Hydrogen follow-up: Toyota's future

Door mux op donderdag 15 oktober 2015 12:02 - Reacties (36)
Categorie: -, Views: 19.096

I've been moaning about hydrogen in a 4-part series on why fuel cell cars don't work before. But now there's a car on the market that breaks my premise: The Toyota Mirai. Well, it was supposed to be on the market. It won't be on the market. It will sort of be, but not really. Also, Toyota has the incredibly ambitious goal to maybe not sell as many gasoline cars as it does now by 2050. Let's break this down, shall, we?

The Toyota Mirai is a very-much hyped car. It is supposed to be 'the turning point'. The Future Has Arrived, and It's Called Mirai. It's a Fun & Clean Vehicle (play on Fuel Cell Vehicle, or FCV). But most importantly: Hydrogen is the future, and batteries have a fundamental physics problem.

Shifting schedules

http://buyersguide.caranddriver.com/media/assets/submodel/6488.jpg

A great indication on how hard of a time a company - any company - actually is having with introducing a new product is how much they are delaying their product introduction. Let me just be really clear: I'm not bashing Toyota for slipping way past its intended schedule. Tesla, probably the only car company I could conceivably care about, has had months, if not an entire year worth of delays on their Model X. Delays are indicative of one thing though: problems. Companies don't delay strategically after already having announced a release, they delay because it's going to be a big disaster if they release something that is not ready for primetime. And soft launches - launching a product without actual availability - it known to depress sales and reduce enthusiasm for the brand.

We're now well into the actual availability window of the Mirai. Its sales officially began in November 2014, with a projected production (at the time) over the first 12 months of 400 units. We're now in October 2015, very near the deadline. How many Mirais have been produced? 200. Actually, deliveries of most of these cars are still not fulfilled - even though deliveries were recently corrected to start in Sept 2015. Sales targets in Europe have fallen from a prospective 200 units to 100 units in 2016. Production projections in Japan? I'm struggling to find any info; Toyota is very silent on the matter. And I can assure you: if their production could be higher, they would make it higher and brag about it everywhere.

https://tribktla.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/hydrogen-stations-map-revised.jpg
Current hydrogen filling stations in blue; planned (2015-2020) stations in orange. None of the planned stations have been built yet and most current stations are not running smoothly.

Similarly, hydrogen availability is spotty at best, at least in California where despite committing $100M to build 100 new hydrogen filling stations, no new stations have been completed throughout 2015 (down from the planned 20 new stations in 2015 alone). And the hydrogen supply in the existing stations is spotty to say the best, some stations being unoperational for months on end. Note that these 12 existing hydrogen filling stations only need to supply about 100 FCVs total - 71 Tuscon FCVs, a handful of operational FCX Clarity FCVs (out of the total 45 ever leased in the US) and a couple dozen Mercedes Benz F-cells (out of about 200 total).

It's clear that hydrogen fuel cells are not nearly ready for primetime. Not even close. Let me just contrast this with earlier - true - revolutions in the world of personal transportation. The Toyota Prius, the first production hybrid, was introduced in 1999 to a production of 12000 units in the first year. After five years - this is how long it's been since the FCX Clarity has existed - it sold 125000 units per year and had 278000 total sales. The total number of operational fuel cell cars in 2015 in the entire world is about 1000. Not too different from the ~700 in 2010, the vast majority of which are Mercedes Benz, not Toyota. And the new Toyota Mirai is going to be limited to 3000 units per year in 2017, less in 2016.

And now, Toyota is betting the company on hydrogen

The press release that really sparked this blog post was made yesterday: Toyota aims to nearly eliminate gasoline cars by 2050. Especially juicy is this quote:
“You may think 35 years is a long time,” Senior Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise told reporters. “But for an automaker to envision all combustion engines as gone is pretty extraordinary.”
No.

There's something thoroughly disconcerting about this press release. Toyota has gone, to put it midly, full macintosh. There are a couple of very big problems with this vision that show a quite distinct rift between reality and Toyota; I don't think Toyota will survive if they really keep this up. My arguments here are:
  1. Hybrids, let alone gasoline cars, will not be competitive anymore in a very short time.
  2. Hydrogen is an even worse proposition economically
  3. Personal cars won't be competitive anymore in the medium term
  4. Japan is running its biggest international brand into the ground with their focus on hydrogen

The economics of fuel types
The following diagram shows the relative economical value of certain types of cars. Look at it:

https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/files/2012/07/electric-vehicle-adoption.jpg&w=1484

Let me explain this diagram. On the vertical axis is the price of gasoline, on the horizontal is battery prices. This diagram specifically handles the cost trade-offs of the spectrum from battery electric vehicles through hybrids to fully gasoline-powered (ICE or Internal Combustion Engine) cars. You can see that the cheaper the battery is, the more batteries are favored. The cheaper gas is, the more favorable ICE cars are. At the time, batteries were pretty expensive and fuel was middling. This diagram is how the world worked in 2011.

Guess where we are now? I'll calculate this for you. Tesla announced that their replacement batteries cost $12000 for the 85kWh version. That is $140/kWh. Right now, in 2015, we are to the left of this entire diagram already. Battery electric vehicles are - in principle - incredibly competitive even at very low fuel prices.

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n4/images/nclimate2564-f1.jpg
Nature's take on the expected complete battery cost in the future - including BMS, etc.

Where does hydrogen sit in this equation? Currently, filling up hydrogen costs $12/kg at the moment in California. This is roughly in line with the actual cost of hydrogen - a bit on the low side if you want to commercially exploit one of those expensive filling stations, but we can safely assume that if hydrogen were ubiquitous, the price is roughly in this order. This will get you about 60 miles, so your cost is about $0.20/mi. An electric car costs about $0.06/kWh to fill up, and drives 4-6 miles on that charge. That's about a cent per mile. Yes. A 20-to-1 difference in running costs. This isn't percents change, this is orders of magnitude.

OK, you say, but the fact that it's expensive now doesn't mean it's going to be expensive in the future? Right? Well, think again. It takes 60kWh to produce 1kg of hydrogen from electrolysis; arguably the only way to get truly clean hydrogen (getting it from natural gas is a bit of a cheat and still produces about as much CO2 as a gasoline car). This 60kWh input gets you 60 miles, for a total of 1kWh/mi. The exact same shaped car with a battery instead of a fuel cell can run four times as long on that amount of input electricity. However you look at it, batteries are going to be more efficient and cheaper to run because hydrogen fuel cells require this lossy extra step in between.

And I'm not even talking about the cost of catalysts and other expensive parts in fuel cells. If you're interested in this, I highly recommend you read my exhaustive technical treatise of hydrogen fuel cell cars.

Personal cars are going the way of the dodo
http://www.smartdatacollective.com/sites/smartdatacollective.com/files/imagepicker/776281/3_1.jpg

Owning a car just to get around is really not expected to last very long. Cars sit around idly most of the time and cost a heck of a lot of money to sustain. The biggest household cost after mortgages is cars, and this is true for most of the developed world. The total cost of ownership of cars - everything from buying/leasing to fuel and insurance - depresses effective spending power a lot. And cars are quite limiting as well; because most of the world requires a car to do just about anything (go to work, go to school, do groceries), not being able to afford or drive a car means you can't participate in society to the full extent. Self-driving cars are about to change all this.

Self-driving cars work, and they have for a couple of years now. There's no doubt that self-driving cars are statistically safer and more environmentally friendly than human-owned and -driven cars. And they're going to be cheaper. Just the fact that self-driving cars don't have to sit around idle for 95% of the time and that they can be much more fuel efficient means that no matter how you look at it, they're going to be cheaper per mile than anything you drive yourself. Not having a human driver also means you don't need human speed limits; there is no reason for self-driving cars to be snoozers. Given that the need for transportation is greater than ever and there is no reason for it to drop, self-driving cars are an inevitable future. In just a few years' time, self-driving ubers will allow everybody - commuters, kids, grandma and disabled people - to go anywhere anytime for cents per mile in incredibly small amounts of time. Transportation as a service (TaaS). Sure, people still like to own cars, but not all people. Not nearly all people get enjoyment out of transportation. They just want to go where they go.

Japan is really pushing for hydrogen, but is this good for Toyota?
For a long time now, the industry consensus has been - mostly on technical grounds - that hydrogen fuel cell cars are not a viable alternative to battery electric vehicles. However, there is some (only some) truth to the conspiracy theory that the energy industry likes its control over the people. Requiring oil to do pretty much anything means that controlling the oil industry is a great thing for companies and governments alike. Battery electric vehicles are a fundamental threat in this case, because anyone can make electricity in large quantities. In fact, in Europe it's already cheaper to make your own solar power than to buy electricity from the grid. And the price of electricity is only slated to go down in the future, as it has done in the last years already. Solar power is depressing grid prices in a big way, as are the current low oil prices.

http://www.jari.or.jp/Portals/0/jhfc/common/img/rogo.gif
The JHFC - also known by their biggest promise the 'Japan Hydrogen Highway' - is a cooperation between the Japanese government and a couple dozen companies, mostly car companies

The Japanese government is - as far as I know - the only government to really act on this with proper intervention. They have been promoting hydrogen for a while now, despite its technical disadvantages. Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota are all receiving government incentives as well as promises for largely government-funded hydrogen infrastructure on mainland Japan to realize this dream of a clean car future with some remaining government/company control over the fuel.

All the other contenders so far have been severely hedging their bets, making either only concept cars or making incredibly limited releases mostly for show. Toyota really is the only company going all-in on the fuel cells. Don't underestimate Toyota's investment here; they may only be making a couple hundred cars a year, but this is backed by over a decade of billion-dollar research. Toyota is the biggest global car brand so they can pay a couple billion dollars out of pocket, but if this weakens their competitive edge it may spell doom for the company.

That being said, at least in the next five years their true commitment is still middling at best. The projected FCV production is slated to be 30 000 units in 2020 (i'm calling it - by 2020 that number will be at least halved), with 1.5M hybrid cars to fill up the rest of the catalog. Only 2% of the total production volume will be FCVs. They'll definitely survive the next decade, but after that?

Conclusion

The next couple of years are going to be incredibly interesting for personal transportation. Revolutionary, even. I personally believe the future will be self-driving transportation as a service using battery-electric vehicles running on renewable electricity sources. Well, let's be honest here, they're probably going to run on coal-generated electricity ;-). But a man can dream.

What I can't dream of is a future where Toyota is still the world's biggest car brand selling FCVs out the wazoo.

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Reacties


Door Tweakers user Blokker_1999, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 12:40

Moesten we een glazen bol hebben, wat zouden we gelukkig zijn. Wat de toekomst brengt kan niemand voorspellen en terwijl heel de wereld stilaan voor elektrisch aan het gaan is kan het misschien ook geen kwaad dat toch 1 wereldspeler ook andere markten ernstig verkend. Dat de japanse staat vele miljarden investeerd in dit soort projecten mag ook niet verbazen. Japan heeft al sinds midden jaren 90 problemen om de economie vlot te houden. Grote publieke investeringen helpen daarbij (denk maar aan hun MagLev project).

Door Tweakers user H!GHGuY, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 13:03

Guess where we are now? I'll calculate this for you. Tesla announced that their replacement batteries cost $12000 for the 85kWh version. That is $140/kWh.
I'm not sure if you can extrapolate this single data point:
- Tesla may be pricing that thing below mfg cost.
- They may even be speculating that by the time anyone needs that type of battery, this price will finally cover the actual cost.

On the other hand, even if it's 250-300, we're still very near the competitive edge.

In this part, you're also not considering this other limiting factor: driving range. Steady improvements are coming, there's 80%charge in Xminutes, etc. But between everyone's ears refuelling a hydrogen car/filling it up, feels a lot more comfortable.

I'm also 100% with you on the total and utter waste that our current car park is. Fully automated vehicles are the future, yet we shouldn't expect a 20-fold decrease in the number of vehicles. Morning and evening traffic jams point out that many of those cars are required at the same time. Surely, we'll be able to reduce that number by smart car-sharing, but that requires a (slow) change of minds. And that doesn't change that during the day a great many of those cars will still be sitting idle in a car park waiting for the next call.

Door Tweakers user mux, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 14:06

Blokker_1999 schreef op donderdag 15 oktober 2015 @ 12:40:
Moesten we een glazen bol hebben, wat zouden we gelukkig zijn. Wat de toekomst brengt kan niemand voorspellen en terwijl heel de wereld stilaan voor elektrisch aan het gaan is kan het misschien ook geen kwaad dat toch 1 wereldspeler ook andere markten ernstig verkend. Dat de japanse staat vele miljarden investeerd in dit soort projecten mag ook niet verbazen. Japan heeft al sinds midden jaren 90 problemen om de economie vlot te houden. Grote publieke investeringen helpen daarbij (denk maar aan hun MagLev project).
Er is een groot verschil tussen een glazen bol en duidelijke technische problemen. Maar ik ben het zeker eens met je strekking - ik ben niet alwetend en er zit hoe dan ook potentie in waterstof. Waterstof kan prima concurreren met benzine, alleen al daarom is het interessant om ernaar te kijken.

Waar ik voor vrees is dat Toyota een hoop geld pompt in R&D en een voortrekker probeert te zijn voor waterstof, maar dat het geen magische oplossing heeft voor de fikse economische, technologische en sociale problemen. Dan ben je 10 jaar en een paar biljoen yen verder en heb je er uiteindelijk niks aan gehad. En het vervelende is dat zelfs nu al alle tekenen erop wijzen dat waterstof reeds mislukt is, nog steeds bezig is te mislukken en niet beter gaat worden in de komende jaren.
H!GHGuY schreef op donderdag 15 oktober 2015 @ 13:03:
[...]

I'm not sure if you can extrapolate this single data point:
- Tesla may be pricing that thing below mfg cost.
- They may even be speculating that by the time anyone needs that type of battery, this price will finally cover the actual cost.

On the other hand, even if it's 250-300, we're still very near the competitive edge.
This single data point is representative of about 27% of current global market volume (i.e. panasonic's cutting edge). The high-capacity li-ion (e.g. what's in your phone, laptops and tablets) is already below $100/kWh cell cost. High-discharge cells quote at $180/kWh from Panasonic at the moment - this is free-market pricing I can get with my company. So this is definitely not pricing below manufacturing cost, although I'd agree their margins are probably slim.

Total system cost is the real driver, though. Even with sub-$100/kWh prices for bare cells, that graph I'm quoting from Nature still doesn't expect sub-$150/kWh module pricing until at least 2025, maybe 2030.

Door Tweakers user marcop23, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 15:29

An electric car costs about $0.06/kWh to fill up, and drives 4-6 miles on that charge. That's about a cent per mile. Yes. A 20-to-1 difference in running costs.
I think this is a little... exaggerated.

We do have solar panels on our roof, and this year they'll generate about ~3100 kWh. We use slightly more, so if we would buy an electric car, every extra kWh needs to be bought from Essent and that will cost us §0.22, or USD 0.25. That's more than 4 times as much. Sure, the market price for bare electricity is somewhere at 5.5 cents, but as customers we need to pay the government those taxes.

Also, the Tesla Model S averages around 337 Wh/mile, so you can reach about 3 miles on that kWh. 4-6 miles/kWh is a little high.

So, the price for driving 1 mile is now 1/3 * 0,22 = 7 cents (EUR). That's a lot more.

[Reactie gewijzigd op donderdag 15 oktober 2015 15:30]


Door Tweakers user mux, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 16:07

My calculations are strictly based on US pricing; European consumer pricing is kind of the exception to the rule in the world.

In any case, this doesn't change much to the calculation. Buying hydrogen from Linde will cost you §2,10/kg at the moment, which is also 10x as much as US prices. It's simply not possible to compare prices between California and the Netherlands.

Door Tweakers user Onno !, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 16:15

I'm also 100% with you on the total and utter waste that our current car park is. Fully automated vehicles are the future, yet we shouldn't expect a 20-fold decrease in the number of vehicles. Morning and evening traffic jams point out that many of those cars are required at the same time. Surely, we'll be able to reduce that number by smart car-sharing, but that requires a (slow) change of minds. And that doesn't change that during the day a great many of those cars will still be sitting idle in a car park waiting for the next call.
Pricing of transportation services will probably fluctuate, just like energy. By reasing the price during peak traffic, at least some percentage of the commuters will be persuaded to change there travel-moments.
On top there will be signaficant financial benefits if you carpool with others, for the entire trip or just part of it.
Likely this will reduce the amount of vehicles slowly.

Door Tweakers user mux, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 16:27

Personally, I don't think carpooling is the way of the future. For one, whenever I have kids I want to be able to trust them to use transportation services without the possibility of creepy people sharing their ride. I've had my share of creepy idiots join me on train rides when I was in high school, but there were always enough other people around for that never to escalate. In a small car-like vehicle that's just not acceptable. I think the same goes for otherwise vulnerable groups of people like the elderly.

Also: it's just better to have transportation that is only there for you, picking you up exactly where you stand and going straight to your destination. I don't want to drive around 3 blocks where I don't have to be to pick up a second passenger.

Still, there's easily the opportunity to reduce the amount of vehicles a couple times over. That, and the reduced need for parking space already makes it possible to create a lot of extra space in infrastructure.

Door Tweakers user marcop23, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 16:59

mux schreef op donderdag 15 oktober 2015 @ 16:07:
In any case, this doesn't change much to the calculation. Buying hydrogen from Linde will cost you §2,10/kg at the moment, which is also 10x as much as US prices. It's simply not possible to compare prices between California and the Netherlands.
Huh? In the text, you said
filling up hydrogen costs $12/kg at the moment in California. This is roughly in line with the actual cost of hydrogen
Which means that hydrogen is much cheaper in the Netherlands, instead of the other way round?

[Reactie gewijzigd op donderdag 15 oktober 2015 16:59]


Door Tweakers user mux, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 17:40

Uh...I mistyped. It's §21/kg. But that's only twice the price. I confused price per km with price per kg.

[Reactie gewijzigd op donderdag 15 oktober 2015 17:41]


Door Tim, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 18:46

"Self-driving cars work, and they have for a couple of years now."

Then where are they? Why don't even rich people have them yet? Why am I still reading about how the most advanced self-driving cars in the world only work in a couple cities that happen to have hyper-accurate continually-updated 3D scans of the entire road system?

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. From everything I've seen and read, self-driving cars "work" only with a lot of qualifications. It's like saying we can cure cancer. In some specific instances, that is true, but in the general case, it is not.

Door Tweakers user mux, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 19:00

There are no qualifications. Rich people have them already, and have had them for a couple of years. Even the Tesla Model S is largely self-driving. Google's self-driving cars have had zero accidents caused by the car itself and logged many miles in much more than just 3D mapped cities.

It's not the technology that's keeping self-driving cars back, it's adoption, regulation and cost.

Door trimal, donderdag 15 oktober 2015 19:18

I was skeptic about battery technology and my conventional thinking was hydrogen was better. But numbers don't lie. Even if a breakthrough is achieved in FCV technology, they have a lot to catch up to battery, in terms of cost.

You are absolutely right, Electricity is fundamental threat to current Energy sector. Producing electricity will become ubiquitous in coming years. With hydrogen, even if production of hydrogen becomes cost effective there will always be question of transportation. We already know it is not easy job.

Door Tweakers user Sissors, vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 07:37

If you look at that comparison of ICE vs battery (and other types), don't skip the small print which says it is assuming battery powered vehicles are going to get alot more efficient while ICE powered vehicles stay exactly the same. And since I don't see how many miles/gallon they use for their calculation, I wouldn't be surprised if that is also not that fair.

Now of course you can say ICE has been developed really fair already, and electric cars are new. That is true, however electric engines are not new, and they are very efficient: I have my doubts if the drive train of current electric cars is sufficiently inefficient to even theoretically get such a gain. Of course if you make a very aerodynamic car it will be better, but the same is true for an ICE car.

Also I really question if car ownership will go away. I do believe it will decrease. But millions each day stand in a traffic jam in the morning and at the end of the afternoon. Next they go to France each summer holiday. Sure in theory their car is idle the vast majority of its life. That however also means it is not making any miles. And if we would have one big pool for all cars, than capital part of the price to rent a car at night for example would be zero. So also that car of the average guy standing in the traffic jam every morning wouldn't earn any money if it would get rented to someone else at night.

On a related note: I think we can all agree it has been proven that your remark regarding the range of hydrogen vehicles in your previous blog posts has been widely off the mark. Personally I still agree that to me battery powered seems to be a lot more realistic for the (near) future than hydrogen powered. On the other hand also at Toyota the people working there are not stupid.

[Reactie gewijzigd op vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 07:40]


Door Tweakers user mux, vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 10:21

Sissors schreef op vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 @ 07:37:


On a related note: I think we can all agree it has been proven that your remark regarding the range of hydrogen vehicles in your previous blog posts has been widely off the mark. Personally I still agree that to me battery powered seems to be a lot more realistic for the (near) future than hydrogen powered. On the other hand also at Toyota the people working there are not stupid.
Which remark specifically? I never said hydrogen cars have limited range; they have as long as a range as their fuel tank allows. Bigger fuel tank, more range. There's no particularly limiting factor to FCV range. Edit: I see, the headline spec I'm claiming you can't get 100mi on current tech. Yeah, that's thoroughly busted by the Mirai now.

That might be a good one to follow-up on as well. The reason that line is in there (but not really followed up on in the actual blog text) is because I started writing the blog and its main points all the way back in 2012 (or 2011?). Back then, the FCX Clarity had pitiful range on standard filling pressure and the Mirai wasn't even close to out yet. The only car getting more than 100mi range was an SUV conversion with a giant fuel tank in the back; prototype stuff at best.

But definitely; we're past that point with the Mirai. It's an incredible feat of engineering that they managed to get a 5kg tank in the car without encroaching too much on the internal space.

[Reactie gewijzigd op vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 10:58]


Door Tweakers user Giesber, vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 12:02

I don't want to destroy the opinions in this blog, there seems to be a lot of wisdom in it.

A lot of this blog is supported by a graph about battery prices. I wanted to know where it came from, and found out it was published by a company called McKinsey & Company (here it is: http://www.mckinsey.com/i..._technology_charges_ahead). It looks like a consulting company with people that know what they're doinn, but after some searching I noticed they seem to have some good contacts with the solar industry, and some electric car manufacturers.

This makes me wonder if the report is biased. Do you have some more sources that could support the claims of the report, and of the graph?

I have no doubt the future of transportation is electric, but I think we're not over the cost effective point yet, as your blog suggests.

Door Tweakers user mux, vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 12:55

I can't really say that McKinsey&Company has particularly stronger ties with solar/electric cars mfg than with any other possible corner of the world. It's a giant consulting company doing pretty much everything there is under the sun. They even do weapons consulting. If anything, I wouldn't really use that as an argument for more proof.

If you don't trust the proof in the blog, then by all means don't believe it :) I can't really justify the time to do a proper scientific literature review and I don't see the point of anything in between. It's just opinion, backed by almost 10 years of following this tech closely and being involved in it for a good while.

Door Tweakers user caanova1984, vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 19:58

Het Is zeker beter als electrische auto's wij hebben in Rotterdam, Rhoon al een waterstof tankstation

Door Tweakers user mux, vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 20:44

caanova1984 schreef op vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 @ 19:58:
Het Is zeker beter als electrische auto's wij hebben in Rotterdam, Rhoon al een waterstof tankstation
De enige in Nederland, ja ;)

Door Tweakers user ikbenmelle, vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 22:19

Olie/energiebedrijven hoeven hun economische model niet of nauwelijks aan te passen als we overschakelen naar waterstof. Zij blijven centraal staan als het gaat om mobiliteit. Net als nu. Met relatief bescheiden samenwerkingen (en bijbehorende bedragen, in de ogen van de energiebedrijven) kunnen ze de (auto)industrie elke kant op sturen die ze willen. Een (donkere?) toekomst met grote, gecentraliseerde belangen.

De andere kant van het plaatje: stel dat over 20 jaar autobezit geen norm meer is en je met slechts ťťn gedachte een voertuig kunt oproepen. Vergelijkbaar met een tap in de ‹ber-app nu. Autobezit zal niet direct uitsterven, maar waarom zou je zelf een nieuwe auto kopen als het comfortabeler, luxer en goedkoper kan zonder aanschafkosten vooraf? Verder zullen die "mobiliteitsbedrijven" inzetten op efficiŽntie en in dat plaatje zijn elektrische voertuigen optimaal. Die kun je constant opladen, vergen nauwelijks onderhoud en blijven constant inzetbaar.

Er bestaat - denk ik - een goede kans dat we ons over 20 jaar zullen buigen over de vraag: wat gaan we doen al die lege parkeergarages en -terreinen?

[Reactie gewijzigd op vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 22:19]


Door Tweakers user Mattias.Campe, vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 22:26

I do believe that battery electric "vehicles" have a bigger future than nowadays. But for my household I don't see the purchase of a battery electric car in the near or far future. We already have an electrical bike and electrical cargo bike (do hydrogen bikes exist ;-)? ) and are very satisfied with it: it's a e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y low cost compared to owning a car. At the moment we still have our own fuel engine car (approx. 7000 km/year), but we are looking at the option of car sharing (eg. autodelen.net).

Door Tweakers user Gamebuster, maandag 19 oktober 2015 00:13

Tim schreef op donderdag 15 oktober 2015 @ 18:46:
"Self-driving cars work, and they have for a couple of years now."

Then where are they? Why don't even rich people have them yet? Why am I still reading about how the most advanced self-driving cars in the world only work in a couple cities that happen to have hyper-accurate continually-updated 3D scans of the entire road system?

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. From everything I've seen and read, self-driving cars "work" only with a lot of qualifications. It's like saying we can cure cancer. In some specific instances, that is true, but in the general case, it is not.
They do work. The problem is that there currently are human drivers on the roads. If you drop all human drivers and alter roadsigns and stuff to communicate better to computer-driven cards, self-driving cars could be introduced a lot easier. The technology is here, but we're not ready for it.

Door Tweakers user Turtle, dinsdag 20 oktober 2015 00:36

Great blog I fully agree with. Just to fight unjust arguments from Toyota and others from 2 sides at once.
1: Yes, battery powered transport is far more cost effective, which you prove undeniably
2: IF you do want to create hydrogen for the minor few advantages it does have (power/KG, maybe storage longer-term). And if you care about renewable. Then you need to produce this from splitting water with electricity......
But why stop there? Add in a C from co2 and my CNG/methane fuelled VW up! can drive 60mi/100km on 3KG today:
http://www.technologyrevi...e-fuel-using-solar-power/
And Methane/Natural gas/aardgas actually has huge infrastructure already in place.
Take it a step further and create petrol or quite clean diesel
http://www.gizmag.com/audi-creates-e-diesel-from-co2/37130/
No new car needed, the whole car fleet can be co2 neutral, if you are willing to pay that much for fuel. All you need is a co2 tax on actual dino-juice from the ground and these technologies instantly become viable on massive scale.. The planet can be running on renewable energy in 5 to 10 years, if politicians would want it to.

Basically Hydrogen = the most dangerous and expensive fuel you can choose. Why would anyone invest, while there is something better for any consumer use-case.

[Reactie gewijzigd op dinsdag 20 oktober 2015 00:37]


Door Tweakers user Sissors, dinsdag 20 oktober 2015 09:06

While that might create CO2 neutral cars, it does not help at all with what is in my opinion the larger issue: Polution. Both battery and hydrogen powered cars can make sure there is a drastic reduce in polution levels in cities. Even if they are in the end powered by coal, that can be done in a modern power plant with good filters, so sure, the CO2 will still be there, but the other polution won't.

It is in my opinon also way too easy to say that it would happen if the politicans would want to: Do you think the people want that to happen?

Door Tweakers user Turtle, dinsdag 20 oktober 2015 09:46

Sissors schreef op dinsdag 20 oktober 2015 @ 09:06:
It is in my opinon also way too easy to say that it would happen if the politicans would want to: Do you think the people want that to happen?
I am convinced all sensible people that have taken a long look at this agree a co2 tax is a good thing for our planet & children. Most just wait for other countries to do it first... And I do not know if we have enough sensible&informed people in our democracy... ;(

On pollution: CNG/Natural gas is also a lot less polluting. Even synthetic diesel is cleaner than refined diesel. But the point is: Using a battery/EV is the most economical way for transport if you look at the long term cost. Which will be seen by all once you have a significant co2 tax.

Door Tweakers user mux, dinsdag 20 oktober 2015 10:41

Sissors schreef op dinsdag 20 oktober 2015 @ 09:06:
While that might create CO2 neutral cars, it does not help at all with what is in my opinion the larger issue: Polution. Both battery and hydrogen powered cars can make sure there is a drastic reduce in polution levels in cities. Even if they are in the end powered by coal, that can be done in a modern power plant with good filters, so sure, the CO2 will still be there, but the other polution won't.

It is in my opinon also way too easy to say that it would happen if the politicans would want to: Do you think the people want that to happen?
The pollution argument is largely a dud if you look at the bigger picture. Personal transportation is only an incredibly small part of the total fuel consumption and it only uses highly refined, extremely clean fuels. Your engine will die if you use it with the kind of sulphur-rich and irregular hydrocarbon-rich oil products used in much larger sectors like plastics manufacturing, industrial heating ('stookolie') and sea transport. Some numbers to it: US transportation acconuts for 28% of total energy consumption. Of the total transportation energy, 47% goes into light duty transportation (=cars, vans), of which about 50% is personal use (the rest is business use). This gets you to a total of 7% of the US energy consumption that goes into personal transportation. These cars already have extremely strict restrictions on their NOx/SOx and soot emissions pretty much all over the developed world (except Russia).

The only truly significant contributor to pollution of personal transportation is something we've only recently begun to understand some of the health and environmental risks of: tyre wear (fine-particle dust emissions). Likewise, a significant portion of energy use of cars is in production and decommissioning, which is no better with newer alternatives. Also important to note is the indirect energy expenditure of cars: more cars means more need for infrastructure construction and maintenance, which uses an exceeding amount of energy and raw resources. Especially concrete is a giant source of CO2. Even if your car doesn't directly produce CO2 through its tailpipe or emissions from electricity generation, you still produce lots of indirect CO2 through road construction.

And then I'm not even talking about environmental effects of cutting off migration paths and messing up nature in other ways by building roads. Or light pollution.

As always, the best option by far from an environmental point of view is to reduce the amount of cars and increase their individual utility. If you really care about the environment, don't use cars instead of trying to find ways to reduce emissions by single or at the very best low double digits.

Door Tweakers user goarilla, woensdag 21 oktober 2015 11:23

Out of curiousity where do airplanes fit into those energy numbers (light duty transportation)?


Door Chris, woensdag 21 oktober 2015 15:43

It is very interesting, but US and California have a different standard.
Please keep in mind that Japan is very densely populated, I would imagine that in Japan

They take in account
*Cost of air pollution
*Smaller cars than US (kei-cars)"
*Density of population

Please realise that in Asia, the concentration of cars & people are much more dense than Europe and US. If the business case does not fit US, it still may fit Asia

Door Tweakers user mux, woensdag 21 oktober 2015 15:58

This is not just a matter of business cases; this is a matter of one technology being fundamentally inferior. You necessarily need to invest more energy into moving a HFCV than a BEV and the internals as well as infrastructure are also necessarily more expensive for hydrogen. Without some very large breakthroughs in these areas, no matter the market, hydrogen will always be a worse business proposition than battery electric.

It's true that at some point other considerations may weigh more heavily, but in that respect hydrogen fuel cells are not (necessarily) better either. Battery electric vehicles are much simpler technologically, as well as much easier to miniaturize without encroaching upon the internal space. Air pollution is also a clear win for battery vehicles as they need less energy input.

Door Tweakers user cyuen, woensdag 21 oktober 2015 16:34

Your focus is on the usability here of FCV, however i doubt the infrastructure is the problem, In the US they are planning finally to invest in high speed trains or even the Hyperloop

If you focus on cost, this could go down with Economies of Scale. If you google hydrogen cost, google will show a price of 1.00$ per kg. However the price you have to pay when refueling may still be very high.

However about it being silly... thats another question. 1) Hydrogen is volatile and 2) an energy storage mechanism as stated by Elon Musk, “It’s just very difficult to make hydrogen, and store it, and use it in a car,” he continued. “Hydrogen is an energy-storage mechanism; it is not a source of energy. So you have to get that hydrogen from somewhere.”

That being said, the technology is behind and may be dangerous, but it may also be one of the (silly) path forward. I am glad that someone is still exploring this silly route and not complying when everyone tells you to comply.

About the business case, if toyota did not internally create a good enough business case, i doubt they have gone this way forward. However it does not mean that they will stay on this route.

Door Tweakers user fluffy1, woensdag 21 oktober 2015 16:35

noonnoo schreef op vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 @ 22:19:
Er bestaat - denk ik - een goede kans dat we ons over 20 jaar zullen buigen over de vraag: wat gaan we doen al die lege parkeergarages en -terreinen?
Dit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nys_ul-n2nM
:P

Door Tweakers user mux, woensdag 21 oktober 2015 17:40

cyuen schreef op woensdag 21 oktober 2015 @ 16:34:
Your focus is on the usability here of FCV, however i doubt the infrastructure is the problem, In the US they are planning finally to invest in high speed trains or even the Hyperloop

(...)

That being said, the technology is behind and may be dangerous, but it may also be one of the (silly) path forward. I am glad that someone is still exploring this silly route and not complying when everyone tells you to comply.

About the business case, if toyota did not internally create a good enough business case, i doubt they have gone this way forward. However it does not mean that they will stay on this route.
There's three layers to the problems with hydrogen cars, if you really drill down into it:
  1. immediate and near-future market viability. This is mostly what I focus on in this post.
  2. Longer-term issues, e.g. large-scale rollout problems with infrastructure (which we know takes a couple decades to set up - we've done this before), hydrogen production (which at the moment is not economically feasible using electrolysis, so we're stuck with methane reforming for the most part) and fuel cell production (which will run out of precious metals very quickly)
  3. Fundamental issues: an electrolysis->liquefaction->PEMFC chain can never attain a cycle efficiency greater than about 50%, which is compounded by practical factors that reduce this to sub-25% in the medium term. This is much, much worse and will cause way higher resource usage/environmental damage than battery storage. I've talked about this at length in my 4-parter.
I come from an almost entirely technical background, so I mostly talk about what's right and wrong with the technical arguments. But this doesn't necessarily drive technology. We've seen a lot of crazy shit being developed during the (cold) war that has no right to exist from an efficiency and futurism viewpoint, but these things have been useful to engineering in the long term.

Hydrogen fuel cell cars, at the moment, are undeniably a poor thing to invest in as a company. There is basically consensus across the board that we're going to use batteries going forward, there's lots of innovation on the battery and electric drive side and almost none on the hydrogen side. Companies developing mobile hydrogen fuel cells have been struggling basically since their inception. This is not an obvious market to jump into.

So there MUST be another reason. There must be some non-business reason that drives such a large company with lots of experience in making battery-powered cars to throw their weight behind hydrogen fuel cells. Theoretically, in a relatively far-off future (50ish years), hydrogen fuel cells can be competitive if we find a way to make much cheaper electrodes and catalysts. Toyota may be betting on this future. Who knows. But what I think is that they're just getting a giant sack of money from the Japanese government to do this.

Just as an aside; I wouldn't really say hydrogen is particularly dangerous. Especially compared to gasoline.

Door Tweakers user kidde, vrijdag 23 oktober 2015 00:24

Sissors schreef op vrijdag 16 oktober 2015 @ 07:37:
however electric engines are not new, and they are very efficient: I have my doubts if the drive train of current electric cars is sufficiently inefficient to even theoretically get such a gain.
The drive train of current electric cars has some "drivetrain-loss" - as even Tesla's have some reduction gears. Koenigsegg Regera is the only production car I'm aware of that doesn't have this (but it also has a combustion engine).

'Direct drive' - where the electromotor is in the wheel - is the future, though I can't tell how much percent it saves. Besides friction, it also lowers mass of the car. Also, "brake-energy" traveling back from wheels to battery go through the "drivetrain-loss", so I think the factor of how much drivetrain-loss contributes to the energy-losses is > 1.

Moreover, with direct drive, you also don't need a 'separate' ABS/ESP system as it becomes part of the motor-drive software, so this could even save some more weight.

Furthermore, Robert Bosch GmbH recently acquired Seeo. Tesla has "fire-prone" Lithium battery cells which have to be compartimented to prevent fire. The Seeo "dry-Lithium" batteries technology promises to supply lithium-batteries without flamable "ionic liquid", resulting in non-flammable batteries. So they don't have to be "compartimented" like the Tesla ones (mux, what's your take on this technology?)
With the new solid-state cells, Bosch sees the potential to more than double energy density by 2020, and at the same time reduce the costs considerably further. A comparable electric car that has a driving range today of 150 kilometers would be able to travel more than 300 kilometers without recharging – and at a lower cost.
From: Seeo website

Door Tweakers user mux, vrijdag 23 oktober 2015 11:39

First of all, drivetrain losses are not very comparable between electrical and ICE motors. Far and away most of your mechanical losses are in the 'transmission', i.e. reduction gear system. There are usually at least 5 gear transfers at high torque and speed, so lots of lubrication needed which causes lots of dynamic loss. The losses at the differential and universal couplings dwarf by comparison. In an electric drive system, even if there are gears there are usually much less (because electric motors have a much larger effective RPM range) and they can be much less overdesigned because you're not dealing with enormous differences between peak and mean torque from the crankshaft. Electric motors basically have the same torque over their usable RPM range. (or linearly decreasing torque with higher RPM - depending on the type).

In-wheel motors are definitely a very elegant solution, but from an engineering perspective I wouldn't say it's the best. Wheels handle very large forces; high torque, high dishing forces and high shear. Necessarily, this means that a wheel that is strong enough to bear these loads will deform significantly. If you'd place a motor inside the wheel hub, the rotor will deform significantly around the stator during normal operation, moreso under emergency situations (hard braking). This is disastrous for the performance of a motor. To get high torque and good efficiency out of a motor, you're basically looking at maximizing flux linkage between stator and rotor. This means having as small a gap as possible between them. So the wheel needs to deform as little as possible, which means you have to add a lot of extra material (=weight).

Add to that the fact that electric motors are awesome brakes, but you still want an emergency backup as well as some way to lock the brakes mechanically during parking. You *HAVE* to have backup mechanical brakes, at least on two of the four wheels, specifically the front wheels. Which are also your main driven wheels. These brakes produce gigantic amounts of heat; modern disc brakes have instantaneous power ratings of over 1MW per disc (at high speed, braking hard). This is a big engineering challenge to combine with in-wheel motors.

I don't think in-wheel motors are going to be a thing on general purpose cars. I think they'll be reserved for quad-like light vehicles, e.g. Renault Twizy type vehicles where small wheels and relatively low dishing forces suffice. For the rest, I do see individual wheel drives in the future, but they will always be a motor separate from the wheel itself, with a universal coupling and driveshaft in between.

--------------------------------------

As for the Bosch dry lithium batteries: they're a bit secretive about what they actually mean with their battery types. The wording is vague; do they mean they expect a doubling of volumetric capacity? A doubling of gravimetric capacity? Because these are two wildly disparate things.

Right now, LiFePO4 batteries are the shit for electric vehicles. They don't have the thermal runaway problem that LiCoO2 has, but they're still cheap as chips to make. They also have very good cycle life and both high discharge and high charge capability. The problem with LiFePO4 is that the iron-phosphate electrode has a very low volumetric ion acceptor density, which means an equally sized battery has lower capacity. We're basically thrown back more than 10 years capacity-wise.

So there are two avenues to pursue right now: stick with LiCoO2 and related high-capacity technologies that have very high energy density (right now, basically x2) and add battery protection circuitry to this to make sure you never get even near to thermal runaway conditions. This is acceptable in most vehicles, Tesla basically proves this with their cars. The other way to go is to pursue lower-density, inherently safe technologies and try to improve the energy density.

By weight, an 18650 size li-ion battery (as used in a Tesla) is about 35% housing and conductor, 10% electrolyte and separator, 15% anode and 40% cathode. So, ways to improve this:
- Reducing the housing weight, e.g. by using aluminum foil as conductor and a plastic housing, e.g. in lithium-polymer batteries
- reducing the cathode weight, by using more efficient lithium salts, e.g. pure LiO2 (lithium-air batteries and pseudo-lithium-oxide batteries, e.g. Energizer Lithium)
- replacing the electrolyte by a polymer sponge (LiPo)

But it's obvious that by simply replacing the electrolyte, you're not going to see a twofold increase in capacity. So what I think is that they want to transfer their novel electrolyte technology from the current use (in LiFePO4 cells) to LiCoO2 cells and then claim x2 higher capacity, while it's really just catching up with the current state of art.

Door Tweakers user marcop23, woensdag 20 januari 2016 19:46

I'd like to pull an old cow out of the ditch O-)

Again, it is about the electricity price. I randomly searched for US prices, remembering you mentioned that 6 cents in a blog, this one.

https://www.eia.gov/elect..._grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a

So my mouth fell open from amazement. In a few areas, US residential electricity prices are not any lower than Dutch prices, with the Dutch prices being lowered in 2016. In regions with high population densities, with the most potential for electric cars because of lower distances, like NY an CA, prices are at 15 - 20 cents. Which is 2 - 3 times as much as that 6 cents.

Or do you have another good explanation for this :P

Door Tweakers user mux, woensdag 20 januari 2016 21:45

It's a lot worse, actually. Because median residential electricity use is incredibly high in the US (http://shrinkthatfootprin...d-electricity-consumption), the actual per capita expense on energy is much higher in the US, Canada and even countries like France and Australia than here. And the national/statewide grid systems are woefully underdesigned, especially in high-cost areas. All of this leads to an almost impossible comparison between US and Dutch electricity economics.

I think my 6 cents figure was from my original manuscript? So that's 2012 prices. Incredible to see my notes from my first attempt at this blog series - prices have pretty much increased by 50ish % in less than 5 years, at least in the most densely populated areas.

Historically, the US has benefited greatly from cheap domestic energy sources and open energy markets, with very little government regulation (and thus low taxation). However, lack of regulation has led to inefficient, old and overstressed infrastructure which means that for the next few years, even with falling energy prices due to renewables and cheap saudi oil, prices will likely go up for a while when the infrastructure is updated and modernized. Likewise, consumption will likely go down because of price pressure, increased regulation and environmental concern. Exactly how this will macro-economically play out in the long term isn't clear, so this makes the US energy market one of the most volatile in all OECD countries. Also see http://c0688662.cdn.cloud...per_Calif_Elec_Prices.pdf .

High electricity prices and low oil prices mean three things for the whole HFC debate:
- Gasoline, Diesel and LPG will remain more attractive than any electric tech for longer
- Coal and natural gas reforming will remain the dominant and only economically viable production method for hydrogen gas for longer
- The fuel cost of non-reformed hydrogen or home-generated hydrogen (which Toyota is now partially banking on) will always remain a multiple of battery electric cars, so batteries will win as long as the initial outlay is comparable or lower than a HFC. This wouldn't be an issue if electricity were still 5 cents or less per kWh.

The next 5 years or so are crunch time for BEVs versus HFCs. We have two big, very different markets going head to head now: the US with rising energy prices (despite falling fuel prices) and a relatively inefficient infrastructure versus Western Europe with falling energy prices across the board and very modern, efficient energy infrastructure. Will this translate in an easier transition to electric cars in WE? Will this mean hydrogen will get more of a foothold in the US? We'll know in five years, I'm sure.

[Reactie gewijzigd op woensdag 20 januari 2016 21:46]


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