H is for Hooey

Joe Romm says it so we don’t have to:

[N]obody should get terribly excited when a car company rolls out its wildly impractical next-generation hydrogen car. Too many miracles are required for it to be a marketplace winner.[...] Who, exactly, is going to buy a car that can’t easily find fuel? On the other hand, who is going to build tens of thousands of fuelling stations – price tag $2m apiece or more – until the cars are wildly successful? That is the so-called chicken-and-egg problem, which is especially acute for hydrogen. [..]And yet the media can’t get enough of these hi-tech Edsels. The New York Times, of all places, writes:

Fuel cells have an advantage over electric cars, whose batteries take hours to recharge and use electricity, which, in the case of the United States, China and many other countries, is often produced by coal-burning power plants.

Is the Times unaware that electricity is pretty much available everywhere, whereas hydrogen is essentially available nowhere? Is the Times unaware that the per-mile fuel cost of an electric car is probably one-quarter that of a hydrogen fuel-cell car? Is the Times unaware that electric-car manufacturers are working on “exchangeable batteries”, which would make a battery swap about as fast as it takes to refuel a car with hydrogen?

Most egregious: Where, exactly, does the Times think hydrogen comes from? Santa Claus? [...]

If you build it, the media will come, but don’t hold your breath waiting for mass-market hydrogen-car buyers. In two years, GM and Toyota have promised to deliver plug-in hybrids. That will be a real step closer to a future free of petroleum.

Go Joe!

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