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Honda Sees Mass Production of Fuel-Cell Cars Possible by 2018

Honda Motor Co. thinks it will be able to mass produce fuel-cell vehicles for the general market by 2018, Honda President Takeo Fukui said in a recent interview with Kyodo News.

Honda plans to begin leasing a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle based on its FCX Concept in Japan and the United States in 2008. The stack in the current FCX Concept delivers 100 kW of power, and the vehicle has a range of 560 kilometers (350 miles). (Earlier post.)

By evolving a next model based on this, I think the level of technology will become very close to that of mass-produced ordinary vehicles within 10 years or so. In 2018, I believe the development [of a fuel-cell car] will have been very advanced. It will become a real possibility to a large degree.

—Takeo Fukui

Fukui told Kyodo that there will be many customers who want to buy a Honda fuel-cell car if it goes on sale for ¥10 million (US$84,000) in the general market. Estimates peg the price of current fuel cell cars at more than 10 times that figure.

Challenges that still need to overcome before mass production is possible for Honda include reducing the amount of noble metals used for fuel cells, improving hydrogen storage and lower-cost production of hydrogen, according to Fukui.

Comments

K

Honda has a good record of not over-promising.

They think the time frame for routine FC vehicles is roughly a decade away. The hype from others about 'real soon now' just seemed ??? to me.

My estimate is about 2014 based upon astonishing skill and intensive research. The Honda estimate can't be as good.

;)

Have a good 2007.

Adam Galas

This worries me.

mass produced Fuel Cell cars means a big demand for H2.

Currently that means natural gas, which we are running out of.

By 2018 batteries will have become advanced enough to allow for EVs, which will almost certainly be cheaper to produce, run and maintain than fuel cell cars.

I hope Honda isn't going to push for a hydrogen economy, which would be a great waste of money.

gr

By 2018, we should be seeing 40% new flex bio-fueled vehicles on the road delivering 40-60 MPG service. Ten years down the road of PHEV and BEVs will deliver 150 MP Charge vehicles at a cost of around $1.00 per gallon equiv electrical energy (dependent on charge rate.)

The H2 infrastructure, H2 production/storage economics will need to be on a fast track to support Honda's mass market prediction. So far - we don't see these numbers.

K

Honda is speaking about the ability to routinely build and market them at a sane price, not about H2 production and distribution.

I too am sceptical about the H2 economy. The only way I see it working is magic (to be frank).

But if H can be held in solid matrices material - nanotech? - at enough density (volume & weight), be easily released, the material is cheap and durable, etc. then the usage end of the problem may get fixed.

The production end is ultimately dependent upon the cost of electrical power although extraction from NG or almost any fossil or bio fuel is the more useful method today.

Liquid hydrogen in interstate pipelines? Yep! Pixie Dust Inc. will dominate that induatry.

One no vote for on-board conversion of NG to H2 to fuel cell. Besides the extra complexity, where would all that stripped-off carbon go? But such vehicles are good test beds and demos for today.


SJC

Honda has their own refueling station that can provide H2, electricity, heating and cooling for your home, right in your garage. Now where you are going to get the H2 when you are out on the road is another matter. Making SNG out of biomass and coal is possible. The SNG delivery to fueling stations via the present NG pipes is possible. The fueling station would reform SNG for H2.

Patrick

Only $84,000 in mass produced quantities 11 years from now huh?

I should be able to buy a Tesla for around the same price or cheaper 11 years from now and that is far from a mass produced vehicle (in fact many of the components are more labor intensive then used on the Lotus Elise upon which it is based such as the carbon fiber body panels).

tom deplume

H2 fuel cell cars have been a decade away for the last 40 years. In 2018 they will still be a decade away.

Roger Pham

Concerns regarding "H2 infrastructure, production/storage economics?"

Let be known that H2 is the easiest fuel to produce from primary sources of energy such as waste biomass, coal, solar, wind, and nuclear energy. By producing H2 just-in-time to meet demand and close to the source of consumption, the problem of storage and distribution is easily solved. Feedstocks for H2 production can be easily stored and transported to near the point of consumption.

Initial H2 infrastructure can consist merely of a truck-tanker with compressed H2 at ~8000 psi, equipped with H2 dispensing mechanism and credit card and cash accepter, parked at street corners or in a gas station. An H2-vehicle just parks next to the tanker and fuelup and pay via credit card. When the truck is empty, another one will arrive to replace it. Initial investment would be low. Transporting H2 locally within a city's vicinity will result in only 2-3% loss of efficiency. Electrical transmission from power plants incurs ~8% loss.

When more and more H2-vehicles will be built, the increase in demand will justify H2 pipeline for transporting H2 from a local producer. Natural gas reformation can be used to produce H2 from natural gas pipeline. The efficiency is ~75%, but if the heat used in this reaction is recycled to produce electricity via sterling or steam engine, then the efficiency will be a lot higher.

I see no problem in the H2 economy. The initial investment is reasonable and cost-effective. The efficiency from source to wheel can be just as high as electricity powering BEV. The potential gain in thermal efficiency using H2 can be much higher than petroleum usage today.

Ray Morse

Think fuel cell powered cars are a pipe dream. go to www.ecotality.com check it out

Brad

Generation 4 nuclear power plants will generate enough heat just by creating electricity to seperate hydrogen from oxygen in water, so if we had mass produced fuel cell cars by 2020, that solves the problem on how to get the hydrogen. Just because right now the technology isn't there, doesn't mean it won't be(just like with BEV's being "impractical" today). Plus the world is going to run out of Litheum soon enough that we won't be able to make electric cars using that any more, so what next? Too me hydrogen is the ultimate in transportation for the future, as long as we can get it cleanly. At the same time i also believe that politions are using it to try to appear green, without having to do anything.

DS

Do the math!! 2007 Prius $22,175 MSRP, adjusted for inflation a
2018 Prius is $32,450. What's the mileage for a 2018 Prius ?
I'd say 80mpg is very doable. The Chrysler ESX3 was doing 72mpg with a cost premium of $7,500 in 2003! This doesn't include additional batteries for Plug-in.
Where the F is the benefit of a Fool-Cell?

Brad

DS, Conservation just doesn't cut it, even if everyone who drives now, drove a prius, we'd still have problems with global warming, a little less, but we'd still be in trouble.

SJC

The Chrysler ESX3 was part of the PNGV program. Ford and GM also had diesel hybrids capable of 70 mpg in 1999. If you are worried about the supply of lithium, how about the supply of platinum for FCs?

DS

WTF!!! are you tacking about Brad!!! Well-to-wheel the Fool-Cell is no better than Hybrid. H2 is NOT an energy source!
We're still in problem if all C02 emissions end today!
H2 is a scam to make people think there is "A Solutions" just around the corner.

Adam Galas

H2 is not an energy source, as many have pointed out.

It is also vital to note that converting electricity to H2 through electrolysis, and back to electricity through a fuel cell is very inefficient.

In the end the following fact is undeniable.

IT WILL NEVER BE MORE EFFICIENT TO GENERATE H2 FOR FUEL CELLS THAN IT WILL BE TO CONNECT ALTERNATIVE POWER GENERATION METHODS,(such as Solar, Wind, Wave,ect.) TO A HIGH CAPACITY EV.

Even with gen 4 nuke plants and intermediate breeder reactors it makes more sense to transfer the electrons straight into EV batteries via the grid.

As for H2 generation via Nuclear heat, how much could we generate? Enough for 200 million Fuel Cell cars?

Many advocates of the hydrogen economy will point to my favorite critter, algea, as a potential source of H2.

It is true that high efficiency algea bio-reactors could generate enough H2 for fuel cells, but that still dosn't solve the infrastrucuture problem.

Transporting H2 will require massive investments in new pipelines and other modes of distributuion.

Also, H2 will leak from tanks over time.

In the end an electricity/bio-mass infrastructure makes more sense and is already further along than H2.

For those what will point to the alternative energy generation infrastructure and cry, "that will also cost a fortune!" I say this:

Yes wind power, in order to maximize winds from the plains and texas, would cost $1 trillion, (from some book or article, anyway it will cost a lot.)

And solar, wether nano-solar paint or extrememly efficient panels also will cost a lot, as will gen 4 nuke plants.

But those are things that we will need in the future, if just to keep the lights on.

They could then also be used to charge super dense batteries in EVS.

Thus building an alternative energy infrastructure kills 2 birds with one stone,(3 since it also solves Global climate change).

A H2 infrastrucutre is not something we definetly will need,(since H2 is an energy storage method, alternative energy generators will need to be built regardless).

Thus a hydrogen economy is something that is a pointless waste of money.

As was pointed out above, platinum will never be a cheap metal, and mass production of FC stacks will only increase the price.

EVs can be made cheaply, (The Mitshubishi Miev will sell for $18K) while FCVs will never be able to sell for anything near such a price.

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