Hydrogen has over 200 times the energy density as lithium-ion batteries.

Hydrogen has over 200 times the energy density as lithium-ion batteries.

How will Tesla who has rejected that hydrogen storage is a viable option, deal with this issue.

Compressed hydrogen has an energy density of 142 MJ/kg.
Lithium ion batteries have an energy density of 0.6 MJ/kg.

That's 236 times as much energy per kg for hydrogen.

Add to that that hydrogen cars refuel in 3 minutes to full.
Add to that that hydrogen cars cost less to make.
Add to that that hydrogen cars weigh far less weight.

I guess what I'm asking is. While EV has a massive infrastructure advantage, that's also the only advantage I'm seeing right now. Audi has introduced their new hydrogen fuel cell car, so did Toyota and Honda, Mercedes and BMW are expected to release their soon.

Isn't it much more reasonable if Tesla kept an eye out for hydrogen and switches if it is the better tech than just saying "it's stupid".

petochok | 22. November 2014

No. Hydrogen cars are a mask for ICE manufacturers to hide behind while continuing to depend on complex cars, which need a great deal of service and replacement parts for them to profit from at owners' expense. Hydrogen still needs manufactured (look up how much energy and effort it takes to make it before you make an energy density comparison to batteries) and sold to you as opposed to you being able to make a choice to produce your own electricity.
I'd rather take the word of a physicist than a media analyst when it comes to reasonable explanation for this. Nothing shows confidence like being able to point out the tricks the traditional manufacturers are using to sell you on the flawed idea of hydrogen cars. On the other hand, it is them branching out to be ready just in case the market swings towards a single power source that shows their lack of confidence. Early adopters excluded, I don't think the general public will risk paying for new technology until the choice is clear that only one power source can truly dominate. Model 3 should provide a big step in painting a clear picture of future trends.

AmpedUP | 22. November 2014

I'll seriously consider your argument the moment I have a hydrogen pumping station installed in my home. Until then, I'm sticking with EV.

carlk | 22. November 2014

Keep dreaming stupid. At half million per station and heaven knows how much for hydrogen production plant you know how much it will take to build the necessary infrastructure to support just an FCV population like EV's just today? Not to mention efficiency of producing hydrogen is still very low and the cost very high compares to electricity. Matter of fact the cost of hydrogen is even higher than gasoline now and is not expected to go lower than gasoline any time soon and likely ever. That's many times the energy cost of EV.

Tesla can jump in the fc anytime in the future if and when the technology is proven and infrastructure is built. That's a very big if though. In the mean time, for a couple of decades at least, EV is all we're going to need. Just let the stubborn Japanese, I have a very good first hand understanding of that company culture, tough it out. There is no need for Tesla to use their limited resources to play this fools' game.

carlk | 22. November 2014

Please see this link I posted before and learn how confident Toyota, Honda and Hunydai are of their own fcv technologies.

Grinnin'.VA | 22. November 2014

@ carlk | November 22, 2014

Keep dreaming stupid. ...

Although I agree with the substance of your post, I'm very disappointed by your choice of words, insulting OP.


carlk | 22. November 2014

@Grinnin' Didn't you see that it's a sarcasm reflecting what's in op's last sentence.

Brian H | 22. November 2014

The PC police are on the job! :p

negarholger | 22. November 2014

Because posts like this they are called "fool cells"...

here is the Audi A7 h-tron concept car... check out the video

- what an orgy in wasted space
- and I really don't want to sit in that car when rear ended by an F150, just check out the locations of the 4 H2 tanks.

"Compressed hydrogen has an energy density of 142 MJ/kg."

- but Hydrogen isn't electricity, you still needs the fool cells and storage containers. It is the same as with gasoline... gasoline has a lot of stored energy, but you need this heavy and complex engine to convert it to something useful.
- Hydrogen has to be made... round trip efficiency is like 30% - we really like to waste. Batteries are 86% efficient round trip. So my solar panels would have to be three times the size and three times the cost ( in my case $100k vs $33k ).

"Add to that that hydrogen cars refuel in 3 minutes to full."

- It takes me 3+3 secs to plug in and to unplug. Going to the next H2 filling station week after week is NOT a convenience, but a major hassle. Maybe 5 days a year I am on a road trip... 360 days of the year my EV has a vast advantage. What I like about the Audi is that it is a plug in, so that would mellow the inconvenience of the H2 car... unfortunately the Mirai is not a plug-in and therefore doomed competing directly against gasoline cars.

"Add to that that hydrogen cars cost less to make."

- Mirai costs $57k and Toyota gets a check of $45k for each car from the government in CA = $102k for a car that costs $20k-$25k as gasoline version. So not true.

"Add to that that hydrogen cars weigh far less weight."

- the Mirai weighs 4060 lbs... compare that to a Camry at 3240 lbs. Again another illusion.

rlwrw | 22. November 2014

Aerospace failures have also shown that hydrogen goes BOOM!
If the Tesla MS that split in two in West Hollywood had been hydrogen powered, the entire block might have been wiped out.

Dramsey | 22. November 2014


- Mirai costs $57k and Toyota gets a check of $45k for each car from the government in CA...

Um, no, I think you've misread a news story that says the Mirai price will be about $45K with subsidy. Even California wouldn't subsidize cars at $45K each!

3seeker | 22. November 2014

Who are these FCV guys fooling? Let them stay confident while TM technology takes over the market! How can you convince us with measly cars such as the Mirai or FCX Clarity? Name one advantage over the Model S and I'll give you ten.

Red Sage ca us | 22. November 2014

Kleist, yeah... That ever popular concept that 9 ZEV Credits times $5,000 per vehicle equals a $45,000 subsidy is a favorite among anti-government, anti-tax, anti-subsidy, anti-alternative fuel, anti-conservation, anti-climate change, anti-science, anti-factual, anti-Tesla yahoos who claim that Tesla Motors has a check cut, in the same amount, for every Model S sold in the US. It is, as Dramsey notes, patently incorrect.

Toyota would have to sell the ZEV Credits to literally get cash for them. It is unlikely they ever would, with more strict CAFE regulations coming down the pike. Since Toyota sells plenty of ICE in the US, they will add Mirai ZEV Credits to those earned from the Prius to minimize their exposure to EPA fines in coming years.

ZEV Credits can be monetized, by one manufacturer selling them to another one. That's it.

negarholger | 22. November 2014

@Dramsey 9 credits times $5k = $45k directly to Toyota. $45k after tax breaks, but the check you have to write is for $57k.

@Red Sage - wrong. Tesla has no use for the ZEV credits as it doesn't maker stinker cars. Tesla can only sell the credits to other ICE manufactures that fail to comply at a hefty discount - the tardy ones get a relief on the penalties. If everybody plays by the rules then Tesla has worthless credits. Toyota on the other hand can book the credits at full face value.

EQC | 23. November 2014

"Compressed hydrogen has an energy density of 142 MJ/kg.
Lithium ion batteries have an energy density of 0.6 MJ/kg."

Why does this matter so much to you? Is "energy storage mass" on the list of specs you use to evaluate vehicles? So...Vehicle A is a 4 or 5-seat uglified Corolla that goes 0-60 in 9 seconds and might have a 300 mile range (not yet EPA certified), and it stores its hydrogen at 142 MJ/kg -- excluding, of course, the mass of the high pressure tanks used to store that hydrogen, the fuel cell required to convert the hydrogen to electricity, and the hybrid-type battery that the car needs since the fuel cell can't ramp power output all that rapidly or provide regenerative braking on its own. Oh, and those hydrogen tanks eat into the passenger compartment and trunk space considerably, because they have to be cylinders. Vehicle B is a large/roomy 5+2 seater with excessive cargo space, does 0-60 in well under 6 seconds (and as fast as 3.2 seconds), and has a well verified range of 250-300 miles traveling at 65 miles per hour. It stores its energy directly in a "low energy density battery"... Do you seriously think this energy density metric makes Vehicle B worse than Vehicle A? Vehicle B already wins or ties on all the metrics where weight or volume have an effect (acceleration, range, vehicle capacity, etc.), and it has a clear path to get even better as battery energy density improves.

"Add to that that hydrogen cars refuel in 3 minutes to full."

Ummm.... that is after you get to the hydrogen station, stop the car, and pay or otherwise activate the pump. What if stopping at that hydrogen station requires you to exit the freeway and stop at a traffic light or two? What if, in the "ideal" future where there are 70 hydrogen stations in California, most drivers need to make a 10-minute detour to find a station for their once a week fill-up? On the other hand, any electrical outlet can charge an EV...and more and more are being installed in parking spots at work, at stores, at movie theaters, at hotels, and at homes. How often do most people really drive over 250 miles from home...and for how many of them would a 40-minute stop at a supercharger during a rare 400-mile drive be more obnoxious than driving to a hydrogen station every single week?

"Add to that that hydrogen cars weigh far less weight."

Vehicle weight is really something that you care about? Even if the heavier vehicle accelerates faster, handles better (due to lower center of gravity), holds more people/stuff, is more efficient, and costs less to "fuel"? Why is this weight issue even worth mentioning?

"I guess what I'm asking is. While EV has a massive infrastructure advantage, that's also the only advantage I'm seeing right now."

You know, the only advantage other than efficiency, fuel cost, performance, vehicle utility (people and cargo capacity), packaging (battery hides under the floor...cylindrical hydrogen tanks eat up passenger and cargo room), convenience, and other stuff that I guess nobody cares about? Leaving larger "infrastructure" aside, the huge advantage of being able to charge up your car while parked at home, work, hotels, movie theaters, etc, is so underrated too -- most people are so used to driving to the gas station every week that they don't really realize the time it costs...

"Isn't it much more reasonable if Tesla kept an eye out for hydrogen and switches if it is the better tech than just saying "it's stupid"."

I'm sure if any of the proposed/future/hypothetical hydrogen cars ever show an advantage over the first Model S that rolled off the line in 2012, Tesla might take notice. The very idea of wanting to take a 400-mile road trip with one 3-minute stop is pretty niche, and I'm pretty sure your doctor will tell you that sitting in a car for 6 hours straight is terrible for your system. Yeah, we've all probably done it a few times, but rarely for any reason other than being able to claim you "made good time."

Of course, for those who really want to risk the blood clots forming in their legs (and stopping in critical organs some time later) Tesla is developing battery swap, and it looks like one is going in between LA and SF before 2014 is over. Los Angeles to San Francisco with one well-placed 90-second stop. That's even better than your 3-minute hydrogen stop, and you don't even have to exit the car.

...Let me know when a hydrogen car can even get from LA to SF....

EQC | 23. November 2014

Tesla's battery swap stations are coming soon...first one seems to be actively under construction:

90 seconds for a full charge...

OMG that is 2x as fast as a theoretical hydrogen fill-up!!!! You can save a full minute and a half on a 6-hour/400-mile drive! Is this the final nail in Hydrogen's coffin?

Probably not...that Tesla car that seats 7 is still heavier than a 4-seat fuel cell car. Even though the Tesla is more efficient and has better performance and handling, most consumers really care about weight.

Benz | 23. November 2014



Well done, very good.

3seeker | 23. November 2014

@EQC +10
@Fruity 0

kerogre256 | 23. November 2014

I tell you something better, energy of 1kg hydrogen is E=mc2= 9x 10^16 joules but does it matter??

Tstolz | 23. November 2014

As other suggest, Mirai doesnt compete with Telsa - here's a summary

Price - Tesla wins ... The MIrai is more expensive not less. You need to compare Mirai to a Camry vs Tesla a Mercedes S or Porsche Panamera

Range - Tie - they are similar (no advantage)

Looks - Tesla wins - the Toyota is coyote ugly vs Tesla gorgeous!

Cargo - Tesla wins handily

Performance - Tesla wins handily

Refuelling time - Tesla wins since 90% of the time it only takes seconds to refuel the Tesla since you plug in at home. 10% of the time if you need to fuel away from home it would be faster to fill the Mirai .. assuming fill stations are built of course. 90% is more than 10% so Tesla wins.

Environment - Tesla wins. The grid is increasingly powered by hydro, solar, and wind. I buy 100% of my electricity from wind farms. The Mirai is fossil fuelled.

Fuel cost - Tesla wins - Hydrogen is as expensive as gasoline ... electricity is about 1/4 the price for the same range.

Elon is not worried

DTsea | 23. November 2014

Its not mass that matters. Its volume. (For an airplane it would be different).

Also safety.

Also well to wheel efficiency

Also ubiquity of electricity.

Bikezion | 23. November 2014

"Compressed hydrogen has an energy density of 142 MJ/kg.
Lithium ion batteries have an energy density of 0.6 MJ/kg.

That's 236 times as much energy per kg for hydrogen."

WRONG! Those numbers are for specific energy ( energy per unit mass), not energy density ( energy per unit volume), big difference!

Compressed hydrogen has an energy density of 5.6 MJ/L.
Lithium ion batteries have an energy density of 0.9-2.63 MJ/L.

That's 2-6 times as much energy per Liter for hydrogen.

Those are according to Wikipedia, which I assume is where OP got the data, and therefore could still be incorrect.
Here are some from the same page, further down and more useful, the first figure is specific energy MJ/kg, the second is energy density MJ/L

Hydrogen, at 690 bar and 15°C[9] 141.86 4.5
CNG (NG compressed to 250 bar/~3,600 psi) 53.6[12] 9
Gasoline (petrol)[13] 46.4 34.2
Diesel fuel[13] 45.6. 38.6

So we can plainly see hydrogen at over 10,000 psi is only half of CNG at 3,600 psi. I have a CNG Ford van, the tanks are HUGE and it holds only 18 gallons. (The main tank is in place of the stock 38 gallon petrol tank and holds about 8 gallons, the other 2 are where the spare tire should go).

Robert Hodgen | 23. November 2014

I can refuel my Tesla at home. It only takes me about 5 seconds to plug it in.

It might be a while before you can refuel a hydrogen vehicle at home. Imagine a leak inside an enclosed garage.

Hydrogen is a way for oil and gas companies to stay in the game. Most H2 today is made from natural gas, the process is very inefficient. It takes a lot more energy to produce hydrogen than you get out if it in a fuel cell.

Auto companies can say, "Hey, look at us, look how green we are! Pay no attention to those battery electric cars like Tesla."

From their point of view hydrogen is a win-win.

DTsea | 23. November 2014

Dont forget the mass of the tanks pipes fuel cell and battery... fuel cell cars run off a battery charged by the fuel cell.

Red Sage ca us | 23. November 2014

Kleist: No. Tesla Motors does not get $5,000 for each ZEV Credit they sell. No one gets that much. Ever. The government does not mandate how much ZEV Credits must be sold for. There is no minimum, there is no maximum, but there is common sense.

Tesla Motors does not need to adjust their own CAFE numbers because they exceed the needed amount by so much by default. So all the ZEV Credits Tesla Motors gets may be sold. The rate is negotiable and typically can be as low as $2500 each and up to $4000 each.

If someone were stupid enough to offer Tesla Motors $5000 for each ZEV Credit I'm sure they would accept it.

Once again it depends entirely upon what the buyer is willing to spend. In some cases it is a seller's market. In others it is a buyer's market.

negarholger | 23. November 2014

@RS - "Tesla Motors does not get $5,000 for each ZEV Credit they sell" - didn't I say exactly the same?

Red Sage ca us | 23. November 2014

My point is that all ZEV Credits are sold at a discount below the $5000 penalty amount no matter the source. No one sells or buys them for $5000. The government subsidizes no one through ZEV Credits.

negarholger | 23. November 2014

@RS - unless you use it for yourself, then you book at face value... like printed money. That is exactly the point.

Brian H | 24. November 2014

It's all fiat money at source; the penalty for not being a ZEV payable to the government. You can avoid paying it, or not.

Red Sage ca us | 24. November 2014

Kleist: OK. I think I see your point now. I hope you see that wasn't what I was talking about... at all.

Larry@SoCal | 24. November 2014

Let us see a fuel cell start small, a small application such as a lawn mower, weed whacker or leaf blower. Li-ion works so well there but maybe the higher density, lighter device would be a winner.
Until then, Go Tesla!

Brian H | 24. November 2014

Unfortunately, FC tech is most suited to large installations. Making it small and efficient, with storage in the loop, is the issue right now.

Larry@SoCal | 25. November 2014

Yes, FC tech is most suited to large permanent installations; not something that moves around, such as a car. FC tech is very suited to high school chem lab demonstrations.
"Wonder Batteries" and fuel cells are challenged to present a working model.

EQC | 25. November 2014

Another article on the Mirai:

Some choice quotes:

"It’s not a small sedan, at 1850 kg (4,078 pounds) and just over sixteen feet in length. That’s more than a foot longer than a regular Prius, though trunk space is curtailed both by the batteries and the second hydrogen tank...and the rear seats aren’t designed to fold flat, either"

"Unfortunately, despite the size of the Mirai putting it in the full-sized sedan category, you only get space for four."

So, this 4-seat fuel cell car is only a few hundred pounds shy of the 5(+2)-seat ModelS 85. The much larger/roomier/usable Model S isn't even 15% heavier. I'm not seeing the weight of the battery in an EV as a problem here...

Further, the complexity and requirements for the fuel cell system mean there is no frunk, the trunk is compromised by both a battery and a hydrogen tank, and the back seats can't fold.

Going forward, future battery progress is a given. In a few years, EV's will have even more kWh storage capacity without making the battery bigger/heavier. For a longer-range hydrogen car, would they just have to eat up more space with another hydrogen tank?

Jacqueline.gerhart | 25. November 2014

@Fruity...Here is an interesting article for you to check out:

DonS | 25. November 2014

Hydrogen is the Holy Grail of fuels. It will be perfect when we figure out how to:
1) make it at a reasonable cost from renewable energy,
2) store a reasonable amount in a container the size of a gas tank.

Neither of those issues are close to being solved, but the people that figure it out will become rich.

Dalec | 25. November 2014

Hydrogen gas is invisible. It disperses extremely quickly through enclosed structures. It has no smell, and you can't add an odorant gas because hydrogen gas disperses much faster. It ignites more easily than gasoline vapor. Hydrogen fires are extremely nasty. You can't easily see them in sunlight because the radiant energy is mostly in the ultraviolet spectrum. Which means that you can't feel the heat until you are very close. The extreme ultraviolet radiation can cause sunburn-like skin injuries and eye damage. First responders are trained to look for the heat waves of a hydrogen fire.

You don't want to know what happens when a compressed hydrogen tank is ruptured. Even without igniting, the explosion from the expanding gas within a metal structure will send shrapnel in all directions. A rolling car bomb.

If you thought that three Tesla fires clustered together by chance last year were bad for Tesla Motors, wait until a semi flattens a hydrogen car and takes out a bridge. It will have the same effect on Toyota Motors as the Hindenburg had on the passenger airship.

Raptor57 | 25. November 2014
Bikezion | 26. November 2014

The only way hydrogen is good for a car, is if it is converted from water, on board, and used immediately. Figure out how to make that efficient enough to be viable and it's a win, with the added benefit of being retrofittable to millions of existing cars.

Brian H | 26. November 2014

"viable" is just hand-waving. The economic and engineering fact remains that the energy required to do the split is not recovered, and NG or electricity has a ~2:1 head start which is insurmountable.

Kingsthrone | 27. November 2014

I have taken basic courses in FCV technology (over 10 years ago) and it amazes me how quickly the technology has been improving. Generally today I think BEV is a better way to go, but when Audi showed their A7 Sportback h-tron with a 8.8 kWh plugin! hybrid, I had to think for a moment.

Maybe, just maybe this idea could be a serious contestant for BEV's. IF you would increase the battery size to a more Volt like range, like 15-20 kWh, together with hydrogen tanks for 300 mile range. I think that could be done in a new car built from ground up.

The benefits would be that most people could drive around on only electricity during commute, and for longer distance travel there would be hydrogen stations (just like Tesla's SC network) along the way. This also means that the expensive hydrogen stations doesn't have to be that many, since most of the miles driven are pure electric and are charged at home. Less filling up of hydrogen would also mean it would save on the hydrogen tanks, that I think would suffer from getting more and more brittle over time. If the the average pressure inside the hydrogen tank could be lowered it would mean less tear on the walls and you don't have to replace it that often.

johnwladd | 27. November 2014

It will be interesting what Toyota does when the gig is up, when Model 3 is out, and they are still showing off fuel cell concept cars.

annekristip | 28. November 2014

They should do an EV with hydrogen range extender. Same, one drivetrain.

bevguy | 28. November 2014

And plutonium has millions of times more energy available, but I don't think we will e seeing nuclear reactors in cars anytime soon...

Fuel cells might, and I stress might, at some point in the future be useful for heavy vehicles. Japan has some unique problems and they might be useful there . Again at some point in the future. As far as most parts of the world for light vehicles they are a con job to protect present big auto companies.

Red Sage ca us | 29. November 2014

Doc Brown says we have to wait until October 2015 to get a Mr. Fusion.

grega | 30. November 2014

Yes @annekristip.
I'd go one further - CARB should ensure every car is capable of 45 mile pure EV-mode, and every car must have a range-extending strategy for longer distances. Hydrogen, ICE, big battery.

I know some hate it but it would actually be a win for EVs

juno.siu.12 | 26. Januar 2015

Now let me explain more clearly how we should interpret these statistics. It is indeed true that the specific energy density of hydrogen is 142 MJ/kg but have you also looked at the volumetric energy density? The value is an unimpressive 5.6MJ/L. Which means that for a car to hold something like 85kWh it would take up much of the useful space of a car. Thats not including the volume of the tank and that the tank CANNOT be of any shape you want, it has to be a cylinder. Also the energy efficiency of the fuel cell is also not impressive at around 40% which means you have to store more hydrogen still. There are many more of reasons that make hydrogen unsuitable for automotive applications such as reliability of the fuel cell, energy losses in making hydrogen, energy losses in compressing hydrogen and the list goes on. I am a master's degree in chemistry from the University College London.

DonS | 26. Januar 2015

Only carbon based fuel (oil, methane) and hydrogen fuel have the right properties to be a useful energy source. Assuming we use air (i.e. oxygen) as one-half of the chemical reaction, everything else is eliminated because:
1) Most of the periodic table is not exothermic with oxygen
(Need heat to be useful.)
2) Many of the remaining possibilities have poisonous outputs
(Need to not kill people to be useful.)
3) The rest have solid precipitates as a result of the reaction.
(Need to not clog up the system to be useful.)

We already know oil is not easy to make synthetically, and the natural supply is getting harder to retrieve. That in a nutshell is why there is so much effort being poured into research for hydrogen as a fuel, despite all the current unsolved problems.

Brian H | 27. Januar 2015

The arithmetic makes H2 a dead end fuel source for anything except space travel.

Boukman | 27. Januar 2015

Your post seems to assume that battery tech is completely static...No too long from now we will have batteries that will give a MS a range over 500+ miles and get a full charge in 15mns or less. Already Tesla is upgrading the roadster to around 400 miles. No other source of energy( except perhaps natural gas) can get close to the already established infrastructure for electricity. Making and distributing Hydrogen will require creating another system and I doubt that the final consumption will ever approach the efficiency of a straight EV. Moreover, with the human factor it is only a matter of time before someone does something "stupid" and blows his/her car or a station...So I think I like the idea of Tesla Sticking to EV's...but that should not stop other manufacturers from exploring. More power to them!

Svenssons | 27. Januar 2015

@DonS: Several other energy sources exists. For example solar, wind, water, geo-thermal, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion and wave. Hydrogen is NOT an energy source, it can transport energy but you first need to put energy into the process extracting and compressing it first before you can transport it.