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GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/17/16 1:22 p.m.

So they've assembled the A-team...I mean the E-team

Still not sure what they were thinking with the Mirai...powertrain-wise or visually x_x

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/17/16 1:48 p.m.

I'm not clear how that article led to your title. Seems like the opposite.

The Article said: For the record, the company stands by its pro-fuel cell stance, calling it the best all-around technology for the future.
GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/17/16 1:56 p.m.

They've said they have confidence in hydrogen with words, but when they rush to develop the same EVs they've been pooh-poohing instead of building another hydrogen novelty vehicle that can hardly be refueled anywhere, that's not saying they have confidence with actions.

The idea is objectively terrible if you consider the nightmare of building a hydrogen infrastructure. Doesn't exist in any form right now, and the stuff escapes through solids and embrittles steel. Currently most hydrogen is produced as a fossil fuel byproduct, negating any short-term environmental benefits.

I bet their opinion on hydrogen will do a quick about-face the moment the last Mirai is sold.

NickD
NickD Dork
11/17/16 2:14 p.m.

I love when you say that there isn't a readily available source of hydrogen and people give you the "But the ocean is full of it" answer. Yes, but it requires energy to get that pure hydrogen out of water and no system is 100% efficient, so you are always going to put more energy in than you get out. And where does that energy come from? Usually coal power plants, because most renewable sources are also too inefficient and people are afraid of nuclear.

WildScotsRacing
WildScotsRacing Dork
11/17/16 2:17 p.m.

Door lawd that car is fugly. Kill it with fire!!!

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/17/16 2:46 p.m.

Pre-dating the infrastructure is not the same thing as being an awful idea.

That article is saying Toyota realizes the EV market is booming, and they will loose market share in the short term if they don't get on board quickly. That has nothing to do with whether Hydrogen is a good idea or not.

People thought Edison was an idiot when he promoted the electric light bulb because there was no infrastructure in place.

Hydrogen investment could be an exceptional idea for Toyota, if it proves to be a good fuel source in the long term. If it outperforms EV, they could be way ahead of their competitors.

(And there is the possibility that EV could prove to be not as exceptional as currently promoted. If the infrastructure can't keep up with the load, then EV will stall too).

STM317
STM317 HalfDork
11/17/16 2:54 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: I bet their opinion on hydrogen will do a quick about-face the moment the last Mirai is sold.

Seems like they're still trying to make it work: Semis are the next Mirai?

bentwrench
bentwrench Dork
11/17/16 3:01 p.m.

CNG What's the problem? The infrastructure is already in place.

Fill up in your garage while you sleep.

STM317
STM317 HalfDork
11/17/16 3:16 p.m.
bentwrench wrote: CNG What's the problem? The infrastructure is already in place. Fill up in your garage while you sleep.

I think this will at least be the "next step", especially if teamed with hybrid tech. The infrastructure is far beyond Hydrogen, and there are more CNG engines running on the road than Hydrogen/ fuel cell engines.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/17/16 4:21 p.m.

CNG gets around almost all of hydrogen's problems but it doesn't get away from enough of gas & diesel's problems - it's a fossil fuel, so there's not much of an environmental advantage there over the status quo. It could make sense in the short term though.

Will
Will UltraDork
11/17/16 5:55 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: So they've assembled the A-team...I mean the E-team Still not sure what they were thinking with the Mirai...powertrain-wise or visually x_x

Goo goo g' joob!

ncjay
ncjay SuperDork
11/17/16 7:58 p.m.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that front end that couldn't be cured with lots of duct tape.

STM317
STM317 HalfDork
11/18/16 7:48 a.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: CNG gets around almost all of hydrogen's problems but it doesn't get away from enough of gas & diesel's problems - it's a fossil fuel, so there's not much of an environmental advantage there over the status quo. It could make sense in the short term though.

There's no perfect fuel. CNG does greatly reduce NOx and Particulate emissions though, and can be produced more cleanly than other fossil fuels too. For example, there's a large dairy farm in my state that has a fleet of CNG trucks used to deliver their products. They are able to fuel those trucks with CNG produced from methane that the cows produce, instead of pulling it out of the ground. When you combine it with hybrid tech like most new city buses, you reduce total fuel consumption too.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
11/18/16 7:58 a.m.

Click bait headlines have made it to grm.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/18/16 9:36 a.m.

I had a CNG truck. Don't want another one.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/18/16 10:09 a.m.
SVreX wrote: I had a CNG truck. Don't want another one.

Well give us some info! I'm not particularly intersted in a CNG vehicle (there being only 3 gas stations in the entire metro area of Tulsa) but I'm curious what you didn't like about it.

djsilver
djsilver Reader
11/18/16 10:13 a.m.

Hydrogen will work from an environmental standpoint if it's generated with wind, solar, or some other non-fossil fuel driven process, as it does take more energy to extract it that you get back by burning it. The question then is whether it can be extracted/shipped/stored/distributed safely and economically, and in a way that doesn't cancel out it's environmental advantages.

CNG (compressed natural gas) is CH4 and, while is does have one molecule of carbon, most of the byproduct of combustion is water. There's a substantial infrastructure already in place, is more environmentally friendly than gas or diesel, and even if it is a byproduct of gas/diesel production, it would make sense to use it if it's available. I'm not aware of what other production methods are available. The challenge with CNG as an alternative to gasoline is that engines designed for gasoline are not the most efficient design for CNG use. That's reflected in the experience of many past owners of dual-fuel gasoline/CNG vehicles. CNG has less energy that gasoline, so the engine makes less power, but it burns hotter and affects reliability.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/18/16 10:49 a.m.
z31maniac wrote:
SVreX wrote: I had a CNG truck. Don't want another one.

Well give us some info! I'm not particularly intersted in a CNG vehicle (there being only 3 gas stations in the entire metro area of Tulsa) but I'm curious what you didn't like about it.

OK, well the one caveat- it was an older truck and I understand a lot of technology has changed.

Having said that:

  • Fuel was very expensive, and not tied to other transport fuels. When other prices came down, CNG often went up.

  • Truck was really under powered.

  • Truck was not a clean vehicle at the user level. Perhaps if you measured what was coming out the tailpipe, but it is still a fossil fuel- still had black soot on the tailgate, still had muck under the hood, still had muck on the underside. (Yes, some of this could have been tuning). Fuel ups were also not clean.

  • Infrastructure was a PITA. I had 2 choices- propane retail dealerships, or industrial gas suppliers. Neither of them was equipped to fuel a vehicle on a regular basis. They were set up to load tank trucks and bar-b-que grills. Always a long wait to get service.

  • Filling stations are infrequent, and not clearly identified. They are not on highly traveled intersections, nor designed for easy access/ egress for vehicles.

  • Fill ups were slow. Changing hoses, weighing tanks. etc.

  • Fill-ups were not user friendly. Always required am employee to fill, and never cared about my particular sale (they are not equipped for drive-through rapid sales- big rigs, or retail customers).

  • If fuel-ups were user friendly, there will be safety concerns. Proper handling currently requires things the average user will not be willing to do (like gloves and a safety shield).

  • Good potential for severe cold burns to the person handling.

  • No such thing as pay-at-the-pump

  • DOT regs were not friendly. Required tank attachments which were not easy to swap out, sometimes required placarding.

  • Fuel tank was huge. Took up 25% of the bed (and raised the CoG)

  • Tank swaps are not very realistic- tanks need to be big to have a reasonable range, and secured in a manner that makes swapping them challenging.

  • Every driver who used it or borrowed it had to be trained in how to fill it, drive it, etc.

Bottom line, it was a PITA.

I know most of these things can be fixed. They are vehicle design choices, and infrastructure decisions. But the existing infrastructure is not user friendly, and therefore would require a major investment. Average consumer will not use it. There are other better long term choices to invest in.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
11/18/16 11:03 a.m.

Hydrogen works only if it becomes a reasonable way to store excess energy from renewables. Right now it's not for two reasons. 1. We don't really have a bunch of excess capacity sitting around regularly. And 2. Because it's a monumental pain to store and use. It moves through steel. Storing it on an industrial scale is really really hard.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/18/16 11:54 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Hydrogen works only if it becomes a reasonable way to store excess energy from renewables. Right now it's not for two reasons. 1. We don't really have a bunch of excess capacity sitting around regularly. And 2. Because it's a monumental pain to store and use. It moves through steel. Storing it on an industrial scale is really really hard.

Moves through steel and makes it brittle on the way until it cracks open.

I don't think there's any scenario where hydrogen cars would make a lot of sense because of the difficulty of moving and storing it and building the infrastructure to do so in the first place.

The best-case scenario for hydrogen cars would be if someone figured out fusion power and there was a bunch of excess non-fossil-sourced hydrogen being produced as a byproduct...but then it might make more sense to turn that hydrogen into more electricity on-site to charge conventional EVs.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
11/19/16 7:11 a.m.
it might make more sense to turn that hydrogen into more electricity on-site to charge conventional EVs.

The death blow, right there. It makes no sense to try and do end-user distribution of highly pressurized hydrogen vs running power plants off it and distributing the energy through the electrical grid.

Fuel cell development is important and i don't really care who is doing it. Toyota can do it and then sell everything they know to some other corporation in an 'unrelated' field, fine by me. But i do get annoyed about portraying it as a viable near-term way forward with cars.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
11/19/16 8:04 a.m.

maybe I am not seeing the big picture, but why even bother with Hydrogen? Short of nuclear fuel, there is probably no harder substance to hold onto. It can escape from most any container, takes a lot of power to produce, transport, and store. Then you get the issues with refueling your car and using it.

Best to skip that step and go right to EV. I think tesla is on the right track with building a common infrastructure to refuel the cars.

As for CNG, all the "jitneys" (small buses) in Atlantic City are required to be CNG powered. For me, I could easily convert a car for commuting back and forth to work as there are already several filling stations set up that I could use.

For most people though, best to skip the step of "fuel" and go right to pure EV. It's easier, cleaner, and already availible

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
11/19/16 8:58 a.m.
Short of nuclear fuel, there is probably no harder substance to hold onto.

Actually, it's the getting rid of it that's the hard part.

But can't we just avoid talking about nuclear altogether? Considering it's the only way we're going to get cheap hydrogen in the first place, it seems totally irrelevant here!

bentwrench
bentwrench Dork
11/19/16 9:25 a.m.
SVreX wrote: I had a CNG truck. Don't want another one.

What kind of system did it have on it? There are many doing electronic port injection that seem to work very well. I think there are low pressure and high pressure and some that work like a forklift system which would suck for anything but the most basic.

A local garbage company runs all their junk on it (Waste Management)

You can buy a Honda Civic from the dealer that eats CNG.

You can buy a pump that hangs on the wall of your garage and refill the car in your garage.

Google Phill or Fuelmaker, not exactly cheap but will pay for its self

kanaric
kanaric Dork
11/19/16 6:26 p.m.

I remember a while ago reading how companies were testing internal combustion engine with hydrogen as fuel, like with LPG. BMW even had cars running on it. Whatever happened to that? Seemed like a rational path to take.

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