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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fully Charged Episode 1 - Honda FCX Clarity (w/Video)

If you haven't subscribed to Robert Llewellyn's Fullycharged You tube channel then you may not be aware the first of his weekly episodes has now been uploaded. He's managed to get a drive in a Hydrogen powered Honda FCX Clarity.

The good news is Llewellyn, unlike the kretins at Top Gear, has the common sense to realize that a $2 Million proto-type is not exactly ready for prime time, and to be honest may never be. He also points out that charging his MiEV costs 1/10th the price of filling with Hydrogen.

The only point I'd make about Llewellyn's comments is those concerning the efficiency of Fuel Cells (FC) versus Internal Combustion Engines (ICE). Where an ICE fueled by petrol is approx 30% energy efficient and running on diesel is approx 40%, an FC isn't much better.

The Honda Vertical Flow hydrogen fuel cell stack runs an Aromatic electrolytic membrane but tellingly Honda do not publicly quote an energy efficiency figure for the device. The efficiency of a fuel cell is dependent on the amount of power drawn from it but they range in efficiency from 20-50% depending on the type of Electrolyte used, which is approx the same energy efficiency range as an ICE.

So aside from the fact that hydrogen is an energy carrier and there is a total lack of hydrogen infrastructure, compared to the electrical grid which reaches every building on the planet, a Fuel Cell car is simply an extended range EV that because it carries such a small battery pack that can't be plugged in, is over-all less energy efficient than an ICE based extended range EV such as the GM Volt.

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