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Climate Change & The Environment Discuss Hit or hype? Hydrogen cars back in spotlight at the General Discussion; Gary Brahm says he was willing to make a sacrifice for the environment, so he decided to sign up several ...

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Old 11-22-2013, 10:46 PM
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Default Hit or hype? Hydrogen cars back in spotlight

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Gary Brahm says he was willing to make a sacrifice for the environment, so he decided to sign up several years ago to become one of the first to lease Honda’s FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle. What he didn’t expect was to really enjoy the experience, so much so that when his initial lease ran out earlier this year, he signed on to get another one of the hydrogen cars.

“It’s just like a regular car,” said Brahm, the chancellor of Brandman University in Irvine, Calif., who finds that his second Honda Clarity is “a little quicker and more fun to drive.”

Brahm was on hand this week for the introduction of what could soon become his third hydrogen-powered car, as Honda unveiled the FCEV prototype during the media preview days at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The maker is promising to put a final version of the zero-emissions vehicle into production in 2015.

Hydrogen cars, like this concept Fuel Cell Vehicle from Toyota, are getting back into the spotlight.
Toyota

Hydrogen cars, like this concept Fuel Cell Vehicle from Toyota, are getting back into the spotlight.

And, it turns out, Honda isn’t alone. Toyota simultaneously announced 2015 production plans for its own fuel-cell vehicle, or FCV, at the L.A. event and the Tokyo Motor Show. But Korean carmaker Hyundai may have stolen their thunder, not only revealing plans to put a fuel-cell vehicle on the market by the spring of next year but to offer it at an unexpectedly low price that will include the cost of all fill-ups during the three-year lease.

Executives from several other manufacturers hinted they’re also working up plans, including General Motors, which earlier this year signed into a fuel-cell development program with Honda.

The sudden rush to market is quite a reversal of fortune for hydrogen power. The technology has been around since 1839, when it was invented by British chemist William Grove. It only saw serious, practical application with the Apollo program, providing power for the Apollo moon capsules. A decade ago, as worries about oil supplies grew and global warming began to seem a cause for concern, automakers and federal regulators began to gush about fuel cell technology. GM at one point promised to have a commercial vehicle in production by 2012.

The Detroit maker missed that target – but the early enthusiasm overall began to fade as battery power came into vogue. The Obama administration initially shifted research funding from hydrogen to electric propulsion and it began to seem that “hydrogen is the fuel of the future – and always will be,” as Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn joked this week.

Why is it back in the spotlight? For several reasons, it seems. Hydrogen “is what we believe could be the ultimate solution to low-carbon mobility,” declared Tetsuo Iwamura, Honda Motor Co.’s top North American executive and chief operating officer of its global automotive operations. “At the same time,” he stressed, a vehicle like the FCEV can be “fun to drive and fun to own.”

Promoting the ease with which motorists can slip from a conventional, gas-powered vehicle into a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle could prove critical to winning over potential buyers, and could be the significant selling point when compared to battery-electric vehicles. Honda noted that fuel-cell vehicles like the FCEV prototype can be refueled in as little as three minutes and deliver up to about 300 miles per tank – compared to the hours it takes to recharge a battery car which, in turn, typically yields less than 100 miles of range.

Meanwhile, fuel-cell technology is not only becoming more efficient but much less expensive – Hyundai claims it cut production costs of its fuel-cell “stack” in half over the last two years. The maker plans to charge buyers $2,999 down and $499 a month – including its all-you-can-eat fuel plan. The $2,500 in available California subsidies would cover five monthly payments.

That said, hydrogen still has its drawbacks. The most serious is the lack of a hydrogen infrastructure – there are perhaps a dozen or so stations in all of California today – though the California legislature has approved funding expected to grow that to 100 by the end of the decade, and similar programs are under way in other likely markets, including Germany and Japan.

The announcements in Los Angeles show that a number of automakers are ready to go first in the chicken-and-egg face-off with the energy industry that – makers hope – will respond by gearing up even broader hydrogen distribution plans.

Initially, manufacturers are planning to limit distribution to Southern California, where there’s already a small hydrogen distribution network. That could soon spread to other parts of the state, and there’s hope that New York may follow with a government-backed push for hydrogen stations, as well.

Not everyone is flying high over the revival of hydrogen power. A senior Volkswagen official told reporters at the Los Angeles show his company doesn’t believe fuel-cell technology is viable. And other industry officials question whether consumers will buy in – even with more fueling stations.

But for the moment, at least, hydrogen is back in the spotlight and ready to make a tentative shift from the research labs and fleet tests to something that could soon approach the mainstream.
Hit or hype? Hydrogen cars back in spotlight - NBC News.com

That $499 includes all fuel for the whole lease period.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Hit or hype? Hydrogen cars back in spotlight

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Originally Posted by 40yearfan View Post
Hit or hype? Hydrogen cars back in spotlight - NBC News.com

That $499 includes all fuel for the whole lease period.
The problem is infrastructure of course, but if I lived in California I would try it. It equates or beats what I pay now and there where everything is higher it would be worth it.
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Hit or hype? Hydrogen cars back in spotlight

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Hit or hype? Hydrogen cars back in spotlight - NBC News.com

That $499 includes all fuel for the whole lease period.
Like the electric car until they get fueling stations up and running all over the country they will be nothing more than a fun toy for those who can afford them.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:11 AM
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Lightbulb Re: Hit or hype? Hydrogen cars back in spotlight

UPDATE:

Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell trucks are now moving goods around the Port of LA...

Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell trucks are now moving goods around the Port of LA
Oct 12, 2017 - The only emission is water vapor
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A concept version of Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell truck is running short-haul drayage routes at the Port of Los Angeles as part of a feasibility study, which figures in to the port’s efforts to reduce harmful emissions. The truck will move goods from select Port of LA and Long Beach terminals to surrounding rail yards and warehouses for distribution. Toyota estimates the vehicle’s daily trips will total around 200 miles — short, frequent route patterns designed to test the duty-cycle capabilities of the fuel cell system. As the study progresses, longer haul routes will be introduced.

Toyota unveiled its plan to build a fleet of heavy-duty, zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell trucks last April. The concept truck generates more than 670 horsepower and 1,325 pound-feet of torque from two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery. Its gross combined weight capacity is 80,000 pounds. Hydrogen fuel cells — which use compressed hydrogen as their fuel and release only water vapor as an emission — have been in development for decades, but only recently have they attained performance and range numbers good enough to replace an average driver's gasoline-powered car.

That said, hydrogen hasn’t taken off as a propulsion technology due to severe shortage in fueling stations. Experts predict that commercial vehicles, like trucks and forklifts, could benefit more from hydrogen, thanks to access to centralized, industrial fueling stations at ports or warehouses. Toyota has more experience with fuel cell vehicles than most automakers. The automaker began selling its hydrogen-powered Mirai sedan in the US in 2015, but recent reports suggest the company has only sold several hundred units. Toyota has said it plans to sell buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells in Tokyo this year, in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

And Toyota isn’t alone in pursuing zero-emission big rigs. Nikola Motor Company recently unveiled a huge class 8 truck that's powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The Salt Lake City-based startup claims its H2-powered truck will have an operational range of as much as 1,200 miles when it's released in 2020. Meanwhile, Elon Musk, who has called hydrogen power “incredibly dumb,” “extremely silly,” “mind-bogglingly stupid,” and most succinctly, “bull****,” will be unveiling an electric battery-powered semi truck in November.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/12/...-truck-port-la
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