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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I did a Google search for the cost of fuel cell stacks and I was getting numbers from $4500/kW (October 2003)
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2003/Oct/Scientists_Struggle.htm
http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/20044/newsDate/6-Mar-2003/story.htm
to projections of $176/kW. This wide discrepancy cleared up when I came across this 2008 article:
http://www.gm.com/explore/education/9-12/fuels_energy/hydrogen_challenges.html

We are truly in the midst of rapid advances in energy technologies. I am thrilled that our technology innovators are rising to the challenges of the end of our cheap oil era.
 

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That's a good optimistic way of viewing the trend! And it could go down further. So a 20 kW system would cost around $3,520. That's really good, especially for supplying electricity to some crucial buildings that we have.
 

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I knew that fuel cells had to be decreasing in price. Announcements about Nickel-Platinum alloys to replace pure platinum, including non-platinum nanostructures, as well as new membrane materials and laminations, all led me to believe that the fuel cell was only small multiples more expensive than the latest ICE's. The new materials meant that those catalysts would not degrade as much over time, which means using far less, while also increasing their activity, also meaning they use of far less.

If the fuel cell is only small multiples more than an ICE, which is $1,500, then a fuel cell vehicle would only cost $3,000 - $6,000 more than a standard vehicle. I know that many early adopters would happily pay that small premium for the greenest of vehicles.
 

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If that is true and I hope it is then fuel cells have come a long long way much faster than was predicted. That is a small premium for escaping from gasoline.

What is the cheapest way to get hydrogen right now and how does that compare with electricity cost to drive the volt 40 miles?
 

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If that is true and I hope it is then fuel cells have come a long long way much faster than was predicted. That is a small premium for escaping from gasoline.

What is the cheapest way to get hydrogen right now and how does that compare with electricity cost to drive the volt 40 miles?
I believe it is GM's intention to offer the fuel cell with the same type of 40 mile battery pack, so that you drive 80% of the time on home electricity, and 20% of the time on hydrogen. Really, you should compare hydrogen to gasoline for economics, as the fuel cell is only a range extender.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Batteries vs. Hydrogen

What is the cheapest way to get hydrogen right now and how does that compare with electricity cost to drive the volt 40 miles?
There are two dimensions that have to be considered: energy costs (depends on efficiency) vs. equipment costs.

Hydrogen, per unit energy, in general costs ~2X more than battery recharging. With the recent drops in fuel cell stack cost, the equipment investment is lower. But if fuel cell EV does not batteries, it has to supply peak power demands ~ 160 kW
@$176/kW is $28,000. If the EV has batteries (~$3000), then it can just recharge the battery. ICE power is 53kW. Fuel cell stack costs ~ $9300.

Batteries, charged from the grid costs $0.10/kWHr. Battery equipment costs ~ $3000, can easily supply peak power Volt's peak power needs, and give 40 mile EPA City driving .
 

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Ha! Hydrogen equipment cheaper than batteries? I will believe it when I see it. No way on earth! Can we buy a system on the market? Nope. It's all projection. Enerdel is also projecting very low costs. I just think people have not really looked into the complexity of the hydrogen system. It includes not only the stack but the high pressure storage system and all connection hardware. No way is that cheaper than batteries. Again, we will have to wait about five years to see who is right. BEV will win on multiple fronts - initial hardware cost - efficiency of operation - maintenance - cost of operation - simplicity - durability... etc. It will not even be close. Put your dollar bet down and come back for the Summer 2013 forum review thread. We will all get a laugh.
 

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Ha! Hydrogen equipment cheaper than batteries? I will believe it when I see it. No way on earth! Can we buy a system on the market? Nope. It's all projection. Enerdel is also projecting very low costs. I just think people have not really looked into the complexity of the hydrogen system. It includes not only the stack but the high pressure storage system and all connection hardware. No way is that cheaper than batteries. Again, we will have to wait about five years to see who is right. BEV will win on multiple fronts - initial hardware cost - efficiency of operation - maintenance - cost of operation - simplicity - durability... etc. It will not even be close. Put your dollar bet down and come back for the Summer 2013 forum review thread. We will all get a laugh.
Hydrogen generation, storage and propulsion doesn't have to be cheaper than batteries, it only has to be cheaper than gasoline, as the fuel cell will be used as a range extender in a PFCV.
 

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Hydrogen generation, storage and propulsion doesn't have to be cheaper than batteries, it only has to be cheaper than gasoline, as the fuel cell will be used as a range extender in a PFCV.
I agree 100% Jason. Now factor in the ever decreasing cost of Solar cells. Then imagine a time when every fueling station has a bank of low cost solar cells on it's roof connected to hydrogen generators cracking hydrogen from water. Couple that with E-Flex BEEV's and fuel cell range extenders and you have the basis of a system that becomes virtually zero emisions, offers quick refueling for longer trips, and does not send a dime to dictators who hate us.

I smell a win-win in there someplace.
 
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