Don't get so excited about that stopgap stuff. Fuel cells will be ready anyway by the time that plug-in gets here==>
"Nonetheless, the auto industry is pouring billions of research dollars into fuel-cell power and many in the industry say that other forms of power, like the popular hybrids, are just a stopgap."
Mean while out here in the real world Diesel Engines are becoming more efficient.Diesel fuel is getting cleaner and cleaner.Over the next few years,we will see if diesel engines become the engines purchased by mass consumers as they already are in parts of Europe.
Here in the real world the diesel engine and now including the diesel hybrid engines are the dominate engines for public transportation.Read up on what is actually happening out here in the real world with diesel.Click on the topics along the right hand column such as Cars, Trucks & SUVs etc etc.Be sure and find the section about diesel hybrid buses.
The new diesels and diesel hybrids are able to be fueled using in place fuel storage and transportation infrastructure.Transportation Authorities are not sympathetic to building new storage and transportation infrastructure required for Hydrogen.When tax payer's money is given to them to try out Hydrogen and Fuel Cells,they accept the money.What do they have to lose?
"...realize that one can be substituted for the other in a series hybrid configuration..."
Sure, all you need is the fuel cell, then the hydrogen, and the compression then the transportation, then the storage...
On a more serious note, it will be interesting to see how much play H2 fuel cells will get at the auto show.
Thanks for the link Gomor, and I'm glad to see that you are still out there.
I'm not always very bright about such things, but fwiw here is some additional food for thought:
1. Imho fuel cell cars will likely be buffered with batteries and thus will likely be hybrids. There is no reason not to. You want your fuel cell to operate at relatively low current density in order to achieve maximum efficiency, plus the fuel cell doesn't want to undergo severe or abrupt changes in electrical load (as jj2713 pointed out in the Ford Airstream thread).
2. If you have a fuel cell and a gasoline engine together on the same platform, eventually somebody will figure out that an on-board reformer will allow you to throw out the gasoline engine entirely. I've been having this running argument on this board for more than a year now, but reformers ARE being developed for military applications. Most civilian automakers threw out this concept years ago because they thought that slow startup was an insurmountable problem (it did not occur to them that battery hybrids might actually be viable), and that it made the system too complicated. Well, now that they are talking about adding batteries AND a combustion engine, the on-board reformer doesn't seem like such a big deal, does it?
3. The use of fuel cells with gasoline or diesel, by (at least) doubling the efficiency compared to combustion engines) would therefore cut oil consumption by half, and would cut emissions of CO2 by the same amount. Efficiency, much more so than the choice of the form of fuel, is the key to reducing oil imports and reducing environmental emissions.
4. If you want to use gaseous hydrogen, you have get the hydrogen from electricity or by reforming fossil fuel. Why not skip a step and use either the electricity or the fossil fuel directly in a flex car of this kind?? Plus if you make your own hydrogen, you avoid the issue of storing hydrogen in residential garages, which I think is a first order safety issue.
5. GM has not been terribly bright about the introduction of new technologies. They proved that the Wankel would not work (just before Mazda rolled out a production version of it) and by ignoring the hybrid electric vehicle, they fell years behind Honda and Toyota. They had also proven that the electric car was of no use. But they are still (for the next six weeks anyway) the largest automaker in the world and eventually they may figure out a combination that makes sense.
Electric? How about a series hybrid David? And like all series hybrids can be powered by a fuel cell as well as ICE.
"The E-Flex vehicles are all electrically-driven, feature common drivetrain components, and will be able to create electricity on board (either through a genset or a fuel cell)."
I think you'll see the series hybrid emerge as the transition technology for fuel cells. It allows 80% of the technology required for a fuel cell vehicle to be mass produced without only selling hydrogen fuelled vehicles.