IanL wrote:The article points out that HFC vehicles can be FC/hybrids (like the Clarity) , i.e. they have motive-power batteries and provide regenerative braking and instantaneous power increase, with which a pure FC vehicle has difficulty. It doesn't say this, but I imagine, when the vehicle slows or stops, and the FC power has to ramp down, the battery can also act as a sink. Some clever software needed to manage the process, but it sounds like they have achieved that.
It sounds like a lot of cost and complexity, though. Given hydrogen is a more expensive fuel source as well, that seems like a difficult prospect to sell to consumers.
I think battery electric alone is fine for "town cars", where the owners do mostly short-range trips, but for markets where people expect to cover long distances (e.g. America), the HFC hybrid is ideal for replacing the ICE hybrid, and will suit owners who may suffer from range anxiety and/or reluctance to wait for the battery to recharge. It also addresses those whose homes are unsuited to home charging. I live on an island 9x5 miles, and have fitted a 30A charger in the garage, so I have no problem with pure battery, but the folks who live in flats in town understandably don't feel the same way, and "green" cars are even more important in towns.
Obviously I would prefer HFC hybrids over ICE hybrids. However, given how small the hydrogen infrastructure is, how expensive it would be to change that, how expensive the cars are... I don't see HFC hybrids ever super-ceding ICE hybrids. By the time hydrogen tech and infrastructure finally gets to the point that it might make sense, full battery electric (or perhaps by then, battery/capacitor electric) may have matured and improved to such an extent that it's no longer relevant to consumers. That's my guess, at any rate.
And I think the industry is guessing the same. There are many more gas stations putting in battery charging stations than those putting in hydrogen fuelling stations. So the gasoline industry appears to be making the same bet I am. Yes, it's much cheaper to put in a charging station than a hydrogen refuelling station. But that's kind of the point, isn't it? Hydrogen is capital intensive for the fuelling station, and the end product is expensive for the customer. Whereas battery electric is vastly cheaper for both the station and the consumer, and likely to stay that way. ICE is cheapest for buying the car. BEV is cheapest for fuelling and maintaining the car. Hydrogen is best for....? Nothing comes to mind.
With reasonably inexpensive cars hitting 380+ km (235+ miles), the main impediment to people getting over range anxiety is coming to terms with the fact that they rarely drive as far as they think they do.
Your points about long-haul trucking are valid, though. To do BEV long-haul trucking, you'd need to put the infrastructure in place to charge every time to truck stops for any reason. Wal-Mart Canada is buying hundreds of fully-electric delivery vehicles, so we'll see how they manage. Rapid chargers in every loading dock, I guess?