Honda offers FCX for '08, bitchslaps Google
Fukui on plug-in: 'Technically speaking it’s nonsense'
Honda has confounded green-motoring analysts by announcing that it will offer a hydrogen-powered car for general sale in 2008, years earlier than expected.
The car in question - the third generation of Honda's FCX fuel-cell demonstrator platform - was always expected to debut next year, but until now the plan had been to lease it to users in a motoring beta test. Now Honda has amazed the motoring world by saying that the car will go on sale in the US and Japan for just £50,000 - despite the scarcity of hydrogen filling stations.
"When the car was invented, countries weren't full of petrol stations," Honda chief exec Takeo Fukui said. "When the demand is there [the hydrogen economy] will happen.”
Honda is trying to get more hydrogen pumps deployed, but also has another trick up its sleeve: the planned Home Energy Station. This might be bought by FCX owners in future, and hooked up to their domestic gas supply to produce hot water and electricity for the house as well as hydrogen for the car. The Energy Station isn't ready yet, however.
Honda's great rival Toyota sees the future of motoring completely differently. Its Prius hybrid has now been eclipsed in the fuel-economy stakes by lightweight conventional cars, but it plans to regain the initiative by the use of so-called "plug-in hybrid" cars, which run mainly on battery power drawn from the grid but carry a petrol engine for long journeys.
A lot of people like the plug-in hybrid idea, including the eggheads at Google. But Fukui was scathing, suggesting that the engineering of such cars was foolish, and that only the powerful American coal lobby would benefit from their widespread use.
"Carrying a [mains rechargeable] battery [as well as an engine] is dead weight," he told the Times.
"It is highly political," said Fukui, "but, technically speaking it's nonsense." ®
Only a society thats stupid to the point of imbecility would consider that consuming your way out of a pretty intractable problem is in any way a viable solution.
Yeah, theres a problem with all this CO2 so lets produce more steel and aluminum .. err yeah. Doh !
Missed the point...
Where we are right now, hydrogen is as (brown - as an opposite to green?) as burning fossil fuels. All this energy density stuff is really aside from the point too. The biggest reason all cars produced for last ten years haven't run off hydrogen is the creation/storage/transportation. We have H2 fuel cells and they work fine, we have highly efficient electric motors, but for powering the fuel cell there are two choices - buy bulk H2 at stations or manufacture it on the fly.
As for large scale liberation, electrolysis is too inefficient and the current method is, as pointed out above, still dependent on fossils and as brown as regular engines. We are researching this.
There are a ton of on the fly methods also being researched at the moment, but IMO this idea from Honda is a good one - if they can sell the home stations with it. It shouldn't flub the way the first poster said their last one did, H2 isn't available, regular gas is. If I could make H2 in my garage with a station and fill my car as needed that would be great. My gas bill would go up but I would save money on petrol. Presumably I could fill up at H2 stations also if I wished. It would probably cost about the same but it would be more convenient to me and when they find a way to produce H2 efficiently, I'd be ready. hydrogen is the best replacement we know about. Nukes under every hood? Hardly? Run everything from charged batteries? Just as silly. Hydrogen fuel cell tech is already here, used, reliable, ect. the problem with it is "How do we get hydrogen without starting with fossil fuels?"
As far as hydrogen infrastructure not being there, do you guys think it is there for everyone to be charging their cars every night? Yeah right, the source and lines would have to be tripled, at the least. And how do we produce that much electricity? Not without the same dependency on fossil fuels, and wind/solar/hydro/geothermal power on that scale is still a dream. Aside from fusion (which is still a pipe dream) hydrogen is the best route to go.
@those missing the point about home generation of H2
Yes, the devices use steam reforming but the idea is to combine this process with another heat system, eg domestic water heater. Doing this should provide greater energy efficiency, and so less CO2 production, than if the two process were conducted independently. It sounds like a fairly standard application of CHP to me and this invariably leads to more efficient use of fuel energy.
Still, H2 has a crap energy density. The most promising research I have heard about, with regard to H2 ICs, was to produce the H2 in situ (almost) by cracking a high energy density fuel within the 'carb'. I seem to recall that vegetable oil was the fuel of choice.
Nuclear the solution? More akin to cracking an egg into your radiator to seal a leak - short term and a bugger to clean up.