Range Anxiety Strikes Mercedes Fuel-Cell Convoy, TTAC Alum

Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles (FCVs) are enjoying something of a comeback lately, as everyone from Hyundai and Honda to GM and Daimler are talking about forthcoming production versions of test-fleet FCVs. And with EVs poised to both dominate the short-term green-car game and inevitably disappoint consumers, it’s no surprise that the perennial “fuel of the future” is enjoying a fresh look from automakers. But if high cost and range anxiety are the flies in the EV ointment, the FCV-boosters are finding their hydrogen cars tend to suffer from the same problems. Daimler says

By 2015, we think a fuel cell car will not cost more than a four-cylinder diesel hybrid that meets the Euro 6 emissions standard.

but that by no means guarantees its Mercedes FCV will be truly “affordable” by any reasonable standard, as diesel-electrics are considered one of the most expensive applications of internal combustion power. And then there’s the whole range issue. Yes, FCVs refuel faster than EVs, but even the most ambitious of Hydrogen-boosters, Daimler, are only pushing vehicles with a 250-mile range. Which is why we puzzled a bit over The Globe And Mail‘s assesment that

Three Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL models will make [a 125-day] global trek, which will seek to highlight the real-world benefits of fuel cells versus EVs – mainly their much further range

Flipping over to AutoMotorundSport, we find that the irony which completely escaped the G&M is threatening to overwhelm Daimler’s entire demonstration. And, as is only natural when things like this occur, there’s a bizarre TTAC connection…

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EVs: Houston, We've Solved The Problem

The first time I came to Houston, TX, was in 1986. The “reverse oil crisis” had brought the price of crude below $10, and Houston was a ghost town. In nearby Port Arthur, unused oil rigs piled up at the shore, and grass grew on downtown Procter Street. Now, Houston, home of the Petroleum Club (and some clubs the greater Baruth family would fancy), could become the model city for electric vehicles. According to plan, nobody will be farther away from a charging station than five miles, and you can charge up as much as your EV can eat for a flat monthly fee.

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EV Interest Group Is Worried: Will You Plug In?

Did you know that there’s an Electric Drive Transportation Association? It’s a group that wants you to ditch your ICE-powered car and run on battery instead. Their member list is huge. Just about every important automaker is on it. Utility companies from Austin Energy all the way to the Tennessee Valley Authority are members. Battery manufacturers, component suppliers, infrastructure developers are members. The City of New York is. Hertz is. And if things get dicey, the association can call upon their member L-3 Communications-Combat Propulsion Systems to provide fire support.

But as big as they are, they are scared. They are worried that customers may not plug in. Or, as Reuters put it, they are concerned that “the ‘range anxiety’ drivers of plug-in electric cars may suffer is preceded by anxiety over the wisdom of buying one.” And what do they do to allay these fears? Cheaper cars? Longer lasting batteries? Free charging stations?

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Nissan Leaf Range Scenarios – Anxiety Provoking Or Not?

Yes, we know the drill: range will vary with an EV, even more so than with a gas car. Nissan has now set out a number of scenarios to project the range of its Leaf EV. It confirms what we’ve been saying all along: this is not the car to buy if you like driving fast. There’s little doubt that a Baruthian blast could deplete one in some 30 miles or less. On the other hand, if you like driving at a steady 38 mph…

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It's More Car Than Electric!
What does the line “It’s More Car Than Electric!” mean? Beats us, but apparently it’s supposed to make you want to buy a Chevrolet Vo…
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Range Anxiety(R)? Introducing Anti Arrival Angst(TM)

Now that GM is thinking about trademarking “range anxiety,” the only choice left to Nissan is to do something about range anxiety. (Just in case GM is successful with their trademark application, we’ll call it Arrival Angst™ … remember, you’ve seen it here first, just in case we’ll have to call you as a witness.) According to The Nikkei [sub], Nissan “will offer buyers of its Leaf electric car a service to ease drivers’ dread of having the batteries run out while on the road.” (See, even The Nikkei is staying away from “range anxiety.” Alright, let’s trademark Distance Dread™ also.) So how will that service work?

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Range Anxiety(R)

People have a lot of fears with electric cars/extended range electric cars. Will the government subsidies distort the market? Can manufacturers be able to sell them profitably? Are they really that environmentally sound? But the one which gets everyone is “range anxiety”. Will I have enough juice to get me home? It’s an issue which manufacturers are dealing with in their own ways. GM has come up with their own way of dealing with it; they’re trademarking it: With range anxiety being trademarked, someone just dreams the word, and GM’s lawyers will be on top of him, and make him surrender the illicit dream.

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Japanese Develop Cure For Range Anxiety

Range anxiety. The performance angst and penis envy of the new millennium. So you want to be nice to the planet. You no longer want to desecrate dead dinosaurs. You want to plug in and tune out.

But you also want visit grandpa and grandma who live 150 miles away, and you don’t want to overstay your welcome with an orange cord dangling out of the window. What to do? It’s so simple, that we wonder why nobody has thought of it:

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Weather Or Not: Nissan's Leaf Range Influenced By Barometric Pressure


While GM has problems trying to get the Volt price point to a point where customers won’t suffer a coronary (even with help from the DC sugar daddies), Nissan has a few problems of their own. Nissan is still reeling from the news that a Nissan Leaf would save you the princely sum of $361. Now, Automotive News [sub] reports another black eye on Nissan’s “Prius Killer”. Automotive News says that Nissan’s “100 miles range” may be slightly off in real world conditions. How far off?

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Raise Your Hand If You Want A SmartForTwo EV. Now, Show Your Wallet

Wired hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head when it titled its recent review of the pure plug-in Smart ForTwo Electric Drive “Smart EV Would Be Smarter if It Were Cheaper.”

Well, it’s not. As a matter of fact, it’s insanely expensive.

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EV Range High Anxiety: Normal Driving May Cut Range In Half

Would you set out for a drive with your low fuel light on, knowing there was no place to buy gas? That’s the painful reality many EV drivers are going to be faced with every morning after unplugging their fully-charged battery and heading out on the road. Most conventional cars have about 50 to 60 miles left after the gauge hits empty, plenty of time to find a gas station. But according to a Consumer Reports test of a Mitsubishi i-MIEV, the stated range of 100 miles with a full battery is more like 60 or 50 under typical conditions, if you consider using lights at night, indulging in heat or A/C, or driving at 65 mph typical. I do. And so will most drivers. Disappointment with their $40k electric mini-car is inevitable. Just don’t say Darryl Siry or I didn’t warn you:

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  • Namesakeone If you want a Thunderbird like your neighbor's 1990s model, this is not the car. This is a Fox-body car, which was produced as a Thunderbird from MY 1980 through 1988 (with styling revisions). The 1989-1997 car, like your neighbor's, was based on the much heavier (but with independent rear suspension) MN-15 chassis.
  • Inside Looking Out I watched only his Youtube channel. Had no idea that there is TV show too. But it is 8 years or more that I cut the cable and do not watch TV except of local Fox News. There is too much politics and brainwashing including ads on TV. But I am subscribed to CNBC Youtube channel.
  • Jeff S Just to think we are now down to basically 3 minivans the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna. I wonder how much longer those will last. Today's minivan has grown in size over the original minivans and isn't so mini anymore considering it is bigger than a lot of short wheel based full size vans from the 70s and 80s. Back in the 70s and 80s everything smaller was mini--mini skirt, mini fridge, mini car, and mini truck. Mini cars were actually subcompact cars and mini trucks were compact trucks. Funny how some words are so prevalent in a specific era and how they go away and are unheard of in the following decades.
  • Jeff S Isn't this the same van Mercury used for the Villager? I believe it was the 1s and 2nd generations of this Quest.
  • VoGhost I don't understand the author's point. Two of the top five selling vehicles globally are Teslas. We have great data on the Model 3 for the past 5 years. What specifically is mysterious about used car values?