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Reply 441 of 468, by Carrera

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Lineage is:
'76 Firebird
'72 Triumph Spitfire
'89 Sunbird
'80 Porsche 924
'80 Firebird Trans Am Pace Car
'89 Wartburg 1.3
'96 Skoda Felicia
After that I got company cars... and kids so it is too embarrassing to go on...

I have been closely following electric cars for over a decade.
When you consider paper to junkyard math, taking everything into account the EV still wins out, partially because you can recycle or upgrade your car (BMW boosted the range and charging times of the i3 with a battery swap/software upgrade that took 40 minutes) but also because if you want you can charge on pure green energy.

Even using coal/oil/nuclear (which is actually a very environmentally friendly type of power if it weren't for all the deadly radioactive stuff) you are still ahead.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G67i_Z8ukD4

Yes rare Earth metals are being mined under horrible conditions, but that dependency is shrinking and may be gone 3-5 years. There are batteries out there made of salt water (granted not for EV use but for overall power storage) and graphene is probably going to help a lot.
Yes the range thing is... a thing... but there again, range has doubled in about 5 years and is increasing constantly.

Hydrogen comes up a lot....
They are electric cars too and the only major problem is... where to get hydrogen...?
I joke with ultra religious folks about how hydrogen is the most common thing in the universe and also the most vital for life (making it form water) yet we simply haven't found a viable way to produce it that doesn't cause a lot of harm (yet).
I also take an issue with all the oil companies thing controlling hydrogen...
Heck, I could put a hamster wheel on a generator and charge my EV! It would take several thousand years and about 16.2 tons of hamsters but it would work!

If we can figure out hydrogen that would help a LOT for things like boats and even planes.
Cars I think we just need better, lighter batteries and better infra-structure.

But hey, my teleporter almost works. Just have to figure out where Cousin Eddie ended up...

Reply 442 of 468, by martinot

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Regarding rare Earth metals many people forget (or do not know) that it is also used to produce oil and refine it. I used to work for the oil industry in Norway, and we actually used a lot of Kobolt (common conflict metal) in the processes.

It is very strange that such things is only mentioned when people talk about it when it is used to produce batteries for EVs, but not when it is used to produce normal fuel for their ICE-cars (but as I have profit from the oil and gas industry, I do not complain about such cluelessness by common people).

Reply 443 of 468, by robertmo

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Carrera wrote on 2020-10-06, 13:29:

They are electric cars too and the only major problem is... where to get hydrogen...?

Somehow they had no problems finding it in the past
https://www.history.com/news/the-hindenburg-d … urprising-facts

Reply 445 of 468, by wiretap

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Hydrogen is pretty easy to make. There are a few partnerships right now in the US with nuclear plants to mass produce hydrogen on-site for future energy infrastructure. I think they have plans to pipeline it in the future, but for now they will truck it to filling stations. One of the nuclear hydrogen production sites will be at Davis-Besse, which is within eyesight of me right now. I have a hydrogen site at my nuke plant I work at already, but we aren't part of the DoE initiative.

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Reply 446 of 468, by digger

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Hydrogen, at least for cars, has a few major problems and disadvantages over battery-electric vehicles (BEVs):

  • Lack of infrastructure
  • High cost of building the infrastructure
  • Low efficiency, especially compared to battery-electric vehicles
  • You can't charge them at home, which is especially disappointing when you have solar panels on your roof
  • Most hydrogen is still produced from fossil fuels

In developed countries, charging infrastructure is rapidly taking off. And globally, there is already a basic infrastructure in place, namely the electricity grid.

Granted, the electricity grid will have to be upgraded in some places to handle the higher electricity demands as more people start driving BEVs, but at least you're not starting from zero.

Hydrogen, on the other hand, is basically starting from zero. From manufacturing, to transportation, to distribution. Hydrogen stations are much more expensive to build than rapid charging stations, and have more safety issues.

There are barely any hydrogen stations in existence today. The ones that do exist are located in only a few regions, mostly in California and in parts of Western Europe.

And the hydrogen stations that do exist currently have a problem that they take time to produce enough hydrogen on-site. If you arrive at a hydrogen station just after another driver has just refuelled there, you sometimes need to wait up to 20 minutes for the hydrogen station to produce enough hydrogen for you to fuel up. 20 minutes is also the time that a typical BEV needs to charge from 0% to 80% at a DC rapid charger. There goes the one advantage that hydrogen vehicles supposedly had over BEVs!

As for efficiency: In the case of hydrogen, about 40% of electricity is lost to extraction, compression, transport and distribution. In contrast, only about 20% of electricity is lost when charging EV batteries directly.

I'm not saying that hydrogen is completely unsuitable as a medium for storing and transporting energy in general. I'm just saying that it's not feasible for cars. I see more potential in hydrogen in ships and airplanes. Possibly also trucks, although I believe those can be battery-electric in many cases as well.

Reply 447 of 468, by digger

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Oh, I forgot another (very practical) downside of hydrogen:

The lack of choice between available Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). There's the Toyota Mirai, and I believe Honda and Hyundai have models too, and that's pretty much it, as far as I know.

And they are all very expensive.

The choice in BEVs on the other hand, has been rapidly expanding lately. And more models have been appearing in more affordable price ranges as well.

Reply 448 of 468, by wiretap

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The DoE initiative for nuclear powered hydrogen production is on par with electrical battery charging as far as cost goes. It uses off-peak electricity to produce hydrogen, in which the power plant sells for a profit at the same rate electricity is sold at.

As far as infrastructure cost for filling stations, it would be cheaper, since the rapid charging stations for electric vehicles need at least a 750kVA feed for 8 bays.. and the associated switchgear, transformers, charge controllers, etc. A hydrogen filling station just needs a tank and pump ports with a simple pressure regulator. It is definitely cheaper. Hydrogen is very easy to transport and fill, and we've been doing it for decades without issue - even less issues than gasoline since the transport and fill medium is much more robust on the aspect of safety. (self sealing tanks, self sealing hoses and fittings, stronger tanks, hydrogen snoop monitors, pressure limit switches are easier to monitor and alarm if there's an issue, etc. )

That said, it would be easy to retrofit any gas station for hydrogen, and the fuel could be transported to site in the same manner. But any gas station can't be retrofitted with the same number of charging stations due to electrical grid constraints. This is where electrical charging is more expensive on a mass scale, plus the electrical grid won't support a full rollout anytime soon unless we increase base load power by at least 2 or 3 fold with the 750kVA per station standard applied.

Really though, I'm excited for either technology since it keeps me in a job either way for the rest of my life. Myself, I believe hydrogen would be much more simple and easier to transition to from an overall whole county rollout standpoint.

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Reply 449 of 468, by digger

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wiretap wrote on 2020-10-17, 14:41:

The DoE initiative for nuclear powered hydrogen production is on par with electrical battery charging as far as cost goes. It uses off-peak electricity to produce hydrogen, in which the power plant sells for a profit at the same rate electricity is sold at.

Even then, why not use that nuclear power to charge batteries straight away, instead of first use it to split water in to hydrogen, compressing it, distributing it, etc? Regardless of how the electricity is generated, whether nuclear, wind, solar, or whatever, BEV swill still be way more efficient, and ultimately require a lot less electricity.

As far as infrastructure cost for filling stations, it would be cheaper, since the rapid charging stations for electric vehicles need at least a 750kVA feed for 8 bays.. and the associated switchgear, transformers, charge controllers, etc. A hydrogen filling station just needs a tank and pump ports with a simple pressure regulator. It is definitely cheaper. Hydrogen is very easy to transport and fill, and we've been doing it for decades without issue - even less issues than gasoline since the transport and fill medium is much more robust on the aspect of safety. (self sealing tanks, self sealing hoses and fittings, stronger tanks, hydrogen snoop monitors, pressure limit switches are easier to monitor and alarm if there's an issue, etc. )

Again, you're dismissing the fact that the hydrogen station will require electricity as well, and also either the hydrogen will have to be produced off-site (requiring energy) and transported to the hydrogen station (also requiring energy), or the hydrogen will be produced by the station on site, which will require a lot of electricity on-site. Transportation will require either lots of trucks, or the installation of pipelines that aren't yet there. The electricity grid on the other hand, already exists, and is pervasive, at least in developed countries.

That said, it would be easy to retrofit any gas station for hydrogen, and the fuel could be transported to site in the same manner. But any gas station can't be retrofitted with the same number of charging stations due to electrical grid constraints. This is where electrical charging is more expensive on a mass scale, plus the electrical grid won't support a full rollout anytime soon unless we increase base load power by at least 2 or 3 fold with the 750kVA per station standard applied.

Charging stations are much easier to set up than refuelling stations. In key locations, the necessary mid-voltage grid connections are already available, or relatively easy to upgrade.

Really though, I'm excited for either technology since it keeps me in a job either way for the rest of my life. Myself, I believe hydrogen would be much more simple and easier to transition to from an overall whole county roll-out standpoint.

I share your excitement in terms of the energy transition in general. However, I remain skeptical and in fact weary of hydrogen as a solution for cars. Hydrogen has been known to be used by traditional oil companies as vapourware (no pun intended) to dangle in front of politicians to prevent them from pushing for electrification. (Have you seen the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car, by the way?)

But we can also just take a step back and look at the current developments. How quickly is fast charging infrastructure currently rolling out compared to the build-up of hydrogen infrastructure? And what kind of vehicles are being produced more these days? BEVs or FCEVs? If you look at that, you'll see that hydrogen is hardly making a dent in the market, whereas BEVs (both in terms of vehicle choice and charging infrastructure) are really starting to take off now.

And again, you can't charge a fuel cell vehicle at home with your own solar panels. With BEVs, that's absolutely possible. That is one huge advantage in terms of decentralisation, energy dependence, and sustainability.

Reply 450 of 468, by wiretap

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I think you were missing my point about hydrogen being easier and cheaper from an overall country rollout standpoint. The production cost is "at cost" of the electricity utility company. This is just pennies per kWh. It doesn't require a fueling station to be near the high voltage grid interconnection since the majority of gas station locations (besides truck stops) are only connected at residential level electrical connections, supporting one or two fast chargers at most. The cost to support at least 1 750kVA (or higher) connection per station is extravagant - well beyond what it would take to retrofit a tank and pumps for hydrogen fueling. (which itself is just slightly higher than the cost of replacing existing underground tanks/pumps which is done routinely anyway).. Most areas would require at least 120kV lines within a mile or two in order to support that for step down voltages on this large of a charging network for BEV to prevent grid instability. I'm not knocking pure BEV, I'm just saying hydrogen would still be easier and cheaper, even when transporting the hydrogen to site. Also, there's no way a single mom&pop gas station (like the majority across the country) would be able to produce enough hydrogen for customers needs on-site.. On the same token they would never be able to afford upgrading for 750kVA electrical for BEV charging without massive subsidy. If fast chargers were cheap and easy, we'd already have them everywhere and the problem would be solved. Enough people have electric cars now to justify it, but that just isn't the case because most locations just don't support the electrical grid infrastructure or they can't afford upgrading it.

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Reply 451 of 468, by digger

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I just realize that it's only fair for me to point out that I work in the EV charging industry myself. 😅

That being said: if your reasoning is accurate, then where are all the hydrogen stations? And the diversity of choice in FCEVs?

Simple economics drives whichever option is more feasible, and right now, we see fast charging networks expanding around the world. Most notably Tesla's Supercharger network, but also other fast charging network providers, such as Electrify America and EVGo in the case of your country.

In contrast, the total number of hydrogen stations in the US can probably be counted with two hands. And the last time I read about it, all of them were still located in California, and nowhere else. Has that changed recently?

If hydrogen is truly more economical, the market should have have at least started to show indications of this by now. But it hasn't.

Again, I'm not knocking hydrogen-based energy storage and transportation as a whole. I just don't think it's feasible for cars. For certain industries like aviation, it may very well have a place, though.

Even trucks will go battery-electric as battery capacity per unit of mass increases, and price per unit of energy capacity decreases.

Reply 452 of 468, by wiretap

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The number of hydrogen cars isn't prevalent due to fuel cell complexity and construction material.. It just isn't there 100% and hasn't been allocated much R&D money. Straight up batteries are just easier from a design perspective. Also, there's of course politics because people and lawmakers in general would rather kiss someone with ebola rather than even speak the word hydrogen because somehow it is scary. That's really beside the point though - I was only speaking from an infrastructure rollout standpoint.

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Reply 453 of 468, by digger

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I don't think you and I are going to agree on this point any time soon. That's okay, though. 🙂

(To be clear, I'd still definitely prefer hydrogen over continued use of fossil fuel combustion in transportation. But I firmly believe that BEVs are more economical, and energy-efficient, unless there are some radical technological developments that would change that. And I haven't seen any so far.)

Reply 454 of 468, by wiretap

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No, I agree with you -- BEV is the way to go for now, it is just going to be very expensive. Battery technology is always improving and costs will be cut from a manufacturing angle, however it is only the infrastructure that will need a major overhaul. Since the goal of batteries is a faster charge time and longer range, that requires even more power to charge than today's advanced lithium batteries. (and right now we're already severely behind from an electrical grid perspective) What I think will happen is within 20-25 years, we'll see a shift toward hydrogen and other advanced fuels. Mining the materials for the batteries and >20T CO2/batt to produce it will likely be unsustainable on a global scale with future legislation, pushing development of more clean solutions that can be recycled easier and have less environmental impact.

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Reply 455 of 468, by robertmo

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digger wrote on 2020-10-18, 11:25:

where are all the hydrogen stations?

Germany has quite a lot.
Japan has even more than superchargers.
South Korea has quite a few too.
Many western and northern European cities have them too.

Reply 456 of 468, by digger

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The environmental impact of battery production, although a legitimate concern, has been somewhat overstated. The largest problems are ethical sources of key materials, namely Nickel and Cobalt. Most Cobalt in particular is mined in the Congo, often by child labourers under terrible circumstances.

The good news is that the use of such conflict materials is being reduced, and there is now even a battery technology available that contains neither Nickel nor Cobalt: Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LFP). It's cheaper to manufacture, requires no conflict resources, is more durable (more charge/depletion cycles), doesn't run as hot and isn't as combustable either. The one downside is the somewhat lower energy density compared to battery chemistries that do use Cobalt. But even that is rapidly being improved.

Old EV batteries are increasingly getting second lives as storage batteries. If they only have 70% of their initial capacity, that's still fine for storage use and they can continued to be used in such applications for years before they really have to be recycled. And battery recycling technology, which reclaims the precious materials from discarded batteries, has been making big strides as well.

The talks about battery production being unsustainable is an old myth. There is plenty of Lithium available around the world, it's perfectly recyclable (if the proper investments in recycling are made), and conflict-free batteries for EVs are already available and continue to be improved.

Reply 457 of 468, by digger

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robertmo wrote on 2020-10-18, 12:26:
Germany has quite a lot. Japan has even more than superchargers. South Korea has quite a few too. Many western and northern Euro […]
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digger wrote on 2020-10-18, 11:25:

where are all the hydrogen stations?

Germany has quite a lot.
Japan has even more than superchargers.
South Korea has quite a few too.
Many western and northern European cities have them too.

Hmmm, I checked on-line, and I'll admit that there are indeed quite a few more hydrogen stations in for instance Germany at this point than I had expected.

I remain skeptical, though. Most hydrogen is still produced as a by-product from fossil fuel production, and there are still only a handful of FCEV models available to choose from. Also, you can't charge them at home or at a destination charger, so you'd be completely dependent on those (still relatively rare) hydrogen stations to keep them fuelled.

By the way, a hydrogen station is still considerably more expensive to build than an EV fast charging station.

Reply 458 of 468, by digger

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By the way, it wasn't my intention to completely hijack this thread. The topic is still "What do you drive", after all. I'm sure that posts about "What would you drive" are about as far as we can get away with here. "What do you think people will be driving" is too much of a stretch. 😅

Shall we create a separate topic for this debate? Or perhaps there already is one?