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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Is There a Hydrogen Car in Your Future? -- By Steve Maley, RedState

JLC1_by-car_lgJamie Lee Curtis loves her Honda Clarity in Star Garnet Metallic. (Honda promotional photo.)

A couple of weeks back, I blogged about the State of California’s use of monthly user fees on utilities to create massive programs to benefit alternative energy (“Robbin’ the ‘Hood”: California’s Green Energy Schemes Benefit the Well-Connected). One of the highlighted programs will build 10 refueling stations for hydrogen vehicles at a cost of $15 million. That’s chump change compared to the $1.6  billion total the state spends to encourage green programs, but at $66,000 per H2 vehicle currently on the road, it seems a bit … lavish.

But what the hey,

Most of the hydrogen vehicles currently on the road in California are powered by fuel cells, not hydrogen combustion. Inside a fuel cell, oxygen and hydrogen combine to form water vapor. Electricity is created in the process and is stored in on-board batteries. NASA has always used fuel cells to generate electricity in space vehicles.

General Motors, Diamler and BMW have hydrogen vehicles in research or on the road as limited test-market vehicles (BMW’s version is a gasoline-hybrid internal combustion engine, not a fuel cell). The industry leader is Honda.

To a select market in Southern California, Honda offers very attractive terms on its Clarity FCX model:
  • 36 month lease @ $600 per month (total of payments = $21,600)
  • Lease includes maintenance and collision insurance*
  • Available in any color, as long as it’s Star Garnet Metallic.
Why Southern California? That’s where the dealerships and refueling stations are. The Clarity has a range of about 240 miles, so you don’t want to wander far away. Fuel cells have problems with freezing weather. Perhaps most importantly to Honda’s corporate goals, Southern California is where the target market of eco-friendly celebrities lives. As we will see, the Clarity is more about PR than it is about profitability.

From Wikipedia:
Hydrogen fuel cells are relatively expensive to produce. As of October 2009, Fortune magazine estimated the cost of producing the Honda Clarity at $300,000 per car. Many designs require rare substances such as platinum as a catalyst. In 2010, a new nickel-tin nanometal catalyst was tested to lower the cost of fuel cells.
Little wonder that Honda plans to make “about 200″ vehicles available to the SoCal market over the next 3 years. Assuming they “only” lose $250,000 per unit, that’s a $50,000,000 cost. For that, Honda reinforces its claim on the title of “Greenest Automaker“.

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