invader166
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:13 pm

Re: End of the line for combustion engines?

Sat Oct 10, 2020 6:15 pm

IanL wrote:And when I suggested fuel cell/battery hybrid for heavy vehicles, I didn't realise this is already available in the Honda Clarity FCV.


Not just Honda, Toyota and Hyundai are following along, and have hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in production as well.

For heavy commercial vehicles, hydrogen is definitely a plausible replacement fuel for diesel. This brings along a host of other problems like infrastructure, service/repairs, etc. but nothing that can't be solved over time.

Having driven both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, I personally would lean towards using battery electric for passenger vehicles, rather than fuel cell. Mainly because of the regenerative breaking. Not only do they save your disk breaks, but they also increase your range. This is sadly not the case with hydrogen fuel cells.

IanL
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:57 pm
Location: Jersey, English Channel Islands

Re: End of the line for combustion engines?

Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:29 pm

invader166 wrote:Having driven both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, I personally would lean towards using battery electric for passenger vehicles, rather than fuel cell. Mainly because of the regenerative breaking. Not only do they save your disk breaks, but they also increase your range. This is sadly not the case with hydrogen fuel cells.


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.

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.

MassDeduction
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:24 pm

Re: End of the line for combustion engines?

Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:23 pm

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?

MassDeduction
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:24 pm

Re: End of the line for combustion engines?

Sun Oct 11, 2020 2:41 pm

invader166 wrote:Not just Honda, Toyota and Hyundai are following along, and have hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in production as well.

For heavy commercial vehicles, hydrogen is definitely a plausible replacement fuel for diesel. This brings along a host of other problems like infrastructure, service/repairs, etc. but nothing that can't be solved over time.[...]

There are many challenges standing in the way of adoption of hydrogen. It's energy intensive (so it's less green than battery electric). The infrastructure is limited, and it would be incredibly expensive to change that (so it's less convenient than ICE, and less convenient than BEV for those who mostly/exclusively charge at home). The cars are expensive compared to ICE, and offer less variety than BEV.

So if hydrogen isn't the greenest option, it's not the most convenient option, and it's not the cheapest option... which consumer is it for? Car consumers are mostly motivated by cost, convenient, and the environment, and it would have to become the best in one of those categories to be able to compete. The hydrogen proposition relies on something changing, but I don't see any of the above changing fast enough (because ICE and BEV are also improving every year, so it's a moving target for hydrogen).

As someone who does 100% of my charging from a level-1 wall outlet, I have an infrastructure of billions of charging outlets to choose from. I have a less energy intensive/greener option than hydrogen will probably ever be. I have a cheaper refuelling option than hydrogen will ever be.

Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai/Kai are nothing to sneeze at, but those companies collectively sell more EVs than they do HFC vehicles. When you add in the companies that are focused on battery electric as their future (Tesla, Volkswagen group, etc.), then the R&D going into battery electric is higher and predictably is paying far greater dividends. Very few car companies outside of Japan and South Korea even frequently talk about hydrogen anymore, it seems to me. I don't see hydrogen ever catching up.

Yes it's different when talking a sedan or a crossover than talking about a bus or a transport truck. But hydrogen isn't affordable in any context yet, which will stand in the way of public transit or business adopting it in large numbers.

invader166
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:13 pm

Re: End of the line for combustion engines?

Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:45 pm

IanL wrote:
invader166 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.


I can't speak for the Honda Clarity, but the Toyota Mirai I drove did not have any regen breaking at all. It behaved exactly as a gas powered car. It would roll and gain speed when going downhill, like a normal ICE vehicle.

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