Elon Musk Is Right: Hydrogen Is ‘An Incredibly Dumb’ Car Fuel

from ClimateProgress, by Joe Romm – Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:20 AM

Cars that use hydrogen as fuel have been in the news a lot recently.

Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained at length why hydrogen fuel cell cars “are extremely silly” and why “hydrogen is an incredibly dumb” alternative fuel.

CEO Elon Musk speaks at 2009 unveiling of Tesla Model S all-electric car.

CEO Elon Musk speaks at 2009 unveiling of Tesla Model S all-electric car.

Musk also said, “there’s no need for us to have this debate. I’ve said my peace on this, it will be super obvious as time goes by.” Indeed, it is super obvious already, as I’ve written many times — see my 2014 series, “Tesla Trumps Toyota,” which explains why hydrogen cars can’t compete with pure electric cars. A key reason Musk calls hydrogen “incredibly dumb” — its untenably inefficient use of carbon-free power compared to electric vehicles (EVs) — is detailed below.

In the meantime, Musk — whose Tesla bio lists him as “Co-Founder, CEO, and Product Architect” — has been amping up his efforts to be the next Steve Jobs and to make his electric car company, Tesla, the next Apple. Bloomberg reported last week that the 6000-worker company “has hired at least 150 former Apple employees, more than from any other company, even carmakers.”

“It’s almost an unfair advantage,” according to Morgan Stanley auto industry analyst Adam Jonas. He told Bloomberg, “As software goes from 10 percent of the value of the car to 60 over 10 years, that disadvantage [for traditional carmakers] will intensify.”

But will Tesla be the next Apple … or will Apple be the next Tesla? Apple has itself poached 50 Tesla employees, supposedly “offering $250,000 signing bonuses and 60 percent salary increases” — a heck of an incentive to work at a company so successful, its market capitalization just hit the all-time record of $700 billion! Business Insider reports that an email from an Apple employee says its still-secret effort, “will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money.”

We are strictly in rumor-mill territory here. But there is a camera-equipped van registered to Apple that is rumored to be a self-driving car, but is more likely a mapping vehicle, according to CNBC and Wired. I digress.

Returning to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, EV-maker Musk has, unsurprisingly, long been critical of the only other plausible zero emission vehicle. He called them “bullshit” in 2013, briefly noting their relative high cost and infrastructure issues. In 2014 Musk said, “They’re mind-bogglingly stupid” and “Success is simply not possible.” Why?

“Consider the whole fuel cell system against a Model S. It’s far worse in volume and mass terms, and far, far, worse in cost. And I haven’t even talked about hydrogen being so hard to handle.”

Then, last month, at a press conference in Detroit, Musk offered his most detailed explanation for why hydrogen fuel cell vehicles make no sense. He was asked “You’ve been very vocal about the need for companies to reduce their emissions. Why are you so critical of hydrogen fuel cells, which are another pathway to zero emission vehicles. Do you stand by those comments?”

The entire post from ClimateProgress is — > HERE.

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