Daimler and Linde AG join forces to set on the introduction of hydrogen cars

MacGuffin

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My doubts about batteries go beyond range and charging time (not to mention the production process, which is hardly ecological).

I'm thinking of winter. 5 o'clock in the morning, -15? C or even colder. Your electric car is parked outside, because you live in an apartment and don't have a garage. You need to drive to work, which takes about twice as long in snow. You want the car heated, defrosted, need to switch the lights on and still be able to drive the 50 km to work and back. Maybe having some music on the stereo, too.

I'm sorry but in 125 years of automobile history they haven't even come up with a starter battery, that can reliably cope with those circumstances for more than a few winters. Worn-out batteries are by far the #1 reason for breakdowns in winter in cars today.

Maybe one day they crack this problem (and still make the battery-powered cars affordable) but I don't see that happening in the next 10 or 20 years. Not when better alternatives (like the fuel cell) are waiting at the ready.

Yes, there are technical obstacles. But I see no reason, why they cannot be surmounted in the coming decade. Maybe that cooperation between Daimler and Linde is the first spark.

I mean, think of it: When Bertha Benz took her husband's car for the first 106 km drive from Mannheim to Pforzheim (and back) in 1888, there also was no infrastructure whatsoever. She had to buy her fuel in a pharmacy (this one actually).

It took decades (long into the 20th century) to build the necessary infrastructure and that couldn't stop the success of the car. Today we have an existing infrastructure -- we simply have to modify it. All it needs is the will of all involved. Money isn't the problem, when companies see the potential and future profits.

Who knows? Maybe Linde becomes the Standard Oil of the 21st century?
 
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prizrak

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For natural gas you might as well use existing ICEs. As of right now that is the cheaper alternative.
The idea is to get away from ICE as much as possible. Also ICE takes up entirely too much room inside a vehicle. Also any electric vehicle design by its very nature would be modular. A natural gas FC vehicle would require only a new FC to become an HFCEV. By the same token if battery tech somehow makes a huge breakthrough you can swap an FC for a battery with minor modifications to the design of the vehicle.
 

Mr. Nice

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For natural gas you might as well use existing ICEs. As of right now that is the cheaper alternative.
It's only cheaper in that the ICE technology has already been developed. A natural gas fuel cell costs less to build and run than a hydrogen fuel cell, and a natural gas fuel cell powering an electric motor is more efficient than a natural gas powered ICE.
 

narf

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They're testing swappable batteries, but yes, everything has their flaws. :)
That's massively expensive and also requires a huge infrastructure to be built up. Also, car manufactures would have to agree upon a common battery design, layout, voltage, ...

I'm not one of them, I say BEVs work great for city commuting.


The idea is to get away from ICE as much as possible.
Yep. I was just saying that to tease Mr. Nice, in response to his "natural gas is better as of right now". There the goal is to get away from fossil fuels.
 

prizrak

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I'm not one of them, I say BEVs work great for city commuting.
They are not, you will waste a lot of battery in traffic if you have any kind of electrical systems running, like headlights for instance. Also city dwellers usually don't live in houses with garages, hence not much of a chance to charge overnight.
Yep. I was just saying that to tease Mr. Nice, in response to his "natural gas is better as of right now". There the goal is to get away from fossil fuels.
Having an intermediate solution, especially one that can be easily converted to a newer fuel source is not a bad thing. Main reason to get away from fossil fuels is the pollution they create, if the natural gas fuel cells don't have much emissions it wouldn't be much of an issue.
 

MacGuffin

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They are not, you will waste a lot of battery in traffic if you have any kind of electrical systems running, like headlights for instance.
To be honest, lights wouldn't be my main concern. How about things we have gotten used to even in small cars, like:

- Air condition
- Power windows
- Power sunroof
- Power side mirrors
- A decent stereo
- Heated seats
- Heated rear window
- Heating/defrosting

When you want a battery-powered car for commuters, they you also have to tell, that they'll have to be willing to revert to the standards of the 1950's, concerning small cars.
 
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narf

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They are not, you will waste a lot of battery in traffic if you have any kind of electrical systems running, like headlights for instance.
A car uses what for illumination front + back, 150W? For every hour of using that you lose about half a kilometre in range. Measureable, but pretty much meaningless - if that hour is spent at 50km/h you lose 1%.
That's with incandescent bulbs, if you use LEDs or similar tech you will let that drop down even more.

Having an intermediate solution, especially one that can be easily converted to a newer fuel source is not a bad thing. Main reason to get away from fossil fuels is the pollution they create, if the natural gas fuel cells don't have much emissions it wouldn't be much of an issue.
Petrol in an ICE already works well for an intermediate solution. No need to have yet another bridge technology.

- Air condition
- Power windows
- Power sunroof
- Power side mirrors
- A decent stereo
- Heated seats
- Heated rear window
- Heating/defrosting
Most in that list are irrelevant.
Windows, sunroof, side mirrors are only operated rarely... unless you constantly put your windows up, down, up, down, up, down, etc. As a result the energy consumed by them is not signficant.
A stereo in normal operation will draw much less than front + back illuminations.
Heated rear windows draw about as much as the front + back illuminations, so if you use them for an hour (mine turns itself off after 15min automagically...) you lose half a kilometre.
Heated seats are the same, somehow I've got 120W in my head. An hour of that is less than half a kilometre.

Heating the entire car may be a problem, depending on if there is any waste heat that can be stolen from somewhere. Your average electric fan heater used in your home draws 2kW, for every hour that'd be 6.7km stolen from your range.
Cooling the entire car may also be a problem. My Google-Fu fails me so someone might provide accurate figures. Off the top of my head I'd say 3kW, that would be 10km stolen from your range for every hour the compressor runs at full tilt.

These two problem areas are no problem if you set off from the charging plug, just pre-heat/cool your car, affecting your range only from maintaining those conditions.



All this is based on 300Wh/km. As a comparison, the Tesla is apparently using 135Wh/km battery-to-wheel.
 

Mr. Nice

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narf, you seem to have a disconnect somewhere. A hydrogen fuel cell is currently MUCH more expensive to build and fuel than a natural gas fuel cell. Toyota is planning on selling theirs for $50,000 in 2015. When/if that happens (tsunami, nuclear disaster etc.) there will be few buyers for a vehicle that expensive which cannot be refueled except for at the small number of filling stations that exist.

If we want to move in the direction of hydrogen FCEVs, manufacturing methane FCEVs that can be refilled anywhere and will be cheaper to buy, fuel and easier to refuel, is a very good idea. To expect people to readily cling to the hydrogen FCEV technology that will be expensive to buy and hard to refuel is not rational.

With today's infrastructure, hydrogen FCEVs will sell in the same way that BEVs are selling to, and being used by, people who have the money to be able to afford a car that has limited range and limited uses. As much as the natural gas FCEV is less efficient, it will also be much less expensive to buy and much easier to find a filling station.

Edit: I thought I would also add that I have been a huge supporter of hydrogen fuel cells, a simple search of these forums could easily prove that. I have just come to the realization that, for the average person to be able to afford and use an FCEV, we have to use some more conventional technology for now.
 
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prizrak

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A car uses what for illumination front + back, 150W? For every hour of using that you lose about half a kilometre in range. Measureable, but pretty much meaningless - if that hour is spent at 50km/h you lose 1%.
That's with incandescent bulbs, if you use LEDs or similar tech you will let that drop down even more.
Now I know this is different types of batteries we are talking about but... Me and my girl decided to get a pizza (Totonno's if you know NYC pizza at all) now the place does not deliver so we went there and were double parked waiting for it. It was in the winter. With engine off, HVAC off and only the headunit running and the lights the car was completely out of juice after 15 minutes, as in I had to go get a jump from someone (yes a fail on my part no doubt). How much draw does a headunit connected to an iPhone and lights have? Apparently enough to kill a fully topped off battery (the battery itself is absolutely fine once I recharged it a bit with driving the car hasn't skipped a beat on start up even after seating outside in the cold for a week or so).

Now add to that HVAC running, heated windows/seats, power steering (can't have a pump with no ICE), lights, infotainment systems, etc... A BEV uses too much power just sitting around and it doesn't have a whole lot to start with.
Petrol in an ICE already works well for an intermediate solution. No need to have yet another bridge technology.

Are you serious? You generally seem to be fairly intelligent but this statement.... I just don't know....
Do you honestly not understand that moving from ICE to ANYTHING else requires a full redesign of the vehicle as well as a major redesign of infrastructure while moving between NGFC, HFC and BEV drivetrains would require very little changes to the vehicle itself and, in case of a NGFC to HFC move, very small infrastructure change (just push diff gas through same pipeline)?
if you set off from the charging plug, just pre-heat/cool your car, affecting your range only from maintaining those conditions.
That is a HUGE if for someone who lives in a city. Not many people have their own garages and waiting for a half hour at the "pump" is not exactly my idea of fun thing to do.
 

narf

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Now I know this is different types of batteries we are talking about but... Me and my girl decided to get a pizza (Totonno's if you know NYC pizza at all) now the place does not deliver so we went there and were double parked waiting for it. It was in the winter. With engine off, HVAC off and only the headunit running and the lights the car was completely out of juice after 15 minutes, as in I had to go get a jump from someone (yes a fail on my part no doubt). How much draw does a headunit connected to an iPhone and lights have? Apparently enough to kill a fully topped off battery (the battery itself is absolutely fine once I recharged it a bit with driving the car hasn't skipped a beat on start up even after seating outside in the cold for a week or so).
Your average car battery stores maybe 600Wh, to be "completely out of juice" maybe 400Wh have to be drawn. In 15 minutes that would be 1.6kW. Your iPhone draws a few Watt only, ignorable. Your lights are in the 150W region. Either your have a small nightclub running in your car while you're away, or that breakdown had some other reason.

Now add to that HVAC running, heated windows/seats, power steering (can't have a pump with no ICE), lights, infotainment systems, etc... A BEV uses too much power just sitting around and it doesn't have a whole lot to start with.
You won't have the AC running with heated windows/seats, right?
I don't know how much power the steering would draw, but considering you rarely actually turn the wheel when standing still the energy consumed will be small.
Lights and radio are irrelevant, see above. Dunno what you mean by "infotainment", that could be anything from the radio to a full nightclub.

My point is this: There has to be a huge change to both cars and the infrastructure some time soon. I'm just not sure if there necessarily has to be a medium-sized change inbetween - the sum of change would be greater. This depends on how and when sustainable transportation can work.

That is a HUGE if for someone who lives in a city. Not many people have their own garages and waiting for a half hour at the "pump" is not exactly my idea of fun thing to do.
Many people will ignore a solution if it does not work for everyone. I really don't understand that mindset. Around here many park on the street, but many also have garages/private parking spots. For those a BEV would work well.

Take me as an example, I do not have a garage. However, if there was a working BEV package, I might consider renting a garage for that. There are at least four locations right next to my house.
Many of my colleagues commute from the suburbs in the 10-20km range one-way. For them having a charger at home would be no problem, and the distance for the daily commute would even work today.

There always will be some that can not make some solution work for them. Such a solution still is worth pursuing. There may even be no "magic solution" that solves every problem for everyone.
 

prizrak

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Your average car battery stores maybe 600Wh, to be "completely out of juice" maybe 400Wh have to be drawn. In 15 minutes that would be 1.6kW. Your iPhone draws a few Watt only, ignorable. Your lights are in the 150W region. Either your have a small nightclub running in your car while you're away, or that breakdown had some other reason.
Your estimations are all fine and good but my experience suggests otherwise. Like I said the battery died to the point of not being able to start the car (still ran the lights and alarm and shit) and required a jump from someone to start. I'm sure my battery is not 100% as it's at LEAST 4 years old (when I bought the car) but as my mechanic said "until you can't crank no point replacing". This is actually another problem with batteries they go flat.
You won't have the AC running with heated windows/seats, right?
No but you will be running a heater, another unit that in an ICE takes almost no power to run as you are basically diverting engine heat into the cabin.
I don't know how much power the steering would draw, but considering you rarely actually turn the wheel when standing still the energy consumed will be small.
While standing not much, while driving its yet another thing that requires power from the main drive train. Also add to it brakes, we use vacuum assisted brakes in cars now, no vacuum in electrics.
Dunno what you mean by "infotainment", that could be anything from the radio to a full nightclub.
Infotainment is the term used for the iDrive style systems in cars (might be US only no idea). Basically its your headunit, driver info display, navigation and so on. They tend to have fairly large LCD screens and decently powerful CPUs (that I would bet are not hugely power efficient as there is no need for it currently, tho you could run them on new ARM chips easily enough). Hell Audi and BMW are installing systems with 3G internet and internal WLAN capabilities.
Many people will ignore a solution if it does not work for everyone. I really don't understand that mindset.
Ignoring the obvious (like the universality of ICE).
1) Limited choice - a solution that works for a small(ish) number of people will have a small(ish) supply. Basically BEV is somewhere in the realm of a Smart4none, there is almost no supply in that market and the car itself is damn near useless resulting in poor sales.
2) Limited utility - the best thing about an ICE vehicle (even a Smart) is that I can never leave the confines of my neighborhood/city in it but can also drive cross country(ies) if I wanted to. You can drive a Smart from NYC to LA no problem, you will have places to fill up. You can't do the same with a Tesla roadster and unless we get a major breakthrough in battery charging tech even if the infrastructure is there 20-30mins to charge (best case scenario) every 2-3 hours is just not a feasible scenario. So that means keeping two cars, one for local one for long distance, not a big deal for the US but not that common in Europe.
3) City dwellers have much less need for private transportation - NYC is the most densely populated city in the US and also has the lowest percentage of car owners. Main reason is that there is an extensive and somewhat reliable mass transit system. There is very little actual need to have a car for those occasions you need one a car sharing service like ZipCar seems to fit many people's needs (at least judging by how many I see around).
4) Limited solution = limited sales. Look at the current sports car market, most of the small manufacturers are gone and the big ones have either completely eliminated sports cars or reduced the number of models. There are also only 3 sports cars at the moment that are "budget" the Stang, the MX-5 and the Genesis Coupe, nothing else (has to be RWD/AWD to count as a sports car no hot hatches). Reason being is that the market for sports cars is low and for what I call enthusiast cars (fun to drive not necessarily made for show offs) is even smaller than that so manufacturing is shifted to more volume models. What is the point of spending money on a solution that will have a very limited use?
5) Selling points. What would possibly be the selling point of a BEV over FCEV (no matter H or NG)? There is literally no benefit to a battery based vehicle over an FC one and if FC tech is progressing to the point where it will be viable for "average Joe" what reason would the said Joe have for going to batteries?
My point is this: There has to be a huge change to both cars and the infrastructure some time soon. I'm just not sure if there necessarily has to be a medium-sized change in between - the sum of change would be greater. This depends on how and when sustainable transportation can work.
The only problem with a medium change is that people tend to not bother changing what is working. Oil has been working for us for a long time and now its pretty painful to change to something else but we have to because outside of being at the mercy of nations that don't really like us (to put it mildly) there is also a fairly limited supply of it.

OTOH a cheaper and easier to implement solution in the interim might be what is necessary considering how expensive the change will be in general, building cars and infrastructure is only half the challenge, people need to be able to buy the cars and if new cars start costing $50K+ because of the new drive train there won't be many buyers.
 

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I think you need a new battery. It should not be draining that fast. And at 4 years old, it's already past the typical lifespan.
 

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Ok, to cut it short:

All technical problems and difficulties aside, is there anything a battery-powered car can do better, than a car with a hydrogen fuel cell?

If yes, what?
 

narf

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Ok, to cut it short:

All technical problems and difficulties aside, is there anything a battery-powered car can do better, than a car with a hydrogen fuel cell?

If yes, what?
KERS. An FCEV would need an additional battery to store brake energy.

Smart grids. A large fleet of BEVs could potentially solve our problem of storing energy from renewables. Charge cars when the wind is blowing, drain cars when it is not.

As of now, refueling/charging. You can charge a BEV anywhere, it just might take a while. I don't know any Hydrogen filling station nearby. Solved with a widespread Hydrogen infrastructure.

Pickiness. FCEVs will only take Hydrogen while a BEV will take electricity from any source. Solved with a widespread Hydrogen infrastructure.
 

prizrak

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It did stop working when it really shouldn't have.
The only reason for a battery in the car is to spin the starter motor and give spark when the car is first started. It wasn't designed to power electronics and lights for extended periods of time (especially in sub 0 temps) so the battery is working for the purpose it was designed.
KERS. An FCEV would need an additional battery to store brake energy.
I'll give you that.

Smart grids. A large fleet of BEVs could potentially solve our problem of storing energy from renewables. Charge cars when the wind is blowing, drain cars when it is not.
FC cars can be used to do that as well, they won't be able to store the energy sure but you can run your house on it.

As of now, refueling/charging. You can charge a BEV anywhere, it just might take a while. I don't know any Hydrogen filling station nearby. Solved with a widespread Hydrogen infrastructure.

Pickiness. FCEVs will only take Hydrogen while a BEV will take electricity from any source. Solved with a widespread Hydrogen infrastructure.
That's not really true, at least not for the US. I would assume that BEV's require a 220 outlet as opposed to a 110, which is not something commonly found. Also in theory there is electricty everywhere but its not like you can plug in at your nearest Starbucks.
 

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KERS. An FCEV would need an additional battery to store brake energy.

Smart grids. A large fleet of BEVs could potentially solve our problem of storing energy from renewables. Charge cars when the wind is blowing, drain cars when it is not.

As of now, refueling/charging. You can charge a BEV anywhere, it just might take a while. I don't know any Hydrogen filling station nearby. Solved with a widespread Hydrogen infrastructure.

Pickiness. FCEVs will only take Hydrogen while a BEV will take electricity from any source. Solved with a widespread Hydrogen infrastructure.
So in essence you propose a future, where inner city cars are being treated like shopping carts at a supermarket? Because actually owning one would mean certain difficulies and inconvenences.

For example there is one thing the promoters of BEV's always tend to ignore (maybe because they live in a house and have a garage): In a big city there is a majority of apartments, not houses. Try to explain how you will solve the recharging problem in, say, Berlin Prenzlauer Berg, with the streets cramped with parked cars?

What are you going to do? Use extention cables and go through the windows? Might work on the first floor but in 2nd, 3rd, 4th? Or do you want to fit every lamp post with a battery of sockets? Great idea, until the first drunk youths come home at 2 o'clock in the morning and pull them out for fun.

I agree that BEV can have a purpose but they are hopelessly impractical. You'd have to be extremely modest and undiscriminating to favor them. They're only useful in a very clearly defined niche and cannot be the answer to our questions. For the majority of reasons to use a car, a FCEV will always be the better choice. And I really believe it's time we no longer neglect that technology.
 
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narf

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FC cars can be used to do that as well, they won't be able to store the energy sure but you can run your house on it.
The problem is storing energy from renewable sources for when it is needed. Storing the energy in Hydrogen and then re-using it for the grid is very inefficient.

That's not really true, at least not for the US. I would assume that BEV's require a 220 outlet as opposed to a 110, which is not something commonly found. Also in theory there is electricty everywhere but its not like you can plug in at your nearest Starbucks.
You can charge off any voltage. Depending on the power capabilities charging will just take longer - that's not due to lower voltage though but lower power output (V*A).
Concerning the nearest Starbucks or whatever, given time stores could offer charging stations in their parking lots.


So in essence you propose a future, where inner city cars are being treated like shopping carts at a supermarket? Because actually owning one would mean certain difficulies and inconvenences.

For example there is one thing the promoters of BEV's always tend to ignore (maybe because they live in a house and have a garage): In a big city there is a majority of apartments, not houses. Try to explain how you will solve the recharging problem in, say, Berlin Prenzlauer Berg, with the streets cramped with parked cars?

What are you going to do? Use extention cables and go through the windows? Might work on the first floor but in 2nd, 3rd, 4th? Or do you want to fit every lamp post with a battery of sockets? Great idea, until the first drunk youths come home at 2 o'clock in the morning and pull them out for fun.

I agree that BEV can have a purpose but they are hopelessly impractical. You'd have to be extremely modest and undiscriminating to favor them. They're only useful in a very clearly defined niche and cannot be the answer to our questions. For the majority of reasons to use a car, a FCEV will always be the better choice. And I really believe it's time we no longer neglect that technology.
Again, just because a technology does not suit 100% of the market does not mean it should be thrown in the bin. There are loads of people in and around Berlin who have garages / private parking spaces.

Sockets in lamp posts could work well. Sure, drunken youths could try to pull them out, but that's just one clever solution away from not being a problem... for example integrating the socket latches with the central locking.
Then again, how often do drunken youths let the air out of your tyres at night? Same thing, very easy to do and nasty for the driver. Didn't happen to me yet.
 
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