Honda Backs Hydrogen as U.S. Favors Battery Vehicles

Discussion in 'FCV or Fuel Cell Vehicle' started by ALS, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    [​IMG] “Honda has a propensity to think very long term,”

    [FIMG=RIGHT][/FIMG]Alan Ohnsman and Makiko Kitamura - BLOOMBERG - August 12,2009

    It's gong to be a Beta - VHS shake out --Ed.

    Honda Motor Co. is backing hydrogen power for the cars of the future, waving aside a decision by the Obama administration to drop the so-called fuel-cell technology in favor of battery-run vehicles.

    “Fuel-cell cars will become necessary,” said Takashi Moriya, head of Tokyo-based Honda’s group developing the technology. “We’re positioning it as the ultimate zero-emission car.”

    Honda, the only carmaker to lease hydrogen-powered autos to individuals, opened a production line last year in Tochigi prefecture to make 200 fuel-cell FCX Clarity sedans, the model being leased in a trial in Los Angeles. The Obama administration sought to eliminate hydrogen-station funding and instead lend $1.6 billion to Nissan Motor Co. and $465 million to Tesla Motors Inc. to make electric cars, and give $2.4 billion in grants to lithium-ion battery makers.

    “Honda has a propensity to think very long term,” said Ed Kim, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, California. “It’s also part of the company culture that if they’ve made a decision they think is correct, they’ll really stick with it.”

    Honda is not alone. Toyota Motor Corp., Daimler AG, General Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. say hydrogen, the universe’s most abundant element, is among the few options to replace oil as a low-carbon transportation fuel... [RM][/RM]
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2009
  2. Indigo

    Indigo Witch with wry sense of humor

    Honda will have to solve a lot of technical limitations to make a FC vehicle mainstream. The FC cars cost a million dollars each. The fuel cell stacks degrade after 50k miles. Most of the hydrogen for a fuel cell car is exctacted from fossil fuels like natural gas, so a NGV would be more efficient.

    That said, the Clarity is a beautiful piece of engineering. I just wish it was practical too.
  3. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    I don't know...Honda seems to have been making bad long term decisions lately. They seem to keep going after the dark horse in hopes of the big payout instead of pursing a good bet for a consistant gain.
  4. paratwa

    paratwa Well-Known Member

    I have visions of fields of windmills cracking rain water into hydrogen during low load periods of time with a hydrogen (battery or ICE) tanker collecting from each.

    As Indigo properly stated, if the FC itself never gets cheap or dies a short death its still a non-starter.
  5. WoodyWoodchuck

    WoodyWoodchuck Sophomore Hypermiler

    Looking at it another way, would it be easier to convert a FC vehicle to NGV or BEV to NGV? I would think hydrogen fuel cell to natural gas would be easier.

    Electric vehicles are great but do have a limited range and a time consuming refueling process. I believe we will not be able to change people’s habits about wanting to drive personal vehicles for extended distances on vacation or work. Natural gas or hydrogen will solve this as fueling will be similar to the process we have now with gasoline. Granted there is no current infrastructure but to an uneducated country boy like me, a gas (not gasoline but a state of matter type gas) is a gas for fueling purposes. Build the infrastructure for one and it is pretty easy to convert or add the other to it.

    So, it seems to me that they are covered for either.
  6. antrey

    antrey Well-Known Member

    So much money and effort are being pumped in to battery technology worldwide that I believe high density, inexpensive, safe, quick charging batteries are much closer than people think. I think Honda is making a significant mistake by putting so many eggs in the Hydrogen Fuel Cell basket.
  7. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Well, the good thing is that the Clarity really is an EV (with lithium batteries) -- it just has a fuel cell "range extender."

    If they suddenly decide to give up on it, they already have working hardware paralleling the Volt and every other lithium powered EV out there.
  8. Blaster94

    Blaster94 Well-Known Member

    BINGO! We have a winner. Anybody can build an electric car. Folks have been doing it for a hundred years. If BEVs become the standard have no doubt that Honda will crank them out just like anybody else can. If ,however, an easy, cost effective way to generate hydrogen does materialize then the research Honda is doing now will put them ahead of the game.
  9. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Sean, I completely agree that the Clarity is simply an extended-range EV. My concern is that it is not a very efficient one. I fear what would happen to our grid if GM started cranking out 300hp fuel cell Tahoes, a concern I don't really have with respect to Mini-Es, Nissan Leafs and Focus BEVs. In any event, I too think Honda will be able to get on top of things quickly if BEVs go mainstream.

    Toyota got a big jump on Honda in the hybrid world in part because of the elegant sophistication of the HSD system and all the development Toyota put into it compared with Honda's IMA. But the technology in HSD is no more relevant than IMA when it comes to powering a pure BEV. No need for multiple motors, planetary gears and the complex algorithms to control them.
  10. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    I'm not quite as concerned about it being less efficient but that's because the main difference between the Volt and the Clarity is that the former has a bypass from the range extender directly to the traction motor. Since the FC stack doesn't generate much power it always filters through the battery (IIRC). That makes it less efficient, but designing the bypass is relatively (compared to the rest of it, anyway!) trivial.

    I too admire HSD but in the long term, it is the wrong answer because it is specifically designed to be primarily powered by gasoline. As for IMA, I vote with my foot every day. ;)
  11. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    Do we really need to wean ourselves so far off gas that we switch to hydrogen as a secondary fuel when the batter runs dry?

    If we increase our current mileage from the 20mph or less we currently have to 200mpg (not equiv, but actual avg gas used per mile), then aren't we good to go? If most gas is already e10, then about 10% of our gas supply is ethenal. So if we could drop out need by 90%, we could reasonably go to 100% biofuels which although aren't as energy dense as oil based gas, are far denser than hydrogen systems for the size of the fuel tank. When I do go cross country, I'd still like to be able to use gas and only stop a few times. I don't want to have to pull into the hydrogen station every 200 miles.
  12. hydrokevin

    hydrokevin Member

    All of the major automakers have come out in favor of hydrogen. In fact, in Germany there is an H2 Mobility in place where many hydrogen fueling stations are to be built by 2015 so that fuel cell cars can be sold commercially then.
  13. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    I did hear the CEO of Honda say that the automotive future is in hydrogen at NAIAS in Detroit this year. I along with many others still can not see the viability of it yet though.
  14. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    ___There are so many choices available and H2 seems to be about the lowest payback of all. Even Honda’s own H2 fill station in CA runs out of H2 after just 6-fillups (or something like that) on any given day which is the real reason why Clarity leases are so constrained.

    ___Regarding Honda being the only FCV provider via Lease, GM’s Project Driveway is still up and running and has more FCV’s on the road in CA than anyone else. I will have to look this up again sometime…

    ___Anyways, Brazil has their act together and it isn’t under the H2 mantra. Maybe we will head that direction as Ethanol is certainly more energy dense than H2, the infrastructure is in place and all we have to do is become far less stupid with regards to how it is produced in this country.

    ___Currently however, both solutions are terrible when it comes to sustainability with the H2 cracking of NG and recompressing as well as Corn based Ethanol.

    ___Good Luck

  15. hydrokevin

    hydrokevin Member

    Honda is so committed to hydrogen fuel cell cars that it's not only building the vehicles but working on solutions for the refueling stations as well.

    Hydrogen on demand using solar or wind would make the building of the infrastructure much easier.

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