BEVs vs. FCVs and other sundry discussions

Discussion in 'FCV or Fuel Cell Vehicle' started by xcel, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. xcel

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

    Tesla S owner: Hello, Toyota, are you listening?

    "Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is not a man to mince his words. We already know he's not a fan of other electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt, he doesn't really like plug-in hybrids, and he's quick to step in and defend his company whenever there's a hint of negative publicity.

    So it's not surprising that when the subject of fuel cell cars came up at the recent Tesla service center opening in Munich, Musk was only too happy to share his thoughts.

    They're "a waste of time", according to Musk. Well, he uses a slightly different phrase to that: "Bull****". But the meaning is similar, we guess..."


    Hyo Silver Finally. Thank you, Elon.


    Rick Johnson Did GreenCareReports call the Volt an electric vehicle, then go on to talk about plug-in hybrids?


    Wayne Gerdes: Evan, Toyota as the rest are hedging their bets. They have multibillion $ assets with hundreds of thousands of employees to protect over the long term and if the market moves the way of the Fuel Cell, they will be ready. The question you should ask is will Elon be ready? Too many times the industry has seen a leader with a stringent focus on his vision lead a corporation down the wrong path. Navistar was a recent example and that was over an emission control system, not a fuel of the future direction.


    Hyo Silver: Hydrogen is inherently inefficient. It's not a matter of 'hedging bets', it's betting on a horse that cannot win.


    Evan Fusco: Wayne, they're spending billions on researching unicorns...unless they can find a way to more efficiently produce AND distribute hydrogen than the way we can currently produce and distribute electricity it's a sure loser. And I do think Elon has some vision for the future. When he can, today, produce a 135kW Supercharger today, it's only a matter of time to get that network distributed, improves and every argument against EVs simply disappears. Will there be more advances, sure, but it sure as hell won't be in the form of FCVs.


    Wayne Gerdes: Hyo, it is about where the market goes including consumer costs, not necessarily what fuel is more efficient.

    Evan, there are any number of non-centralized and centralized ways to create H2 for distribution and final sale. Notice I did not say cost effective or efficient today.


    Evan Fusco: That's super easy to knock down, there's no way in hell they can sell hydrogen cheaper than electricity and there's no way in hell they can build a FCV cheaper than a BEV...the math is quite simple. Now, if they refuse to build BEVs and only sell consumers FCVs, that's a different matter altogether.


    Hyo Silver The market is highly distorted. In the long run, efficiency is exactly what matters the most.


    Wayne Gerdes Evan, you are considering the same path of saying "Never". You cannot store electricity efficiently and therein leys the crux of the matter.

    Hyo, not at all. It is cost that matters most to the average Joe and Jane Q. Public, not efficiency.


    Hyo Silver The greatest efficiency leads to the lowest costs. Unless, of course, we purposely confuse people by not charging what things actually cost, and subsidise the heck out of them. It's 'working' for oil....


    Evan Fusco There's no "crux", there's no need to s tore electricity, we have a grid that covers nearly every square inch of the country. Batteries are getting more efficient and higher capacity all the time. A 500 mile pack is clearly in the near future and could probably be built today, though just not enough real-world auto experience with the technology. But it certainly won't take as long to develop as this fantasy of hydrogen FCVs has.

    And while you're right that the 'can't see beyond tomorrow' general populus cost is what matters most, there is a large enough contingent of us that if we work toward promotion of realistic solutions, it will not be long before EVs will easily have a lower lifetime cost of ownership, and even upfront cost will be comparable to gas to make sense. I don't see a time that that will ever be possible with FCVs.


    Hyo Silver ...and those 'lower lifetime costs' are only what the consumer pays directly, ignoring subsidies and externalities. All things considered, electricity is the way to go.


    Tony Schaefer: I don't know what you guys are complaining about. I see SUVs all the time running on hydrogen. I can tell from the big H2 emblems. Also H1 running on helium and even a few H3s which I think are inherently unstable so I stay away from those.


    Wayne Gerdes: Hyo, my old 05 Accord's low fuel light came at at 69 miles. You know what a brand new fully charged LEAF's range is? And three years later... And three years after that?

    Evan, to pay $70K for 208 miles is what may be the epitome of what some deem the right direction. Unfortunately that is not in the offing for most.

    We have all read of the breakthroughs just around the corner and today we have to pay almost 6-figures for an electric car that can be charged from every square inch of the country to drive almost 300 miles and takes more than an hour at a specialized maximum current in-rush to "refuel". Even Tesla understands the cost equation as they incorporate lower cost off the shelf cells using last decades technology.


    Hyo Silver: Ah, but those 208 miles can be driven again and again. I think you're using an amortisation period that's far too short.


    Wayne Gerdes Tony, I heard those H2s are more efficient than the Prius too ;)

    Hyo, I am considering what the average Joe and Jane Q. can pay. $70 to $100K cars even if the fuel were absolutely free is not a direction the country can afford.

    And it is not 208 miles again and again. It is 208 miles this year. 198 miles next. 183 three years later.165 miles a few years after that.


    Evan Fusco: Really Wayne, you're gonna go with a straw man argument? You know as well as I do Tesla's plan for EVs. They've got battery cost down to somewhere near $200/kWh already and that is coming down. So what if it's an off the shelf option that's cheaper, find me a cheap off the shelf hydrogen fuel cell. And at 135kW charging will be down to ~30 min for a full charge and less than that for the average partial charge. Are EVs where they need to be today? Nope, but I'll put my money, as many others have, on EVs being the real potential going forward. Nobody, yet, anywhere has made a convincing argument that hydrogen can be better, cheaper or more easily distributed than a BEV. Elon's demonstrated how flexible EVs can be by having multiple modes of recharging. If the predicted Model E were available today at $35k with a 250 mile could you continue this argument? Can you tell me a FCV will ever be able to be built and sold, for a profit, for that price?


    Brad Horton That and he calls them bull****! Every manufacturer needs to stop wasting all that money. It just boggles me. How long have they been chasing that pipe dream?


    Wayne Gerdes: Evan, the majors are not introducing FCVs yet. They are prepping for consumer purchase "just in case". 2015 appears to be the first outright purchase date. The Clarity is still a lease only deal at $600 per month.

    Elon himself is hyping a solution that is not here or not as affordable as one would hope. Consider a Nissan Versa Note at $14K. If an 85 kWh pack is just $17,000, where is the 350 + mile range LEAF for $35K? It is always just around the corner. In the mean time, the consumer will spend his or her $'s where it meets their wants and needs best. $70 and $100K electric cars is not what meets the needs of most global consumers no matter how much we would all like it too.

    Brad, there is a lot more science behind the fuel cell than just a whim. I do not know where the future is headed but I can bet it will be a mix of all the technologies available to us at this point in time. That includes TDs, the ever more efficient ICE, electrified HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs and yes even FCVs. Now if you were a gambling man, what stock would you pour all of your retirement savings into. I mean all of it. Tesla with a single focused direction or Toyota with a much broader view. One could make you a multi-millionaire. Or it could make you broke under the guise of too many eggs in too few baskets.


    Tripp Bishop: Fuel cells have real promise as stationary power generators, esp ones that can slurp up just about anything that contains hydrogen. SOFC, MCFC, etc. They're far more efficient than ICE generators and you can probably set them up to cogen heat. PEM FC for transportation is just stupid expensive and fuel storage is an even trickier problem than battery storage. Last time I looked, FCVs were evolving into BEVs anyways. Bigger batteries, smaller FC unit.


    Evan Fusco: They've been prepping them for 20+ years, spending billions on the R&D and actively resisting EVs. If they spent half the R&D on EV development that they are using for a doomed FCV concept they'd all be able to easily compete with dude (so to speak) pulled it off in less than 10 years from scratch!

    Elon isn't piping, it, he's developing it. It's real, it's practical. Not sure why you feel the need to defend, without putting forth a single valid point that shows how even the idea of FCVs makes any sense, these big money companies. Look, I love Toyota, been a fan for a long time and would still love to have a practical plug-in vehicle of their making...but they refuse, time and again, to build anything competitive. It's crazy, really.

    Meanwhile, I'm about to turn 20K in less than a year in my Tesla, never ran out of juice, even once. And it's sexier than a Lexus, faster than practically any sports car, and in all that time I've spent maybe $600 on electricity. I know people that put that in their SUV in a month. Yes, my total cost of ownership is high due to the starting cost, but let's compare to a comparable vehicle, the Porsche who's money ahead?


    Tripp Bishop: Hey, I don't like your derogatory use of the word "piping" there, Fusco.

    I was a big fan of FCVs about 10 years ago and thought BEVs were silly. But after realizing the massive technical challenges of A.) developing a durable PEM FC, B.) a safe and practical on board storage system, C.) developing a H2 distribution system, and D.) developing cost effective means of generating the H2 I realized that BEV made way more sense than FCV.


    Rick Johnson: We also need to consider where H2 is being sourced. Most cases, we're using electrolysis to obtain H2, which requires electricity and water. Considering that the FCV is converting the H2 back into H2O to get electricity, will they be getting 100% of the electricity back used to generate the H2? What about distribution costs? What is the power source?

    Compare that to electricity distribution over a grid from the same power source (let's assume solar was used in both cases to keep it green). Considering transmission losses, charging losses, and the inefficiencies of a chemical reaction to release stored electricity, etc. - which is ultimately less efficient?

    Without hard numbers in front of me, they're both chemical reactions at some point. Which one is more efficient? Storing the chemical reactant externally and fueling the vehicle with it, or converting the chemical within the vehicle (battery charging)?


    Wayne Gerdes: Evan, electrified vehicles have been on the road before the ICE was! Billions of $'s have been poured into their development over the past century and today we have a $70K, 200 mile range super car. Elon did not create the EV; he is just the latest guy to market them with vigor.

    Regarding the costs, to purchase a Tesla 60 over a 5 year term at 5% is over $1,320 per month. As stated above, it does not matter if your fuel is free for those 20k miles. That level of expense is not viable for most. I paid $27K all in for Maria's Prius PHEV. Her and Scott average about 71 mpgUS actual with a single at home charge every day costing about $8.00 per month. I can do the math pretty closely too. $26K for a vehicle that can reduce our foreign oil consumption to 0 is a lot more cost effective than a $70K car that can reduce oil consumption in its entirely. What the depreciation will be is anyone's guess but I took the bet that a Prius PHEV will not lose as much as a Tesla S no matter the variant over the next 3 to 5-years.

    Regarding making sense of the FCV, I have been to enough seminars that show why the FCV is viable in the near future. As their costs have come down, they will have a a place just as any other propulsion technology. The reason for the excitement is mainly due to their cost and size have come down 10 fold while their their longevity has increased almost to the point of lasting the life of the car in just the past two decades. The same cannot be said of any other propulsion technology available to us today.

    I really do not care which way it goes since all of these technologies reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil in some form or another but someone focusing on a single direction because they know they are "right" is taking undue risk with theirs and others $'s.


    Evan Fusco: FCVs, the car of the future...and always will be.


    Wayne Gerdes: We've been driving the EV for the past 120 years so I guess we can call them the cars of the past, present and future... And will always be.


    Evan Fusco: If you fail to see the difference between where we are now and where we were even 20 years ago, then the discussion is pointless. On the other hand, FCVs are at essentially the exact same place they were 20 years ago and make no more sense today than they did then. I can put PVs on my roof and power an EV for free, don't think I can build an electrolysis machine on my roof. any way you slice it hydrogen will require a more complex, more dangerous, more expensive and less efficient infrastructure to support than EVs ever will. Even if you could get the cost down to be comparable to EVs.


    Wayne Gerdes: Evan, I can assure you that FCVs are much further along than they were 20 years ago.


    Evan Fusco: But not so much further along than that they make any more sense or are even marginally affordable.

    Wayne Gerdes: PVs on your roof are not free either.

    Regarding infrastructure, do you know what goes into bringing 120V and 15A to an outlet? It is literally $Trillions of $'s!

    I have not seen any cost projections on the FCVs destined for the North American market in 2015.

    I do however know the Prius was well into its second generation before it became "profitable". As it is, the Tesla is in its second generation and is still "not" profitable…

  2. SI_Prius

    SI_Prius Well-Known Member

    Hydrogen produced from natural gas can be produced at 80% efficiency, a hydrogen fuel cell car today uses 1 kg of hydrogen per 60 miles. 1 kg of hydrogen has 39 kWh of potential energy, that means that the source natural gas had to have 49 kWh energy (3.7 kg of CNG). A Prius can burn that natural gas directly in the ICE and gets better efficiency (41 kWh/60 miles), the numbers on paper just don't work out.

    The future hydrogen production is water electrolysis, the idea is to store PV and wind excess electricity into some other form of energy, let's say that form is hydrogen. The efficiency of electrolysis is a mystery, I have seen numbers from 50% to 80%. But even if you take 80% and again look at the current consumption of the FCV you will see that it will never catch a BEV in efficiency.

    I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.
  3. xcel

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

    Hi SI_Prius:

    It is not efficiency. Most drive an ICE equipped car today even though BEVs are 3 or more times "efficient". Convenience, cost, and usability all play a factor in this. 300 mile range FCVs will probably be the standard. Cost wise, I am not sure the manufacturers are going to be able to deliver?

  4. SI_Prius

    SI_Prius Well-Known Member

    Convenience of hydrogen even if range is 300 miles is also very very problematic. Yo can't fill up a hydrogen in a can if you run out of gas. CNG has better convenience (bi-fuel) and it's very cheap to convert a normal car, but still you don't see many CNG vehicles.
  5. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    If it's so cheap to convert them , why does Honda charge an arm and a leg for the Civic CNG? Grrrrr..........
  6. xcel

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

    Hi All:

    An acquaintance of mine did a really nice vid on the Tesla's +'s and -'s...


  7. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Wayne

    I agree with most of what she said, especially a few of the "negatives" including the vehicle service for 3 years being paid for up front for. But some of her statements and interpretations left me a little puzzled and wondering if any expert can afford to be that far off and even intentionally failing to offer a more balanced/informed/expert view of things.

    - I obviously cannot speak for everyone across NA, but it costs me as much to insure my Tesla as does a 3rd gen Prius. I can say that insuring a late model gas powered Honda Civic costs definitely more than insuring a Tesla.

    - The big touch screen alone does not make the car. Its the many other virtues and features that owners enjoy everyday that no other car of the same class can offer and that she purposely (or out of ignorance?) left out. There are many I could list but if we're keeping things on the surface like she and the host clearly were, then the cargo space and interior room should be the first big one to come to mind. I can accept that these folks can call the car "cool" in how it looks, but I can list many other cars that are sexier and cooler looking to me. Fisker Karma was one. And yet, they fail to call out what these Teslas offer that others cannot and are not even close to that benchmark.

    - Sorry to say this but the BWM i3 is not yet a competitor for Tesla and it bothers me that she placed both companies as competitors?????. Maybe a more upscale competitor for the LEAF and Volt. And with BMW's future (i8) and more expensive model perhaps they will come close to ruffle the Model S a bit. But not today, and not likely in the nearer future... she could not be more far off.

    - She mentioned that for the northern half of the country people should expect the distance traveled to drop by half in the colder seasons. While that is alone absolutely true, failing to indicate that every other vehicle is bound by similar reductions in powered autonomy is quite frankly, intentional and premeditated display of her bias.

    - She mention that "... all of the components are built in other countries and are assembled here". If she had used "most" instead of "all", then I would have gone along and not questioned her "expertise" as much. Instead, resorting to absolutes so early in the interview is pretty telling of her bias and intent.

    Lastly, unlike other rabid EV proponents I would gladly purchase and drive an FCV. I begged for the Honda Clarity for several years mainly because I am not as conflicted about the sourcing of hydrogen in my area. The local industry has been wasting it away into the atmosphere for decades and that to me is not right either. I am willing to propose that there are many such examples across north america that could be remedied if there was a compelling and more active market for hydrogen capture and distribution. Dedicated hydrolysis and even gas recombination are not the only avenues for hydrogen production and it bothers me that so many EV proponents ignore this.

    In the end what can I say? Honda and others failed to deliver the car I always wanted (or anything even close to that) and I can only thank Elon Musk for having made it possible to drive the quietest, safest and cleanest car I ever owned.
    And here's the best part: Its even cleaner now that I am not even charging it from the so-called "green grid" in my part of the country. Could BWM, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus or any other higher end automaker promise and offer this to me today?



Share This Page