Honda FCX. Impressions?

Honda has been advertising a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle called the FCX, and has created a companion web site for it as well.

They claim the car will only be available for lease in southern California in mid-2008 due to hydrogen fuel station availability.

What does everyone think about this? Is the car a viable vehicle? Will hydrogen stations begin appearing around the country over the next decade? Does the energy conversion of hydrogen make logical sense?

This car is a market test. No automaker is willing to mass produce fuel cell vehicles yet. So FCX, is not a viable car, it’s just Honda testing the waters.

As far as Hydrogen fuel stations popping up anywhere…it isn’t going to happen as long as the government controls every aspect of mass fuel production. But hey, they have given us ethanol…look how well thats working out!

Very well indeed as it’s not contaminating the ground water supplies like MTBE was.

How are ethanol and MTBE related?

ethanol has replaced MTBE as the gas additive/octane booster of choice.


Alcohol fuel - Wikipedia (ethanol)

Since 1992, MTBE has been used at higher concentrations in some gasoline to fulfill the oxygenate requirements set by the United States Congress in Clean Air Act amendments; however, since 1999, in California and other locations MTBE has begun to be phased out because of groundwater contamination (California Air Resources Board, 2004). Due to its higher solubility in water MTBE moves more quickly than other fuel components (California Air Resources Board, 2004). The Energy Policy Act of 2005 reduces the federal requirement for oxygen content in reformulated gasoline[2].

In 1995 high levels of MTBE were unexpectedly discovered in the water wells of Santa Monica, California, and the U.S. Geological Survey reported detections.[3] Subsequent U.S. findings indicate tens of thousands of contaminated sites in water wells distributed across the country. As per toxicity alone, MTBE is not classified as a hazard for the environment. The maximum contaminant level of MTBE in drinking water has not yet been established by the EPA. The leakage problem is partially attributed to the lack of effective regulations for underground storage tanks, but spillage from overfilling remains an important upset scenario. As an ingredient in unleaded gasoline, MTBE is the most soluble part. When dissolved in groundwater, MTBE will lead the contaminant plume with the remaining components such as benzene, toluene, etc. to follow. Thus the discovery of MTBE in public groundwater wells indicates that the contaminant source was a gasoline release. Its criticism and subsequent decreased usage, some claim, is more a product of its easy detectability (taste) in extremely low concentrations (ppb) than its toxicity, as benzene is much more toxic but remains a fuel additive. The MTBE concentrations used in the EU (usually 1.0?1.6%) and allowed (maximum 5%) in Europe are lower than in California.

Ethanol isn’t an additive used for oxygenation. E85 is 85% Ethanol. I’m confused at the connection you’re making between ethanol and MTBE.

MTBE doesn’t contaminate ground water, leaking fuel tanks contaminate ground water.

I don’t have any problem with going off topic, but I think it’s interesting that this conversation went from hydrogen to ethanol.

I would love to see more discussion about how people feel about hydrogen fuel cells. The real ones, not the “mileage increasing” infomercial models that seem to be taking center stage in these discussion boards lately.

I took a course in college about 4 years ago now that looked at the feasibility of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The technology hasn’t improved much, at least not that I know of, in that time. Our class concluded that there is no low-cost way to produce the amount of hydrogen required to power our nation’s vehicles.

The best hydrogen source we found was biological, like algae farms, but the square footage required for them is incredible - much like the farm sizes necessary to produce enough corn for ethanol. It just doesn’t fit with our current way of life. Ideally hydrogen would work if we could use water as a fuel source, but that technology isn’t ready. The most readily-available hydrogen source is oil-based, so that doesn’t solve our upcoming energy crisis either.

I think hydrogen fuel cells are much the same as current gasoline/electric hybrids, ethanol, and even plug-in electrics. The technology just isn’t ready to replace gasoline and diesel. I think, if they are ever widely used, it will be as an intermim measure as we switch to a better technology.

I think Hydrogen will be the portable fuel of the future. Its not ready for prime time yet, but all new technologies have to go through a development stage. It will probably not be a cheap fuel though.

In its early stages, gasoline was not the choice of fuel for automobiles, alcohol was. Gasoline was a hazardous waste byproduct of petroleum refineries that was too explosive for any use. Eventually technology was able to adapt engines to use gasoline safely.

I came across an interesting article the other day. It seems that Ford wanted to use alcohol as the fuel for his model T, but Rockefeller has all this waste product to get rid of. Rockefeller donated $4 million to the Temperance movement to ban Alcohol production in the US, effectively forcing Ford to adopt Gasoline. Interesting twist on the Prohibition era.