I was listening to public radio today to a guy talk about driving a fuel cell vehicle that had a 300 mile range, and I got to thinking about how it's estamated that a fuel cell in a car will last around 25,000 miles, and I think a cost of $10,000 to replace it, of course that number was from a number of years ago, but they also pointed out that there is something like only enough platum on earth to made fuel cells for 1/5 of the vehicles in the US (and in 25,000 miles they wear out) and that is if the US hords all of the platnum that is thereticaly avalible.
my assuming that $10,000 would buy a fuel cell that could power an electric car, what kind of range could you get from a lithium battery for the same $10,000? and how many miles would it last?
In testing the lithium's are holding up better then NiMH and the NiMH packs have run 100K+ miles in the Rav4 so far.
The kicker to this is a fuel cell vehicle is an electric vehicle that charges the batteries via the fuel cell. Fuel cells are good at making a flat straight line power output. So say it's rated for 5kw, it can't put out more then 5k so you need batteries to handle the peak loads while accelerating and run on batteries alone while stopped and once the batteries are charged the fuel cell can shut off. They act similarly to how the Prius operates.
Fuel cells are about 30-50 % efficient. Let’s say it is a H2 fuel cell. Making H2 from electricity is about 50% efficient and then compressing the H2 for storage eats another 20% using the fuel cell is 50% efficient again or about 15-20% overall. If you took that same power and put it in NiMH or lithium you would have 90% of that energy available to power the vehicle and it would be far cheaper because while you add batteries, you remove the costly fuel cell.
to get a decent range with a fuel cell, you need large tanks of hydrogen as well, and at extream presure (10,000 psi was one quote I heard) and hydrogen is small, so it likes to leak over time.
so my question still stands, for anyone who knows batteries slightly better then I do, what kind of range could you get with $10,000 worth of lithium?