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GM, Toyota Doubtful on Fuel Cells' Mass Use (Or are they!?)

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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:32 PM
Original message
GM, Toyota Doubtful on Fuel Cells' Mass Use (Or are they!?)
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 04:49 PM by OKIsItJustMe
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120468405514712501.html

GM, Toyota Doubtful on Fuel Cells' Mass Use

By EDWARD TAYLOR and MIKE SPECTOR
March 5, 2008; Page B2

GENEVA -- Top executives from General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. Tuesday expressed doubts about the viability of hydrogen fuel cells for mass-market production in the near term and suggested their companies are now betting that electric cars will prove to be a better way to reduce fuel consumption and cut tailpipe emissions on a large scale.

Speaking at the Geneva auto show, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told reporters that recent advances in lithium-ion batteries indicate that future electric cars might be able to travel 300 miles, or nearly 500 kilometers, before they need to recharge, making them much more practical as a mass-market product.

"If we get lithium-ion to 300 miles, then you need to ask yourself, Why do you need fuel cells?" Mr. Lutz told reporters. He added that fuel-cell vehicles are still far too expensive to be considered for the mass market. "We are nowhere where we need to be on the costs curve," he said.

At a separate event at the show, Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe echoed the concern about the high costs of fuel cells and noted the lack of an infrastructure to produce and distribute hydrogen fuel to a wide swath of consumers. These factors leave him with the impression that "it will be difficult to see the spread of fuel cells in 10 years' time," Mr. Watanabe said.

...



Edited to add this:
http://blog.lexus.com/2008/03/irvs-sheet-sett.html
March 07, 2008

IRV'S SHEET: Setting the Record Straight on Toyota and Fuel Cells

A recent Wall Street Journal headline and story stating that GM and Toyota are "doubtful" about the mass use of fuel cells is an example of sloppy reporting, at its worst. I will not speak for GM, but as for Toyota, hydrogen fuel cells will play a major role in our sustainable mobility strategy.

Our current technology is robust, reliable and durable. Our prototypes have a range of nearly 400 miles and are fully operational in sub-freezing climates, as evidenced by our recent 2300-mile drive from Fairbanks, Alaska to Vancouver British Columbia, which you can read about here.

Cost reduction and infrastructure are the remaining hurdles. The former will be met by Toyota's engineering and production savvy. The latter will require creative partnerships. At Toyota, hydrogen fuel cell technology has already moved beyond mere compliance with zero-emissions government mandates. It is now all about market preparedness.

The arrival of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at a Toyota dealership near you is not "just around the corner." There are huge challenges ahead. But we are convinced they will be part of our future. And we will be there.

- Irv Miller, Group Vice President, Corporate Commications

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Captain Angry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. Awesome.

We need to get off of fuel itself, not just oil.

Electricity can be generated in a renewable fashion, and it can be scaled up as the prices fall. So even though we're stuck with coal or nuclear in many parts of the country, alternative systems can be brought online in parallel, and then we can slowly turn off the pollution forms.

Love it.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
2. electric/battery/ bio- fuel diesel
only way to power autos and trucks
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pinkpops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
3. also consider all the water vapor in the air and/or on the street
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 04:46 PM by pinkpops
Has anyone wondered what would happen to the climate in a large city with all the humidity spewing off of freeways? One could capture the water but the vehicle would get heaver and heavier as the tank fills, assuming the oxygen comes from the air.
Batteries sound good on the face of it but electricity has to come from somewhere and that somewhere would likely be nuclear in the short term unless people curtail their driving habits enough for solar, wind, or geothermal. Natural gas and coal have problems of their own.


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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Burning HYDROcarbons produces water vapor already.
It doesn't seem to be a huge problem. Going all-hydrogen might double the amount already produced.

CO2 and CO are problems in very small amounts; if water is produced in comparable amounts it barely registers.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. I wouldn't assume that. That's the same mistake we made with CO2
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-10-08 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. There's a big difference -- CO2 is a trace gas, relatively easy to change its conc'n. nt
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CRF450 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
5. The problem with electricity...
Is being able the charge the batteries fast. Even if you can get 300 miles on a charge, it cant really work for many who regularly have a schedule reguiring very frequent prolonged drives. What if an emergancy comes up where the owner of an electric car needs to help a relative yet the car is on its last few miles worth of power. It cant be hooked up on the cord for a minute of charging and drive a few hundred miles, where as you can pump fuel into a vehicle and do that.

I'm all for electrics but this is a huge hurdle that needs to be delt with for an EV to be practicle for everyone.
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speedbird Donating Member (71 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. c'mon, millions of people would be happy with an electric car...
if it could go 50 miles on a nightly charge.

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CRF450 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 12:53 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. I wouldn't.
I do alot of driving during the summer cause of a seasonal job. I do almost 200 mile round trips 2 days in a row, and this is in a truck that averages around 16-18mpg. The other 2 days (the weekend) are much shorter trips from a camper 15 miles from where that job is.

I'm sure those millions of people would be happy to get 50 miles off a single charged but I sure as hell wouldn't.
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diane in sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. In this scenario you rent a car with more range.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. for us 40 or so miles between charges would take care of 95% of our windshield time
my neighbor has a geo metro that he converted to electric a couple years ago and he can go 40 or so miles on less than a dollars worth of electicity
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 01:21 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. Tesla motors battery blog
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suziedemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. That's why you need a hybrid -- use gas and/or bio-fuel as a back-up.
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CRF450 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. You know, I'd be interested in one of those hybrid Silverado's
But no, they're way out of my price range. I'm not gonna pay anymore than 35 grand on any vehicle unless I'm making $10k/year more than I am now.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. When was the last time you had to help a relative a few hundred miles away
at the last minute? Sounds a bit farfetched.
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CRF450 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-10-08 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. I didn't mean it quite that way
What I'm saying is, if it been drivin around alot, like to the beach and back home plus some more little trips around town and its on it last legs of energy when ya get back home. Then something comes up, a close relative has himself out of his car 25 miles away, and you have to extra keys. What can you do? Let the car charge for hour or so to make it their and back, or call the police/highway service to help him out. I know most people would opt to drive their and help a relative/friend.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-10-08 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. IMO the practical solution
right now is to have an electric car as a second car, and would be most useful for families who have the space for it.

90% of Americans drive less than 29 miles/day, and for those people an electric car would be perfect: cheaper, cleaner, less dependent on foreign oil.
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