Home / News / Motor Mouth: Hydrogen offers a ideal hybrid for an emissions-free future

Motor Mouth: Hydrogen offers a ideal hybrid for an emissions-free future

Honda’s Clarity is a typical, if unusually sophisticated, EV. Whisper still even during full throttle, magnificently torquey off a line and, of course, totally emissions-free, it is a quintessential electric vehicle.

Except that, nonetheless a Clarity is accessible —at slightest in a United States — as a battery-powered EV, a one I’m pushing is not an electric vehicle. This Clarity FCEV is fueled by hydrogen. Yes, a fuel cell. Or, as Elon Musk and his acolytes like to call them, “fool cells.”

But here’s a thing: it’s still an electric car.

Confused? You’re not alone. we hadn’t satisfied a ideal energy of Lord Elon’s denigrations until we recently gave a debate to a organisation of Calgary entrepreneurs — a shout-out here to Paul Valentine and Valentine Volvo — on a wonders of 0 emissions vehicles. Peppered by dozens of questions about an emissions-free future, a many startling deduction we drew from their plural queries was how few people — even those as intelligent and as electrically intent as those in a assembly — comprehend that electric vehicles and their fuel-celled cousins are truly twins distant during birth.

img 3206 Motor Mouth: Hydrogen offers a ideal hybrid for an emissions giveaway futureimg 3206 Motor Mouth: Hydrogen offers a ideal hybrid for an emissions giveaway future

2018 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

So, let’s make this ideally clear: Other than their source of electrons — a battery, typically lithium-ion, for electric vehicles and a tank/fuel “stack” for fuel cells — hydrogen and battery-powered cars are all though identical. Both are powered by electricity, both need invertors to modify DC stream to AC and both are powered by electric motors. In fact, Honda’s Clarity, available, as we mentioned, in presumably matching fuel dungeon and battery-powered variants, uses a accurate same electric motor, a same inverter and a same gearbox in both a BEV and FCEV versions. At a risk of repeating myself, fuel dungeon and battery-powered cars are probably matching save for their source of electrons.

While a disadvantages of EVs and fuel cells are good documented — charging times for battery-powered cars, dear infrastructure and using costs for FCEVs — most reduction discussed is how interrelated their attributes are. Indeed, combined, probably each one of a weaknesses of one is equivalent by a strength of a other.

As Motor Mouth has so mostly discussed, BEVs take distant too prolonged to assign for available long-distance motoring. FCEVs, on a other hand, can be refueled in roughly a same 3 to 4 mins that make gasoline-powered vehicles so convenient. On a other hand, no matter how fit we competence turn during producing hydrogen in a future, 0 beats a preference of simply plugging your BEV into your home charger. In other words, for those looking for a electrically driven, zero-emissions vehicle appealing adequate to finally wean mass-market consumers divided from piston power, demeanour no serve than a battery/fuel-cell hybrid.

Imagine, a advantages of dual Claritys in one. The BEV version’s under-seat 25.5 kilowatt-hour battery simply provides 140 or so kilometres of low recharged battery powered range, triple a 40 km daily invert standard of North American consumers. The FCEV’s trunk-mounted 5.5-kilogram Kevlar and steel hydrogen tank, meanwhile, is good for some 500 km of emissions-free — and fast recharged — highway motoring.

The untimely law of EVs in cold weatherThe untimely law of EVs in cold weather

Twenty or so kilowatt-hours of onboard battery would therefore seem sufficient to discharge a need for middle city refueling stations — possibly gasoline or hydrogen — a bonus for city planners. More importantly, replacing a stream gasoline-refueling infrastructure usually in inter-city/urban locales could be a kind of cost-savings that finally creates a (partial) hydrogen infrastructure financially viable.

Certainly, a cost to consumers would be dramatically reduced. Driving a pristine FCEV during stream prices is definitely shameful — about US40¢ a mile compared with usually US8¢ per mile for gasoline cars, says The Economist. But, if as projected, a cost of hydrogen drops to 12 cents a mile — usually a 50 per cent burst over gas — and a use is singular to long-distance highway use — usually about 20 per cent of a driving, contend North American statistics — a BEV/FCEV hybrid could infer roughly as inexpensive to run as a home-charged battery-powered EV.

As for a cost of a cars themselves, given a stream low prolongation of fuel dungeon vehicles, a BEV/FCEV hybrid would be prohibitive. But economies of scale would seem to foreordain that a destiny all-electric hybrid could be cheaper than a quite battery-powered car. To wit: The lowest cost being presumed for mass-produced lithium-ion batteries is about a $100 per kilowatt-hour. The same ubiquitous accord points to 100 kilowatt-hours as being a honeyed mark of cost contra operation for a EVs of a future. You don’t need a calculator to, well, calculate BEVs with sufficient inter-city operation will need about $10,000 value of lithium ion.

Conversely, a 25 kW/hr indispensable to get we around city will cost about $2,500. It might be improbable now, though that $7,500 in battery-cell assets should someday be adequate to means a further of one Kevlar-wrapped hydrogen tank and a compared fuel stack. Certainly, economies of scale would seem to foreordain that a BEV/FCEV would be cheaper to build than stream gasoline/electric plug-in hybrids; a former requires usually a further of pronounced tank and smoke-stack to a existent hardware where a latter requires integrating dual totally apart powertrains — electric and gasoline — into a same platform.

In fact, a biggest jump for destiny BEC/FCEV variety would seem to be packaging, i.e., where to fit both battery and hydrogen fuel tank. Current fuel stacks — that siphon hydrogen and oxygen to anode and cathode to furnish electricity — take adult distant too most room to be used in a hybrid. The Clarity’s, for instance, takes adult a whole front “engine” bay.

But those are usually a sum that engineers are so skilful during ironing out. Certainly reckoning out how to fit interrelated hardware into one vehicle is going to be a lot easier than perplexing to build a finish new electric infrastructure. More importantly, an all-electric hybrid would solve a operation stress emanate tying BEV sales while still producing 0 tailpipe emissions

The destiny might indeed be electric. But nobody pronounced it had to be battery powered.

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