GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

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Thread: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

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    GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    http://ctv2.theglobeandmail.com/serv...N/ctv-business

    “They'll tell you that after the first week, they pretty much forget it's a fuel cell car, which indicates to us that we have accomplished our goal of making the fuel cell transparent to the consumer,” said Daniel O'Connell, director of fuel cell commercialization at GM's research and development offices in Honeoye Falls, near Rochester.

    “They get in the car and drive it like they've always driven their cars, and that really tells me that fuel cells are closer than most people would believe,” he said.

    Supporters see the fuel cell becoming a mainstream, eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-powered cars within the next decade. Powered by electricity, generated by a reaction between oxygen and hydrogen, the only emissions are wisps of water vapour.

    “You put your hand over the exhaust pipe and the only thing coming out is water. That was such a cool feeling,” said Mike Schwabl, a marketing executive who drove an Equinox for 10 days in western New York earlier this year. Other drivers tried cars in Washington, D.C., and southern California.

    The cars look and handle like any other car, Mr. Schwabl said. “I would love to drive one of these vehicles (permanently).”

    But numerous obstacles remain for GM and its competitors in the fuel cell race. Toyota Motor Corp. introduced a car powered by hydrogen and electricity last year and will introduce an improved hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in 2015. Daimler AG has spent nearly $2-billion and plans to spend another $700-million by 2011 for the commercial production of fuel cell vehicles, while Honda has leased a small number of FCX Clarity vehicles in California to assess hydrogen's future.

    Auto companies do not disclose costs, but the vehicles are expensive to produce because most are hand-built prototypes. Also, the nation lacks a network of fuelling stations.

    Improving technology should allow the next cars to go farther than the current 270 kilometres per fill-up, Mr. O'Connell said. Until then, drivers have to keep a close eye on the fuel gauge to avoid drifting too far from one of about 70 fuelling stations in the United States.

    Test driver Laurie DeRoller learned that the hard way, stalling out eight kilometres short of the filling station in Honeoye Falls during a weekend test drive in May. GM sent a flatbed to take it away.

    “It was a rural road, we're talking cars that are mostly farmland type vehicles and people are driving by, and here's myself on the side of the road with the fuel cell car,” said Ms. DeRoller, executive director of the International Business Council of Greater Rochester. “And people are slowing down and looking,” she laughed.

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    I can tell you from my drive of it, that it's completely normal. The only thing that tells you it's not a normal hybrid is that there's no engine that comes on when you stab the throttle. Just a steady, urgent rush upwards in speed.

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    I'm impressed by all these advancements, and I'm sure that we will become oil independent someday, but I'm saddened that the sound of the automobile will change (disappear). I'm sure I'm not the only one that loves to hear a V8 rumble and roar as you build up to redline. That's what worries me the most being an enthusiast that just loves to drive for the sake of driving, rather than just to go places.
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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by 5.3Avalanche View Post
    I'm impressed by all these advancements, and I'm sure that we will become oil independent someday, but I'm saddened that the sound of the automobile will change (disappear). I'm sure I'm not the only one that loves to hear a V8 rumble and roar as you build up to redline. That's what worries me the most being an enthusiast that just loves to drive for the sake of driving, rather than just to go places.
    Ya I understand and feel the same way. All I can say is keep an old car around. You'll need it in the future to go on a nostalgic weekend drive.

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Hydrogen fuel cells do not make sense from a physics point of view. You can drive at least twice as far in a Plug-in electric car (such as the Volt) using the same amount of energy.

    Hydrogen fuel cells have been a diversion from the real solution of energy independence - Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the range extender. The needed infrastructure is virtually 100% deployed to recharge a plug-in electric and, by even the most optimistic estimates, it will take ten years and Billions of dollars to deploy the needed infrastructure for hydrogen refueling. And even if we did, you could still travel twice as far on the energy needed to make, store and use hydrogen if you simply put the energy into a battery. Hydrogen has been a costly diversion from the real solution.....

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by edsuski View Post
    Hydrogen fuel cells do not make sense from a physics point of view. You can drive at least twice as far in a Plug-in electric car (such as the Volt) using the same amount of energy.

    Hydrogen fuel cells have been a diversion from the real solution of energy independence - Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the range extender. The needed infrastructure is virtually 100% deployed to recharge a plug-in electric and, by even the most optimistic estimates, it will take ten years and Billions of dollars to deploy the needed infrastructure for hydrogen refueling. And even if we did, you could still travel twice as far on the energy needed to make, store and use hydrogen if you simply put the energy into a battery. Hydrogen has been a costly diversion from the real solution.....
    I would say you were right a few years ago. This is no longer the case when improvements are made to the technology each week. The next generation fuel cell from GM is 3-4 times smaller and up to 250% more efficient.

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by fp115 View Post
    I would say you were right a few years ago. This is no longer the case when improvements are made to the technology each week. The next generation fuel cell from GM is 3-4 times smaller and up to 250% more efficient.
    Please share your data and any sources you might have with us. What you are claiming far exceeds the Carnot limits of efficiency. Which would, of course, be impossible. Therefore I will assume you are trying to communicate something other than what I am reading from your statement. Tell us again how efficiently the most efficient automotive fuel cell (real life not laboratory) is running?

    Also, keep in mind that most people think that hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells will come from water. Stripping the hydrogen atom from water is very difficult and requires a lot of energy. Next, the hydrogen needs to be compressed to as high as 10,000 psi. As you can imagine, this requires a lot of energy and generates a lot of wasted heat energy. Finally, the compressed hydrogen needs to be "burned" or reacted in the fuel cell and the efficiency of todays best automotive fuel cells is about 50%. That is better than internal combustion engines, but far less than batteries.

    And of course, we would still need a completely new infrastructure to refuel hydrogen vehicles at a cost of Billions and ten plus years. Hydrogen is simply a diversion from the real solution.

    Please - back up your claims with some real information.

    Thanks.

    Ed

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by edsuski View Post
    Please share your data and any sources you might have with us. What you are claiming far exceeds the Carnot limits of efficiency. Which would, of course, be impossible. Therefore I will assume you are trying to communicate something other than what I am reading from your statement. Tell us again how efficiently the most efficient automotive fuel cell (real life not laboratory) is running?

    Also, keep in mind that most people think that hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells will come from water. Stripping the hydrogen atom from water is very difficult and requires a lot of energy. Next, the hydrogen needs to be compressed to as high as 10,000 psi. As you can imagine, this requires a lot of energy and generates a lot of wasted heat energy. Finally, the compressed hydrogen needs to be "burned" or reacted in the fuel cell and the efficiency of todays best automotive fuel cells is about 50%. That is better than internal combustion engines, but far less than batteries.

    And of course, we would still need a completely new infrastructure to refuel hydrogen vehicles at a cost of Billions and ten plus years. Hydrogen is simply a diversion from the real solution.

    Please - back up your claims with some real information.

    Thanks.

    Ed
    Firstly hydrogen is NOT only stripped from water, there are hundreds and possibly thousands of ways to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen used in GM's applications are liquid hydrogen because it is easier to store and use.

    The oil industry is now starting to invest into Hydrogen fuelling stations. The government of China has invested billions into it already. The next generation Volt will likely have a fuel cell range-extender in China because of all their advancements. The US will be way behind unless the investments made continue to grow.

    As for proof, not everything can be shown, you will simply have to wait for the announcement of GM's next generation system which fits on most of the cars. Along with the announcement of the next generation two-mode that also fits on most cars. Just remember some people have more privileges than others

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    I am excited that GM continues these fuel cell tests as more and more ingenious methods for hydrogen generation and storage keep being devised and perfected. Fuel cells could play a role in a broad spectrum approach in breaking our dependence on fossil fuels, complimenting batteries, hydrogen and bio-fueled ICE cars, air cars and more. Very exciting times and I am glad that many avenues are being explored. I feel that having all cars being plug-in ERVs would leave us vulnerable all over again...just one EMP from a low-yield sub-orbital nuke detonation could fry the electrical grid of the US for days or weeks....so cars that can run on biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells or hydrogen ICE powerplants could prevent full paralysis of our transport system. Plus I'd hate to see us held hostage to singular sources of lithium or nickel.
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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by fp115 View Post
    Firstly hydrogen is NOT only stripped from water, there are hundreds and possibly thousands of ways to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen used in GM's applications are liquid hydrogen because it is easier to store and use.

    The oil industry is now starting to invest into Hydrogen fuelling stations. The government of China has invested billions into it already. The next generation Volt will likely have a fuel cell range-extender in China because of all their advancements. The US will be way behind unless the investments made continue to grow.

    As for proof, not everything can be shown, you will simply have to wait for the announcement of GM's next generation system which fits on most of the cars. Along with the announcement of the next generation two-mode that also fits on most cars. Just remember some people have more privileges than others
    For someone who "has more privileges than others," you sure don't have all of your GM Fuel Cell facts straight. That's OK, not everyone can be an expert in everything

    The hydrogen used in GM's fuel cell vehicles, such as the Equinox is not liquid, it's gas.

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by Buick61 View Post
    For someone who "has more privileges than others," you sure don't have all of your GM Fuel Cell facts straight. That's OK, not everyone can be an expert in everything

    The hydrogen used in GM's fuel cell vehicles, such as the Equinox is not liquid, it's gas.
    I don't claim to know everything, BUT the one they were testing at the shop was liquid...

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by fp115 View Post
    Firstly hydrogen is NOT only stripped from water, there are hundreds and possibly thousands of ways to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen used in GM's applications are liquid hydrogen because it is easier to store and use.
    No one claimed that the only way to get hydrogen was to strip it from a water molecule only that most people seemed to believe that that is where it would come from. Seems really great - doesn't it. Power your car with water. Of course, the fact is that most hydrogen is being produced using hydro-carbon fuels such as natural gas in a process called natural gas reforming etc. Keep in mind that these are the same fossil fuels that we are trying to replace with the failed "promise of hydrogen". Doesn't sound so green when you realize that now does it? [/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by fp115 View Post
    The oil industry is now starting to invest into Hydrogen fuelling stations. The government of China has invested billions into it already. The next generation Volt will likely have a fuel cell range-extender in China because of all their advancements. The US will be way behind unless the investments made continue to grow.
    No they are not. Where is your proof? Governments, including ours, are wasting millions on fuel cell cars so they can “claim” they are supporting energy independence, but not infrastructure. The oil companies would like to convince you that they and others are working on hydrogen in earnest, so that they can continue to sell oil for at least the next 10 - 20 years while the needed infrastructure to fuel hydrogen cars is built out. Oh – and by the way, do you think they would like to control hydrogen like they controlled gasoline? Hydrogen is simply a distraction from the real solution of energy independence for this country and people like you who continue to be fooled by it are helping to delay that independence. Meanwhile, lives are being lost.

    Think about this for a moment. We could build an entirely new infrastructure that is not needed today and not used for anything other than hydrogen vehicles - or we could use the existing electrical infrastructure that is sufficient to recharge (according the the DOT) 85% of the existing passenger vehicles and light trucks WITHOUT adding a single wire or power station to the grid - so long as we recharge during off-peak times. Virtually 100% of the needed infrastructure is deployed today (even to your home) and, by the way, used for thousands of other critical uses across the country. Do you really think we should proceed with this ridiculous hydrogen infrastructure? Since the oil men left the White House with the previous administration the science advisor to the president looked at the problem and came to the obvious conclusion that hydrogen would not contribute significantly to energy independence in the next decade and recommended stopping the funding. Science - not rhetoric.

    Quote Originally Posted by fp115 View Post
    As for proof, not everything can be shown, you will simply have to wait for the announcement of GM's next generation system which fits on most of the cars. Along with the announcement of the next generation two-mode that also fits on most cars. Just remember some people have more privileges than others
    As for your delusion that you somehow have more "privileges" than the rest of us - I would suggest that the simple privilege of a high school education that included a chemistry class would allow you to understand that hydrogen production is less efficient than simply taking the energy you would have used to produce the hydrogen and charge a battery. Independent of where the energy came from (solar, wind, coal, nuclear etc.).

    About twice the range today (per kWh input) using batteries and the infrastructure is in place now. As for how many vehicles the next generation fuel cell systems will fit in is irrelevant until the 10 plus year, multi-Billion dollar infrastructure is completed.

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by fp115 View Post
    I would say you were right a few years ago. This is no longer the case when improvements are made to the technology each week. The next generation fuel cell from GM is 3-4 times smaller and up to 250% more efficient.
    No, he is even more right now. Battery tech got better as well.

    Fuel -> Electricity -> Battery <-> Motor -> Wheel

    Fuel -> (Electricity or Heat) -> Hydrogen -> Compression -> Fuel Cell -> Electricity -> Battery <-> Motor -> Wheel

    You need a breakthrough in production of H2 that results in a higher efficiency produced locally (we're nowhere near that) and spending money pursuing it is a waste compared to funding battery research which benefits many more products.
    Last edited by goblue; 09-14-2009 at 08:38 AM.

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by goblue View Post
    No, he is even more right now. Battery tech got better as well.

    Fuel -> Electricity -> Battery <-> Motor -> Wheel

    Fuel -> (Electricity or Heat) -> Hydrogen -> Compression -> Fuel Cell -> Electricity -> Battery <-> Motor -> Wheel

    You need a breakthrough in production of H2 that results in a higher efficiency produced locally (we're nowhere near that) and spending money pursuing it is a waste compared to funding battery research which benefits many more products.
    goblue,

    Why is this so difficult for people to grasp? This is basic thermodynamics.

    Ed

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    Re: GM rolls past 1million mile in fuel cell demo

    Quote Originally Posted by edsuski View Post
    goblue,

    Why is this so difficult for people to grasp? This is basic thermodynamics.

    Ed
    I don't know. I think its sort of like music. Most people could learn to play, but only a small group can PLAY - they just know it and understand it. I sort of think of engineering in the same theme. Many people could learn it - and regurgitate memorized facts, like reading music - but a much smaller group just intrinsically understand it.

    For people who get it - the pathway is obvious. But like anything else, things could change. The ability to produce H2 locally and net energy negative (using a sun driven enzymatic reaction with high production density) could change everything.

    That's the issue, right? H2 doesn't just have to equal batteries - and I don't think most people realize fuel cells share much in common with batteries - they have to exceed it in energy efficiency by a large margin to make up for all the costs.

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