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Will Tesla consider making Hydrogen cars? 500 miles refueling in 3 minutes?

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by NeverFollow, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. NeverFollow

    NeverFollow Member

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    #1 NeverFollow, Jun 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
  2. Kwillscherer1026

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    I am sure Tesla will eventually jump onto this technology, but right now hydrogen vehicles are too expensive to create, significantly more than an EV. Also that fact that the productions of hydrogen requires energy... and this would lead to having to have hydrogen replenishment systems in gas stations or create stations. Currently it is not as economical or practical, although one day it probably will when the technology is more understood. I think Tesla will focus on EVs right now because that is what is hot, hydrogen... not so much.
     
  3. Stoneymonster

    Stoneymonster Active Member

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    Personally, I hope Tesla never does this. Hydrogen has many many problems including comparatively low energy density, transport, loss through leakage, accident safety, etc. A pure BEV can be powered by anything. Want hydrogen power? Put a big fuel cell at a supercharger. Tesla has already proven, IMHO, that fast charging is here and only going to improve to the point it's not worth worrying about. Honestly, if your car has 250 mile range and can be fully recharged in 10-15 minutes (we aren't there yet, but I think we will be in 2-3 years), what is the big deal?
     
  4. TD1

    TD1 Member

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    Elon Musk: "We call them the Fool Cells"

    I would bet a big amount that Foul Cells will never be used in the name of Tesla Motors.
     
  5. allanb4me

    allanb4me Member

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    Good one.
    Though i would prefer an ev car.
    More space. More control over you own car on how you want to charge it.
    Less moving parts. Less maintenance.
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Beat me to it TD1. Yes Elon referred to them as "Fool Cells", and stated emphatically that the hydrogen numbers just don't add up.
     
  7. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    The answer is no. H2 and fuel cells are inferior to BEVs in every facet of operation ( cost, safety, performance, energy efficiency ) except for the ability to refuel quickly.
    I would argue that in aggregate, the BEV is more convenient to refuel because you leave home every day with a full charge.
     
  8. Sunfishsolar.ca

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    Owen Sound, Ont Vin#9904
  9. johnnyS

    johnnyS Member

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    while I was waiting 18 months for the model S, I went to a presentation by Mercedes on their fuel cell vehicle program. They have a few fuel cell vehicles on the road here in southern California. After the presentation I had the chance to drive the Mercedes vehicle. Without knowing much about producing hydrogen, I left the presentation thinking hydrogen vehicles are completely crazy. The Mercedes people said the fuel costs the equivalent of around $8 per gallon when compared to gasoline. Just what the average consumer wants, a fuel more expensive and less available than gasoline. The infrastructure to construct hydrogen stations would be extremely expensive to construct. The Mercedes vehicle had poor storage and poor performance.

    I was amazed that Mercedes would invest large sums in a program that does not make sense.
     
  10. CapitalistOppressor

    CapitalistOppressor Active Member

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    You have to use gobs of electricity to make Hydrogen. Then you have to spend gobs of money on infrastructure to manufacture, transport and store the stuff. Setting aside the affordability of fuel cells (which is at least a solvable problem), these costs are unavoidable.

    If you are going to use massive amounts of electricity in an inefficient process to create Hydrogen, why not just put that electricity in a battery and use it directly? The only reason to even consider Hydrogen is if you think batteries aren't economical. Unfortunately for Hydrogen, the market is already proving that premise false.

    - - - Updated - - -

    That sounds about right. Wikipedia says it takes 50kWh of electricity to make 1 kilogram of Hydrogen. I doubt that quantity of Hydrogen is going to take you as far as 50kWh of power will take a Model S.
     
  11. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    Besides which, the majority of commercially-available H2 is made from natural gas, so from that standpoint, it's still a "fossil fuel."
     
  12. Sunfishsolar.ca

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    So a gallon of gas is equal to a kg of hydrogen. 25-30 miles for 50 kw's of electricity converted to hydrogen. $8. of electricity will get you 266 Km's. so about 10 times the cost.
     
  13. Seattle

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    It's not impossible to imagine that hydrogen power will improve to the point that it's competitive with gas or electricity. I think all the people trying to point out that H is expensive to separate from other substances, that it's much higher cost than gas, that it has less energy density that gas or batteries should remember that these are all things people used to say about electric cars. And still do.

    Because we have so much water on the earth, it's likely that eventually someone will come up with a less expensive way to separate the water into H and O. Saying "it's more expensive and less convenient than gas and always will be". That's just silly. That's what a lot of people say wrongly about electric cars still.
     
  14. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Hydrogen can come as a byproduct of cheap solar and wind as it can be produced relatively efficiently. The problem is that HFCV can be quite easily squeezed by NGV on one end and PEV on the other. I mean, why would you go HFCV if you could get a cheaper PHEV that covers a large percentage of your drivig, a cheaper BEV that covered everything or a cheap NGV that can be refilled at every station where you can get hydrogen?

    The real benefit of HFC would come in large, high mileage vehicles where the efficiency and density balancers would really pay and in static fuel cells that could supplant otherenrgy systems.
     
  15. Ludus

    Ludus Member

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    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-hydrogen-hoax

    An essay by Robert Zubrin, the engineer with the longtime focus on Mars settlement, on the problems with hydrogen as an energy storage medium.

    40 years ago, the hydrogen economy had great promise. Since then a lot of details have become clear and it's pretty much off the table. Hydrogen is just very difficult to work with if it's not bonded to carbon.

    If fuel cells ever work out as a technology it won't be using a hydrogen infrastructure.

    The big rival to battery tech is biotech direct production of zero net carbon, hydrocarbon drop-in replacement fuels. Companies like Joule Unlimited with engineered organisms that can take sunlight, CO2, and graywater and directly make drop-in diesel.
     
  16. Seattle

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    That's a reasonable argument against H that I can imagine being true. It just might not make sense between superior technologies above and below it in price and capabilities. It's probably too early to say. My dad does say battery cars make no sense because gas is getting cheaper and its virtually infinite. :)

    One more point on my previous post about the idea that things can improve, even if something seems impossible. There was a famous paper that came out in an electrical engineering journal that we'd never be able to make larger ram chips than 64k - because there were limitations in the current technology, you could only make the gates so small, etc. But the article didn't consider that there might be different technologies one could use to make smaller gates and solve those problems. At that exact same time, there was an ad for a new 64k dram chip, that you could buy.
     
  17. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    Hydrogen is not an energy source - it is an energy carrier. It may find a use storing solar or wind power, but any cheap solar or wind generated electricity is better used directly by a BEV which uses it more efficiently - you cant cheat the laws of physics.
    The only way for HFCVs to not be at a disadvantage to BEVs on the fuel cost is for the cost of electricity to approach zero.
    Also there is no reason to believe that the cost of the fuel cell itself is on a similar trajectory to batteries, they are very much more expensive and have a lot of ground to make up.
    If *big if* the fuel cost was the same *and* the cars cost the same, the BEV still wins on safety and convenience. HFCVs need billions of investment in fueling infrastructure to approach - but still fall short of - the convenience that BEVs have now: just charging in your garage.
     
  18. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    The only slightly valid argument for hydrogen that I've heard is the argument that one can use intermittent power sources to produce energy, then store it until it's needed to power a car. Compare this with solar where the production is more than halved on a rainy day, and doesn't produce any power at night. Or wind, where weeks can pass with no production.

    But I don't think that this is enough of a reason to go for hydrogen. There are other ways to store energy, like pumped hydro storage, and there are ways to produce power constantly, such as nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. One proposed pumped hydro project here would cost about $500 million for 960 MW/58 GWh. That's about $10/kWh of storage. And pumped hydro storage lasts basically forever with very little maintenance and an efficiency in the 80%-region. This is what hydrogen would need to compete against on the short term, yet even the pumped hydro project I refer to was shelved, due to lack of demand.

    If hydrogen ever became needed for load balancing, it will be decades away, and by then battery lifespan will have improved to such a degree that V2G will be unproblematic, and there will already be millions and millions of EVs on the roads.
     
  19. SebastianR

    SebastianR Member

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    Reading through this thread and seeing your question, I wonder if the "problem" of refueling is the "right problem". Not going to add to the discussions above that the numbers of hydrogen don't seem to add up, I think the reason why traditional car makers think of hydrogen is since most people didn't get the idea of the "always full car". I think the focus on "refueling" is a funny obsession we will all hopefully move past quickly. Granted, if you drive an ICE and think that visiting petrol stations is "a good thing" then you will consider alternative fuels to regular petrol.

    What I like about electric cars is that they are "always full" when I start them and and precisely that I don't need to visit fueling stations since the car charges only when I don't need it. So from that perspective I think the discussion about hydrogen is mute unless we start having automatic hydrogen fuel stations in our garages.
     
  20. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    Referring to a fuel cell/solar setup as 'only slightly valid' is a bit silly considering that's the system nature uses. For what's supposed to be a group of forward thinking advocates of new technology, I'm hearing a lot of doom and gloom about something that's really still just stuck in it's infancy and hasn't had a chance to ramp up. Any of this sound familiar?

    The big difficulty with imagining hydrogen as an energy storage system is that it's not going to take off until we have an overabundance of renewable energy. Clearly we're no there yet and people are having a tough time picturing what it's going to be like having much electricity. I can assure you it'll be here soon enough once the renewable energy bubble hits it's stride in about 10 years.

    I live in a standard rowhome in Philadelphia and can envision a 15kW system on my roof 15 years from now. What should I do with all that extra production? Why I'll split some water and make hydrogen all day long to fuel my transport needs and provide backup power when needed. All the electrolysis breakthroughs of 2020-2024 will have made the process almost effortless by today's standards.

    Will we "need" hydrogen for transport? Who knows, but it's just as viable as batteries. Just as exploding fossil fuels repeatedly to run a car seems moronic today, so might hauling around 1000lbs of batteries a few decades from now.
     

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