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Hydrogen fuel-cell car push 'dumb'? Toyota makes a case for the Mirai

12 Comments
By Norihiko Shirouzu

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Very interesting article, full of insights into top policy maker thinking. Some of the language is amusing too!

Quote: "A fuel cell car's practical range usually dips to 65-70 percent of its"sticker" range - 650 km for the Mirai - because drivers often use air-conditioning and accelerate with abandon."

There is a new goal, how to accelerate without abandon!

And where quote: Tesla chief Elon Musk (criticizes Toyota's move to hydrogen) as"incredibly dumb", Toyota's Uchiyamada replies with typical Japanese diplomacy “Elon Musk is right - it’s better to charge the electric car directly by plugging in,” said Tanaka. "But hydrogen has a place as a viable alternative to gasoline", he added.

Appease the guy, and then add something obliquely!

No mention of hydrogen hybrids, though, to give that free jolt of acceleration so you can put your foot down with abandon.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is what I have never understood: if the source of electricity is not renewable, any advantage that EVs have goes right out the window. And if you can’t guarantee a renewable source, then what basis does a guy like Elon Musk have for criticizing a “relatively” clean technology like hydrogen?

Those batteries aren’t too environmentally friendly anyway.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No mention of hydrogen hybrids, though, to give that free jolt of acceleration so you can put your foot down with abandon.

Hybrids are combination of internal combustion engine with a battery powered electric motor.

How can a hydrogen powered fuel cell automobile which is driven solely with an electric motor become an Hybrid?

Kind of oxymoron don't you think?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hydrogen has "similar" range to electric vehicles, with energy density being the issue. However, electric vehicles already have a marvelous distribution system, the electricity grid. What hydrogen lacks is a distribution system. Fueling hydrogen is also potentially dangerous. Elon Musk is right, hydrogen powered cars are dumb. What "sourpuss" doesn't know is that oil production hides a dirty little secret, and that is the incredible amount of electricity it takes to refine oil. The carbon-footprint of a coal-powered electric vehicle is much, much less than that of a gasoline or diesel powered car. And, gasoline or diesel cars can never use any other power source. Electric vehicles can since the cars themselves only depend on electricity. If you take down that coal power plant and replace it with a wind-farm or solar array, it automatically becomes cleaner. Finally, the EV detractors always love to point out the "environmentally unfriendly" batteries. It's a myth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good point, Triring, but I mean hybrid in the sense of two forms of energy, rather than relying on just one. I guess if the car is already very heavy then the options are limited, but if A/C and acceleration both cut range, then how about energy harvesting from slowing down, and a solar panel roof etc. for extra power?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the one hand, I am inclined to try to be open minded about any technology that tries to take us away from using hydrocarbons to power our transportation needs. However, Mr. Musk's criticism does make sense.

If hydrogen and battery technology are both dependent on hydrocarbon burning, then they immediately lose their appeal. If both types of vehicle are powered using renewable energy, then the question becomes, what is the best use of that renewable energy? Is it the production of hydrogen, or the charging of a battery? With today's technology, I think that the clear winner is the Electric Vehicle, but I am willing to concede the possibility, however remote, that at some time in the future producing, storing, transferring, and burning hydrogen will become more efficient than the charging of batteries. Still, I would not myself want to bet on hydrogen over battery technology.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You never know what is going to happen in the future. It is best to develop as many different technologies as possible.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Burning Bush, the same idea generally applies to batteries too - charge them overnight. I think it's a matter of battery efficiency versus the production and distribution of hydrogen. Perhaps there's a place for both.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tesla chief Elon Musk (criticizes Toyota's move to hydrogen) as"incredibly dumb",

Well if hydrogen is dumb, then I would say batteries are dead(weight) and dies at mid life of the car not being able to maintain the same amount of charge when first bought and leads to death of ecology since the descarded batteries are going to end up in a land fill.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Elon Musk was aggressive investor. He always wanted to dominate the market. His Tesla will not have technology advance in EV because the Tesla doesn't make battery itself. Also, EV is a lot easier to make than a Gasoline combustion engine car. There will be many Chinese EV car Companies set up in a next few years. Elon Musk, his Tesla Company will not be dominant in the EV market at all. Actually, he has seen a Hydrogen Fuel-cell car as a rival to his EV Tesla and threatening to his EV market in future. If I have to drive green car and then I'll choose Hybrid over EV. Elon Musk is losing his money in Tesla Company.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why does the car have O2 on the decal ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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