Daimler, Ford, Nissan Plan Commercial Fuel-Cell Vehicle for 2017

An agreement among three automakers spanning three continents could lead to the development of a mass-market fuel-cell electric vehicle as soon as 2017, according to a statement from Nissan. Through the partnership, Daimler, Ford and Nissan intend to produce a common fuel-cell stack and fuel-cell system that can be used by each company in its own separately branded FCEVs, which produce no carbon-dioxide emissions. The electricity for an FCEV is generated on board the vehicle in the fuel-cell stack following a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, leaving behind only water vapor and heat as by-products.

Today's announcement comes only four days behind news that BMW and Toyota have finalized a joint agreement to develop the zero-emission technology system three years later, by 2020. The automakers said they would combine their existing fuel-cell technology to create a complete system.

Both FCEV agreements include participating in the adoption of global specifications and component standards, which all the automakers have agreed will be necessary for the technology's long-term commercial viability. Likewise, today's announcement stated that the Daimler-Ford-Nissan alliance would send "a clear signal to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage further development of hydrogen refueling stations and other infrastructure necessary" to the widespread acceptance of FCEVs.

BMW and Toyota Finalize Fuel-Cell Collaboration, Plan New Sports Car
Nissan Previews Terra Fuel-Cell Concept
Toyota Hints at Future Hybrid, Hydrogen Vehicles



Money spent on battery development and infrastructure redevelopment would be better.


If this is for methane fuel cells, good on them. If for hydrogen, they still need to answer the question: "Where is the hydrogen going to come from?!"

/"Hydrogen Economy" is still a stupid idea

bruce dp

Automakers like fuel vehicles. They do not like Electric Vehicles (EVs) that recharge off the public grid. FCVs (fuel cell vehicles) do not recharge off the grid thus can not recharge from renewable electricity. The hydrogen (h2) to fuel the fcv is currently coming from cracked natural-gas (cng - a fossil fuel source. Though methane can be generated from bio sources, no one is doing that when Canadian and Mexican CNG is so cheap).

The h2 for use in a fcv has to be very clean, much cleaner than welding grade h2). On-board h2 tanks are well designed and safe to use. In the past the Hindenburg scare from the ignorant public kept h2 down. h2 is compressed and kept on board at 5000, 7500, and the new 10000 psi is being used

But the range of a fcv is less than a Tesla-S with a ~400 mile between recharges. fcvs are more like ~200 miles between refueling with h2.

If the h2 were from environmentally benign sources (like cracking/separating water), instead of getting h2 from a non-renewable fossil source (natural gas), the electrical energy use to purify the water, electrolyze it, then compress it for putting into the fcv's on-board h2 tanks is much more wasteful than recharging a battery EV to drive the same distance. To go the same distance an EV can drive off 6kW, takes 15kW of electricity to create the h2 from cracked water.

BTW, no one is talking about what they do with the carbon left over when they crack CNG to get the h2 (there are four hydrogen to one carbon in CNG, the formula is CH4).

The rare earth elements needed for making Fuel Cells is limited and mostly come from China. Not only is there not enough of the needed rare earths for everyone to drive an fcv, China will limit those exports as it has on many of its rare earths. Even China knows fcvs are a waste of time as li-ion battery EVs are much more available and cost effective.

Is it that the Automakers want fcvs so badly? No, they want them to divert R&D money from EVs, and to eventually portray EVs as a failure. Then they can go back to selling petrol vehicles as before at a high profit. All the while saying "Well, we gave it our best shot and it did not work ..." = Automaker BS, just like around 2000 when GM killed their EV1.

Is it that Automakers like running off CNG. No, otherwise they would sell CNG vehicles. I have driven Automaker designed and built CNG vehicles. They are a great reactionary driving vehicle (go here, go there, on a moments notice ...). EVs are for those people who have a regular daily routine (work, school/shopping, home, ... repeat).

The public needs to take a few steps back, not listen to the Automaker talking-heads, and find out why the Automakers are pushing fcvs, when they should be making EVs and CNG vehicles. Then the public will have a choice: CNG, plugin hybrids that can run off either CNG or petrol, EVs, (+more).

Hitoshi Sasaki

Three automakers spanning three continents? Does the writer of this article have a world map on which Japan is placed on the continent next to China and Russia? Well, other than that, it was an interesting read.

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