Thursday, October 10, 2013

                                                           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.


  1. " 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"

    People like you and Klem live in a different world, since most of us buy used vehicles. I purchased my latest vehicle 8 years ago for $2500. In five or ten years a comparable vehicle might cost $5,000. I think it very unlikely I would be able to find a used electric car for this amount--and if I do it would be because the battery pack is shot--and a new battery pack will probably cost $10,000.

  2. Klem isn't real; he's a composite character I invented as a teaching aid to help me get thru to people who otherwise wouldn't read about such subjects. He is based on a real life friend of mine who actually is a trucker, mechanic, and farmer; and the things he says and does are based on real life occurrences and facts.

    Of course there is no way you could know that unless you read the previous post about " lecterc cars".

    I salute you for having the good sense too drive an old car.

    We're down to two old pickup trucks at our house, both bought second hand , both with close to 200,000 miles on the odometer.One's a 91 model 4x4 with "knobbbies all around and a gun rack with guns in it most times" which I use for the rough work around the place and when it snows.The other one is a 92 I use for everything else from grocery shopping to funerals.

    We used to keep a car but since I'm now the only driver left, I got rid of it.We bought that used too with about 150,000 miles on it and already close to ten years old when we got it.

    My Daddy bought three new pickup trucks between 1959 and 1991 and wore all three of them slam out before trading but I have never owned a new vehicle of any sort in my entire life.