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Volkswagen says fuel cell vehicles not possible at reasonable cost

fuel_cell_still

While other automakers continue to develop fuel cell vehicles, which are powered by hydrogen and have no harmful emissions, Volkwswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn says they are impossible to build at a “reasonable cost.” Even if they could be, then huge numbers of hydrogen fueling stations would need to be built to fuel them, which seems improbable at best.

Fuel cell vehicles could still have futures as forklifts, buses, and short-range delivery trucks, where they would be re-fueled at a central location. However, electric vehicles can also be used for these purposes and the fueling systems (electricity) are already in place.

  • Craig Woodward

    Fuel cells make sense for some utilities. Trains, for example, that have pre-determined routes where one can compute exactly the amount of fuel needed, and the infra can be updated easier. For domestic cars, it just doesn’t make much sense. It’s cleaner, but the infra changes needed are huge, as are the costs of creating cells.

    Electric, by comparison, has the generic advantage that just about every gas station already has a reasonable 240 line coming into them to operate the pumps.

    While a station could purchase a device to create hydrogen fuel, the costs for such devices are high, and the output per Kwh are low enough to make it not worth doing on that small of a scale. Costs for containment for commercial delivery and consumption are also quite high, and have other risks (like decompressive explosion).

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