Ok so there's a movie coming out soon (whokilledtheelectriccar) and after checking out their web site and reading upon their sources. I'd have to say, does fuel cells really offer us any kind of solution? Or is it REALLY a scape goat to scap EV's? Lets consider a few questions shall we?
1. So efficencies between the two technologies? Lets look at the whole grid to get a good visual on what we are up agaist:
EV: power source > stepped down electricity (ac adapter?) > battery > electricity > motor > wheels
Fuel Cells: power source > hydrogen > fuel cell > electricity > motor > wheels
: Methanol* > Reformer > hydrogen......
*Methanol was suggested because it can be carried through the same infrastructure that is used in gasoline today.
I'm not going to add any numbers because I don't have numbers to back them up
Any differences in terms of battery production vs fuel cell production?
I assume the motors are the same since in the very end the byproduct is electricity to propell the car.
2. Driving characteristics?
- Weight differences?
- Interior/exterior noise differences?
- Speed wise?
- Mileage efficencies
- Energy to wheel efficency
edit: 2b) Maintainence and LIFE!
- Life of the motors vs fuel cell stack
- Battery life?
- Uh any other parts that doesn't belong to an interal combustion engine?
- Personal maintainence that car owner must do? EV VS Fuel cell stack?
3. Technology improvements?
- Future potenial for both technologies?
- Should the two coexsit? Or should one prevail the other?
- Different political engineering between the two? (EV's are about programming the electricity while fuel cells is more for the engineerer type?)
4. Why did these technologies exsit in the first place?
- Zero exhaust emissions! Unless fuel cells was created because we wanted to be prepared if one day the earth ran out of clean water? (I heard that exhaust is drinkable)
- Fix the ineffiencies of the internal combustion engine?
- Shifting the economy towards an electric world or hydrogen.
- Dealing with the extra juice, electric power plants have to deal with. There is no free lunch even when trying to create hydrogen. You have to get your power somewhere even for your batteries and that includes the dirty coal plant.
- political? but I thought money was buried deep under the ground! Maybe this will give the oil companies time to rebuild their infrastructure for hydrogen, then they can start all over again with ruling our transportation lives. Maybe that's why they need so much cash?
- Even though we'll remove the exhaust from million of moving cars in the future, dealing with the main power sources are the next step I assume. At least now when we want to control the pollution we can just visit the sites that do pollute rather than convincing the public to trying to buy a more efficent car for their lifestyle.
I hope one day this thread can be viewed by anyone that is interested in the two key future technologies and hopefully will learn something out of it or even contribute to it.
I'll add and edit more as I see fit.
edit: didn't realize that a fuel cell car toook so much space. Look at all that gizmos inside the honda FCV! Man you don't even have a trunk anymore!
all the companies are trying to get away from electric technology. Hydrogen gas, gasolene, nitrogen gas is really not the solution.
Electric components are so advanced now you don't even have to charge the car. There are solar panels now that are as thin as paper. The whole car can be covered with those solar panels. People will just thinks it's a cool paint job instead of solar panels. Those panels and regenarative braking can keep the batteries charged up.
The big difference between fuel cells and batteries is that you can replenish fuel at any rate, so you can have gas stations and unlimited range. Electric cars have to make do with the equivalent of a gallon or so of gas, then hours recharge time. They'd be great commuters though. Fuel cells are very complicated, with pumps and tanks so on in addition to what you need with a battery (except the charger), so they'll need lots of repair.
Personally, I think fuel cells are being pushed just because they're so far off. They aren't expected to produce the real deal for at least a decade, which means they can just spend a few million on R&D, and keep making what they've always made. EVs would have to be on the market already if they were still being hyped. I think the plan is to pull another EV1-style bait-and-switch, assuming they're thinking that far ahead.
why wouldn't someone want a fuel cell? spend $20,000 on what is basicly a fancy battery, it'lll wear out in 25,000 miles, so you spend another $20,000 and lets say that US got gready, and desided to produce fuel cells for every single car on the road, and we wanted raw materals like the platnem used as a catolest to recombine the hydrogen and oxigen, from what I've heard it would take around 9 times the amount that you could in theory mine from earth just to supply all the cars in the US with fuel cells for 25,000 miles, now on average amaricans drive aruond 20,000 miles a year, right? and I hear the rest of the world has their eye on a new car.
I don't remember the guys name who I heard speek, but he wrote an articel in HomePower magazine about a year ago about this very topic, and I've heard him speed three times, and read books published by the SAE that seem to back it up, and if the Society of Automotive Engeners hint as something being wishful thinking, I don't normaly argue with them very long.