Apr 20

GM CEO: Chevy Volt 2010 Deadline Down to the Wire but So Far So Good

 

At the Beijing Auto Show, GM CEO Rick Wagoner announced plans to bring the Volt to market in China, as automakers are in increasing competition to grab market share of the rapidly growing Chinese auto market.

On the sideline of the show Wagoner told reporters:

"At this point the focus for us 100 percent is getting the Volt produced in the U.S.,"

and

"So far, so good, but it’s going to be right down to the wire to meet the production deadline we’ve set."

He also said GM was moving closer to picking one of the two lithium-ion battery pack-making teams (CPI/LG vs Conti/A123), but indicated the production contract could be given to one side, while a development contract is maintained with the other.

GM representatives also apparently said China would be next to get the Volt after the North American market of U.S. and Canada.

Wagoner encouraged China to move away from oil and towards hydrogen derived from nuclear power. Last years’ Beijing auto show was indeed the location where the fuel-cell E-Flex variant, now considered on a production track, was unveiled.

Wagoner also acknowledged how financially important the China market was for GM, saying " it could be huge," and "the company that gets China right is going to be the dominant player for the next 25 years."

He also notes the economy of scale benefit for the Volt via China, "the sales volume for E-Flex in China could be a huge factor over time for reducing cost’"

Source (Reuters )

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 20th, 2008 at 2:36 pm and is filed under Financial, Release Date, Timeline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 41


  1. 1
    Spin

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (2:41 pm)

    I think he is just saying China will be next because he is in China. I’m sure Europe will be next to get the Volt.


  2. 2
    Dave B

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (3:09 pm)

    Curious if China will get the premiums on vehicles such as the Volt. If anyone is following what Tesla is doing with the European Roadster, they are charging a LARGE premium on that BEV. Somehow I do not think it will fly if companies like Miles and BYD are legitimate.

    GM needs to figure it out here in the US by driving costs down in the NA market first before other competitors blow right past GM. Just wait and see.


  3. 3
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (3:16 pm)

    That model should get out of the way so I can see the Volt better.

    “Down to the wire.” Is that a play on words for an electric car?

    I don’t know what China’s transportation infrastructure is like, but it is probably developing. I suggest China look into efficient mass transportation before they get too far down the personal transportation road (track?)


  4. 4
    ash

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (3:23 pm)

    I would like to know if we change the battery after 5 or 6 years of use assuming the cost of the battery will half of what it will when Volt was first released and twice as as powerful,

    Will the 2010 Volt in 2015 will be take advantage of new more powerful battery (assuming a software upgrade)


  5. 5
    Tim

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (3:37 pm)

    This is going to be one hell of a competition of ideas. Which will prevail, BEVs, E-REVs or hybrids? Perhaps it will be totally application based and everybody will win.


  6. 6
    RB

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (3:39 pm)

    4 ash– Regarding battery upgrades. Anything might happen, I suppose, but I it seems to me unlikely that a retrofit of a 2015 battery into a 2010 car will occur. More likely, it will be the normal automotive practice of “trade-in you car for a new one”. One aspect is that such an upgrade may sound simple but not be easy outside the factory. However, it will be great to have a much improved 2015 model to consider.


  7. 7
    omegaman66

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (3:51 pm)

    imo
    GM is looking to the future (just as they have said) and the big picture path that they have chosen is to convert their lineup to mostly volt serial hybrid (rev). This is the technology of the future car along with BEV. Also their goal of long time dominance is to expand into the china where the growth potential is rediculous!

    The volt will never be a high seller in china due to its high cost. But that isn’t a problem because initially production will be low. The volt will get GM foot in the door of china.

    What I hope this means is that GM has plans to agressively pursue rev’s at a much lower cost in the future.


  8. 8
    Brian M

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (3:53 pm)

    Tim #5 – “This is going to be one hell of a competition of ideas. Which will prevail, BEVs, E-REVs or hybrids? Perhaps it will be totally application based and everybody will win.”

    I think your last sentence nails it. Hybrids would be best for people who drive long distances, E-Rev’s for people who usually drive short distances but go far on the weekends, and BEVs for people who only drive short distances.

    Also, by the time these vehicles hit the road, everyone will want one (because gas will probably cost $6 or $7 per gallon), so they will all sell out anyway. I don’t think there will be a clear “winner” in the short run.


  9. 9
    bruce g

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (3:56 pm)

    I do wonder if those glam shows such as Shanghai are the act of an organisation completely isolated from its market place.
    Butters touched yesterday on how marketing theory segments the marketplace until no one, including them, can capture the ..ummm… big picture. And yet the big picture will dictate the future, not GM’s marketing department.
    The engineers are doing their job but I doubt the marketing department of GM have a coheerant view of what the job should be.
    What is the big picture GM, and how are you responding to it?


  10. 10
    Dave

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (4:42 pm)

    Why do they keep slipping hydrogen into these articles? Must be the path for the most profit or more bait and switch?


  11. 11
    RB

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (5:05 pm)

    10 dave — their thinking is that hydrogen will be widely available in china and relatively less costly than in the usa.


  12. 12
    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (6:20 pm)

    “He also said GM was moving closer to picking one of the two lithium-ion battery pack-making teams (CPI/LG vs Conti/A123), but indicated the production contract could be given to one side, while a development contract is maintained with the other.”

    *** *** *****

    This was what I found most interesting. This puts a little perspective on the two competing companies. Not difficult to figure that A123/Conti would be the developmental and CPI the production. Goes with what we already know and the fact that A123′s own website mentions joint chemistry development with GM.


  13. 13
    Van

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (7:46 pm)

    Yes the choice will be very interesting. Which one is more expensive? We do not know. Which one is more powerful? We do not know. Which one can be produced in the quantity and quality needed? We do not know.

    But I expect the choice will be made this fall, after the analysis of the mule testing. Time will tell.


  14. 14
    ash

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (8:06 pm)

    6: RB

    Well change battery in cars / laptops / cell phones all the time.
    If the cars are going to last more then the battery and if you have to change battery anyway, go not go for an upgrade.

    when you change battery in your laptop you get better performance, but unlike cell phones / laptops the cars are not throw away, something to consider.


  15. 15
    swimdad623

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (8:57 pm)

    11 RB

    Bob Lutz threw in hydrogen becayse most of China doesn’t have a gasoline infrastructure big enough to support the hundreds if millions of cars expected over the next 25-50 years. If they’re building an infrastructure from scratch, they don’t have any sunk cost, and can skip the gasoline economy and go right to hydrogen.

    We built our gasoline infrastructure over the past 80 years, but the next 80 years are going to see a transition to something else. If you assume that 300-mile batteries aren’t going to be feasible, then you still need a fuel. If you were starting from zero today, I think hrdrogen would be a better choice than gasoline.


  16. 16
    ksuhwail

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (9:23 pm)

    #3

    China does have a complex system to buses, trains and subways. While it is developing every day there are just so many people it will make you crazy. I have been to China numerous times and if any of you have ever been in a Beijing or Shanghai train station you know what I mean. It is pure chaos!

    Honestly, what China needs are suburbs and urban sprawl!


  17. 17
    omegaman66

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (10:08 pm)

    I disagree that prius type hybrids are the best choice for people that drive mostly long distances. The REV gets better gas milage than a prius on the open road. That is one of the points I keep making that seems to be lost and overshadowed by the first 40 mentality. The volt worst case senario using the ICE generator gets 50mpg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Prius only beats the Volt in cost… but that will not last as revs and bev should be cheaper to produce than hybrids.


  18. 18
    Hous Volt Pharteen

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (10:25 pm)

    ThombDbhomb
    That was funny…


  19. 19
    BBM

     

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    Apr 20th, 2008 (10:40 pm)

    Hmmm.

    China basically has no oil, and is much more dependent on foreign sources of oil than even the US.

    However, they have plenty of coal, and are building nuclear plants.

    So a car like the Volt would appeal to them more for reducing reliance on foreign oil than on GHG mitigation. It basically would allow them to run their cars on coal.

    Better hope a scalable solar breakthrough occurs rapidly.


  20. 20
    Eric E

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (1:35 am)

    If GM wants to compete in China they’ll have to build an assembly plant there. I don’t see how even wealthy Chinese could afford a Detroit made Volt.

    #17 omegaman66
    The plug-in Prius hybrid will be getting 70+mpg by 2011. (IMHO)

    I agree with you #12 grizzly.
    If I were to make a wager, I’d bet on LG getting the production contract for the Volt batteries. They made delivery on their first packs WAY before A123.


  21. 21
    butters

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (4:33 am)

    From everything I’ve read about the Chinese government, GM can try to sell them on hydrogen infrastructure, but I don’t think they’ll buy it. The Communist Party is carefully converting China’s outrageous output/consumption gap into domestic infrastructure. This their chance to build the China of the next 100 years, and they aren’t going to screw it up by moving too quickly or investing in questionable technologies.

    The Chinese technocrats realize that both hydrogen and electricity are energy transfer media that can be compared objectively based on transmission efficiency as well as the amount and distribution of infrastructure costs, and they will almost certainly choose electricity. The ideal infrastructure for China is a combination of electric rail and BEVs. It would be especially effective to have BEV carriers on the electric rail for long hauls to minimize battery capacity requirements without sacrificing flexibility.


  22. 22
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (8:47 am)

    Hi everybody,

    From GM Europe, this statement :
    “Highly regarded in China, German engineering is sure once again to impress the media and consumers with the Opel Flextreme. The concept car, which made its world premiere last year at the IAA in Frankfurt, also will be shown in Beijing. It relies solely on an electric motor for propulsion, with the motor drawing its power from an extremely high capacity lithium-ion battery. A 1.3 CDTI diesel engine powers an onboard electric generator for additional electricity. With this propulsion concept, the Flextreme emits less than 40 g/km CO2, giving it the potential to become an effective solution to increasing air pollution.

    Forster is convinced that there is a bright future for the Flextreme concept in China. “The Flextreme is an important part of our strategy to reduce CO2 emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels. Solutions like this will reach production maturity in the near future, and they can make a substantial contribution to minimizing vehicle emissions, especially in rapidly expanding markets like China,” he adds.”
    Source today on :
    http://www.gmeurope.info/social_media_newsroom/archives/383-Opel-Widens-its-Range-of-Models-in-China.html

    So the Volt is not the only candidate from GM to be envisaged to divert China from oil dependence.


  23. 23
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (8:52 am)

    This Reuters article is one of several recently quoting top GM officials that the Volt’s battery is expected to last “at least 150,000 miles & 10 years”. I noted with interest when Chrysler increased their drivetrain warranty to “Lifetime” and GM increased theirs to “100,000 miles or 5 years” …..both in response, I’m certain, to Hyundai’s & Kia’s 100,000 mile/10 year warranties.

    Because ALL of the Volt’s other drivetrain components/systems, including the ICE/generator, should easily outlast its battery, it seems likely to me that GM will stretch the Volt’s overall drivetrain warranty by 50K mi & 5 years …..i.e., from 100,000mi/5yrs to 150,000mi/10yrs. In fact, marketing considerations (i.e., consumer reluctance to risk buying a radical new design) could mandate it!

    —and a 150,000mi/10yr warranty should give the Volt a significant marketing advantage over other HEV/BEV/PHEV competitors!


  24. 24
    Tim

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (9:17 am)

    Swimdad623 (#15) has the right idea, but the following needs to be understood:

    April 18, 2008 at 23:47:41
    Brown’s Gas (“HHO”) : Clean, Cheap, and Suppressed Energy
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/life_a_jibbguy_080415_brown_s_gas__28_22hho_22_29_.htm

    “The biggest problem with HHO gas is that it is too cheap and too easily created, and therefore too “dangerous” to the current social model.”

    “Water can be cheaply disassociated into Brown’s Gas / HHO gas (monatomic and diatomic Hydrogen and Oxygen) using efficient electrolyzing techniques which require very little power to operate, or sophistication to build. This is directly contrary to current scientific dogma; which teaches that the creation of useful amounts of Hydrogen requires tens of thousands of watts of power, creating high amounts of heat in the process. This is simply not true: Many people all over the world have home-built working devices that create HHO gas using very little (pulsed) power.” The above article tells how and why this does not break any physical laws.

    “Mr. Daniel Dingle of the Philippines claims to have converted over 100 internal combustion engines to run on HHO ; starting over 30 years ago. Several inventors in Australia and in North America and Europe have also done so.”

    “Without the need for fighting over energy resources or food, two major reasons for war (empire building) are eliminated.” This coupled with insane profits for the energy sector and military-industrial complex is why this technology is suppressed and intentionally confused with H2 fool cells.


  25. 25
    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (9:48 am)

    The Chinese should be thinking about building more electrical CHARGING stations and perhaps some hydrogen fueling stations (for car and truck fleets). I’m for doing pilot tests with hydrogen fuel cells for fleet vehicles. We might as well see what we can and can’t do with fuel cells with those customers first. The carmakers might be able to save some weight and get rid of the IC engine … IF the hydrogen and the fuel cells ever get cheap enough. Gotta reduce the weight of the hydrogen TANKS too and make them super safe.

    Bottom line … for the sake of “peak oil”, energy efficiency AND the environment …. If they are going to be building million dollar fueling stations, China would be wise to build more stations for the cars of the FUTURE, instead of for cars that are will be in decline … internal combustion engine cars.

    The pollution is terrible in China. I’m sure they’d like to “go green” as much as we do. I’m sure the gas prices are driving them nuts. We gotta encourage them to stop building those damn COAL plants too! They are building them like crazy over there. That pollution comes across the planet over to us you know.

    I think this is the main reason Wagoner is optimistic about China. They don’t already have a big gasoline/diesel based transportation infrastructure like in the U.S. and other countries. It’s the same thing with landline telephones vs. cell phone technology. Wireless is huge in China because they didn’t have to build much landline infrastructure. They went straight to 21st century technology while the U.S. and the rest of the world is still getting useful life out of 20th century telecom infrastructure … that’s going more obsolete every year. Who knows, some parts of China might have ultrafast “fiber to the curb” internet technology before we do because we’re stuck with copper technology in the “last mile” from the central office.

    If China has to build some pumps for liquid fuels they should make sure they can pump C85 … C = cellulosic ethanol. We need to phase out the E85 corn ethanol. Corn ethanol is having too much of an impact on food prices and farmers are growing it on prime farmlands when that is not necessary or optimal. You can grow most of these “energy crops” like switchgrass almost anywhere. They’ll probably genetically engineer these “energy crops” to grow in harsher climates and subprime soils. They’ll require little water and be resistant to pests and other plant diseases.

    Actually, I’m hoping that A123, LGChem or somebody comes up with a HUGE breakthrough battery that is quick charging, super energy packed, lightweight, cheap and gives us 300+ miles of range. If that happens we won’t need to worry about liquid fuels OR hydrogen. That would be a dream come true for the environmentalists, the energy independence people … hell, everyone except OPEC and Big Oil. :)

    Everyone will juice up their cars and trucks from the grid or from their solar panels at home. High tech batteries will be what propels cars and trucks for the forseeable future. Eventually we’ll only be driving one kind of EV … a BEV. It’s inevitable.

    Look at all the kinds of hybrids we might be using in the meantime. The “series hybrid” (E-REV) technology that the Volt has will be the best kind.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle_drivetrain#Hybrid_vehicle_operation_modes

    Scientists and engineers working on energy storage have a very bright future. Governments and private industry should be pouring BIG money into battery research and getting the best brains in the world working on this … the more the better. I hope they can “get ‘er done” soon. The world is waiting.


  26. 26
    jdb

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (9:59 am)

    If they’re making it here you’d think we get it first!


  27. 27
    Ed

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (10:08 am)

    GM will have to allow an upgrade to the batteries when they need replacement or the vehicle will have very low resale value. Battery technology will change and advance greatly in 5 years or so. I couldn’t see why GM would oppose upgrading.


  28. 28
    Tim

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (10:31 am)

    Ed (#27) I fear that electric cars may depreciate like personal computers due to the rapid battery, motor and control electronics development that will occur as they become widely accepted. Fortunately, the position of the Volt’s pack appears to make it easily upgraded to a $2K EEStor ultracapacitor with a 400 mile all electric range sometime down the road. One can only hope!

    Then again, petrol fired ICE’s vehicles may have the very same depreciation problem as fuel prices increase and people switch to electric cars.

    Perhaps these will cancel each other out and our automobile investments won’t be devastated virtually over night. We’ll have to wait and see.


  29. 29
    brad

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (12:02 pm)

    I hear this Hydrogen hype all over the place and it doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would anyone want to drive somewhere to fill up your tank when you could just do it at home with a plug. I mean the price would have to be so much cheaper to make the inconvience worth while. In the newer generations people want to do things themselves and not rely on others. Examples are ordering online vs going to the store. Self service gas stations vs full serve. And there is so much more.

    Here is a question: If your laptop ran on gasoline and electricty what would you use? If gasoline was 50% cheaper would it be worth your hassle? There is a lot IF’s you could put there but still what is worth the regular inconvience?


  30. 30
    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (12:16 pm)

    Ed #27

    I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be upgradeable either. For one, the battery may have to be replaced under warranty and just as easily, it could be upgraded. Hopefully there will be a host of after market upgrades available.


  31. 31
    Van

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (12:45 pm)

    Great point, Tim, #28! I had not though of the tipping point where the down side of a non diverse drive train would hurt the gas only resale value, but given the expected rise in gasoline cost, it surly will.


  32. 32
    noel park

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (2:54 pm)

    So, China should build more nuclear power plants to make hydrogen to power GM fuel cell cars, but if Iran builds a nuclear power plant we have to bomb them. As the late, great Frank Zappa’s character Studebaker Hawk said in “Billy the Mountain”, “Wait a minute, give me time to think!”

    #2 Dave B:

    No kidding. When BYD, et al, get geared up, how is the Volt going to compete with them in China? Maybe they can bring in a BYD and stick a bowtie on the front.


  33. 33
    Rockyroad

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (5:15 pm)

    There is always hope … if you can’t buy a new Volt here … you may be able to get a second hand one from Chuna.


  34. 34
    Ted in Fort Myers

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (6:29 pm)

    I really hope GM plans on making the extreme effort in the US FIRST. Lets get all Americans into BEV or E-rev before we start to export the technology to China who is sure to reverse engineer and build a competing vehicle. We must Get us off of petroleum first. Petroleum is killing our economy. We haven’t had a president since Carter who made an enegry policy to benefit the USA. I sure hope we get one soon. And GM where is my mule. 239 410-8826 TED


  35. 35
    Koz

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (7:02 pm)

    Ed (#27) “I fear that electric cars may depreciate like personal computers due to the rapid battery, motor and control electronics development that will occur as they become widely accepted.”

    Let’s hope so. This is one “problem” I can’t wait for.

    Tim #28 “Then again, petrol fired ICE’s vehicles may have the very same depreciation problem as fuel prices increase and people switch to electric cars.”

    ICE will be hit twice as hard if fuel prices continue to rise and EV technology prices drop.

    We can’t get on the electric drive train path soon enough!


  36. 36
    Nixon

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (7:58 pm)

    I understand the benefits for selling in China soon after introduction. Breaking into a new market, spreading R&D costs over more units, cleaning Chinese emissions, etc.

    But if Chevy starts selling these in China, while US Chevy dealers are still raping US buyers for Volts at prices over MSRP due to short supply, I’ll be soooo pissed.

    Look how many years it took for the supply of the Prius to meet demand!


  37. 37
    Jeff M

     

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    Apr 21st, 2008 (11:59 pm)

    All the car makers are very excited about China… they are the world’s biggest growth market for autos.

    Also most folks don’t know this but China already has tougher miles per gallon (whatever their equiv is to our CAFE) than what was just recently passed for CAFE increases over a dozen years from now.

    The automakers claim they can’t do it, it will cost too much, etc, but they are or will have to be doing much better in China.

    Yea, the comment that they should build nuclear power plants to split water into H2 is a joke that most folks are already wise to. It’s just plain so energy inefficient… see all the other posts on this here on this site or just google “hydrogen hoax”. Well to wheel. And it isn’t going to be any cheaper than gasoline is, not to mention you will continued to be tied to big oil who loves the idea as CH4 (natural gas) is the best source of H2.

    And that “Brown’s Gas”, aka “Oxyhydrogen”….it still takes more energy to produce than you get out of it by combustion… and it seems very dangerous to store! See http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/hydrogen1.html for one warning. No such thing as a perpetual motion machine….


  38. 38
    Shawn Marshall

     

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    Apr 22nd, 2008 (2:07 pm)

    If it is so cheap to make Hydrogen gas then why wouldn’t utilities use hydrogen instead of coal or nukes?


  39. 39
    texas

     

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    Apr 22nd, 2008 (8:06 pm)

    I think it’s a bad idea to pitch hydrogen to China. Firstly, if you tell them hydrogen is the way to go then why should they bother with plug-in hybrid technology? They should just do what they’re doing now and wait for 10 years for the hydrogen technology to become affordable. Secondly, I feel the best path for them is to use a PHEV running a diesel engine. This way they can easily convert to biodiesel and slowly get rid of the diesel and eventually move to pure EV when the battery technology catch up. Does anyone really think hydrogen technology will advance faster than battery technology?

    We should do the same here is the US only have flexibility on the range extender. Hummm, that is what we ARE doing. Why, because it makes sense to do so. Are we out building hydrogen infrastructure? No. Sure they have no infrastructure in some areas but can they really afford to move to hydrogen now? No. If the area was making money they would already have gas stations. Right? Hydrogen technology commands the highest prices when compared to other alternative technologies.

    If they are going to build out infrastructure it should be in smart-charging ports at parking lots. Hydrogen will probably never make it for personal transportation due to the wasted steps and efficiency losses when compared to advanced batteries. However, even if hydrogen is used for some applications the charging ports will never be wasted. We can assume that the hydrogen cars will have some plug-in capability because grid electricity will always (ALWAYS) be cheaper than hydrogen.

    If they do decide to build out hydrogen stations they should do it on the highways only. Hydrogen may turn out to be a good idea for heavy transport trucks because although it takes up 4 times the volume of diesel, hydrogen has 3 times the energy content by weight. Weight is one of the most important factors for cargo transportation.

    I think companies should stop pushing hydrogen until there is at least one practical car built. The new Honda is beautiful but I would like to know how it performs in all conditions, how much it costs to operate (cost of hydrogen compared to just electricity), and a good estimate for the cost of the hydrogen systems (assuming they are mass produced). I feel when that is done the pure EV (with quick charge battery technology) will seem light years ahead.

    People are concerned about the procedure to rapidly charge EVs. The answer is very simple. You have quick-charge stations with advanced batteries. The batteries are charged up all day and night (so no huge substation needs to be built). When a car comes to be charged direct battery-to-battery inductive charging is utilized. It will be quick, safe, extremely efficient. The whole system has almost no moving parts at all. Project Better Place proposes the swap-out station. This will also work well and those stations can eventually be converted to quick-charge stations. They will already have the underground storage for the batteries so modification should be fairly simple. If the swap-out station was designed from the start for that eventual conversion then even better.

    If they set their minds to building hydrogen stations they should not spend too much effort in the supply infrastructure. Use natural gas CH4 for now and then move to advanced hydrolizers, should the new technology make it out of the lab. Building out huge hydrogen factories and the massive amount of liquid hydrogen transport trucks would be extremely costly and I believe ultimately wasteful.

    After 5 years a much better analysis can be made regarding the full scale build out of hydrogen infrastructure. It’s my believe that 5 years from now battery technology will look many times better than fuel cell technology. Let’s face the facts. Hydrogen production is inefficient, very difficult to store and requires vastly different and expensive infrastructure. It also ties people to another liquid fuel. Home charging will be more difficult compared to home charging an EV. With an EV you connect the grid or solar panels to the batteries through a simple charger. No moving parts. No water supply, filters to mess with, complex technology to break down that requires a visit from a specialist. Perhaps it’s just too simple for some interested parties.

    Thus, don’t tell the Chinese to go “all out” on hydrogen. Tell them to research it heavily and proceed with caution. Smart charging stations located at every parking spot will always be welcome and will fulfill the private transportation needs of most individuals. A carefully selected range extender (if needed) will fulfill the long travel gaps. Public transportation or long-range vehicle rental would probably be better option there.

    Oh, and suggest they make their cars light and small. Get that culture ingrained as soon as possible! Look how hard we have it here in the US putting tiny Smart cars on the roads with Hummers. It’s probably going to take us 20 years to get those beasts off the roads. If ever! There seems to be trend to just make very large AND green vehicles. When you calculate the amount of energy that actually moves the person it’s quite embarrassing. However, as long as it’s sustainable and we remain competitive in the global marketplace then maybe we can afford that luxury, along with our McHouses. ;)


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    noel park

     

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    Apr 23rd, 2008 (2:49 pm)

    #39 Texas

    I think that your analysis of battery power vs hydrogen is right on target. You are not alone, as many others have made similar arguments here.

    As to telling the Chinese what to do about hydrogen, or anything else, I think that it would be extremely presumptious. China has had an extremely advanced culture and civilization since long before the United States of America was ever even thought of. I am confident that they are quite capable of telling s**t from Shinola without any input whatsoever from Mr. Wagoner, et al.


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    R Tech

     

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    Apr 29th, 2008 (4:14 pm)

    GM VOLT fan,
    There is a company that already has a better battery than A123,
    The company is Altairnano Technology (ALTI). They don’t have overheating problems because they replaced the carbon anode with a Titanium one and it has near 20 year lifetime The problem is they partnered up with Phoenix Auto versus going with GM. It’s like the little guy trying to play in the political arena. They have a great product, If Gm had their product they could be in production this year!