Fuel Cell Cars?
Klem and I have been on the phone again, discussing an announcement from Toyota that they expect to be able to sell a fuel cell car for a hundred grand hopefully in 2015.
Now Klem and I will be the first to admit that we don't know enough about fuel cells to say a whole lot about how well they might work, or how much they might cost--- some considerable number of years down the road.
But it's pretty obvious that they will necessarily cost a heck of a lot for a good long while to come for at least one simple reason; the market for them so far is pretty small, and just about all the ones that are being made are designed for stationary use.So if and when Toyota , or some other company finally gets one up to snuff to put it in a production car, it seems to be a pretty sure thing that it will take a while for somebody else- a fuel cell company- to build one or more plants and train the workers to manufacture them in quantity.
Klem and i are convinced that battery powered electric cars and very light trucks are going to own the road within the foreseeable future, because we think battery prices are coming down fast enough, and gasoline and diesel prices are going to rise fast enough that the typical driver will find it to his advantage to own a battery electric vehicle in the not too distant future.
If we're right , in five or ten years a basic battery electric vehicle won't cost much if any any more than a similar internal combustion engine vehicle, most people will be happy to live with the limited driving range of a battery powered car in order to save megabucks on gasoline and routine maintenance and repairs. People who do need a long range car and can afford only one car will most likely buy a plug in hybrid because by then plug in hybrids 's will be their cost effective choice of vehicle.
We don't have anything against plugin hybrids;we just think that in the end, most people are going to prefer a bev to a hybrid to an ice car.As a matter of fact we think plug in hybrids will soon be a cost effective option for anybody who can get good use out of one - for example someone such as a commuter who can put a couple of hundred miles a week on a new Volt mostly on battery power and thus use very little gasoline.The price of a Volt is coming down, and the price of gas is going to be going up a lot faster than the price of electricity.
But plugin hybrids and pure electric cars are both unfortunately still on the pricey side, even though the sales volumes and competition between manufacturers are now up to the point that prices are coming down. Our own scientific wild axx guess is that it will be five years or longer before buying a pure electric or plug in hybrid is a better option than an ordinary car from a straight dollars and cents point of view.
Now if it takes the electric and plugin segment of the car business five more years to catch up with ice cars on a dollars and cents basis, considering the start they have already, how long is it going to take for fuel cell cars to catch up starting from scratch?
And while it probably won't take very long to fuel up a fuel cell car - there is the little problem of there not being any place to fuel up to be dealt with.
Here's Klem's take on this question of fueling up a hydrogen powered car versus charging up a battery powered car.
Hidergin is hard stuff to work with cause the only way to hannel it is in pressure tanks, just like compressed natcherul gas, ' cept it's worse, cause it will leak right thru ah steel tank er a steel pipeline, which you will know about if you hannel hazardous materials like a trucker does if he hauls haz mat.
Now the main reason that you don't see a whole lot of trucks running on natcherul gas is that there just ain't no hardly places ah tall for truckers to fill up on ng. We'ad be a burning it if we could, cause it's a lot cheaper than diesel.Putting in ng pumps costs a heck of a lot of money, and takes up space, and if a truck stop ain't right on a ng pipeline- well, it ain't likely going to work to try to haul it to the truck stop like diesel fuel cause its too bulky, ya can't git enough in a tanker truck to make it work out.
It might work money wise to haul hidergin, or it might not, but one things for sure- there ain't no hidergin pipelines to deliver it all over the place 'n nearly all of it would have to be trucked to the places that retail's it.
Now when ya git right down to it, there ain't hardly no place that you can go with a car that you are very fur from reddy killerwatt 'n ah extension cord is all you need to plug up yer 'lecterc car.Course it takes a good while to charge up, but you can charge up anywhere you can plug in.
You might have to wait a while on chargin' stations to go in at stores'n 'partment houses, but you ain't got to wait for the 'lectricity lines and the power plants to get built.
A couple of 'electricians kin put in a charging station in a few hours most places,'n stores 'n resterants 'n 'partments is gonna have 'em awaiting for you, cause they are going to be selling you some juice while you're spending your money on clothes 'n dinner 'n rent.
This is why batry cars is gonna have it all over on fuel cell cars for a long time for sure, and maybe for good.