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back to article Honda: future's full of hybrids and fuel-cell EVs, not plug-ins

Fans of the hydrogen fuel-cell powered Honda FC Sport sci-fi style concept car may have a reason to rejoice: Honda president Takeo Fukui reckons plug-in electric cars are hopeless. In an interview to Chinese-language website auto.163.com, he said that electric vehicles are still "immature", the main problem being the batteries. …

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Silver badge
Happy

get your hydrogen car here....

granted may be a bit of a squeeze to fit in...

http://www.allthingsgreen.net/marketplace/Eco-friendly-Hydrogen-powered-car-H-Racer-p-5462.html

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Silver badge

Batteries aren't a problem ...

Electric trains can go thousands of miles without needing to recharge.

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Honda is wrong

Honda is wrong. Plug-ins and pure EVs will make way more sense long before a hydrogen car ever does.

I could get an electric car today and use it right now. Same for a plug in hybrid.

This is not the case with a hydrogen car.

And from a safety perspective, hydrogen also loses due to the potential explosion hazard.

For pure safety, electric is the best (just avoid the defective Sony batteries), followed by diesel (less volatile than gasoline), followed by gasoline, with hydrogen in last place

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Jos
Boffin

plug-in efficiency

I'm not dismissing the technology, but can someone tell me what the fuel efficiency of a plug-in electrical car is in a country running (mostly) on fosil-fuel powerplants?

Fosil fuel (coal, LNG, etc) to electricity (AC), losses in transportation through the grid, into your AC/DC converter in your car, efficiency of turning electrical energy into chemical energy (your battery), then, when driving, efficiency of chemical to electrical energy again, efficiency of turning this electrical energy to mechanical energy (the electric motor under the bonnet)...

In the entire chain, how much is the total efficiency of the entire chain, as in how far does a liter (or gallon, whichever you prefer) burned in the power plant get you?

I know, to be fair, if you take all this into consideration, you should do the same for conventional internal combustion engines, and include fuel burning by the trucks transporting your diesel/LPG/whatever to the gas station, but this would also mean adding transportation losses of bringing fuel to the power-plants...

Plug-in type cars would be a good idea ofcourse (if reducing CO2 emissions is the goal) if you pull your electricity from things like solar panels or wind farms. (Do you know the enormous amount of CO2 emissions are caused by creating a hydro-power dam? It takes a long time to "compensate" this).

Enough now...

Cheers,

Jos

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Paris Hilton

Efficiency

Electric vehicle are very efficient at changing electricity into power and recycling (ie not loosing) that power when braking. What the proponents of this technology don't tell you is that the power plant that makes the electricity is only 40% efficient so you have an effective efficiency of 90% (or whatever the figure is) of 40% - which would be 36% in this case.

Not such a clear cut argument then ... how about going after that 60% waste - 1/2 of that is worth having!

Paris cos her waste is small

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Analysis paralysis won't save us

Plug EVs are a viable technology today, but the mainstream motor manufacturers have no incentive whatsoever to produce these. That is why the likes of Tesla (cars) and Vectrix (Scooters and motorcycles) with comparitively tiny budgets can actually put high performing EVs on the roads why "the industry" either talks about it or makes excuses for not doing so.

How many more concept vehicles that will never make it to market do we have to look at? We don't want concepts, we want action and deliverables right now. The technology exists, lets just make use of it and improve it along the way.

If the ICE faced the same constraints in its day we would not have the automotive industry that we have. I suspect that had it not been for Mr Ford with his "cars for the masses" the industry would have remained for the elite only.

One more time now Mr Motor Industry, get a bloody move on and put the goods in the showrooms. Or stand by and watch the 21st century's Mr Ford take it all from you.

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Bronze badge
Flame

Boom!

There is always one problem with batteries and cars - exploding. Batteries have the full chemical reaction ready to go all the time. Crush a battery and all of it's power can be released at once. Leaking fuel releases energy only as quickly as it can mix with air. Hydrogen creates an impressive fireball and gasoline melts bridges, but there's still a lot of slow heat dissipation into the air and there's always an option to smother the fire. Imagine that same energy being constrained to a small battery pack. There'd be a crater to fix after a bad crash.

I suspect that we'll continue using fuels for a very long time. Probably something more friendly to fuel cells than gasoline, but definitely an oxygen consuming fuel.

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Efficiency

To get the full efficiency numbers you need to multiply up all the component parts.

The actual motor is approx 85% or so, but the motor controller is not 100% efficient and nor is battery charging or battery power delivery. Multiply all the factors together and you end up with something around 55% efficiency from power coming out the wall socket to delivered mechanical power.

If you go one step further and start from hydrocarbons, then you end up with a longer chain:

* Hydrocarbons to mechanical in the turbine: 35% or so.

* Mechanical to electricity: 90%

* Electricity delivery to wall socket: 95%

* Wall to mechanical: 55%

Multiply those all together and you're down to less than 20%.

Taking a whole world view no longer makes the gas guzzler seem that inefficient.

The braking recharge "miracle" goes through a similar cycle and only 30% or so of the mechanical energy is recovered. Still better than zero % on a regular vehicle though.

While plug ins might be an option for a few fringe users, it is not realistic for a large % of people. No industrialised country has enough spare generation capacity to double or triple electricity consumption (which is what conversion to plug in EVs would require).

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Stupid...

With things the way they are, if I were an auto manufacturer, I would be looking at producing an electric car with a motor on each wheel (or next to it with a CV axle, but whatever), then I would make everything else run on 'leccy, including brakes, A/C, etc. After that, you can drop in whatever power source you want. Batteries, fuel cell, plug-in hybrid, or even a conventional engine (which I think would probably be the most efficient). That way when tech changes, people can change with it, and the overall system is less complicated than the emmensly mechanical cars we have today.

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Pirate

Cost of Manufacture

All these ideas are fine but the cost of continuing with a conventional engine is ludicrous. There is no reason with an electric vehicle to have all of those parts. Engines in each wheel, virtually noiseless, efficiency is as close as it can be to converting power to revolutions, overall power-to-weight ratio & the decrease in number of moving parts & parts in general there is unlikely to be for some time a better option.

As Danny Thompson says if the majors don't hurry up & start producing something useful they will soon be the left-behinds, been-there-but-gone-now & good riddance for not hurrying up. If the Tesla & Tzero can achieve the speed & distance they can right now then it won't be long before that will be a walk in the park. Look at how petroleum fuelled cars have advanced even if most of those improvements have been swallowed by the major fuel companies.

I actually hope these jerk-offs end up going bust to be honest because they've had their chances & they've done everything to halt advancement.

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Silver badge
Boffin

Where's my socket?

The major reason I'd go for fuel-cell or current hybrid cars is not because I think those are more efficient than pure EV's. It's the fact that I live in an apartment, and there's no way in hell the condo management will allow me to roll out a 200m power cable running down from the 3rd floor down to the basement parking lot, across several cars (which ought to make a pretty nice fire hazard as well) and right up to my parking space. Plug-in EV's only make sense to those who live in houses, but unless my residential complex starts providing wall sockets in the parking lot, plugging-in is not an option.

It is sad though, as 100km (the alleged max range for EV's) easily covers about 3 round-trips to my job. But infrastructure just isn't ready for that...

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