• Tony Posted: 8/16/2009 1:41pm PDT

    It should be borne in mind that Honda & GM are nowhere near being alone in their R&D of Fuel cell cars. Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai & most importantly, Mercedes, have all been refining their FC prototypes. Battery tech is very important & small gains in energy density are still being made, but their are limitations on too much further improvement, imposed by chemistry itself. Recognising that buying one battery-powered car for short-haul [i.e., commuting] trips and another for longer trips, is not within the financial reach of all of us, the motor manufacturers are right in their continuing efforts to build a Fuel Cell car with the range that will allow that car to be used for any range, similar to our expectations for the cars we drive now.
    Regarding the alarmist thinking about the problem of leaks of gaseous hydrogen being a more sever hazard than petrol, it should be recalled that in many countries, methane [natural gas] is compressed & stored on site for sale in petrol stations & that is a flammable gas. So is LPG, another very commonly available flammable gas commonly used in gas barbecues. I wonder how many people are frightened by their barbecue gas bottle!

  • fb_1510606196 avatar Carl Posted: 8/14/2009 6:23pm PDT

    Aside from the lack of availability nationwide for large sources of compressed hydrogen, there is another problem. Those NIMBY property owners are correct. Leaking liquid fuel is one thing. Leaking vaporous fuel is another thing entirely. Worse, the hydrogen must be kept under pressure and fed out through a regulator which is sort of like the old fashion carburetor. I wonder how well it works under 100 degree and or 0 degree climate conditions. Oh sure, all problems can be solved. But for now, I see gasoline/diesel -hybrids as the trend for the near term.

  • George Kafantaris Posted: 8/14/2009 2:48pm PDT

    Honda knows that the Holy Grail is hydrogen, and so does GM – its efforts on the Volt notwithstanding. In fact, it seems GM merely wants to use the Volt as stepping stone to the hydrogen car, since they both use electricity for propulsion.
    Let us not forget, however, that electric vehicles, and battery storage in particular, is a confining technology. Though electrics share the same drive elements with hydrogen cars, and use the regeneration principles of hybrids, our ultimate focus is on hydrogen vehicles, as nothing else comes close to their manifold benefits.
    Yet to the extent that electrics ease us away from the internal combustion engine, they will be helpful to hydrogen cars — besides them refining the shared electric motors, capacitors, and drive logic controllers.
    Public perception is proving to be an unforeseen obstacle to hydrogen. Indeed, if cheep hydrogen cars were available today, their greater problem may not be that there is nowhere to refill them, but that many folks see them as Hindenburgs on wheels. This was the reckoning Toyota had last week when it introduced plans of its high-tech and super-safe hydrogen fueling station in California. Torrance city council welcoming committee had to tone things down when the nearby homeowners started objecting. It might blowup, they said, and then what will happen to the property values?

  • Mr. Sexy Posted: 8/14/2009 1:21pm PDT

    Ahem, the Honda hydrogen fuel cell vehicle IS an EV.