Daimler, Ford, Nissan aim to develop affordable fuel cell vehicles by 2017

The new alliance pledges to work together to develop a common fuel cell stack and other items that will lead to volume production of fuel cells, cost savings through economy of scale, and make an affordable fuel cell vehicle a reality.

A new three-way collaboration to accelerate commercialization of fuel cell technology was announced on Monday in Yokohama Japan. The alliance brings together Daimler, Ford and Nissan and has the goal of launching the world's first affordable, mass-market fuel cell electric vehicles as early as 2017. This announcement follows last weeks tie-up between Toyota and BMW that includes fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) development.

An FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) is an electric vehicle where a fuel cell provides the electricity to keep a small battery pack charged to power the vehicle. Fuel cells run on hydrogen and produce water vapor as the only exhaust, making FCEV's look like a great solution to the greenhouse gas implications of fossil fuel vehicles. What most skip over in this picture is that the majority of industrial hydrogen is extracted from natural gas, rather than from sunlight and water, which tarnishes the fuel cell clean image.

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Automakers like fuel vehicles. They do not like Electric Vehicles (EVs) that recharge off the public grid. FCVs (fuel cell vehicles) do not recharge off the grid thus can not recharge from renewable electricity. The hydrogen (h2) to fuel the fcv is currently coming from cracked natural-gas (cng - a fossil fuel source. Though methane can be generated from bio sources, no one is doing that when Canadian and Mexican CNG is so cheap). The h2 for use in a fcv has to be very clean, much cleaner than welding grade h2). On-board h2 tanks and their use is well designed and safe to use. In the past the Hindenburg scare from the ignorant public kept h2 down. h2 is compressed and kept on board at 5000, 7500, and the new 10000 psi is being used ieahia.org/pdfs/Compressed_Hydrogen_Infrastructure.pdf But the range of a fcv is less than a Tesla-S with a ~400 mile between recharges. fcvs are more like ~200 miles between refueling with h2. If the h2 were from environmentally benign sources (like cracking/separating water), instead of getting h2 from a non-renewable fossil source (natural gas), the electrical energy use to purify the water, electrolyze it, then compress it for putting into the fcv's on-board h2 tanks is much more wasteful than recharging a battery EV to drive the same distance. To go the same distance an EV can drive off 6kW, takes 15kW of electricity to create the h2 from cracked water. BTW, no one is talking about what they do with the carbon left over when they crack CNG to get the h2 (there are four hydrogen to one carbon in CNG, the formula is CH4). The rare earth elements needed for making Fuel Cells is limited and mostly come from China. Not only is there not enough of the needed rare earths for everyone to drive an fcv, Chins is going to limit the export as it has on many of its rae earths. Even China knows fcvs are a waste of time as li-ion battery EVs are much more available and cost effective. Is it that the Automakers want fcvs so badly? No, they want them to divert R&D money from EVs, and to eventually fail. Then they can go back to selling petrol vehicles as before at a high profit. All the while saying "Well, we gave it our best shot and it did not work ..." = Automaker BS, just like around 2000 when GM killed their EV1. Is it that Automakers like running off CNG. No, otherwise they would sell CNG vehicles. I have driving Automaker designed and built CNG vehicles. They are a great reactionary driving vehicle (go here, go there, on a moments notice ...). EVs are for those people who have a daily routine (work, school/shopping, home, ... repeat). The public needs to take a few steps back, and not listen to the Automaker talking-heads and find out why the Automakers are pushing fcvs, when they should be making CNG vehicles. Then the public will have a choice: CNG, plugin hybrids that can run off CNG or petrol, EVs, (+more). {brucedp.150m.com}

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