Honda says fuel-cell cars can be mass-produced by 2018 Discussion at PhysOrgForum

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Takeo Fukui

Japanese carmaker Honda believes it can mass-produce environmentally friendly fuel-cell cars by 2018.

Honda Motor Co., Japan's third biggest vehicle maker, plans to begin leasing a pricy new hydrogen-powered fuel-cell car in Japan and the United States in 2008.

"By evolving a next model based on this, I think the level of technology will become very close to that of mass-produced ordinary vehicles within 10 years or so," Honda president Takeo Fukui said in an interview with Kyodo News on Friday.

"In 2018, I believe the development (of a fuel-cell car) will have been very advanced," he said. "It will become a real possibility to a large degree."

The world's leading carmakers are developing fuel-cell cars which drastically cut emissions. But the high price of such cars, currently estimated at more than 100 million yen (840,000 dollars) each, has been a major barrier to the commercialisation of hydrogen-powered cars.

Fuel cells produce electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, leaving water as the only by-product.

Fukui told Kyodo that there will be many customers who want to buy a Honda fuel-cell car if it goes on sale for 10 million yen in the general market.

Honda has already unveiled a so-called FCX concept model, a fully functional futuristic sedan concept car powered by a hydrogen fuel.

But before the next-generation car becomes more common, Fukui said there are still some technological challenges the automaker needs to overcome.

He said the challenges include how to reduce the amount of noble metals used for fuel cells, how to improve hydrogen storage and how to make hydrogen at lower costs.

© 2006 AFP

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There is a discussion of this story at PhysOrgForum entitled: hydrogen & oxygen
There are 7 replies in that topic. The last post was on 4-Jan-2007
The first 5 posts are :

On 29-Dec-2006 by tikay

Really ought to cost less. Are they only intended for the elite classes? Since when did they care about the environment.
On 29-Dec-2006 by paulo
$840,000 per unit?! what a joke. if they actually had any commitment to the environment or cleaning up the auto industry they would go electric now, not totally inefficient hydrogen in 12 years. talk about dragging their feet...

looks to me like they're still blowing big oil. and Lee Raymond (ex-exxon CEO) gets a $400,000,000 golden handshake.... looks like we'll be seeing this crap for many years to come. Energy control is a profitable busine$$.

but anyway, Honda schmonda. Give me a Tesla Roadster any day.
On 29-Dec-2006 by sardion2000
As much as I love EVs I have to disagree with you in that we should be going purely EV right now. We need a Mix of Electric Drive, Plug-In, Flexi-Fuel Hybrid Cars and EV's with more emphasis for Hybrids until innovation in that area makes a Pure EV economy feasible. It's not totally feasible right now, but it will be 15 years from now.
On 31-Dec-2006 by Problem is change
The answer is here and it won't take 10 years; just leadership and a change in philosophy.

Unless you're required to include big oil and conventional energy delivery systems: (are we doomed to pay big oil at a metered pump? Or can I just add this (electric energy) to my monthly power bill?) Just think of the eliminated fuel transportation costs, storage facilitates all that adds up to savings. And yes the utilities burn fossil fuels. But they do so a hell of a lot more efficient that our SUV's do....

In terms of time to market we have both motor efficiency and motor drive technology in existing electric cars. The primary weakness is in battery technology. We lack investment and the political will to get it done in a timely manner.

However this major challenge in battery efficiency is quickly (not 10 years) is becoming a non-issue. With the new composite lead batteries we can have Lithium density at a tenth of the cost and with a much lighter battery.

With current battery prototypes that use nano technology on the electrodes and that can fully charge in 5-10 minutes. (For a good example of the new batteries just look at Firefly Energy).

On 31-Dec-2006 by aardan
QUOTE (Problem is change @ Dec 31 2006, 09:31 PM)

The answer is here and it won't take 10 years; just leadership and a change in philosophy.

It may take 10 years before there is significant political momentum to get the change started.

Unless you're required to include big oil and conventional energy delivery systems: (are we doomed to pay big oil at a metered pump? 

The end is in sight! Or, at least, humankind is not doomed to pay big oil indefinitely because ... the supply is limited.

We live in interesting times.

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