I recently attended a talk by Woody Clark on the Next Economy – an economy not based on fossil fuels. While I certainly agreed with most of what he said, when it came to transportation he indicated that the future was in hydrogen fuel cell-based cars and pretty much ignored BEVs. He mentioned that Honda and Toyota were going the hydrogen route. He did emphasize that he only wanted to use hydrogen produced on-site via electrolysis using renewable energy, rather than hydrogen made from natural gas, which is a fine goal, but I was concerned that if we go the hydrogen route that there is little to stop the use of fossil fuel-based hydrogen. Some may think burning fossil fuels is good; I don’t.
After his lecture I asked him why he hadn’t even mentioned Tesla or BEVs. I mentioned that I drove about 500 miles to get to the meeting and just charged once during lunch at Tejon and that BEVs were here now as well as the future. He said that BEVs had an end of life problem - what do you do with the batteries once they were spent. I countered that fuel cell also had a finite life used catalysts and could be easily poisoned. He suggested that the fact that the big Japanese automakers were going hydrogen was a clue and said that Tesla was also actively working on hydrogen. I said that I had read some fairly negative comments about hydrogen from Elon Musk, “Hydrogen sucks”, so that would surprise me. He said his source was from inside Tesla. Who knows.
To me a BEV is a much more straightforward way of storing energy and I can easily charge at home – an real advantage of BEVs that the general public hasn’t quite figured out. Making hydrogen takes energy as is not as efficient as charging a better, adding Superchargers is much cheaper and easier than putting in hydrogen stations, etc...... I could go on.
For what it is worth, there is a pretty good (and pro Tesla) discussion on tquestion on the Leaf forum:
One conclusion of that discussion is the Toyota and Honda are simply trying to game the CARB requirements and will not make a significant number of fuel cell-based cars.