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Tesla is Betamax??

Feb 14, 2013
159
13
US
http://www.profitconfidential.com/stock/tsla-stock-is-tesla-motors-the-betamax-of-automakers/

Is this guy nuts? OK, it's probably click bait and I fell for it so if you don't want to click on it here are some highlights:

The Honda Clarity’s figures alone should make Tesla stockholders blush with fear: 450 mile range, three minutes to refuel, no special charger needed. A Tesla Model S needs 60 minutes using a supercharger or several hours (eight or nine at least) if you use a regular household outlet.
Unlike the batteries that power Tesla Motors’ cars, fuel cells offer all the environmental benefits of an electric car without the range anxiety. In a fuel cell, the operative principle is reverse electrolysis. Hydrogen and air flow around two electrolytic plates, which act as anodes and cathodes, separated by a polymer membrane.

This one was new to me, when did VW, GM, Ford and BMW go with Fuel Cell Vehicles?

[Honda is betting that fuel cells are the future; not batteries. Honda Motor Co. stock should gain from the fact that its main competitors such as Toyota, Volkswagen AG (OTC:VLKAY), General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) or even premium automakers like BMW, have chosen fuel cells rather than batteries. Fuel cells can be adapted to all kinds of vehicles; from cars to trucks.
The battle is not unlike Betamax vs. VHS in the late 1970s and 1980s with home video entertainment. Hyundai, which sells cars all over the world, serving markets where personal car ownership is growing fastest (i.e. Africa and certain parts of Asia) has also bet on hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Tesla Motors shareholders should note that Tesla’s much-yped success, a mostly California-ased phenomenon, does not equate with the reality of the global automotive market which counts more than 65 million vehicle sales in 2015.
 

Petra

Member
Jan 31, 2015
813
1,218
Palmdale, CA USA
Things hydrogen fuel cell car makers haven't really talked much about:

- Expected fuel cell stack life (it wasn't that many years ago that I was reading research papers about advancements successfully extending stack life to the equivalent of 75k miles)
- High pressure hydrogen tank expected life (composite pressure vessels don't last forever)
- Expected Li-Ion battery life
- Expected high pressure fuel system life and design considerations made to account for hydrogen embrittlement
- Rate of hydrogen loss (H2 is a notoriously difficult gas to contain and, as a result, there will be loss from the onboard systems and from every step of the fueling, distribution, and storage infrastructure chain)
- Cost of building nationwide hydrogen fueling infrastructure
- Overall efficiency

Yeah, the guy is a bit nuts and FCVs have quite a few challenges to overcome... that said, fuel cell drive systems may serve well in industrial and commercial heavy equipment/trucking roles in the near future. BEVs, on the other hand, make the most sense as passenger vehicles.
 

perkiset

... this one goes to 11
Jan 7, 2014
238
0
Phoenix, AZ
Spot on, Petra.

I believe that people completely miss the real Killer App of the Tesla: the SCs. Tesla brilliantly noted that adoption of a (relatively) new paradigm will take an infrastructure that eliminates range anxiety. Certainly, the time to charge is a downside compared to anything that you can just pour more fuel into, but the real question, to your point, is what are you going to pour fuel from? And unless one intends to build a network of fuel centers that pull hydrogen from the air, then you'll need a distribution network that is even more significant than the current gasoline network (no idea if that could actually be retrofitted, but it would mean a wholesale change for the petro companies).

I think the OP had it right at the outset: Clickbait.
 

electracity

Active Member
Jun 8, 2015
4,028
2,531
60606
Spot on, Petra.

I believe that people completely miss the real Killer App of the Tesla: the SCs.

Yes, but only in the short term. Tesla had no choice in building it. To the extent that future competitors don't incur the same expense, they may produce a better ROI on their EVs.

One strategy you can be sure the SAE group is looking at is building a pay per use network and not letting Tesla join. If the majors are taking EVs seriously, none may not join Tesla's network either. It is game theory at its finest.
 

SW2Fiddler

We Are Cognitive Dissidents
Mar 19, 2014
2,362
3,247
Houston TX
To the extent that future competitors don't incur the same expense, they may produce a better ROI on their EVs.

One strategy you can be sure the SAE group is looking at is building a pay per use network and not letting Tesla join.
SAE network of one-connection stations (like the CHAdeMOs around here)? Two connectors? Good luck keeping customer satisfaction with that model. More connections as with the SC network? Well then it's no longer a low expense...
 

SteveG3

Supporting Member
Sep 21, 2012
4,013
15,369
US
rage, this was the article I found most helpful in describing the limitations of hydrogen. I found it thorough without "dumbing down" the science, and understandable even though I did not take much science after high school. sort of the backup of Elon's "fool cells" description. I strongly recommend it to anyone with "betamax" concerns.

The Hydrogen Hoax - The New Atlantis
 

austinEV

Supporting Member
May 16, 2013
3,231
7,352
Austin
rage, this was the article I found most helpful in describing the limitations of hydrogen. I found it thorough without "dumbing down" the science, and understandable even though I did not take much science after high school. sort of the backup of Elon's "fool cells" description. I strongly recommend it to anyone with "betamax" concerns.

The Hydrogen Hoax - The New Atlantis

That is a great article and it outlines the problems of H2 pretty exhaustively. But, I note the article is pretty old and some of the impossible problems he lists must have been solved, to produce the (weak) FCEV's that are on the market or coming soon.

For instance, he says that the onboard fuel cells must cost hundreds of thousands of dollars-- that must have come down pretty dramatically. There is no way they are taking a loss that big, if any. For another, he basically says that it isn't possible to pipe/store/create H2 at a filling facility. But filling facilities do exist. Are they steam reforming on site? Anyone know what tech they settled on for these stations? (I suspect they are making it onsite, and there are reports of the stations being empty a lot suggesting they don't fill quickly). Finally, he says it will basically be impossible to store compressed H2 on board. Another problem they solved with carbon fiber according to wikipedia.

The conclusion is still valid, but it is interesting that some of his hyperbolic arguments are proven false. Unfortunately for FCEV's, there are many more unsolved.
 

RDoc

S85D
Aug 24, 2012
2,736
1,588
Boston North Shore
Yes, but only in the short term. Tesla had no choice in building it. To the extent that future competitors don't incur the same expense, they may produce a better ROI on their EVs.

One strategy you can be sure the SAE group is looking at is building a pay per use network and not letting Tesla join. If the majors are taking EVs seriously, none may not join Tesla's network either. It is game theory at its finest.
SAE isn't a group, it's a standards body, and, in any event, I'm extremely doubtful that a pay per use charging network can be reasonably profitable, or indeed profitable at all. If you mean BMW, Ford, GM, etc., then they're in exactly the same position as Tesla except with a far worse standard.

Also, what do you mean,"not letting Tesla join"? Tesla the company, would have no reason to join such a network and it seems unlikely that a for profit charging network would refuse to accept Tesla cars. They'd want everybody they could get.
 

RobStark

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2013
10,515
54,259
Los Angeles, USA
The Mirai has 312 mile EPA range the Clarity does not have 450 mile EPA range.

It takes three minutes to refuel if you arrive at fully loaded pump that has not been used in the last half hour and is therefore cool. If you try to refuel right after another customer you may need to wait up to 30 minutes for the fuel pump to cool down.

In CA 1/3 of Hydrogen is "clean" and the other 2/3 is from steam reforming natural gas/methane.


They are almost certainly taking a loss on every FCEV leased. Only a handful will be sold. Toyota engineers last year said they were hoping to get the fuel stack cost down to $60k within a few years. Not the entire car but the fuel cell stack. If they were not taking significant losses there would be no need to limit sales so strictly for the next 5 years. The Japanese government alone would probably buy the entire 2015-2020 allotment.
 

perkiset

... this one goes to 11
Jan 7, 2014
238
0
Phoenix, AZ
Yes, but only in the short term. Tesla had no choice in building it. To the extent that future competitors don't incur the same expense, they may produce a better ROI on their EVs.
I would agree, if they actually had a plan to solve the infrastructure problem. Putting chargers at dealerships is hardly a plan - everyone I talk to about EV asks the same question about range, anxiety and "what do you do if you get stuck?"

There's only one company out there that has realistically addressed that obstacle. Did I say obstacle? I meant show stopper. Tesla is WAY ahead ... and the first mover has the best opportunity to dominate. Not saying that they forever will, but at least for anything realistically on the horizon, I don't see a competitor. Cars, yes. Global adoption? No.
 

SteveG3

Supporting Member
Sep 21, 2012
4,013
15,369
US
fair point Austin, some things have changed in the 8 years since the article was published. reading the article about a year ago I still found there to be quite a set of hurdles that make the idea of fuel cells being a better option than EVs extremely improbable.
 

electracity

Active Member
Jun 8, 2015
4,028
2,531
60606
SAE isn't a group, it's a standards body, and, in any event, I'm extremely doubtful that a pay per use charging network can be reasonably profitable, or indeed profitable at all. If you mean BMW, Ford, GM, etc., then they're in exactly the same position as Tesla except with a far worse standard.

Also, what do you mean,"not letting Tesla join"? Tesla the company, would have no reason to join such a network and it seems unlikely that a for profit charging network would refuse to accept Tesla cars. They'd want everybody they could get.

I'm referencing the American auto company building out a charging network around a common standard. Certainly everyone is planning HVDC, regardless of what is available in the next few years. They have no reason to build a free/prepaid network. The cost of a network that would collect revenue would approach trivial for these companies. They would only allow Tesla if it were to their advantage. Just as it is to Tesla's advantage to get a major to pay to join the supercharger network.

Any company not liking Tesla encroachment would naturally want Tesla's expenses to remain high as a new, small company.

The fuel cell nonsense may push some of majors a bit faster in EV. I imagine some auto companies are divided internally on the strategy of fuel cell vs. EV.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,275
5,189
The SAE CSS has actually been the most disappointing. The European version is going fine because of legal mandate for it to be the standard. However, US CSS charger growth has been extremely slow and the backers aren't showing much enthusiasm for installing them in a big way (despite all the talk of how they can "easily" built such a network at the drop of a hat).

There is no way the network will be exclusive. It'll be similar to CHAdeMO, where Tesla cars can charge with an adapter.
 

RobStark

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2013
10,515
54,259
Los Angeles, USA
Yes, part of SAEJ1772

I don't know if Chrysler has signed on. Perhaps no one bothered to ask :)

Is Volvo using that standard?


Ford, GM, Chrysler, and German Carmakers Adopt EV Charging Standard


Electric Car Charging: The Basics You Need To Know (Page 2)


  • CCS (Combined Charging Standard): All U.S. and German electric cars fitted with DC quick charging use this standard, including those from BMW, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
I know greencarreports failed to point out Volvo is Sino-Swedish not German.
 
There are so many disadvantages to the fuel cell but I do not think "waiting 30 minutes for the pump to cool down" is one we can expect to continue.
Surely this can be overcome with parallel pump stations or some heavy-duty cooling schemes.
All the other drawbacks are still valid, yes.
~Larry
 

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