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Ford Airstream Electric Concept Car

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the fill-it-up-with-H2 dept.

Power 202

Not to be upstaged by GM's plug-in electric concept vehicle, Ford has unveiled its own concept. The twists are design by Airstream and a hydrogen-powered fuel cell to charge the battery. From the AutoblogGreen article: "The fuel cell, made by Ballard, turns on automatically when the battery charge dips below 40 percent. With the on-board charger (110/220 VAC), the battery pack can be refilled at home. Ford says the HySeries Drive is 50 percent smaller and less complex than conventional fuel cell system and should have more than double the lifetime."

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202 comments

FP trolling is fun... (0, Offtopic)

Kalgash (158314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591018)

Man that GM article on the FP had an axe to grind with Ford. I guess I could have used Toyota as the foil for my /mash/ but turn-about makes for more interesting discussion.

Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (0, Flamebait)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17597868)

The Prius has been around and is now common. What took you so long ?

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17597908)

but the prius is un-american!

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598196)

but the prius is un-american!

      Sorry but does America actually make anything anymore? /sarcasm

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17598844)

We seem to be making record amounts of bullshit these days...

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (1)

fcolari (699389) | more than 7 years ago | (#17600004)

"Sorry but does America actually make anything anymore? /sarcasm"

You just answered your own question...

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (2, Interesting)

guardiangod (880192) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598240)

The Prius is equipped with NiMH battery (Toyota will switch over to Lithium ion battery in 2009). This thing from Ford is powered by fuel cell. They are two different things.
 
With this aside, I wonder why they use onboard alternator to recharge the fuel cell. Making H from H2O through electrolysis is not very efficient (the biggest number I heard is around 40%).

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (2, Informative)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598448)

The article and summary both clearly say that the fuel cell charges the battery, and not the other way round.

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (1)

guardiangod (880192) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598652)

You are right. I should have read more carefully. However, I still don't think this is such an amazing technology. So now you have a (small) gasoline powertrain, a electrical powertrain (battery+motor), and a fuel cell (perhaps the charger for that is on board as well.) I wonder how efficient the car is going to be...

Also, I have been reading news on Ballad for a few years now.While the technologies, such as material engineering, composition, and systems they are using are interesting (I attended a few of their presentations in my university), it is important to note that they have not been much successful in commercializing their technology (other than the few odd buses here and there).

I wonder how successful they are going to be...

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (2, Informative)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598728)

Where did you get the idea that there's a gasoline powertrain from?

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (1)

guardiangod (880192) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598992)

Crap. Two mistakes in a row. No more 30 hours work and no sleep for me; I am going to sleep.

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (1)

AlexCV (261412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598524)

Hmm, the Ford concept is battery powered with fuel cell to recharge the battery. Hydrogen must be provided from your local H2 fueling station....

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598840)

When you are making sodium hydroxide by electrolyzing salt water, you get hydrogen too. So why don't use this hydrogen?

Uhhh Hello Earth to GuardianGod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17598946)

Both of GGs contributions to this thread should be modded down. First the business with the Hydrogen being generated on-board then (below) he inserts an IC where none exists. Too quick on the draw, GuardianGod, you need to read, digest, take the time to understand what the article says, and then decide if you have anything worthwhile to contribute. Similarly, double mod points are going to have to be used to correct this nonsense, so the mods who gave them to you should follow the same advice, read, digest...

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599236)

Lithium ion in 2009?

I really, really would have hoped they'd be looking at attempting to have switched over to the small powerfull capacitors that have been mentioned relatively recently as they've made them a reality with nanotech.

Charge in 5 minutes, Drive 500 miles? [slashdot.org]

Capacitors to Replace Batteries? [slashdot.org]

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599910)

Unfortunately, testable examples of this technology are not available yet while Lithium Ion is in production now. Existing double layer gold and carbon super capacitors despite being miraculous charge storage devices are in no way close to the energy densities of batteries.

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599436)

Uhh... the Prius is only plug-in with after-market modification. In case you didn't notice, Ford has had an Escape hybrid for years now.

Re:Uhhh Hello Earth to Detroit (3, Interesting)

rbinns (849119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599810)

Here is the thing: hybrids do not provide substantial fuel economy and environmental impact gains for people driving long highway commutes. It works very well in a frequent stop-and-go driving situation. While Toyota put the Prius on the market, GM spent their time developing a 2-mode hybrid bus providing both a boost in efficiency and comfort. When the bus leaves a stop, it relies on the electric motor while slowly ramping up the natural gas diesel engine. These buses have replace the fleet of tour buses at Yosemite National Park, where tour guides have reported seeing more wildlife on tours as these buses do not produce as much noise as previous buses, hence not scaring the animals away.

FYI, in GMC's booth at the NAIAS today is the 2-mode hybrid Yukon. This is due out in 2008.

Toyota may have beaten Detroit to the consumer hybrid table, but their days of dominance in this field is numbered. GM alone will, as of 2008, have a hybrid sedan (Aura Green Line), hybrid crossover SUV (Vue Green Line), and full size truck SUV (hybrid Tahoe/Yukon/Silverado/Sierra). That means you can drive a hybrid that actually looks like a regular car (imagine that!) instead of a poorly executed fashion statement.

Good idea (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17598018)

This is where there is a lot of money to be made. A plug in vehicle that has a range of about 40 miles will take care of the business that most people use in their day to day lives, while having a small fuel cell or gasoline generator available for occasional longer journeys will make it feasible as a normal car. They just need to make sure it doesn't look like the Prius and handles like a normal car (and not a tin car) and they can make a lot of money. But then again this is Ford. They'll invent the systems while Toyota or Honda will actually make an effective product.

Re:Good idea (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598108)

I don't know ... I understand that Sony will be supplying the batteries.

Re:Good idea (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598198)

Still, the extension cord is problematic

Re:Good idea (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598382)

Especially when traveling long distances and the cord gets damaged. But I do have and idea [slashdot.org] how to get it when it falls into the Grand Canyon while on vacation.

Re:Good idea (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598456)

>>> "Still, the extension cord is problematic

So is the power bill in summer....

I'm with TXU and i'm sure there is some surcharge on my bill in summer 'to discourage usage during peak season'. Could the grid even cope if people went plug-in rapidly?.

Yes, just charge off-peak (1)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599106)

The grid would do just fine, according to Pacific Northwest Laboratory [pnl.gov]:
Researchers found, in the Midwest and East, there is sufficient off-peak generation, transmission and distribution capacity to provide for all of today's vehicles if they ran on batteries. However, in the West, and specifically the Pacific Northwest, there is limited extra electricity because of the large amount of hydroelectric generation that is already heavily utilized. Since more rain and snow can't be ordered, it's difficult to increase electricity production from the hydroelectric plants.
It's only a difficulty in one region, and adding baseload plants in the PNW (restarting some of the cancelled nukes?) would address their energy deficiency. Or maybe lots of wind, because the hydropower is available for load managing. Either way, it's a policy decision, not an impossibility.

Re:Yes, just charge off-peak (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599518)

>>> Yes, just charge off-peak

I'm in Texas so you are talking about those 3 weeks they call winter, right?

but seriously, in summer the A/C is running 24/7 to keep the house livable, and my electric bill is already between $350 to $550 a month from spring to autumn and we already get charged more due to 'high demand' during these months (IMHO It's fuckin gouging). Even with off peak rates, i cant see it being all that cost effective with that 'summer demand gouge' added on. (if what you say is true about capacity, then WTF is up with this charge????)

I guess I would expect the cost charging the car to be similar to a tank of gas, so that'll add another $100 month at least, and i'm totally reluctant to 'put all my eggs in one basket' with energy costs.

Re:Yes, just charge off-peak (2, Informative)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599858)

Off-peak would mean "at night". I've lived through a Texas summer; it does get cooler at night, the asphalt roads actually solidify!

A big enough electric-vehicle fleet would let you take advantage of surplus energy at any time of the day, not just at night. This would be great for Texas, because Texas wind could supply 1190 billion KWh/year [sustainableenergy.org], about 30% of US electric demand by itself. Take 20% of that (238 billion kWh), use it to charge vehicles consuming ~400 Wh/mile (much more than current EV's) for a state average of perhaps 20,000 miles/year, and you can run about 30 million vehicles on nothing but electricity. (You'd need about 90 GW of wind generation at 30% capacity factor, but today's ramp rate will have us there in 15 years or less.)

You can also use surplus juice to make ice for A/C the next day, or next week. You just keep topping up the bank whenever energy is available, and if you run too low you start up the extra fossil-fired plants. Meanwhile, you save $billions on expensive and depleting natural gas and the oil Texas now has to import from hostile countries.

No, BAD idea - depends on Unobtanium (4, Interesting)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599038)

Two kinds of Unobtanium, actually:
  • The inexpensive, long-lived room-temperature hydrogen fuel cell, and
  • Hydrogen fuel every 150 miles or so.

Without either of those, this is just a short-range electric car. <yawn>

PEM fuel cells have been one of the two stumbling blocks for hydrogen vehicles for years. It wasn't long ago that a stack for a car cost a half a million to a million dollars (due to hand-assembly and platinum content) and had a fairly short lifespan. Li-ion batteries to get the same range would cost a fraction as much, and they are coming down in price/kWh at a steady rate. Lifespan is going way up with the new chemistries and nanoparticle materials.

Hydrogen is the other form of Unobtanium. It would take something like a trillion dollars to build out a new hydrogen-fuelling infrastructure to replace petroleum motor fuels. (Got a spare trillion handy, or did it go for Bush's War?) Further, the production of hydrogen from non-fossil energy sources is very inefficient [blogspot.com]; a PEM electrolyzer is maybe 75% and a PEM fuel cell is about 60%, for a best-case throughput of 45% (before compression energy is considered). In contrast, a lithium-ion battery is about 95% efficient.

There are no ways around this; production of hydrogen from e.g. aluminum is much lossier than electrolysis [blogspot.com]. Making a renewable hydrogen economy requires not one but two kinds of Unobtanium.

So why's the US government pushing hydrogen? It's my suspicion that the oil interests want all the alt-energy money spent on things which cannot work, thus guaranteeing that taxpayer-funded research will never threaten their gravy train. A few million dollars in campaign funding thus buys them many $billions in increased revenue; probably the best investment they could ever make.

Re:No, BAD idea - depends on Unobtanium (4, Interesting)

donaldm (919619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599980)

Picking the right type of sustainable fuel is extremely difficult however it is very important for politicians to understand the energy equation of each fuel source. Unfortunately I think most politicians are "technological cretins" and only have a interest in what will get them elected or re-elected so choosing viable and appropriate fuel sources becomes more and more reliant on "interest and lobby groups".

Currently fossil fuel (includes diesel and petrol) is mainly used for transport and looks like being this way for some time to come. Alternative fuels in the form of bio-diesel and ethanol are being touted as a viable alternative to fossil fuel however even these fuels have their drawbacks since you still need to actually grow, harvest, produce and deliver the fuel to the consumer. Bio-diesel is currently seen as the most viable alternative fuel (cheaper and less polluting) since most diesel vehicles can run on it with little or no modification while petrol engines do need to be modified (some more than others) to run on ethanol which is not that environmentally friendly and has a lower energy equation than bio-diesel. On average diesel is approx 30% more efficient and diesel engines usually have allot more torque at much lower RPM than their equivalent petrol counterparts.

You are right so say "So why's the US government pushing hydrogen? It's my suspicion that the oil interests want all the alt-energy money spent on things which cannot work, thus guaranteeing that taxpayer-funded research will never threaten their gravy train.". I would add many governments are touting this around the world and so far nothing has come of it although hybrid (ie. petrol/electric and diesel/electric) are viable. Again you really have to look at the energy equation (time does play a part here) to see if current hybrids are truly viable and cost effective.

Before everyone runs out and buys a diesel (equally applies to a hybrid) I would suggest you do some homework since diesel cars are normally more expensive than their petrol counterparts and you may have to travel a fair distance before you start to save. If the costs are the other-way around (mine was) then it becomes easier to make the decision. Of course buying a motor vehicle is a matter of personal choice and prestige as well and fuel efficiency may not even enter the equation.

The following is an interesting read on the potential ways of manufacturing alternative fuels. The heading reads "'Flashy' New Process Turns Soy Oil, Glucose Into Hydrogen" so read into that what you may.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/06110 3083833.htm [sciencedaily.com]

Re:No, BAD idea - depends on Unobtanium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17600114)

On average diesel is approx 30% more efficient and diesel engines usually have allot more torque at much lower RPM than their equivalent petrol counterparts.

That's not what allot means. My guess is you tried to use alot and your spell checker suggested allot. What you actually meant was a lot, two words. Better still would have been much.

Re:No, BAD idea - depends on Unobtanium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17600038)

Got a spare trillion handy, or did it go for Bush's War?

Has it been considered that the reason for the additional troops is the "military targets" are actually civilians who own the majority of competing Iraqi companies?

I rented "Who Killed the Electric Car" tonight, but have yet to watch it. I hope the increased competition can bring back the EV-1, and improve on it.

But why is it so ugly? (3, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598022)

Is that visual design supposed to be some sort of physically manifested sarcasm about "green" cars? How do they expect to win over the SUV crowd with the mirror plated SissyMobile? At least make the thing look respectable when pulling up to Home Depot.

Re:But why is it so ugly? (1)

RelaxedTension (914174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598190)

Yup, that is one butt-ugly vehicle.

Concept vehicle or not, they could have made it look a lot more reasonable, maybe even *gasp* like it might be the actual production vehicle.

Re:But why is it so ugly? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598264)



Classic Aistream color scheme. The vintage Airstream travel trailers were aluminum. Hence the shiny appearance. In fact, the design is reminiscent of those vintage trailers.

Layne

Re:But why is it so ugly? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599052)

No, it's supposed to remind you of an Airstream trailer. Thus the name "Airstream." Duh.

Is it me, or are the comments here getting dumber over time?

iPhone=Cisco not Apple, Airstream=Trailer (-1, Flamebait)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598026)

I love this idea, but for some reason, I keep seeing a self drive airstream trailer heading down the road.

Seriously, plug in is dead, fuel cell or other self-contained has to be the future. And hybrid has to be the past.

Plug in electric cars. (4, Informative)

mgv (198488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598206)

Seriously, plug in is dead, fuel cell or other self-contained has to be the future. And hybrid has to be the past.

No, its not. There is no self contained sustainable fuel that is remotely viable at this stage.

Your non-renewable options are:
Petrol/Diesel
Natural Gas

Your renewable transport options are:
Hydrogen (*)
Biodiesel & Alcohols (+)
Electricity
Other esoteric energy stores.

The joy of electricity is simple - it piggy backs off whatever we decide to power the world with for fixed structures. That solution may be nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal or hydroelectric. It really doesn't matter, as long as we can store the energy sufficiently well in a car to get around. If you think that is going to be too hard, explain to me why its going to be easier to store hydrogen, because I see alot more things running off batteries now that hydrogen energy sources.

Just my opinions here,

Happy to see what others think,

Michael

(*) Right now all hydrogen is formed from hydrocarbon sources. Its hard to hold as it destroys the metals that hold it in compressed form. It loses most of the energy put into it in the compression cycle to get it into its container so that you only get about 30% of the energy put in.

(+) Definitely an option for some parts of the world, but not really going to work well for many countries as they don't have enough arable land to make all the biomass. And to make it replace fossil fuels for cars will require so much water to irrigate the crops we will probably have to start building massive numbers of desalination plants, etc. Personally I'd rather keep the land areas untouched and go for renewables, but some countries do manage this option ok.

Re:Plug in electric cars. (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598626)

I think pluggable cars are awesome. I envision a future where everyone commutes in pluggable cars, and saves their petroleum-burning car for weekend outtings or commercial work.

However, my commute is about 40 miles each way. I need a pluggable that goes 100 miles at full performance between charges.

Re:Plug in electric cars. (1)

fredklein (532096) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599622)

Biodiesel & Alcohols (+)

(+) Definitely an option for some parts of the world, but not really going to work well for many countries as they don't have enough arable land to make all the biomass. And to make it replace fossil fuels for cars will require so much water to irrigate the crops we will probably have to start building massive numbers of desalination plants, etc. Personally I'd rather keep the land areas untouched and go for renewables, but some countries do manage this option ok.


I foresee a not-too-distant future where we've bio-engineered a type of bacterium to 'eat' biomass (read: grass clippings, fall leaves, corn husks, other wastes, etc) and and produce a type of liquid hydrocarbon. That liquid hydrocarbon can be handled like gas (petrol) is now- it would use the same facilities, the same transports, etc. Heck, people could home-produce the stuff like bio-diesel is produced now.

Re:iPhone=Cisco not Apple, Airstream=Trailer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17599124)

I'd really like to know what the mods are thinking on this one.

Airstream=RV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17599180)

They have them, I've seen one. Looks like an airstream trailer, but with a windshield in the front. I actually liked it. Airstreams are built well, the entire concept was to reproduce something like an aircraft fuselage but in trailer config, because it is lightweight, strong (plus it doesn't rust being aluminum), and streamlined.

As to plugins being dead, they are just getting started, most of the majors will all be offering plugin hybrids soon if you follow the industry (heck, just look at some of the stuff from this linked show). An article I read said that the night time spare generating capacity of the US grid could handle the extra load of millions of plugins quite well right now. I know I'll be getting one as soon as they offer a diesel/electric plugin pickup, which would suit my purposes perfectly, I need a truck way more than a little car, plugins would lead to me being able to incorporate a solar PV system into the mix (even if it is just a trickle charger from two beefy PV panels on the cab roof, most of the time it would sit parked in the sun), and having a handy whole house sized generator sitting outside would come in handy for storms and whatnot. And I like diesels, and biodiesel blends will become a common fuel choice within a few years now all over.

The problem with hydrogen fuel cells is-they use hydrogen! It would cost some huge sum like a trillion bucks or something to have a hydrogen fill er up all over the same as we have gas stations now. Someone is gonna pay for that! We have no adequate delivery or production system for the hydrogen in any quantities! You'd need entirely new hydrogen production facilities and replace all the tanker trucks or build new pipelines! There's NO cheap way to do hydrogen now. there's not even just a normal "expensive" way, all there is is the rebuild an entire huge part of the nation way. And if you are going to use grid power at local hydrogen stations then electrolyse water to get mass quantities of hydrogen to pump into peoples tanks on demand, EGADS, do some bar knapkin math, every local hydrogen gas station would need a hugemongous electrical supply line in, a big expense, requiring basically rewiring the whole grid. A cost into the buncha zeros there as well. Home charging can take all night on the other hand, who cares then, but at a gas station you don't want to sit there for hours, so it can't be done with the tech we have now at any affordable cost. We'd be losing ground, not gaining.

      Whereas liquid fuels require little changes to our fuel delivery infrastructure, or with ICE engines. Minimal changes, minimal costs. We make those now, the tech is well known and robust, and we can make much cleaner fuels (ethanol/methanol blends, biodiesel blends), and the engines being in generator mode they can be fine tuned for maximum efficiency inside their power band and have the least pollution.

Hybrids have barely started, we'll have them for at least another few decades now. Hydrogen is still WAY, WAY off on the horizon for mass adoption.

To be honest, the conversion cars are more... (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598052)

appealing. http://www.electroauto.com/index.html [electroauto.com] Examples of some that are available. They are less shiny, less costly, and still get the same performance as standard plugin systems that are new. I just don't like the way that such cars seem to require a special new look. meh! Just build a nice commuter car with fantastic mileage, that's what we really want.

Re:To be honest, the conversion cars are more... (1)

pkulak (815640) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598468)

Can you buy an electric car from those guys? I want an electric car, but something tells me I won't be able to do the conversion myself from a kit. :D

Re:To be honest, the conversion cars are more... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598562)

Google is your friend. There are electric conversion cars for sale. Its becoming something of a cottage industry...

Re:To be honest, the conversion cars are more... (1)

Tom in Boston (453354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598588)

> Just build a nice commuter car with fantastic
> mileage, that's what we really want.

Absolutely! It's time to replace my Honda Insight - where shall I look? I've got the money and am ready to buy. It would be nice to buy American, but the only American option is a big honking SUV with half the MPG or less. Now we have this electric car that recharges itself... just need a hydrogen infrastructure to support it. Is this "ten years off," Ford, or what? I have the money and am ready to buy! Where's my plug-in hybrid?

Re:To be honest, the conversion cars are more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17598962)

I've been very happy with my Prius. Had it for five years and it's the most well built of the eleven cars I've owned in my lifetime. I've owned Pontiac, VW, Buick, Ford, Porsche, Dodge, Chrysler, Datsun (now Nissan), and only the Porsche came close for quality workmanship.

Boring to drive though...

DISCLAIMER: I think an "interesting" car to drive is an unloaded pickup truck... on sheet ice.

Re:To be honest, the conversion cars are more... (2, Funny)

Mard (614649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599232)

Haven't you ever heard of a solar sail? This car is shiny because shiny reflects sunlight and generates propulsion. Leave it to Slashdot to complain once a major auto manufacturer finally produces the first mainstream solar powered car...

Driving Hazard (4, Interesting)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598180)

If you're driving with the sun behind you and this thing is driving towards you, the glare would blind you enough to veer off the road!

Fuel Cell? (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598186)

Ok, they say that you can recharge the Li-Ion batter by plugging it in. How do you recharge the fuel cell? They say nothing about electolisys.

Re:Fuel Cell? (2, Interesting)

waterm (261542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598314)

I doubt that on board electrolysis would be worth the additional vehicle weight. It seems that hydrogen refueling is left as an exercise to the operator. Although it would be amusing to have to plug your car into the wall socket AND the garden hose.

Re:Fuel Cell? (1)

pkulak (815640) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598438)

I think Honda has a hydrogen generator for your garage. They built it to give to the families that got prototype fuel cell cars.

li-ion (2, Interesting)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598210)

Dont these cars use lithium ion batteries? Dont li-ion batteries lose capacity rather quickly? How often do you hybrid/electric drivers replace these batteries? How much do they cost?

li-ions can now handle around 9000 cycles. (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598454)

Dont li-ion batteries lose capacity rather quickly?
Not any more. They last the life of the vehicle. 9000 cycles at say 250 miles per charge is 2,250,000 miles. At say 20,000 miles per year the battery should last about a hundred years. My last car started falling apart after about 15 years.

e.g.
http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release_html_b1?relea se_id=106527 [marketwire.com]

 

Way too shiny (1)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598214)

And you thought high beams were bad.

Re:Way too shiny (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598538)

Hey, think of it this way... some jerk is coming at you with their high beams on, but *you* are driving *this* car. He blinds himself as much as he blinds you, and figures out to turn them off!

This is a perfect idea!

"Concept car", perfect for my "concept job" (5, Funny)

mystyc (561347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598228)

A concept car is just what I am looking for to drive to my concept job!

We *want* a plugin hybrid.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598236)

so we can drive around town on full electric and we can fill up on gas when we go on long trips. Stop *telling* us we want hydrogen cars.

Re:We *want* a plugin hybrid.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17598554)

Don't tell me I want a hydrogen or a hybrid. I like my H2 just the way it is!

w00t!

Wait a minute. (3, Funny)

bohemian72 (898284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598286)

Look at this picture. [autobloggreen.com]

I half expect that central column to start pumping up and down with a high pitched grinding noise as the vehicle slowly disappears.

What's the efficiency of the fuel cell? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598330)

Is it significantly better than a gas turbine or Stirling engine? If not, it might be better to run a Diesel powered gas turbine to charge the battery.

 

Re:What's the efficiency of the fuel cell? (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598744)

I keep saying this [slashdot.org]. Perhaps they're forcing E85, and fuel-cells on us unstead of doing the proper thing -- they want us to buy their cartridges, and fuel, just like Gillette, and the razors.

Otherwise, a gas-turbine powered car is most ideal as a generator for an electric car. I'd sure like to see my Subaru without a transmission, and far less mechanical resistance -- and prolly far better than the 26.7mpg that I get commuting 40m each way.

Re:What's the efficiency of the fuel cell? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598826)

Or perhaps even an internal combustion engine. The thousands of engineers working at auto companies around the world are not, in fact, idiots. I guess the Stirling might be more efficient, but small internal combustion engines work damn well for what they are trying to do.

Re:What's the efficiency of the fuel cell? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598910)

It doesn't run on foreign oil, is this good enough? BTW, even you are running on ethanol or bio-diesel, you still need oil to produce fertilizer.

plug n play batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17598334)

Why not make batteries plug in play?

Your electric vehicle is out of juice. You drive up to the standard gas station in your special electric car. Then you "pop out" the open standard battery carton -- its a plug n play battery. Then you walk into the station and "trade in" your batteries for charged batteries. Of course, the gas station charges you for the charged batteries. You go back out to your car and pop in the charged batteries. The station takes the used batteries and recharges them. The station might check to see if the batteries work before the swap -- in which case it would not accept them or offer the customer new batteries. Then the wall plug would be used at the station to recharge the batteries. The electric grid is the energy transport. So, we get the dangerous fuel trucks off the road.

Over time, the plug and play battery would get more powerful and or lighter. After all, the plug n play battery is just a box with two outlets. All we need to know is the energy is abstracted away from the car via these standard batteries. A standard battery could have ethanol inside, hydrogen inside, gasoline fuel cells inside. But they all fit into the same car.

Given that typical car batteries are huge in an electric car this might not be a feasible scheme. But a hydrogen fuel cell might be different. Heck, if the batteries are too hard for grandma then stations can have that full service option again.

This sort of scheme might be the most compatible with the current road side environment and we could switch away from fossil fuels and have the local stations on board too.

Re:plug n play batteries (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598648)

Then you "pop out" the open standard battery carton -- its a plug n play battery. Then you walk into the station and "trade in" your batteries for charged batteries.

Because, at minimum, you're talking about a hundred pounds or so worth of battery. Hell...changing a standard 12v car battery is more than most people want to do.

Re:plug n play batteries (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598768)

I always envisioned people having 2 battery arrays. One is at home on charge, the other in the car. You pull the car next to the battery charger and a mechanical jack automatically exchanges batteries for you. At least that's how its always been in my mind.

Re:plug n play batteries (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599022)

You pull the car next to the battery charger and a mechanical jack automatically exchanges batteries for you.

How long will it take to make the exchange?

How much power will the station need to keep a adequate supply of charged cells on hand? If there is a storm, a blackout, how long will it be before every electric car is immobilized?

Re:plug n play batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17599594)

That's a good idea. I bet that lots of people will do exactly this, even if it's not specificlly designed into the vehicle. (you know - the same people who replace their own water pumps and rotate the tires and such at home)

"The innovator's dilemma" (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598546)

In the article about the Chevy Volt concept car, I ranted about why GM didn't just manufacture and market the EV-1? Most people "don't want" 2-seater cars with an 80-mile range? Fine, no problem, don't try to sell it to most people, just sell it to the few people that do.

Well, since then, I've read Clayton M. Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Great, great book. Everyone should read it. And I'm stunned by how perfectly the car companies are falling into the exact trap he describes. And how perfectly the electric car fits his definition of "disruptive technology." And, yes, he does talk about them in the last chapter.

Chevy and GM need to spin off a small division, a la IBM spinning off the Boca Raton PC division, to make and market an electric car. Not a future "sustaining technology" electric car that meets the needs of existing customers of gasoline cars. (Hybrids a la the Prius are a perfect example of that). Just... EV-1's, which are known to have a small market... a market which puts different values on things than the existing car market. A small spinoff for which that market is worthwhile. A spinoff that plays by its rules and doesn't need to compare the profit margin of an EV-1 with the profit margin of a Suburban, so it won't divert all its effort to building Suburbans. A small spinoff that will sell the cars to anyone it can find who will buy one, and will thereby find the new market for them.

Then, over time, the existing business for currently feasible small EVs will result in learning curve improvements, economies of scale, better batteries, longer ranges, bigger vehicles and suddenly one day the mainstream buyer will notice that the electrics _are_ competitive for the traditional market.

Yes, I know... you can tell that I've just read Christensen's book. Which has been out for a decade. But judging from the big carmakers, I'm not the only one who hasn't read it.

Just do it, Detroit. Stop fooling around with the concept cars, the great stuff that's always been just around the corner since 1939. Don't build a prototype of tomorrow's car, build a real car, now, and sell it, today.

Just start up the EV-1 line and build some more. Just like the last. Then sell them. Then build some that are a little better. Then sell them. And s on.

Re:"The innovator's dilemma" (1)

ThoreauHD (213527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598772)

You are right. Completely. The EV1 beats both of these new prototypes in performance- but why? I have no idea what these companies are thinking. It's like they want to waste money on stuff they know does not work. Buy, beg, steal, and extort to make the best electric car you can Detroit. The market you are leaving open to foreign companies will devestate you unchecked.

Just build the damn EV1! It worked! It didn't break! You want to sell a car or get bitch-slapped by the next Japanese all electric car? I don't understand these people.

The areas with the most polution and cars are in large cities. The distances traveled daily average 40 miles per. Most people need 2 seats and a place for groceries and a cup holder. Using Hydrogen is fine- but you still need electric current to create it. Stop messing around and just build the damn thing so I can buy a car that doesn't rely oil from people trying to kill me. We can mess around with making hydrogen from 2 paper clips and salt water later. We have electricity now.

The auto industry must become unhinged from the oil companies before we are all put back in the stone age. We are running out of time for you to see 3 feet in front of you.

Re:"The innovator's dilemma" (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599202)

The areas with the most polution and cars are in large cities. The distances traveled daily average 40 miles per.

The key word here is "average."

American cities -- the metropolitan area -- tends to be far larger and less densely populated than anything an Asian or European would recognize.

San Fracisco is not pool-table flat. Minneapolis in January is not Palm Beach.

Re:"The innovator's dilemma" (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599464)

I think someone should put up a LOT of money to those MIT researchers that recently developed a supercapacitor using carbon nanotubes that store far more energy than previously possible to develop this technology further. That right there resolves two huge problems with electric cars, namely the size of the battery pack and the recharge time.

The EV-1 failed because frankly, who wants a car where most of the interior volume is taken up by the battery and recharge times can approach eight hours?

Re:"The innovator's dilemma" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17599590)

I do. And I know lots of people who do.

Re:"The innovator's dilemma" (2, Interesting)

doctor_nation (924358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599642)

I just watched "Who killed the electric car" tonight and saw this post and thought two things: 1) Why do they need concept cars when every single auto manufacturer had production electric cars? 2) Only 40 miles on a single charge, when the EV1 did better than that with older battery technology, and probably could be upgraded to 300 miles? Ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that every single car company repossessed almost every single electric car- there's a coincidence for you.

Onboard water cracking? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17598584)

Would it be feasible to make a car like this with an onboard hydrolysis system -- put water in, plug it in to wall power, and it makes its own hydrogen?

It needs to make enough hydrogen to drive reasonable distances before it qualifies as "feasible".

I can imagine driving this thing for three or four hours, then stopping at a motel and plugging this in overnight. It could charge the battery, and also start splitting hydrogen off water. But I have no idea whether overnight is enough time to refill the hydrogen tank.

If you had the above feature, then you could make a trip of up to 600 miles or so with this thing, as long as you are willing to stop overnight halfway through. For that matter, you could make a trip of 300 miles at any time of the day, as long as you would be staying at the destination long enough for the fuel system to replenish. Considering the lack of fuel stations selling pure hydrogen, the above feature seems like a good idea. If it's feasible.

This thing is a joke on taxpayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17598676)

Hello, taxpayers! Hydrogen will never be a practical energy transport or storage mechanism. The whole thing is an effort to relieve taxpayers of their money through subidies. This vehicle will never be practical, unless you define "practical" as meaning, "costs $200k to buy it, and then costs $400 to fill it up". Oh and it's powered by natural gas, by means of natural gas being converted to hydrogen. Why not just power the whole thing on natural gas to begin with? Because there are hardly any subsidies in natural gas.

Confusing Article (4, Informative)

Tesla15 (834968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598700)

This article was confusing to me also until I read the press release by Ford-http://media.ford.com/newsroom/release_displa y.cfm?release=25150 [ford.com]. This is a hybrid in that it is powered by a Li-Ion battery and a Hydrogen fuel cell. There is a "350-bar hydrogen tank that supplies 4.5 kg of useable hydrogen". So you can plug it into the wall to recharge the battery but you must recharge the fuel tank with hydrogen. Also the battery only gives you a distance of 25 miles whereas the Fuel cell gives you 280 miles. There is no electrolysis.

That;s a good setup... (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17598892)

When your batteries dip below about 60%, you start to cut into their lifetime much more significantly. While hydrogen is a very "expensive" energy source (in terms of what goes into processing it), it's a nice backup to help you on longer trips without having to sacrifice battery lifetime.

That's great. (2, Insightful)

x1n933k (966581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599014)

However, the way these cars are produced, shipped and lubricated are with fossil fuels. Not to mention there is no infrastructure for fuel cells. How do you produce and transport hydrogen? Fossil fuels. How do you produce natural gas? How about the batteries being used. Built in China with machinery powered by coal?

Concepts like this are a joke. It's not how to replace the cars we drive is getting rid of them and transporting people efficiently which will make the difference.

[J]

Re:That's great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17599158)

Don't forget the elictricity to charge them is going to come from coal fire powerplants since that ungratful little turd pissed off all the elebits.

Why so ugly? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17599070)

Why are the modern cars of the jet set radio future always so ugly? Telsa Motors [teslamotors.com] is doing right what everyone else is doing wrong.

It's about time Ford got its act together (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599164)

A few years ago Ford was announcing hydrogen and electric cars, then they nixed the whole idea in marketing form. My friend thought they stopped marketing the New Ford image because of governmental crackdown on hydrogen, but he's more paranoid than me, it was probably some other reason. Now I'd like to know where they got their fuel cells from, because last time I checked it was the Finns that had hydrogen fuel cells worked out. They use them for generating electricity when camping and so on. It was said that it was only a matter of time before someone decided to use the technology for cars. I mean there are people that know of bigger things than cars being powered by hydrogen, but aren't at liberty to declassify it. And no I'm not talking Zepplins :P

Why no "trickle" solar? (2, Interesting)

snilloc (470200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599370)

One thing I don't get about the whole plug-in-only concept is why these cars don't have Photo-voltaic cells to complement the battery system. Solar-only doesn't work, but in many areas you could squeeze out significantly more "miles per charge" with a solar panel. And for commuters, your car sits outside in the lot for most of the peak collecting hours anyway, not anywhere near a charger.

Re:Why no "trickle" solar? (5, Insightful)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599996)

It's interesting - I've done some math on this before, and it's not really worth it.

After efficiency losses from engine and alternator, one gallon of gas [wikipedia.org] is equal to at least 10 KWH of electricity. Realistically, about the best you could do with solar panels is to cover 2 meters of the car with ~15% efficient panels = 300 watts (max). Now assume you get 12 hours of full sun directly on the panels each day (which is impossible). That's 3.6 KWH/day, or about a third of a gallon of gas. More realistic solar panel data (PDF) [spsenergy.com] gets about 1/5 of that in real life.

That might not even be worth the extra weight of solar panels and equipment!

For your consideration . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17599466)

Has anyone been following this hydrogen hybrid project? http://www.switch2hydrogen.com/ [switch2hydrogen.com] It's being run by some people at United Nuclear, a supplier of lab equipment and other science supplies.

It's a conversion system for existing cars to run on either hydrogen or plain gasoline. Most cars are candidates (high compression and turbo charged are not) so you don't have to worry about driving some cramped lunar rover. One of their test cars is a 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor and the other is a 1994 Chevrolet Corvette. Their system uses solar panels to power electrolysis (one can also use wall power, wind turbines, you get the idea) and stores the hydrogen in a tank as a hydride. This gets around the problem that compressed H2 gas is not efficient and liquid H2 is cryogenic. They're claiming 100 miles per tank for one tank type, 75 miles for a smaller tank. Most cars need four tanks to run. It takes about 2 days to generate 75 miles worth of hydrogen. Not super quick but enough for most commutes.

They have run into a legal problem. I only know what's posted on the site, and that looks like it's a couple months old. I won't go into details here as it's a bit off topic but I encourage everyone to check it out.

bside

Yeah yeah (1, Troll)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599728)

Blah..Blah, Yes, this concept is slap your mother ugly. Detroit is fucked, because they can't design a car to save their literal livelihoods. On the other hand, the American people are just as much to blame for being a bunch of homophobic, phallo-centric, self conscious, self proclaimed "manly" men, that won't drive anything with less than 200HP lest people find out they have small penises. Get the fuck over yourselves.

i know who (1)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599760)


  I know who killed the electric car --- the auto makers with their butt ugly designs. Concept Cars make or break ideas. Ford just killed the electric car.

    Honda should add plug in ability to their FCX concept car for 2008.

Success redefined (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599812)

Some companies announce products that never come out to dissuade consumers from buying existing technology. Successful companies produce products that actually make money and get rewarded for their innovation.

See: Windows Vista vs. Mac OS X, Chevy Volt plus this Ford thing vs. Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius

Who Designed the Body? Have They Caught Him Yet? (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17599870)

WTF is up with that body design? It looks like Ark-II [angelfire.com].

Is Detroit trying to make electric/hybrids as ugly as possible? What happened to all those sleek, jet-age futuristic designs dating back as far as the 1940's? You could grab just about any one of those designs, stick a hybrid engine in it, and have a winner.

Schwab

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