I read that Toyota is going to kill off the EV RAV4 and go hydrogen to meet their criteria of ZEVs for California. Nissan is taking the opposite route and is planning to have 4 EV's in their lineup by 2017 I think. At one point Toyota was licensing technology from Tesla for the RAV4. IMHO I think trying to retrofit a budget ICE vehicle by shoving an electric motor and battery into the engine compartment is probably the wrong strategy. I think until battery prices drop from ~$500/kWh to $300/kWh over the next few years EV makes more sense at the higher end where there is more margin. When I drive through some areas every 4th car I see on the road is worth over $50k so many people have the money but who wants a $50k base model RAV4?
The emissions from the car is water vapor. This does not mean that the emissions from the generating the hydrogen does not exist; in fact when you consider the inefficiency of generating hydrogen you should come to the conclusion that fuel cell vehicles are not as low impact as ICE vehicles. They are ludicrously expensive as well.
So the FCV is here, cool. However, I have to ask, why? Why would anyone want one? Is it faster? Less expensive? Can you fill-up at home? Or for that matter, can you travel with it? What is the X-factor that would compel someone, anyone to purchase one? The answer of course ("none") is a big issue. You are not going to entice people to spend large sums of their money to better the world. That' not the way Capitalism works. It must be good for the individual. Without a very large gas tax, and massive government investment in infrastructure, Fuel Cell vehicles are simply doomed in the US, even if it were the best choice. So, I'll stick with Tesla, with 25% the fuel cost, very low maintenance, never see another local gas station again, and travel around the US for free. Oh yeah, with Porsche-topping performance.
All the arguments made for ICE and EV today, in opposition to FCV, could have easily been made for horses and horse-drawn carriages, in opposition to ICE... in 1900. Fortunately, Henry Ford had this to say on the subject: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
@ physics314 Ford was offering horse users twenty big horses that didn't tire to people use to one or two that did. Hydrogen fuel cells replace the batteries in an EV but unlike ICE has no tolerance for alternative fuel.
Mel Tisdale
Any comparison of the various types of fuel for cars has to take into account the forecasts for fossil fuel availability. We are past peak easy oil and rapidly heading towards peak tight oil. That can only mean that availability and price are going to alter dramatically. Especially availability. That will most likely lead to a situation where cars that run on gasoline will face rationing. In short, we are not far off settling for anything that will get us from A to B, and to heck with the niceties that seem to influence so many.
@slowburn - "...inefficiency of generating hydrogen..." This is entirely dependant on the process used to generate the hydrogen. If you use a nuclear reactor to thermally crack water it's not really inefficient and it will be vastly less polluting than the gasoline it would replace. Using modern reactor design it will be safer too. Here is another otion for thermal cracking of water that would appease the anti-nuke crowd. It's less efficient and requires vast tracts of land occupied by complex maintenance intensive machines, but hey that is the cost of "safe": http://marketplace.yet2.com/app/insight/techofweek/64292?sid=220 If the anti-nuke crowd were overcome you could render the entire thing vastly more efficient by creating a capacitor based hybrid that uses a nuclear battery, either a beta decay battery or something like the one in use with "Opportunity", to power a vehicle. The advantage would be never having to charge up or fill up, well not for 15-20 years anyway. Dump the used cells back into a re-enrichment process and you close the loop with minimal waste stream.
Nathan Tessier
Hemp and Hydrogen are the only way to go regardless of what people 'feel' about either. Big Pharma and Big Oil will let neither happen. We will have world war caused by the Multinationals before either are realized on a mass scale.
Don Duncan
I love to dream of PV generating and storing electricity at home to fuel my car/house. I'm even willing to pay a little more to be independent. I hate monopolies in any form. I support all forms of voluntary interaction, and predict the market will provide everything we need cheaper and cheaper in time, as opposed the ever increasing cost of govt. and its crony crapitalists. That said, until batteries improve, I would buy an ICE fueled by CNG. It's half the price & pollution of gas, produced at home, and plentiful.
I just want to push down the front hood and close it. What a stupid looking car. For $69,000.00 make it look nicer. I remember hearing about personal nuclear batteries that would run your car your house and other thing back in the 50's. That would be scary in today's world with all the terrorists in the world.