Volkswagon Successfully Tests Its First Hydrogen Fuel Car.
February 4, 2003 3:41 AM   Subscribe

Volkswagon Successfully Tests Its First Hydrogen Fuel Car. "The Volkswagen Bora HY.POWER prototype, which does not use a reformer, obtains its energy from on-board hydrogen to create a hydrogen fuel cell-fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel cells that use hydrogen offer zero emissions and fuel cells that use gas with reformers offer near-zero emissions" Is this the future we were promised? Either way, Drivers Wanted.
posted by Keyser Soze (20 comments total)
Oh yeah, GM and Ford are doing their job too to make Hydrogen cars a reality. Exciting, isn't it?
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:47 AM on February 4, 2003

Well then... pull out of iraq?
posted by phylum sinter at 4:18 AM on February 4, 2003

Check this site, hydrogen library directory for lots of info on energy, hydrogen, etc. Very clear writing and a good companion to diggest the PR stunts around H.
posted by samelborp at 4:26 AM on February 4, 2003

Perhaps the war on terrorism should have started with an attack on thread highjacking?

In any case, I like GM's approach to rethinking the entire car based on the flexibility provided by the new power plant rather than just cramming a new power plant into the old form factor like everyone else is doing. I think it might take a lot of PR to get Americans into the drive by wire concept, though, considering how embedded the "feeling" of driving is in American culture.

It's nice to see more research going into this area, finally. I'd like to see even more emphasis, though.

Another thing I've been wondering is if a hybrid of fuel cell and solar (particularly the hopefully upcoming, highly efficient, full-spectrum solar cell) might yield an affordable and drivable option sooner than fuel cell alone? I know the biggest problem is hydrogen distribution and storage rather than size and expense of the fuel cell which are dropping steadily but perhaps it would still be an idea worth looking at.
posted by rocketpup at 4:40 AM on February 4, 2003

Rocketpup: we should all salute this kind of development. But just remember: there's still no practical way to obtain hydrogen which doesn't require its extraction from fossil fuels, with natural gas being the cleanest option. So, it'll be a long time before we can be Exxon-free, so to speak.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:03 AM on February 4, 2003

posted by quonsar at 5:18 AM on February 4, 2003

Let me corect what I wrote above. At the very least, fossil fuels are still needed to generate the electricity needed to create hydrogen fuel. So getting the fuel cell technology down is only half the battle: mastering electric generation by means other than burning fossel fuels, or coming up with some new system of collecting hydrogen is the other battle.
(Jeremy Rifkin was on WNYC-am yesterday and explained this)
posted by ParisParamus at 5:23 AM on February 4, 2003

Volkswagon ... hydrogon ... Volkswagen ... hydrogen ...
It looks kinda strange when a front page post misspells a word, then spells it correctly.
posted by Holden at 5:38 AM on February 4, 2003

Just splitting hairs here but hydrogen vehicles don't offer zero emissions. They offer zero HARMFUL emissions (Water being an emission).
posted by pjdoland at 5:54 AM on February 4, 2003

These new hydrogen-powered Volkswagens, they won't need ignition coils, will they?
posted by agaffin at 6:11 AM on February 4, 2003

Bush announced $1.2 billion in federal funding for hydrogen fuel cell development. What he didn't say is that $500 million of that was already earmarked for this program. This leaves $700 million in new money for this "major" program that his cheerleaders have said is akin to the American space program in scope. In 1984, Ford spent over $4 billion to develop the revolutionary new Taurus. So, in summary, Bush is offering us less than 1/4 of a Ford Taurus. Smoke and mirrors...
posted by Shike at 7:41 AM on February 4, 2003

Keyser, interesting press release on the HY-Power, but appears to be dated March 12, 2002 -- almost a year ago. I'm wondering about any newer info perhaps regarding follow-up tests? (I couldn't find much.) Also will look for later announcements from Ford. (The GM piece is fairly current).

Like many other folks (although probably still only a minority of Americans even care), I'm itching to get out of my gas guzzler and into some alternative fuel vehicle.

For now, the new hybrids are appealing, looking forward to a test drive and bringing my wallet, but I sure hope these cars are not only fuel efficient but -- dare I say it? -- crashworthy. (Call me chickenshit but I'm not a big fan of little cars.) (I know, I know, just watch me duck & cover as my SUV rolls over..
posted by jellybuzz at 7:46 AM on February 4, 2003

Oh, the humanity!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:58 AM on February 4, 2003

Solar hydrogen. Wind hydrogen.
posted by pekar wood at 10:51 AM on February 4, 2003

These new hydrogen-powered Volkswagens, they won't need ignition coils, will they?

Apparently VW has *finally* decided to admit that this problem exists. Makes me feel a little better, I've been kinda wondering whether it affected my brand new passat I picked up last friday.
posted by piper28 at 11:22 AM on February 4, 2003

fucking germans...
posted by johnnyboy at 1:26 PM on February 4, 2003

of course, as is usually the case for such innovations, the japanese are way ahead.
posted by kickingtheground at 1:36 PM on February 4, 2003

This doesn't neccesarily have to do with hydrogen, but I thought this was funny: I was learning the Japanese pronunciation of foreign country names recently, and naturally our textbook was illustrated with cute manga representations of each country. It was a generic person standing in front of a famous landmark:

US: Statue of liberty
Japan: Mt. Fuju
France: Arche de Triomphe (excuse my spelling)
England: Big Ben
Germany: Beer and a Volkswagen
posted by kevspace at 6:02 PM on February 4, 2003

Honda's FCX is already certified and on the street. pretty damn cool.
posted by aLienated at 9:39 AM on February 5, 2003

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