Drive of Mercedes B-Class Fuel Cell: Awaiting Update

By · December 18, 2013

Mercedes B-class F-Cell delivered to Baden-Württemberg Minister President Winfried Kretschmann

Mercedes B-class F-Cell delivered to Baden-Württemberg Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (right).

Daimler is the brightest company in Baden-Württemberg, and its Minister President Winfried Kretschmann proudly drives a Mercedes. He previously had a diesel S-class, but he replaced it with B-Class F-Cell last week. It's a fuel cell car running on hydrogen, to tell the world how much the land of Baden-Württemberg cares about the environment. So do I, and I test drove that model before the Minister President Kretschmann got his.

Americans may see the B-class as a new model, but this is the old generation of this model. A newer B-class has been introduced in 2011, but it hasn't received a fuel cell powertrain until now. (There will be a battery electric version, though). So there's an odd feeling here, I'm test driving a new car, which isn't on sale yet, but it looks dated because it is.

This generation of the B-class was built between 2005 and 2011, and it's hard to understand how Mercedes can promote the fuel cell under this old design, but this wasn't the only shortcoming.

Mercedes B-class F-Cell

Mercedes B-class F-Cell

This isn't a very powerful car. It feels heavy and slow. Really slow. Assuredly slower than a Nissan LEAF, and that spoils the driving experience. Fuel cells cars are supposed to store a lot of energy on board, so this should translate into high performance but it doesn't. At least in this model.

There was much more satisfaction coming from the brakes, which are truly great. Smooth and linear, with only a little regen, which is better for comfort. It's impossible to tell that there are two systems at work, friction brakes and regenerative braking. The power delivery also, albeit low in quantity, is high class in the way it does its work.

The electric motor gets part of the energy it needs from the battery, part from the fuel cell, but the driver remains totally unaware of what's going on. Everything's just smooth and fuss-free. The driver feels confident, as this car leaves no doubt that the manufacturer has done its homework, and that the fuel cell is a mature technology.

Mercedes B-class F-Cell interior

Mercedes B-class F-Cell interior

Range is announced at 250 miles, but my drive was too short to verify that. The manufacturer's figure may be a bit optimistic, but it's still vastly superior to any EV, except for the Tesla Model S.

It's a pity Mercedes hasn't green-lighted the development of a fuel cell version of its newer B-class. As the electric version (with a Tesla-sourced powertrain) is coming soon, a fuel cell model would have given the world the exact comparison test that everybody is waiting for. Same car and same motor, with the only difference being in the energy storage: battery or fuel cell.

Preliminary data tells us that this old B-class F-Cell has more than twice the range of the upcoming battery electric new B-class, but with so many differences between the old and the new B-class, it's hard to get a precise view of how the cars stack up, in order to compare the electric version with the fuel cell model that offers more range, less weight and three-minutes fill-ups. (Leaving aside infrastructure issues for now.) At some point, drivers really should have a fair choice between the two technologies, but that's not yet available.

Comments

· · 3 years ago

As with all the fuel cell cars that show up on Plug In Cars, I'll ask the following . . .

1) It's got to have a battery (needed to store excess electrical energy produced from braking regeneration.) How large is the battery (kWh)?

2) Is the battery capable of being independently recharged via plugging in? If not, then this car really shouldn't be featured on a site that normally excludes reviews of non-plug-in hybrids.

If the battery element of a fuel cell car can't be plugged in to recharge at home, it's a step backwards in technology, regardless of how glitzy the fuel cell ends up being. All you've done is replace gasoline with a more expensive, harder-to-obtain fuel and basically end up with a non-plug-in hybrid. Let's all head back to 2006, shall we?

So glad Mercedes is bringing out a battery B Class first.

· · 3 years ago

It is rather startling when a writer reviews hydrogen file cell cars without the slightest comment on four crucial questions:

1) where will the hydrogen come from? (Actually, not theoretically)

2) where is the hydrogen refueling infrastructure?
(Who will build it? When? At what cost?)

3) what is the cost of the hydrogen in $ per gallon equivalent?
(Currently about $8 per gallon in the US)

4) Retail price please?
Toyota says $50k manufacturing cost for the FC drive train by 2017.
At volume, not demonstrator fleet size with true cost hidden.

· · 3 years ago

>>>> a fuel cell model would have given the world the exact comparison test that everybody is waiting for. Same car and same motor, with the only difference being in the energy storage: battery or fuel cell. <<<<

They are clearly set up well for gaming the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with either enough battery electric cars at 3 credits each, or throw in some 9 credit hydrogen cars if they are coming up short. Basing the designs on an old chassis and not offering any quick charge support for the battery electric vehicle is always a guaranteed way to know that these aren't serious efforts for mass consumption.

Over at Toyota, Soichiro Okudaira, chief officer of Toyota's R&D group, told Automotive News Europe that lower production costs will make fuel-cell vehicles competitive with electric cars by 2030 !!!!

Where do you think Tesla will be with electric powered cars in 2030?

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1089085_hydrogen-fuel-cell-cars-pric...

http://europe.autonews.com/article/20131211/ANE/131209875/toyota-targets...

· · 3 years ago

"This isn't a very powerful car. It feels heavy and slow. Really slow."

The B-Class Fuel Cell sounds like a dog compared to the Tesla powered Electric Drive. Speculation elsewhere that Daimler wants more from it's Tesla stake. Maybe they want Tesla to fix their F-Cell's performance problem?

· · 3 years ago

They seam to be late on the hydrogen infrastructure. All we hear is fuelcell cars but we don't hear about a credible efficient hydrogen infrastructure. It will be a disaster maybe or they will be happy with few sale only in california. All and all this website and all the green car scene and websites are a big fail. I will thus continu to drive endlessly gas cars with conventionnal gasoline drivetrains. I tried my best to find something to do and own that is green but this is a fail and it is the fault of car manufacturers. I will worn my car until it die and i will replace it with another used unit. I will continu to drive and acelerate slowly, this is how i can be green without giving extra money toward inneficient gadgetry.
I begin to wake up and all is gray, tar sands land is growing as profit for big oil. At least i spend the minimum by driving a dodge neon slowly. I will continue to harass car manufacturers here till everybody organize a big strike on car expenses, it's the only way to win something on them, a big broad car expence strike on car manufacturers and their friend big oil. Everybody now with used small gasoline cars, geo metro somebody?

· · 3 years ago

I'll dissect and respond to your message, gorr . . .

"They seam to be late on the hydrogen infrastructure. All we hear is fuelcell cars but we don't hear about a credible efficient hydrogen infrastructure. It will be a disaster maybe or they will be happy with few sale only in California."

I think you now see the light on this one. It's one thing to be able to build a few hydrogen cars and show them off. But the bigger issue of making the fuel inexpensively and cleanly is going to be a stumbling block for years to come.

-------------------------------

"All and all this website and all the green car scene and websites are a big fail."

Well, I wouldn't go that far. We see generally well written articles submitted here and then we either praise them or throw a few barbs at them. Along the way we have discussions and sometimes argue. I've learn a lot by hanging around here and I tend to think you have come a long way in acquiring knowledge as well. I wouldn't call any of that a big fail.

-------------------------------

"I tried my best to find something to do and own that is green but this is a fail and it is the fault of car manufacturers. I will worn my car until it die and i will replace it with another used unit. I will continu to drive and acelerate slowly, this is how i can be green without giving extra money toward inneficient gadgetry."

There are a lot of us - myself included - who are going to be keeping our old gas cars running for a few more years. You can look at it a couple different ways. While it will pollute more per mile than a newer gas car, all the energy it took to build the thing 10 or 15 years ago is already accounted for. Any new car - be it gas, electric or hydrogen - consumes a considerable amount of energy to transform the raw materials into a finished product.

-------------------------------

"I will continu to drive and acelerate slowly, this is how i can be green without giving extra money toward inneficient gadgetry."

Yeah, good. You always see me harping on the speed demons here. Driving responsibly and with economy in mind will keep your car running longer, people around you safer and the air cleaner.

-------------------------------

"I begin to wake up and all is gray, tar sands land is growing as profit for big oil."

It scares the hell out of me, too. Gasoline is only going to get dirtier, since the easy-to-extract crude got used up long ago. The tar sand stuff takes more energy to turn into refined gasoline and - once people wake up and demand that government subsidies go away - it's going to get a whole lot more expensive. And, actually, that won't end up being such a bad thing. This is what it often takes to get people off their butts and find solutions.

-------------------------------

"I will continue to harass car manufacturers here till everybody organize a big strike on car expenses, it's the only way to win something on them, a big broad car expence strike on car manufacturers and their friend big oil."

I know that work for the car companies read this blogs and others like it. One of the best ways to express your opinions is to continually post here and let them know what's on your mind.

-------------------------------

"Everybody now with used small gasoline cars, geo metro somebody?"

You can also find other ways to get around. Weather and distance permitting, bicycles are marvelous. 30 years ago it was all I could afford. Now I've returned to it for my short work commutes and do it to keep my old gas car off the road as much as possible. Even after I get a new EV, I'll want to continue biking. If you live in a big city (you're in Toronto, right?,) investigate the public transportation options. Cars - even the cleanest running ones - are only going to be part of the solution going forward.

Look at EVs today. You couldn't even buy a factory made one 3 or 4 years ago. Now they're better than they were in 2010 and cheaper. They're only going to get better and I think you will be pleasantly surprise how much so when that old Geo Metro finally gives up the ghost.

· · 3 years ago

Wow! Listening to battery only and everywhere advocates is identical to listening to the knocks that supporters of petrol cars gave to the idea of battery cars!

I am not going to bother responding in detail as the answers to all of the fake 'questions' posed here where the person who is putting it plainly feels that he has the answers already, but doesn't lay it our as an argument instead preferring to make disingenuous 'questions' of it, are clearly detailed in numerous studies by, for instance, the DOE.

Just about every Government in the world and almost every car company has decided that they need to pursue both batteries and fuel cells, and that it is way to early to declare the winner.
Folk on blogs, normally with absolutely no relevant qualifications, seem to think that they can do better on the back of an envelope, and if their questions are in any slight degree genuine instead of rhetorical have plainly not done any research on the subject.

As for the notion that fuel cell cars have no business on this blog, that is just sad.
Stick your fingers in your ears and whistle loudly if you don't like fuel cells.

I will respond to any properly laid out arguments which do not hide behind rhetorical questions, but are instead upfront in their arguments.

I am able to do so not because I am some sort of genius who knows how it will pan out between batteries and fuel cells, when no serious organisation other than Tesla which, co-incidentally, sells battery cars, claims to know what the final split will be as it is entirely dependent on technological progress which can't be predicted.

I don't know, and I think poster who imagine they do have the answers are deluded.
I have at least done the relevant reading though, which it appears that many who have such decided opinions have not.

· · 3 years ago

It's very relevant to exclude coverage of cars that don't plug in on a blog named Plug In Cars, Davemart. None of the auto manufacturers I know of treat fuel cells as an autonomous power source. They all have batteries inside those cars because the end product of a fuel cell is electricity and it only makes sense use batteries to store excess electricity that it produced, either by the cell or from regenerative braking. So, all fuel cell cars are battery hybrids of some sort.

Does this site typically present write ups of any and all hybrid cars? No. Other than a couple that Laurant has test driven, they have only profiled vehicles that allow the owner to recharge the electric element of those designs autonomously. That would be the purported mission, one assumes, of a web site that extolls the virtues of cars that don't have to be driven away from home to refuel. If the owners of this site decide to change the name to "Plug In and Fuel Cell Cars," then I'll take my fingers out of my ears and stop whistling.

Until then . . . please ask your genius friends in the auto industry, Davemart, why none of these battery-equipped fuel cell vehicles, so far, allows plug in capability. Actually we should probably be asking the petroleum industry why this is so, since I'm sure they are the ones dictating this decision and keeping us from the "tyranny of having to plug in at home."

· · 3 years ago

I have only started learning about these full cell cars, and my problem is going to be cost per mile. We all know to well gasoline. From my understanding fuel cell cost per mile is at least the same or higher than gas. While electric or batteries is a lot cheaper and you can produce your own electric. I even read by 2025 solar and batteries will be cost effective to electrical companies. The only draw back is range, which lots of companies are working on. I have no use for fuel cell technology on this site. Sorry

· · 3 years ago

@Davemart, would it make the questions any more credible if you knew that Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan/Renault recently asked most of them to a room full of reporters?

They are, of course, the questions that any pragmatic person interested in driving a car without aweful, consequential externalities is asking these days, and every time a new hydrogen prototype or limited production vehicle is rolled out to great fanfare.

Why are you so reluctant to answer them?

· · 3 years ago

I meant to say, if there are good answers, why are you so reluctant to answer such straightforward questions?

I ask them not just rhetorically, but to seek real answers. Would love to see a meaningful, straightforward reply, from you, or anyone who has solutions to these vexing problems.

· · 3 years ago

@Benjamin:
If you are developing two fairly new technologies, you don't start off by putting them together.
It is common sense that early models follow the KISS principle.

It is though perfectly simple to combine a plug in battery set up with fuel cells, as both are entirely electric cars, and the electric motor doesn't care where its electrons come from.
The complications of building a Volt do not apply to Fuel cell battery combinations.

Fuel cells though have only recently halved in volume, now running at a very respectable 3kw/litre, with around another halving perfectly possible.
Just the same the fuel cell stack, ancillaries and tanks are a lot bulkier than gas tanks, although way lighter than the same range from batteries.

Batteries are also bulky, as well as heavy, so reductions in both respects would make plug in FCEV more practical, which is fine as it is very early days for FCEV.

The question is why you would want to make a FCEV plug in.

Battery only advocates assert that hydrogen will be very expensive.
The DOE is unconvinced by this:
http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/progress12/ii_0_dillich_2012.pdf

As can be seen, reforming natural gas is the cheapest option, at least in the US, but all sorts of renewable options are possible.

California mandates that 33% of transport hydrogen be from renewable sources, which together with the 2 times better fuel economy per mile of fuel cell cars even after reforming and compression losses mean that fossil fuel use per mile travelled will be a third of that from a petrol car.
Not bad for starters, and incidentally way better than a BEV running on the average of the US grid manages.

Talking about the US grid, the efficiency of reforming gas and then converting the hydrogen into electricity in a fuel cell is way better than the average efficiency of the US grid, so notions of the extra energy efficiency of having a plug in don't work, unless you are using solar.

Of course, at present it is doubtful is anyone at all in the US really uses solar to charge their car.
What they do is feed the grid, then draw from the grid overnight, which is rather different.

So a plug in FCEV is relatively easy to do, and will get easier as both batteries and fuel cell stacks shrink, but unless the cost of hydrogen is high it is not clear that it is worth it either energetically or financially.

· · 3 years ago

@electric-car-insider:
It may have escaped your notice that Ghosn is trying to sell a battery electric car, sales of which although in my view perfectly respectable are way lower than he predicted, and on which the investment decisions were made!
He currently has no fuel cell car to offer, although Nissan has spent large amounts developing fuel cells, and now says that it is ready for production as soon as the infrastructure is there.

http://www.nissan-global.com/COMMON/PDF/TECHNOLOGIES/te_111013-01-06-e.pdf

Clearly sales of fuel cell vehicles will be relatively limited for some time though, and Ghosn obviously wants to clear his lot of present stock!

Nissan have not poured resources into developing a practical fuel cell stack, which incidentally battery only advocates are continually moaning about, to develop a technology they don't think will work.

All technologies have issues.
They are usually far from the show stoppers opponents assert though, as I spent considerable time arguing to those who said that battery electric cars would never work/would be too expensive/have insurmountable problems as they would go up in a ball of fire.

· · 3 years ago

The fear seems to be of battery only advocates that big oil is engaged in a plot to keep control of the transport infrastructure, and that the rise of the fuel cell car may mean the demise of the battery car.

I am perfectly willing to accept any amount of plotting by big oil, but it is never going to work.

The battery electric car is here to stay, and so are home solar arrays.

The fundamental reason for that is that a fuel cell car and a battery electric car are both electric cars, with the majority of their parts in common.

So any increase in either reduces costs through economies of scale for the other.

There are not the engineering complexities of building a Volt to combine electric and combustion engines, and battery versions of fuel cell cars are straightforward, although weight is more important.

So there will be plenty of battery cars for sale, how many depends on progress in improving battery technology, which is inherently unpredictable.

In an above post I questioned why many might want an FCEV PHEV.
If you are getting your electricity from the US grid and hydrogen costs are low, the case is doubtful.

If you have a solar array, the case is different..
What is more the hydrogen in your car won't go off if unused, the way petrol does!

I won't go into the issues here of solar not actually happening at the same time as you want to charge your car, but suffice to say that hydrogen makes the issue easier, and may reduce or remove the need to have another set of batteries if you really want the electrons powering your car to be from the sun.

The point I really want to get across is that fuel cell cars are not a threat to BEVs, but a complementary technology.

For instance, loss of range issues in cold weather can be reduced if you have some fuel cells in the car, whether a full PHEV or an RE,
The excess heat from the stack will keep your car toastie without draining the battery, and keep the batteries at optimum temperature.

Anyway, a couple of things to consider, and some reasons why some of us don't think that fuel cells and batteries are in opposition.

· · 3 years ago

@Davemart: "In an above post I questioned why many might want an FCEV PHEV."

I for one never want to give up the ability to fuel my car at home. It is simply too convenient. If hydrogen stations can be safely, inexpensively, reliably and efficienty installed in one's garage, I suppose you don't really need a PHEV. But I'm also unconvinced of the efficiency of Hydrogen versus a battery. If that unit uses electrolysis, how can it be more efficient than a modest battery? You still have all of the grid losses. I guess you get a benefit if you want to use your solar panels, but then the grid loses that boost of energy, which lines up well with peak demand...

"The excess heat from the stack will keep your car toastie without draining the battery, and keep the batteries at optimum temperature."

If this is true, then that means the fuel cells are significantly less efficient than batteries. Heat is a waste product born of inefficiencies. In the winter, it is also something desirable to the driver, so in a sense an ICEV becomes much more efficient in the winter, because it turns more of the energy stored in the gasoline into something useful (both propulsion AND cabin heat).

· · 3 years ago

Brian:
There are a whole heap of losses well to wheel.
The critical things is that the US grid is only around 33% efficient at the wall, before battery charging losses.
That figure has been pretty stable for years, although it fluctuates a lot year to year depending on the proportion of coal and gas which is burnt, which in turn depends on their relative prices.
The very best combined cycle gas turbines can hit 65% efficiency, but they are expensive and a lot, particularly those used for peaking load, are single cycle, as they are cheaper, and those are a lot less efficient.
As more renewables are used, a lot more peaking plants are needed, so it is very tough to up total grid efficiency an awful lot.
Around 18% of the US grid is also nuclear, which is limited with present generation reactors to around 32% efficiency, not that it matters much as the fuel cost is incredibly cheap, it is the build where the big money is, and it is almost CO2 free.

There is also in the US a massive 7% transmission loss (!)

Natural gas has much lower transmission losses.

So well to wheels an FCEV is at the moment at least as efficient as a BEV, if the BEV is run off the US grid.
They both run at around 1MJ/mile.

I believe I mentioned above that currently a third of hydrogen in California is mandated to come from renewables.
This currently comes from biogas from landfill, not electrolysis.

Even if the hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, it is perfectly possible to use the process heat, as the Germans are doing (Audi) to provide hot water.

Comparing batteries and fuel cells for efficiency, the problem for the battery is where the losses occur.
You lose around 66% at big central generating stations, chucked away as heat into the air, and in transmission losses.

You then lose around another 15% or so charging and discharging the battery:
http://www.plugincars.com/economy-efficiency-nissan-leaf-my-experience-a...
http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/archive/index.php/t-14198.html

For a fuel cell, if you are using electrolysis instead of reforming NG, then the process heat can often be used, as you can do that in smaller quantities even on the garage forecourt.
Energy is cheap in the US, so it is difficult to get them to bother, but in Europe or Japan a lot of the process heat can be captured, and they are setting up that way.

The battery loses a lot of the heat in the garage whilst it is charging, which may be OK in cold areas in winter, although it is an unmitigated nuisance in hot areas, but the fuel cell loses the energy in the car, which can be partially used for heating the car.

So loses of any sort are a bad thing, but the battery/grid system tends to lose them where they are difficult to utilise, fuel cells make their loses where it is a lot easier to use.

I'm not going to continue this post ad infinitum, but there is no reason at all why you should not charge at home, especially if you have a solar array.

It is perfectly practical from a technological standpoint, although the economics depend on the cost of batteries and the cost of hydrogen.

Just one last point, something with a Leaf sized battery but a 5kw fuel cell RE could about double (my estimate) your winter range, providing you were not simply travelling a long distance at highway speed.

Here are trials of such a system in a mountainous and cold region of France by La Poste:
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/12/20131211-sfc.html

· · 3 years ago

So can a 650 cc motorcycle engine says BMW.

· · 3 years ago

jah:
Indeed it can.
And just have a suck on that exhaust pipe and enjoy all those healthful goodies!
A petrol RE is still combining two utterly disparate systems, and needs not only a combustion engine but a high temperature exhaust.

An electric car doesn't care whether the juice comes from a battery or a fuel cell, and remains silent apart from the compressor, which Toyota uses and Hyundai doesn't, and is completely free at point of use.

In the example I gave at altitude in the French Alps and in the cold there would be some horrendous emissions from a petrol or diesel engine running inefficiently and short of oxygen.

On both the battery and the fuel cell there will not be a trace of pollution.

· · 3 years ago

S/be 'is completely POLLUTION free at point of use'

If you don't want the advantages of silence and pollution free driving, why would you want an electric car in the first place?
Just buy a petrol or diesel car.

· · 3 years ago

As we both know the range extender doesn't need to be gas, also while i clearly don't know as much as you i still know pollution from producing the fuel for a fuel cell car exists which you conveniently left out and who to say the range extender would ever come on. Now suck on that pipe.

· · 3 years ago

@jah:
What we do know is that there is zero pollution at point of use from fuel cell cars.
We also know that very large numbers of people die from it.

You mention the pollution producing the hydrogen, but have conveniently forgotten the pollution from producing the petrol or, worse, diesel for the RE you suggest.

Hydrogen even where it is produced by reforming natural gas instead of renewables of one sort or another is far less polluting in production than oil based chemistries, and what is more does more than twice as many miles per gallon equivalent as a combustion engine does, so pollution even at the point of production is less by a factor of way more than two.

Sorry if I was a bit grumpy, I have some breathing problems and purely hate the fumes from small combustion engines like that in the BMW!

· · 3 years ago

I do appreciate, Davemart, the time you took above to patiently explain your thoughts behind a HFC car that could be plugged in. If hydrogen becomes viable (you're convinced we're well on our way, while I still need to see more,) I think that many more of the so-called battery advocates will be interested to see these up-and-coming vehicles have maximum flexibility in obtaining electricity, namely by seeing manufacturers offer this plug in option sooner than later.

· · 3 years ago

Hi Benjamin:
Sorry that I am such a grumpy old fellow at times!

I am an advocate of electric cars, but indifferent to where the electrons come from.

I was thinking as I wrote, and realise that the above sounds much more negative to plug in FCEV cars, which technically are clearly superior to plug in hybrids using petrol for all sorts of reasons, not least that the aim is to get rid of petrol and its associated hazards.

None of us know how technology will progress, but there are a number of limiting cases.

Many of us, including me, thought that petrol prices would be way higher by now.
If that were the case, and petrol prices, say, doubled, then battery cars, fuel cells cars and combinations are clearly attractive financially.

Petrol prices have not risen, and we don't know if or when they will.

So, taking the very expert analyses of the guys at the DOE, as they certainly know more than us amateurs even though they won't always be right,
then the likely cost of hydrogen ranges from a top end of around twice the price of petrol, to a low of around $2/gge, or around half.

Those figures aren't what they seem though, as fuel cell cars get over twice the mpg even after reforming losses, so the 'real price' compared to present gasoline prices is from around a quarter as much per mile to around the same.

So how competitive are batteries against that price range, in pure financial terms?

That really depends on how fast battery capacities can be increased, and even more importantly, cost reduced.

Taking that batteries are more or less competitive against present petrol prices, although no slam dunk, and ignoring the subsidy for the moment, ie assuming pretty large cost reductions anyway, which is reasonable as costs reduce simply through volume without technological breakthroughs, then battery electric cars if hydrogen is relatively expensive should also be competitive against fuel cells cars, and a plug in fuel cell car about at competitive as a conventional plug in against petrol cars.

If prices for batteries can be reduced as much as many of us, including me, hope, and Tesla project, then we are talking about something like $150/kw.

So that would be way cheaper than a fuel cell car running on hydrogen at the highest projected prices, but a lot depends on what range people are willing to accept.
A 24kwh car battery would be $3600
A 48kwh $7200
A 96kwh $14,400

So for really good range, they would remain a pricey bit of kit.

Obviously the lower the price of the hydrogen, the harder it is to justify having a battery, at least financially.

I am not going to run through all the cases, but suppose the lowest cost for hydrogen and for batteries.
In that scenario then a fuel cell car would be dirt cheap to run.
OTOH adding a 15kwh battery, perfectly adequate to cover almost all day to day running around, would only cost another $2,250, because as I keep emphasising the engineering otherwise is more or less identical.

So for the price of a set of fancy alloys folk could charge at home for all their everyday use, but would have no range limits at all.

In another configuration if you stick in a relatively modest fuel cell and a bigger battery, then depending on the relative sizes you get anything from the same range in cold weather as when the weather is mild, to a plug in with massively extended range.

Exciting times indeed, and if one does not rule out fuel cells, a host of combinations and configurations open up.

My own guess is that they will manage to make through the road charging work, so that fuel cells would not be big time and mainly batteries will be used for driving away from the electric highway, but that is a guess not a prediction, and in any case nothing to do with the case usually made against fuel cells, which in my view are misguided.

Sorry if I have bored you, but I simply think that many are assuming too much, and missing a lot of the excitement of what is happening!

Sometime I will write a post on why hydrogen and fuel cells enable the really extensive use of solar in non-equatorial regions, instead of hindering it!

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