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Cost and distribution the roadblocks to fuel cell vehicles

Hydrogen fuel cells sound good until you realize the result is $100,000 cars needing a fuel delivery system in existence nowhere but California, when it’s just an electric car you could easily plug in instead.

It’s a great idea except for the fact you have to create a whole new production and distribution network to get the hydrogen to the vehicles. So the cost of the technology adds to the cost of the delivery system and who pays for it all – we do as consumers.

The only advantage to fuel cell vehicles is the time it takes to refuel an electric car – a problem being addressed by less exotic means right now by the companies producing plug in electric cars.

A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle would refuel much like a gasoline combustion engine does – a nozzle would go into an intake injecting hydrogen gas into the gas absorbing material. As needed it would be released to run a combustion generator to power the cars electric motor, only putting pure water back to the environment. That part is very idyllic.

It’s the need to produce and distribute the gas where the problems arise, according to a post by Peter Valdes-Dapena of CNN Money. Hydrogen is a waste byproduct of a number of industrial and chemical processes, but would that be enough to run the millions of vehicles in America? We don’t think this is likely.

Ultimately, to power all our cars this way it would require distilling hydrogen from water via electrolysis – an inefficient process that requires far more power than the hydrogen will return by its end use.

The first hydrogen fuel cell vehicles cost a million dollars to build. That cost has gone down 90 percent to a mere $100,000. However, the public has been slow to plunk down that kind of money for cars like the Tesla Roadster or Fisker Karma that could be powered up right in their own garage. What are the chances they will buy an expensive fuel cell vehicle they can’t fuel up anywhere?


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