Is Honda participating in a "Hydrogen Hoax?"

Discussion in 'FCV or Fuel Cell Vehicle' started by Right Lane Cruiser, Oct 6, 2008.


What is holding back hydrogen fuel cell vehicles?

  1. Too expensive

    23 vote(s)
  2. Too fragile

    5 vote(s)
  3. No infrastructure

    24 vote(s)
  4. Not energy dense enough

    12 vote(s)
  5. Automotive industry conspiracy

    2 vote(s)
  6. Too dangerous

    1 vote(s)
  7. Lack of public interest

    5 vote(s)
  8. Lack of government interest

    1 vote(s)
  9. The Hindenburg

    0 vote(s)
  10. Nothing -- I'll buy one tomorrow!

    1 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    “We are waiting for the infrastructure to catch up.”

    [xfloat=right][/xfloat]Edwin Black – The Cutting Edge – Oct. 6, 2008

    Is this really what is holding back hydrogen in the transportation sector? -- Ed.

    Japanese Honda is delaying for years a national rollout of its dynamic new Clarity hydrogen car, and manufacturing just a handful of test cars, mainly for the Los Angeles area, because the company claims cities lack hydrogen filling stations. But the claim is an apparent hoax. Honda’s Clarity was designed for home refueling and was developed with a companion Home Energy Station, now undeployed and forgotten.

    Unquestionably, Honda again achieved the alternative energy limelight with the rollout of its sleek and stylish hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Clarity. Boasting kinetic body styling, an exquisite interior, par excellence handling and roadability, the Clarity is a feat of automotive engineering. Most remarkably, the car uses no petroleum. Instead, its fuel cell uses hydrogen reformed from natural gas or electrolyzed from water. Hydrogen can also be made through a bacterial reaction, and several laboratories are trying to improve the yields.

    In 2005, Honda insisted its advanced hydrogen car would not be ready for the first consumers until 2012. As rapid progress was made on the vehicle’s technology and design, the release date was steadilyadvanced until Honda premiered its dazzling Clarity at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show, promising a summer 2008 availability. The vehicle was rolled out as promised. But to the disappointment of many, only a few Clarity vehicles were actually produced. These were leased to specially selected personalities in the Los Angeles area. Honda has stated it only plans to produce a few hundred more between 2007 and 2010. “Basically, we can mass produce these now,” admitted… [rm][/rm]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2008
  2. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    I don't think there is a hoax. There is minimal infrastructure for this & the home unit doesn't answer the bill.

    This car is intended to replace a traditional gas vehicle & its nearest rival is only now appearing on scene, the PHEV. Being able to refuel at home is nice, but average Joe wants a car that can go on vacation or other long trips, which means it needs to be able to refuel regularly away from home. You can't easily do that with a hydrogen vehicle, but you can with a PHEV. Both suffer from limited range, PHEVs moreso, but they can refuel anywhere without any changes in what the consumer knows. Frankly I see too many liabilities with hydrogen compared to batteries. And both are just storage for energy generated elsewhere or from more hydrocarbons mined from the earth. Perhaps one day the hydrogen car will accelerate ahead, but for now the PHEV will dominate. Perhaps as gas becomes more & more expensive the two will be combined with batteries providing short range & energy recovery, while hydrogen boosts the range and allows for refueling on the road. That may be the ultimate trend in the long term.
  3. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    Why not just push for nuclear powered cars?

    Makes about as much sense as hydrogen powered ones, and probably only a little more expensive.

  4. paratwa

    paratwa Well-Known Member

    I agree with Shiba.

    As Honda has learned well from the CNG Civic, folks want a car that can go anywhere and not worry about finding fuel once it gets there.

    There's little reason for Honda to crank out Claritys at premium bleeding-edge prices when there will be a tiny market for them until there's public infrastructure.

    Why is it the author of the article doesn't point out that the role the Clarity fills could be done almost as well with a CNG Civic:

    Available today? Check
    Limited public refueling? Check
    Home refilling unit? Check
    Zero Gasoline or Diesil? Check
  5. Yarisman

    Yarisman Well-Known Member

    Honda is mostly correct in its "lack of infrastructure" comment. I worked with a company that was developing a Hydrogen device and learned that the only filling station for the bottles was 3 hours away. we had to truck the stuff in for testing purposes. Now, in their defense, I know the problem exists firsthand. Their home fueling device may be being sidetracked or postponed for Trade marking or trying to make it available for filling the Honda brand of vehicles. When we were working on our device, there was so much concern over the damn storage devices and who had access to them. Whether somebody else's machine might be able to use them. We had the rights on the design, but that is only good for the Existing design. If somebody figures out a way to build a better mousetrap, Honda would be stuck with HUGE R&D money losses, so now they wait for the Infrastructure to catch up. My bet is that they take the hit on the Home station and we won't see the Clarity on the street in any numbers until 2015.
  6. Shan

    Shan SGII Equiped FIT Driver....finally!

    Kind of like the chicken or the egg..............

    As, they referred to the CNG cars there is only one CNG station within 100miles of me and my work..........convience???

    I haven't bothered looking for a Hydrogen station:eek:
  7. deezle

    deezle Well-Known Member

    Well I, for one, smell a BIG rat.

    Quote from the article:
    "In early 2008, a senior Plug Power manager with day-to-day involvement with the Honda refueling device told this reporter, “It works well. It’s running well. But it is Honda’s call.” In late summer 2008, a Plug Power staffer involved with the project, repeated the assertion. “It works fine the way it is,” he stated, “What year it comes out is Honda’s call. Please call Honda.”

    Both home and public refueling stations could be deployed in months, not years. There are other reasons why Honda is slow-tracking this launch, and the whole thing smells a lot like GM's suddenly crushed EV1 program.
    The article touched on the fact that this clean technology could quickly pull the plug from the sales of other Honda models. One should also give some thought to the consequences that this technology could have for the profits of Big Oil, and the lobbying power that Big Oil wields.
  8. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    While its possible to go to market in just a few months to a year, I'm suggesting its not cost effective & not a likely winner, and right now no car company car afford to go through the full development cycle to produce a bad seller.

    With all car sales down, I can't immagine that anything that took away from your own sales, would also take away from a lot of other manufactures sales, ultimatly given you more money that if you didn't release. Its not like this car would only impact Honda sales.

    Perhaps a different poll, if you could buy any gas car today as a hydrogen vehicle with apx 1/3 the range of the original car and exactly the same price, would you? And lets say the home fueling appiance comes with the car. Let also say that you have reached the point where a family car needs to be replaced....lets not let "lack of need" be an obsticle....heck, I'll even say you can get a used vehicle this way as long at it costs at least 5k....However, fuel stations remain exactly as is, but with a government plan to expand the number of station if it doesn't happen on its own....starting time 5 years, ending time 10 years, minimum of a pump every 50 miles on the interstate and no more than 20 miles apart off the interstate.

    I wouldn't buy one, and for exacly the reasons I stated. I need the vehicle range to be longer and/or I need fueling stations to be frequent enough that range is less of a problem...not that I wouldn't become quickly annoyed stopping for 10+ minutes every 2/3 hours for fuel. After the expansion plan, I'd consider it, but would still consider safety to be an issue.
  9. Radio_tec

    Radio_tec Tell AAA, Saving gas saves America!

    Harry, please don't give them any ideas. Ford came up with a car called the Nucleon. It was to use a nuclear reactor to power the car. :eek: I don't know what fashion it was to do this. I suppose it would use decaying Plutonium 238 to generate electricity much the way satellites use these nuclear reactors. Fortunately it only went as far as an idea and never became a concept car. There is a picture of the model built to small scale. You can do a search and find pictures of the car. Notice the driver and passenger are in front of the front wheels. It’s very telling of how impractical the car was.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  10. bomber991

    bomber991 Well-Known Member

    My guess is that there's no easy and cheap way to cram more hydrogen into a tank, so a 50 mile range isn't gonna cut it since nobody wants to go to the gas station everyday.
  11. Dan

    Dan KiloTanked in post 153451

    In my [post="128781"]Official Hydrogen Awakening Post[/post] I believe in H2 cars about as much as I believe in CNG cars. To me an H2 car is just a type of GNG car since CNG in reality will be the primary fuel stock for these vehicles. It may transition to pixie dust in a few years, but for now H2 is made from CNG... period. Electrosis is nifty but very lossy.

    Now I'm actually a pretty big believer in GNG cars, but since they were difficult to impossible to import into Texas in 2007 I went ahead and got a Prius instead. If I was shopping cars today, I would probably start start with the FCX then give up, move on to try to get the GX then give up, and settle on another Hybrid or small 4cyl.

    I voted cost and infrastructure, but for Texas, the infrastructure is already done. Most all houses down here have CNG used to make hot water. Once you have CNG, you have H2. A CNG->H2 reformer is available from honda if I recall. That doesn't cover the availability problem. From what I can see, the FCX is going the same way as the GX. Effectively a CA only car, fleet only car, or CA fleet only car.

    too bad.

  12. WarmWheels

    WarmWheels Member

    I'm holding out for Mr. Fusion, myself. :D
  13. Kacey Green

    Kacey Green Well-Known Member

    There will be one in the Vista this spring coming.
  14. MissileStick

    MissileStick Banned

    You forgot the most important reason: they're inefficient! Yes, that's right, inefficient. Electrolyzing water to produce hydrogen, storing said hydrogen, then converting the hydrogen back into electricity is around 30% efficient, compared to ~90% efficient for pure battery electric vehicles. Ulf Bossel has a great series of presentations and articles that talk about the staggering waste in FCEVs.
  15. Dan

    Dan KiloTanked in post 153451

    True. But If you start from Natural Gas you can get much closer to battery efficiencies. The Honda FCX (fuel cell) has better fuel efficency (with Natural Gas fuel stock) than the Honda GX (which is a natural gas vehicle).

    I'd still prefer batteries over fuel cells, but fuel cells are proven to be at least as efficient as natural gas cars, plus Uncle Sam will give big mounds of money if you say your building one.

  16. mparrish

    mparrish Rosie the Riveter Redux

    While as a Texas homeowner I have CNG availability, I'd MUCH rather pressure my employer for electrical outlets & meters than a huge garage CNG tank & meters. :)

    The former will be enough pulling teeth as it is.
  17. Dan

    Dan KiloTanked in post 153451

    All true. Guess I figure someone has to play Devils Advocate. One nice idea for Hydrogen is the ability to store electricity (agreed at a net 30% loss). In some instances, Hydrogen may offer better energy storage than batteries or other technologies. One (fantasy) example would be an offshore turbine converting water to H2 and storing it for tankers to offload. Running a drop to a grid from a mid ocean turbine might be problematic. Other systems offer higher efficiency, but I think Hydrogen has the most BTU / gram of any possible energy storage. These things matter in a few select cases like my fantasy turbine.

    Yes.. I know.. doesn't work on salt water... but it is a neat thought.

  18. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    Dan, something about your post struck a note with me & raised a question.... I wondered, if instead of mid ocean, we did mid one of the great lakes. How much fresh water would be needed to provide all the hydrogen needs if every car were hydrogen tomorrow & we still all drove the same. (Also assuming all hydrogen coming from water, not not another source). That could be a problem...

    Seperatly, I have trouble believing that batteries are 90% efficient, but they might be compared to the way you calculated. By the time you look an energy lost in generation, transmision, conversion (voltage), (repeat last 2 a few times), storage into the battery, removal of power & finally transmission & use in the motors, I suspect there is a 30 to 50% loss. Not a real estimate on my part, just a guess/feeling. However if you start at the electric plug, then you might be right, but it still seems high.

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