I've always had a problem with the whole "no infrastructure" argument. It's a good thing that the original oil companies didn't fall down and whine that they "don't have the infrastructure". They acquired the money and went out and built the needed infrastructure, instead of playing "oh me helpless" game.
When the oil companies started off they didn't have 3 billion customers looking to consume 90 million barrels of oil per day. They had a few wierdos wanting to put gas in their new fangled cars. The infrastructure grew with the demand. Well with hydrogen you're starting all over again only with massive demand already in place.
The massive problem with electric cars is the range. The go a certain distance an then stop. Once stopped they then refuse go any further for a very long time. It kinda like going back to the days of horses, if you want to continue your journey you have to change horse, or let the horse rest.
Electric car range currently far exceeds average daily commute distances. 75% of the population drives 40 miles or less per day. Tesla's cars currently get from 160 to 200 miles on a charge. With nightly topping off of the car you'll be able to do most of your driving without ever using up more than 1/4 of the charge on your car. Now of course the downside is the road trip, when you plan on driving 160+ miles. Figure about three hours of straight driving more or less. How many 3 hour+ road trips do you regularly embark upon? Personally, I drive that far in a shot about once a year for vacation and even then according to Google I could still make it. Trips that exceed that distance are rare, once a year or less. Still, those trips occur so what's the solution?
Quick charging stations maybe. Even then those stops are going to be longer than a fill up but I'm not seeing one forced hour or two stop once a year as being a huge problem. For other people it might be if you regularly go on long trips.
At least with hydrogen you can simply fill up again and on you go. I can't see the infrastructure being a massive issue either. There are plenty of "gas" stations (we call them petrol stations here) that could easily be adapted to to support hydrogen as well as petrol. I've seen the working car and filling process demonstrated and it's not really any different from petrol.
Yeah, the gas stations aren't even a real consideration. Yes, you can change out the pumps for hydrogen and the average driver can handle it just fine. The problem is that the end user pumps are the least of your problems. First is production. Most global hydrogen production is a byproduct of the oil refining process. Well in a hydrogen economy that sort of goes away. That means to produce hydrogen you're going to have to build production facilities, most like sea water cracking plants. Of which there are none in any significant quantity or size. Next is distribution. You have to move the hydrogen from the production sites to the end user. Well you can't use existing trucks, they're thin skinned vehicles designed to move bulk atmospheric liquids. You need trucks designed to move bulk liquified hydrogen. Given the volumes of it necessary it's not likely that trucks would even be considered all that viable considering that each would be hauling around thousands of gallons of either super chilled or compressed hydrogen. Neither of which is something you want getting into a traffic accident. If you want to move it by pipeline then you're talking about laying tens of thousands of miles of high pressure pipe. The pumps at the station are a footnote in the infrasturcture problem.
Yeah, I think it's not so much the range as such as it is the recharge time. Electric car proponents like to point out that few journeys are more than 30 miles or so, so a car with a 50-100 mile range isn't that bad. But when I run out of diesel I can pull over and refuel within the space of a couple of minutes, whereas for an electric car I have to pull over and leave it on charge for most of a day. Even if they can increase the energy capacity of the current batteries, it won't help that much unless they can reduce the recharge time by tenfold or so.
LIke I said above, quick charge stations. They don't require any significant construction, just what amounts to a socket with a much larger amperage rating than you can have in a regular house. They have such stations in quite a few cities, the look like parking meters but they're actually recharge stations. Recharge times are still not comparable to oil but 30 minutes to an hour from dead to full isn't bad. Also, charging at home during the night and at work during the day will keep your car topped off most of the time.
I've wondered before if they couldn't have a standardised battery, and have a rack of them sitting on charge at each garage. You pull in and yank your battery out, stick it in the charging rack, then pull a charged one and stick it in your car. In theory it could work, so long as the garage has enough batteries in the stockpile. But then the batteries would have to be small and light enough to be lifted and carried, which at present they aren't.
Actually they are. There is that exact system in place in several locations already. Its also done with industrial forklifts in some warehouse settings. The problem is the word "standardised". You have to convince all the car makers to stop innovating with their batteries and accept a common standard one. Given that a big point of differentiation car makers will want will be their battery packs and their range as well as getting creative as to how they install them to maximize internal room, going to a single interchangable battery pack across all automakers would probably take an act of congress. Literally. Even then I'm not sure I'd want it. Like I said, car makers are getting creative with how they install the batteries in cars, moving away from the single large gas tank sized battery to smaller distributed systems like installing the batteries in the floor of the car and spreading them out. Quick change out systems exist but the problem is standardization.
They'd also have to make the replacement process close enough to idiot-proof that the average individual could a) perform the task and b) do so without risking killing or injuring themselves or someone else. Filling a car with liquid isn't exactly rocket science, and you still get plenty of people filling a diesel with petrol or vice-versa.
They have. You never even leave the car. Drive the car over a pit until your tires hit the stop. Lean out and pay for it at the kiosk, and below you a robot independantly handles the removal of the old battery and the installation of the new one. There is no driver input in the process at all. Hell, you can't even drive off and fuck things up because once the battery is removed the car's dead anyways.
A Tesla Motors car doesn't come with an auto loan, it comes with a mortgage.
Actually Tesla is moving away from the roadster's cost. They're producing a luxury sedan that's price comparable to current other ones on the market and their goal is to continue pushing the cost of the cars down. So far they're doing pretty well at it.
That's a bit light on details. It takes an hour to charge enough for 150 miles. That would still be an issue for a trip that I used to do a lot. Oxford to Liverpool was 200 miles each way. I would get there in 2 to 4 hours, depending upon traffic. Having to stop for a hole hour in the middle is nasty. You've also got to wonder how may cars could be charged at one time. The M6 on a bank holiday weekend would have 10,000 cars on it. I can't see it being practical to keep every one queueing up for an hour. It was bad enough when it was 1 minute. Solar power in California may be practical but I can't see it working in the UK.
That is a tough one, but there are EV's right now with 200 miles of range. Given that range is a major percieved issue with EV's I suspect that we'll shortly see EV's with ranges of 300 miles or so of range. There's always going to be trips that exceed EV range though which is why quick charge stations will be something that needs to become ubiquitous. Yes, having to stop for a 30 minutes charge instead of a 5 minute fill up sucks. But like I said, there's a reason we use oil, moving away from it is going to involve comprimises, big ones in some ways.
Yeah, any move to electric cars really only makes sense if it's done in step with massive investment in renewables or nuclear.
Well, nuclear at least. Harnessing EV's to renewables is kind of a hilarious proposition. Whether or not there's a quick charge station around becomes less of a concern than if it's going to be cloudy or still that day so there will even be electricity to use.
So it does, my mistake. Still going to need 1,000s of them at each site to be practical.
Actually all things considered you'd need about 6 times more charging points than gas pumps. Since you're looking about about 30 minutes to charge instead of 5 minutes to fill up. The nice thing about about a charging point is that it's more or less just an electrical outlet. An EV charging station would look less like a petrol station and more like a parking lot with lots of meters.
It's a start, but if I go to Scotland for the weekend I still have to stop at a "coaching inn" on the way there and back. You also need the hotel to have as many charging stations as they have rooms. You also need to cope with parking on the street if their car park is full. Basically, every place a car can park (or run out of power) would require a changing point.
I don't have a good answer for you Ian. I still think EV's are the way to go just based off simple efficency. Even the most efficent use of hydrogen, an onboard fuel cell, is only 25% efficent from a fuel standpoint. A straight up EV is 85% efficent. The long term cost of a hydrogen based vehicle is going to be three times that of an EV just from a fuel stand point. With that massive disparity in cost I think at some point you just have to figure out how to make the EV's work because hydrogen is a losing proposition from the start.