Daimler Plans Volume Production Of Hydrogen Cars In 2014

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

The ominous Hydrogen Year 2015 is popping up again. Last year, Byung Ki Ahn, general manager of Hyundai-Kia’s Fuel Cell Group said: “There are already agreements between car makers such as ourselves and legislators in Europe, North America and Japan to build up to the mass production of fuel cell cars by 2015.” Going through the many files produced in Brussels, you find that in Europe “car manufacturers are getting ready for the commercial production of hydrogen vehicles by 2015.”

Now Daimler will begin series production of hydrogen fuel cell cars in 2014. This is what Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told Das Autohaus. Together with Linde, a manufacturer of industry gases, Daimler wants to build a small network of hydrogen fuel stations. By 2014, the n umber of hydrogen stations in Germany will rise to 50. Germany alone would need around 1,000 hydrogen stations for a nationwide supply. And then, motorists will complain that they won’t find any in Italy if they decide to drive to Italy.

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  • Russycle Russycle on Jun 03, 2011

    Interesting comments. I tend to side with Psar, I attended a conference about fuel cells that featured several companies with fuel cell drivetrains that were a year or two from production...in 1999. I'd like to find out that my cynicism is misplaced, any chance we can talk you into doing an article about the viability of modern fuel cells Bertel?

    • Wsn Wsn on Jun 03, 2011

      The same Psar that said "EVs can do it better"? Only that hundreds of EV1 were trashed ... in 1999.

  • Andy D Andy D on Jun 03, 2011

    Back in 2005, BMWNA has a dual fuel 7 their display in the lobby of the Zentrum down in Spartanburg. The Navy's idea of using voids in ships to store hydrogen is nucking futz. Their boats are floating bombs as it is. It is doable, but how can you build an infra-structure for hydrogen whatever powered cars that can compete with gas and diesel? What is it gonna take? If they started building today, it will take way more than 4 or 9 yrs to build one of significant size. The stuff doesnt play well with metals, so a conventional ICE is out. All in all, it is too big a re-think for the players involved.

  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Jun 03, 2011

    "Of course hydrogen fuel cells are still expensive, but I bet you if they had the same subsidies that the EV industry has been receiving and enough companies willing to invest the price would drop to a very affordable point." You might want to research how much money Canadian governments poured into Ballard Power. Not to mention public utilities like British Columbia Hydro. Until recently, Ballard was trying to make a practical hydrogen setup for cars. After decades of unmet predictions and promises, they have given up and sold the technology to Mercedes. (for $40 million. Windfall, I'd say.) Ballard is now concentrating on power units for buses, forklifts, and standby power. Their stock is around $2, but was once close to $200. They have enough capital to survive another 18 months. Anyone who truly believes hydrogen is the answer for cars, will also be able to tell me how much money they have invested in stocks in companies involved in this boondoggle. Then there was the hydrogen leak from a tanker truck delivering hydrogen to Ballards's shop a few years ago. They evacuated square miles, and the fire chief on (near) the scene was visibly shaking as he described the hazard. You want this stuff in underground parking garages? I expect the insurance industry will have something to say on this eventually. Hydrogen molecules are smaller than the molecules of anything you try to contain it with. Hence the high rates of dissipation and high cost of anything used to store or transport it. Not to mention risk. Yes, urban air pollution is a problem. But last time I looked, the air around cities is not contained. Hydrogen will create more pollution, not less, because it requires energy from thermal power plants to create it. And as others have said, the efficiency numbers are bad.

  • Slumba Slumba on Jun 04, 2011

    @ Praxis - you are aware that blasting coal with steam gets you "town gas" and from there you can easily get H2? This tech has been around for over 100 years. Also, one problem with H2 is that it can make metals brittle; don't know if they have solved this problem, but it could certainly contribute to longevity problems if not.