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Is hydrogen vehicles right around the corner?

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posted on May, 30 2020 @ 02:01 PM
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So I figured I'd switch things up and present a different topic for us to talk about. I've been following this for a while and have been meaning to do a thread on it.

Nikola Motors is about to complete their merger soon, and are expected to start rolling out trucks in a little over a year (maybe some hiccups in the timeline given current events).

They have a very interesting business model that goes beyond the semi trucks. They claim they will sell the trucks, and also build 700 stations in the next few years. They plan to accomplish this by building the first hydrogen fuel spots on the routes of the big truck orders. So if you tell them you'll by X amount of trucks, and have a couple large shipping lanes, they'll make sure you have a place to refuel. They also claim the trucks will perform on par or outperform diesel rivals.


Now, there's a lot of different angles we could look at this... And since we've all seen the climate debates before and are likely not changing anyone's mind. So let's just talk about this in the context of a free market where hydrogen would have to win out on it's own with benefits to the consumer.

We've come a long way with renewable clean energy, but one of the biggest problems with it has been storage. During peak you could be creating quite a bit of energy, but given the make up of the grid, sometimes those places need large battery arrays to be able to store the power for a time when demand will consume it. Nikola is aiming to tackle that by making hydrogen on site of the refueling stations that are solar powered and subsidized by the grid for times solar doesn't satisfy the energy requirements to make the hydrogen. The hydrogen inside the trucks is not combusted, but rather used to generate electricity to drive the electric motors in the truck.


Aside from this being a cleaner energy (we have to assume they'll use grid power which some will come from more traditional fuels), they claim there will be cost benefits due to the resource being made on site without transportation. I think the cost relation to diesel at this time will probably be comparable, but they'll have to prove it will win out in the long run.

I'm excited to see what happens here as it could also spell out greater energy independence if we're creating more of a domestic mix of energy. While they haven't expressed much interest in the consumer vehicle end (other than a pickup truck which looks badass, and I'll include a picture), there are several notable car manufactures looking at that space.


*Disclaimer, most of these claims come directly from their site. Once the merger is finalized, Nikola will be a publicly traded company, so all claims are just that until proven*

So what say you ATS? Are you on board if the technology comes out to be comparably priced with similar ranges and performance? Any skepticism in hydrogen as a fuel source as a whole?




posted on May, 30 2020 @ 04:23 PM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker

Clean straight deal. Daimler and Volvo were just few weeks back forming a joint venture to aim at the same. It is therefor great to see Nikola getting there first.



posted on May, 30 2020 @ 04:37 PM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker


Nuff said.
SOLD!!!


They could make it look like a Ford Pinto. With that kind of range.



posted on May, 30 2020 @ 04:48 PM
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originally posted by: deckdel
a reply to: CriticalStinker

Clean straight deal. Daimler and Volvo were just few weeks back forming a joint venture to aim at the same. It is therefor great to see Nikola getting there first.


I think they're going to try and capture more of the passenger vehicle market. If Nikola is successful with their venture to build the stations, they'll get most of they energy sales... It's shaping up to be an interesting competition to fossil fuels.

The prices will have to be competitive though, the fact the car will put off water as emissions will just be a bonus.



posted on May, 30 2020 @ 04:50 PM
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a reply to: Bigburgh

Yea the electric cars have proven to be cool minus their range and charging time. The electric motors have almost instant torque and don't lose as much power since they can be put inline with the wheels so you don't lose energy in differentials.

If hydrogen makes it so that you can fuel up and max out your range again, I see it as highly viable so long as they can control price.

I'd also be excited to see us mix up our energy dependence especially with something that can be produced on demand and domestically so our interests abroad aren't as interesting.



posted on May, 31 2020 @ 03:22 AM
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a reply to: deckdel
BMW teamed up with Toyota on their latest hydrogen car. Not surprising since BMW builds the new Supra engines and Bavarian automotive parts suppliers having strong connections to Japan. Nissan used the Getrag gearbox for their 6 speed R34 GTR just being one example. Getrag now belongs to Magna, Canadian company.

Hydrogen cars have always been lurking, storage and lack of distribution networks have been hurdles just like the full electric cars faced with the battery tech. Then Tesla came and built up their supercharger network in Europe.

Personally I dig the electric cars with their torque but a dirty greasy combustion engine on high rpms will always have the inner child in me drawn to it.



posted on May, 31 2020 @ 03:38 AM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker

using hydrogen is a bit of a backwards move unless these companys have already made largescale biomass plants to produce it. the usual way is to make hydrogen out of fossil fuels which defeats the benfits of burning clean. its better using the electricity directly for transport instead of using an extra process



posted on May, 31 2020 @ 04:26 AM
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originally posted by: suicideeddie
a reply to: CriticalStinker

using hydrogen is a bit of a backwards move unless these companys have already made largescale biomass plants to produce it. the usual way is to make hydrogen out of fossil fuels which defeats the benfits of burning clean. its better using the electricity directly for transport instead of using an extra process



You can make hydrogen from seawater via electrolysis in plants powered by solar and wind generated electricity. This is the plan for excess wind and solar energy produced in South Australia. The long term plan is to export green hydrogen as well as replace the natural gas supply with hydrogen in the same infrastructure. I think hydrogen vehicles are the way of the future.



posted on May, 31 2020 @ 09:52 AM
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originally posted by: harold223

originally posted by: suicideeddie
a reply to: CriticalStinker

using hydrogen is a bit of a backwards move unless these companys have already made largescale biomass plants to produce it. the usual way is to make hydrogen out of fossil fuels which defeats the benfits of burning clean. its better using the electricity directly for transport instead of using an extra process



You can make hydrogen from seawater via electrolysis in plants powered by solar and wind generated electricity. This is the plan for excess wind and solar energy produced in South Australia. The long term plan is to export green hydrogen as well as replace the natural gas supply with hydrogen in the same infrastructure. I think hydrogen vehicles are the way of the future.


Seawater must first be desalinated or for every pound of hydrogen you make, you will make 35.5 pounds of chlorine. If you go to the trouble of desalinating water, the dry parts of Australia might have a better use for it.



posted on May, 31 2020 @ 11:22 AM
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originally posted by: suicideeddie
a reply to: CriticalStinker

using hydrogen is a bit of a backwards move unless these companys have already made largescale biomass plants to produce it. the usual way is to make hydrogen out of fossil fuels which defeats the benfits of burning clean. its better using the electricity directly for transport instead of using an extra process



Nikola claims they'll be making Hydrogen on site at the stations using primarily clean energy. But they did say they will have to supplement some of the energy mix at times.

So to be fair, we'll just say from a green aspect it's to be proven.

But as I said in OP, I'm more interested in is this an energy that can eventually be produced domestically for a lower price than petrol.

Because aside from cost, electric (and subsequently Hydrogen) have many other benefits like instant torque and the ability to have motors for each wheel.



posted on Jun, 1 2020 @ 11:55 AM
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This sounds almost too good to be true. I really hope it's the real deal. I can tell you this though, you will likely not see too many of those vehicles in Michigan.



posted on Jun, 1 2020 @ 02:29 PM
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originally posted by: ManSizedSquirrel
This sounds almost too good to be true. I really hope it's the real deal. I can tell you this though, you will likely not see too many of those vehicles in Michigan.


If it turns out to be fiscally comperable, the other benefits of the technology would outweigh traditional vehicles IMO. You'll see them everywhere (if this all pans out).



posted on Jun, 2 2020 @ 06:56 AM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker

Damn that would be awesome! I would really love for this to be a reality. A close friend of mine is an engineer at one of the Big Three. I remember him talking to me about their work with hydrogen, this was about eight or nine years ago. If I recall, I remember him being particularly frustrated with his employer favoring pure electric over hydrogen. I'm sure it was much easier to roll out a battery powered car than it was to figure out how to practically develop a hydrogen car on a mass level.



posted on Jun, 2 2020 @ 07:46 AM
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Here is a video of Bob Lazar and his hydrogen corvette.



posted on Jun, 2 2020 @ 10:30 AM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker

Hydrogen is a low energy density fuel and PEM fuel cells have limited lifetimes, say 30k to 50k miles before replacement. The infrastructure and vehicles are best suited to out and back trips, like buses and delivery trucks. This also works for battery powered vehicles without the 30% energy penalty for electrolysis, so there is no real advantage to hydrogen.
If one can get low cost hydrogen, a better option would be to reduce atmospheric CO2 with it to make methanol or hydrocarbon fuels and use them in IC engines or fuel cells. This will provide ready refueling with existing or minimally modified infrastructure, longer ranges than hydrogen powered vehicles, and easier handling of fuels for the consumer.



posted on Jun, 2 2020 @ 12:07 PM
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Putting the infrastructure in place is the hard part. There are hydrogen vehicles on the road right now like the Honda Clarity but mostly they're just driving between hydrogen fueling stations.

Researchers and developers are right on the edge of creating game-changer solid electrolyte batteries that charge nearly instantly and run a car farther with reasonable performance than a tank of gas. At that point, there's no reason to keep making sloppy, inefficient gas-powered cars or to fiddle with complex systems like hydrogen.

electrek.co...



posted on Jun, 2 2020 @ 02:37 PM
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a reply to: pteridine

I've definitely heard there are going to be some hurdles with hydrogen... And unfortunately Nikola only leaves us with a claim saying they've ironed a lot of the issues on the fuel cells and fueling stations. A claim is just that, and they say it's proprietary, so they won't elaborate.

That being said, we'll have challenges just as the oil industry still has theirs whether it's sourcing from foreign or domestic.

The bottom line is going to be the big decider IMO. Either it is fiscally comparable and it succeeds or it's not and it doesn't lol.



posted on Jun, 2 2020 @ 08:58 PM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker

See Blue Shift's link above. The batteries will displace the IC engine, eventually. There are some in development that are battery-ultracapacitor combinations.
The problem with having all electric vehicles will be electrons. We will need a large increase in generating capacity even if we charge vehicles at what is now off-peak. Off peak hours may become peak hours and daily life electricity demand may be off-peak.
Battery powered plug-ins, plug-in hybrids, and hybrids will make the transition easier. Fifty years is not an unreasonable timeframe for a transition. Other problems? What will we use for road surfaces when we aren't processing enough oil to provide asphalt?



posted on Jun, 2 2020 @ 09:14 PM
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originally posted by: suicideeddie
a reply to: CriticalStinker

using hydrogen is a bit of a backwards move unless these companys have already made largescale biomass plants to produce it. the usual way is to make hydrogen out of fossil fuels which defeats the benfits of burning clean. its better using the electricity directly for transport instead of using an extra process




Yes , and not to mention the Thousands of Fueling Stations Needed around the Country to Refuel them . That alone would take over a Decade to Build .



posted on Jun, 2 2020 @ 09:38 PM
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a reply to: pteridine

But hydrogen will offset some of the problems associated with battery technology and charging as refilling on hydrogen will get you the energy for your next leg of the trip.

I don't think we can look at it in the same lens as pure electric vehicles you have to charge.




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