Sunday, May 25, 2008

Who Killed the Electric Car (Part 9)

The hydrogen fuel cell was presented by the film as an alternative that distracts attention from the real and immediate potential of electric vehicles to an unlikely future possibility embraced by automakers, oil companies and a pro-business administration in order to buy time and profits for the status quo.

The film backs up the claim that hydrogen vehicles are a mere distraction by stating that “A fuel cell car powered by hydrogen made with electricity uses 3 to 4 times more energy than a car powered by batteries” and by interviewing the author of The Hype About Hydrogen, who lists five problems he sees with hydrogen vehicles: 1) Current fuel cell cars cost an average of $1,000,000. This cost, in his words, “has gotta drop.”; 2) Current materials cannot store enough hydrogen in a reasonable space to “give you the range people want.” 3) Hydrogen fuel is “wildly expensive.” In his words “even hydrogen from dirty fossil fuels is two or three times more expensive than gasoline.” 4) The need for an entire new fueling infrastructure. He claims “someone’s gonna have to build at least ten or twenty thousand hydrogen fueling stations, before anybody is going to be interested.”; and, 5) Competing technologies will improve over time as well. “You have to hope and pray that the competitors in the marketplace don’t get any better. Because right now the best car in the marketplace just got a lot better, the hybrid vehicle...”