Author Topic: Hyundai Sees Hydrogen Vehicles As 10 Years Behind Battery Cars– Is Pushing Both  (Read 453 times)


Brad

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Yes. It's not an either or solution but both.  And in the cities the transportation problem will also be addressed by transit.

EV Consumers will quickly figure out what they like and don't like about EV's, and if fuel cell vehicles can address those problems they will switch if they can.

ergophobe

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>> 10 years behind

Does that sound optimistic, pessimistic, or about right? Please discuss :-)

Brad

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> discuss

Depends on demand and can we produce the hydrogen and the fueling stations.  We already have plenty of gas stations that can be converted to hydrogen so I don't see that as a problem except in the suburbs where NIMBY-ists will freak over hydrogen tanks.

Also, we are behind on EV's and I think fuel cell cars will be a reaction to the limits of EV's.  Region makes a difference too, EV's will sell well in CA, New England, etc. but Fuel cells will do better in WY, Montana, Dakotas where the next gas stop is 90 miles away on the Interstate.

It also depends on political will.  If we keep going back to kissing coal at every other change of administration we won't get far.

Okay, enough waffle words.  :-)

Cars: Ev's have a future for commuter and soccer parent cars.  It ain't going to work for police squad cars that rack up huge mileage in just one day.

The technology is 10 years behind for cars because we are only just starting to play with mainstream adoption of EV's let alone cells.  I'd say 15 years.  Perversely, we can build the hydrogen retail distribution network on the interstates faster than we can for EV's. Try feeding enough electricity to some of the massive truck stops on the Interstate in the Midwest alone and think of how many miles of high tension wires it will take just to get there.  With hydrogen you plop down some tanks and you are almost ready to fuel.

ergophobe

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>>I'd say 15 years.

That's pretty much what I was thinking, but less analytically than you. I was just asking myself a simple question: "Try to remember back to 2011 and how it felt with respect to EVs. Are we there with hydrogen?"

When I bought a car in 2004, I remember thinking that it would be the last ICE car I would ever buy and the next car would be electric. If felt to me then that by 2014, most cars being sold would be electric. To get from there to widespread adoption of electric will have taken roughly 22 years from that point (just guessing that by 2026 electric will make up a large percentage of sales). It feels like that's where hydrogen is, but I would say there's a lot more will to get new tech on the road, so it should take less than 22 years, but 10 seems very optimistic.

>> massive truck stops

Even just high-speed stations. As I said in the other thread, a current supercharger station is a megawatt for two charging slots. If you want to have a 50-slot plaza, you're looking at 25 megawatts. Add in 10 stations for trucks at say double that and you're at 35 megawatts. The grid will need massive upgrades to have one of those every 50 miles.

Of course, the corner gas stations will mostly go away if they don't get hydrogen going, so they have a strong incentive to add it. The nearest town to us as 12,000 residents. A rough mental count says there are seven gas stations. The smaller town 10 miles down the road has another 4. If everyone had battery vehicles they charge at their homes and hotels, those stations disappear. So they need hydrogen cars.

The other strong incentive for hydrogen is when renewable energy capacity is very high, hydrogen offers a way to convert that excess capacity and store it. Charging EVs at night is a... nightmare for a grid powered by solar. You need a nuclear base or some really good storage method. You're always taking about the energy cost of compressing hydrogen, but there's going to be a huge energy cost to putting all that solar electric in storage, whether it's a lithium battery bank or a molten slurry, and then pulling it out at night to recharge vehicles. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe most charging will happen during the deay at work and shopping centers, but I don't see that kind of capacity being built out. The EV owners I know mostly charge at night when they get home.

Not only does that make it very difficult to operate an all-renewable grid, it also means that right now they are using the dirtiest power of the day. From 4pm to 9pm in the summer, California often has its natural gas plants operating full-out. At noon on a cool day with low A/C demand, the power might have a negative value and CA has to pay AZ to take it.

Hydrogen for vehicles gives you a way to build huge solar capacity and almost always be able to use that capacity in full. As a hydrogen supplier (say Exxon), I just build my "refinery" right next to the solar farm where line loss is almost zero and I just tell them, "Whenever your sell price drops to X, I'll take all you can sell."

So I see a lot of incentives to get hydrogen up and running sooner from an infrastructure point of view completely aside from the range and charge time, i.e. end-consumer considerations
« Last Edit: November 26, 2021, 05:14:53 PM by ergophobe »

ergophobe

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Now my second big question. Do you know how different the design considerations are for battery vs hydrogen.

In other words, automakers often offer a diesel, a gas and an E85 version of the same vehicle. For E85, they just need real-time ethanol sensors to adjust the timing and a few things like that. The switch to diesel is pretty substantial, though. It's a completely different powertrain and lots of the sensors and software and everything are different. What makes it possible is that the form factor for both power train and energy storage are the same across those three choices.

I would *guess* that the power train would be basically the same from battery to hydrogen. It's just different ways to store and provide electricity. The only difference is the form factor for energy storage. How big a deal is that? As automakers come out with battery-first designs (i.e. the "skateboard" platforms and such), how much retooling do they need to do?

And... if hydrogen catches on, what happens to Tesla stock prices?

Brad

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> design

1. Exterior design will at first be conventional just like it was with very early automobiles resembling the coachwork of horse drawn carriages.  You want the public to buy the thing and so, like the Ford F-150 EV, you don't want to go to far from the familiar.  Later they might figure out new configurations as designs evolve.

2. I read somewhere that the drive trains are very similar.  Same electric motors etc.

3. How big is the fuel cell do-hickey?  That will dictate some interior design.  If it is as big as a gas six cylinder engine it can go up front whereas the F-150 EV has a nice trunk up front where the engine used to be.

3. Safety and hydrogen storage.  Do you need more fire walls between the hydrogen fuel tank and the passengers?  Hydrogen is lighter than air so you want it to vent up and away from passengers in case of a crash so putting it under the floor boards might not be best.  I really don't know.   The only comparison that comes to mind is from James May who compares a Tesla EV vs. a Toyota fuel cell car.   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaIW5CQQ3Zo  worth watching.  The fuel cell car looks like most any other car.

I'd say the design is nothing that can't be solved as long as the buyer is assured they won't be crispy-fried in every collision (see the design gas tank history of the Ford Pinto as a reference.)

> Tesla

They might have to build little city type commuter EVs?

Ford, GM, Toyota and the big players have world wide deep benches of design and engineering talent to draw from to retool for hydrogen design.  Tesla does not strike me as having that.

OTOH, Ford, GM and the big boys can be pretty hidebound and seem slow to adapt, whereas Tesla is more willing to throw out the rule book.  SO the short answer is I have no idea.  If Tesla stocks tank how many quarters can they survive and how are their cash reserves?

Ergo, your observations about the practicality of real high speed EV charging in that other thread were what got me thinking about truck stops that I observed along I-80 in Illinois and Iowa so thanks for that.


ergophobe

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Just spent Thanksgiving with my car nut nephew (races cars, has an aftermarket self-driving system, has friends in several different emerging auto industry companies). He was not very positive on the prospects for hydrogen, mostly because of the storage issues.

ergophobe

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A bit older, from way back in 2020 ;-)

But some interesting perspective...

Hyundai Puts the Pedal to the Metal for Renewable Hydrogen
https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2020/hyundai-puts-pedal-metal-renewable-hydrogen/86716

ergophobe

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Also interesting

Extreme E Coming: Green Hydrogen From AFC Energy For The Electric Vehicle Fast Charger Of The Future
https://cleantechnica.com/2020/07/15/extreme-e-coming-green-hydrogen-from-afc-energy-for-the-electric-vehicle-fast-charger-of-the-future-cleantechnica-interview/

The article is broader than it sounds. It touches on hydrogen vs diesel and even on the question of using ammonia