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VW: “Fuel cell cars won’t save the world”

By Joe Romm on November 23, 2007 at 12:18 pm

"VW: “Fuel cell cars won’t save the world”"

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Looks like the beginning of a trend toward realism:

One of the most senior forward-thinkers at Europe’s bigger car-maker … Volkswagen’s head of research Dr Jurgen Leohold told Autocar that he thinks fuel cell cars like VW’s own HyMotion Touran research car are not the future of alternative power, and are only really being developed as a sop to ever-tightening emissions laws in places such as California.

Describing them as a “marketing exercise,” he said their inherent problem lies with producing
the hydrogen fuel to power them, and in establishing an infrastructure of hydrogen filling stations. “Because hydrogen has to be produced using existing power, CO2 emissions are still an issue,” he said.

Ouch!

But if not hydrogen, what could possibly be the answer?

Instead, Dr Leohold reckons the immediate future of alternative power for cars lies with biofuels
and beyond that with battery power, and we’ll see huge improvements in battery technology in the next five years. “You can see it already in mobile phone and computer batteries,” he said.

It would be nice if GM or Honda would make such a statement.

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5 Responses to VW: “Fuel cell cars won’t save the world”

  1. Eric Sutherland says:

    Another devastating blow to the pseustainability movement.

  2. Ken Armstrong says:

    Dear sirs,

    I am new to your web page so I do not know whether you have looked into Compressed Air Technology (CAT) as a viable option. Please see attached link

    http://www.theaircar.com/index.html

    Best regards

  3. Lisa Roberts says:

    The only thing stopping a working hydrogen cell is money. Money, that won’t be going into the pockets of the big powers.

    There are fuel cells that use water to make hydrogen there would be no need for hydrogen filling stations. It would change the economy too much I suppose for the average person to not have to buy fuel.

    Compressed air could be used too but again the people who control money aren’t going to go for it.

    Someone could probably make some big bucks selling plans for a hydrogen cell that produces hydrogen from water that can be installed on a vehicle. The people who could do this probably do fear for their lives…

  4. Joe says:

    Sorry — hydrogen cells don’t make hydrogen from water. Electrolyzers, do — and they need tons of old-style electricity to do so.

  5. Theodore says:

    As a hydrogen advocate, I see criticism of fuel cell vehicles based on the assertion that carbon emissions are still a problem as completely absurd. I don’t advocate the use of hydrogen produced by any carbon-fueled process, and I cannot imagine why environmentally concerned readers of Climate Progress would consider such a system. The basic assumption of the hydrogen vehicle concept is that renewable energy will be used to generate the hydrogen. If not, then it is unsupportable. It comes entirely to a question of cost. Until the whole process has been tested by substantial commercialization, I would never dream of having any confidence in projections that paint the electrolysis option as too expensive. We should withhold judgements about cost until substantial commercialization makes a ruling. Until then, it’s just a debate between variously deficient imaginations.