system your installing. I am particularly interested if you went battery or battery-less and what inverter or inverters you using.

[/ QUOTE ]
That's a GREAT idea. I'm on the road right now. When I get home I'll start one up. The only batteries I'm using are the ones in the EVs. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Inverter: Sunnyboy (the industry standard at this point). 150W panels. Can't remember the brand.
 

ikendu

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Brock said: ...closest bio-diesel station to me is about 60 miles

Geez...I feel really lucky!

My BioDiesel place is on the edge of town, takes me a few miles out of my way. I fill up my Golf tank and a couple of 5 gallon Biltz diesel containers each time.

You might want to get a 150 gallon tank. Our place will deliver for that amount. Or...maybe make it yourself?
 

mekki

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Hey Darell,

Not hiding, just keeping low key /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

What caught my attention, and grabbed my imagination, was Ballard's focus on the next giant wave of modernization and affluence hitting China and India. For these economies to grow and develop, they will need access to cheap energy. Certainly, H does not meet this criteria now, and the cost of retroftting the infrastructure here is $$$, but most of Asia lacks 24 hr Quicky Gas stations. Hell, most gas is sold outta glass Coke bottles!

I spent the day today talking to people about electric bikes. Inevitably, the more "in the know" types asked about fuel cells and whether they'll show up on bikes (these giys have one). People are ready to embrace an H economy, and everyone saeems excited about drinking their exhaust /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif.I guess my point is that FCVs are where $$$ and energy is being poured, and even though they're 10 years out and and billions away from deployment, industry, governemnt, and Joe are all for it. Sure, its a huge spin job and mostly hype, but if they can make it work, and people can get rich doing it, I think an H economy will happen, obstacles be damned.

Hold onto your barf bag Darrel, cuz I'm gonna trot out another one I'm sure you've heard: Projects like Apollo or the US Interstate program were massive and expensive. I'm no engineer, but getting some hydrogen from a nuke plant in the Gobi to downtown Beijing, at a reasonable cost, does not seem to be such an insurmountable obstacle. Even getting H from a dessert PV/Wind-electro thingy in the Mojave to a filling staion in LA seems reasonable, and some people will get stupid-rich, and lotsa other people will have jobs building the infrastructure to make it happen.

I totally agree that BEVs are here, now, and are pretty damned nifty. Unfortunately, public perception (flashlight geeks excepted) is that BEVs suck and that FCVs rock. Here in Vancouver, we've got areas of downtown that rival Hong Kong in population density, ie. lotsa apartment dwellers, myself included. I can't have a BE car cuz I can't plug it in, but I could have a FC car.

This has gotten long and rambly, but I guess I am starting to accept that "When it is fuel cell time it fuel cells", and that this is probably going to happen. If/when it does, I bet there will be a renewed interest in BEVs as people are exposed to the Jetson's coolness of electric drive and start to realize that BEVs have a place in the transportation mix.

Now I'm going to post this without a full proof read and edit or else I'll be here for another 2 hours /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

CNC Dan

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[ QUOTE ]
ikendu said:
CNC Dan said: ...batteries...grid supply the cost and up-keep would be too high.

Oooo. I don't Darell's going to agree with that! (and neither do I)

Our existing grid is sized for the giant load that summer day time creates for air conditioning. We could charge a LOT of BEV's at night without even touching our grid infrastructure.

[/ QUOTE ]

I think you misunderstood what I meant.

Night charging of BEV'is great.

But a super huge battery house to supply the daytime peak of the entire grid is too expensive.


And I like the idea of a bio diesel hyberd.
But I hear that my state is baning diesel cars next year!!!! WTF?!?!

I guess when people think of diesel power they think of the black belch of a bus or semi as they accelrate. Dumb asses.
 

ikendu

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CNC Dan said:
But I hear that my state is baning diesel cars next year!


Yes. 5 states have set higher standards than Federal for 2004.

Here is a quote:

"The diesel version of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, slated to be introduced in the U.S. in 2004, will meet the 45-state emissions standards — meaning it won't be sold in California, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine..."

"For Volkswagen, offering diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. is simply a matter of consumer demand. U.S. diesel sales in 2002 were up almost 25 percent over 2001, and its sales of diesel-powered Jettas were up about 39 percent from 2001."

Edmunds article on Diesel Developments

So...if you think that a diesel would be neat to have in your state...get one this year! The 2003s being produced as of May are even cleaner, quieter and have more power than the 2003 Golf I bought just a month ago!
 

Darell

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[ QUOTE ]
mekki said:
Hold onto your barf bag Darrel, cuz I'm gonna trot out another one I'm sure you've heard: Projects like Apollo or the US Interstate program were massive and expensive. I'm no engineer, but getting some hydrogen from a nuke plant in the Gobi to downtown Beijing, at a reasonable cost, does not seem to be such an insurmountable obstacle.

....

lotsa apartment dwellers, myself included. I can't have a BE car cuz I can't plug it in, but I could have a FC car.

[/ QUOTE ]

Oh, I think you're right on the money about everybody being all excited about an H2 economy. No question about it. I can't keep myself from laughing when I hear big-bad-truck-driver dudes saying how they'll never be caught dead behind the wheel of a sissy electric car. "But them fancy Fuel Cell cars sure sound neat!" My guess is that 0.002% of the population knows that FC cars are, in fact, electric cars. And that they'll need some form of battery to function well. Most folks think they'll drive their ICE up to the H2 pump, fill their gas tank with H2 and "burn" it directly in the traditional engine emitting only water. VERY few people even give a moment's thought to where the H2 will come from since we're *constantly* being told that "it is the most common element in the atmosphere."

So, in regard to the quote above. I totally see your point. But I MUST comment (as you knew I would). Here you're saying that if we have the means to go to the moon and build expensive freeways, that we can sure as heck build a bit of H2 infrastructure. True enough.... but in the next sentence you seem to see some major stumbling block in adding an outlet to the parking structure (or even the street) of your apartment building????? This is the part I don't get. A fast-charge infrastructure and 200 mile batteries could be here today for a mere drop in the bucket as compared to anything having to do with H2. Sure would be easier than going to the moon. But listening to the auto mfg's makes it sound like we'll have a cure for the common cold before they can figure out a way to get the public interested in BEV technology. I mean there are just TOO MANY obstacles to the installation of convenient outlets. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif Installing a bank of chargers is NOT rocket science. FC technology still is.

The comparison that people are making is:

1. 10-year-old BEV technology that costs about $30k per unit in small quantities, is high performance, costs about 2c/mile in fuel, is here today, and has the biggest fuel delivery infrastructure of any energy in the world mostly already in place. (Oh, and of course all of the negative issues associated with having all cars made by builders who *don't* want us to have these vehicles... like range, recharge time, etc).

and we compare that to:

2. FC technology that can't be produced for 10-20 years into the future, costs $1 million per unit in any quantity, is low performance without batteries, costs between $1-$2/mile to fuel, and has ZERO infrastructure available or planned. Current range less than 10-year-old BEV. Current recharge time longer than 10-year-old BEV.

And the public votes.... (drum roll not needed).... Fuel Cell! Smoke and mirrors and PR to the rescue. I'll be right here watching with the rest of you as this drama unfolds. We'll certainly *see* FCVs soon (since the mfg's will be required to build several *demonstration-only* vehicles to comply with the ZEV mandate). But we won't be parking them in our garages anytime soon.

I'll say it again: If BEV technology ever saw the kind of money and attention that FCV tech has been getting for the past 20 years, we'd be in GREAT shape. If nothing else, we'd at least be much further along in our FCV research...
 

ikendu

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 30, 2001
Messages
1,853
Location
Iowa
And...on a positive note! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I'm on my first tank of BioDiesel now that the air is warmer. I'm running about B40 (40% BioDiesel/60% Dino Diesel) 'cause my tank wasn't empty when I filled up. It'll be B100 from now on until the weather turns cold in the fall.

Today we gave it the "smell test". On straight dino-diesel it clearly smelled like a diesel when it first started up. Today we started it up to see what it smelled like on B40. My wife and my son sniffed...and sniffed...and said..."Where's the smell?". ...EXACTLY!

There wasn't any smell! Very cool.
 
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