Mercedes GLC F-Cell

Discussion in 'Mercedes-Benz' started by Adrian, Oct 6, 2017.

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  1. Adrian

    Adrian New Member

    So here's a question: Who is going to buy this? A hydrogen plug-in electric car. I'm finding it hard to imagine a market big enough to justify for this German contraption.

    Here are some quick specs: 30 miles of electric range, 272 miles of combined range, 197 horsepower & 258 lb-ft torque.

    I bet it's going to be super expensive. Mercedes hasn't figured out how to sell these as it might just offer them for rent.

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  3. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    This is a good question.

    I would say this is targeted at people who are impressed by the wiz-bangedness of hydrogen, who don't realize that it's really a way to make natural gas vehicles really expensive. And, who also happen to live near one of the few hydrogen stations open to the public, and who don't have to pay the real cost ($6/gallon equivalent) when they fill up.
  4. JJD

    JJD New Member

    Isn’t the point of hydrogen to be a carbon free fuel? Natural gas, though better than gasoline, is still a hydrocarbon and therefore still contributes to climate change. All efforts to reduce carbon are valuable, but a hydrogen PHEV sounds like a great idea, once the scale of production brings down the cost and stations are readily available.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
  5. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    That's like saying steam engine cars will make a comeback just as soon as they figure out how to make them operate more efficiently than cars powered by an ICE (internal combustion engine).

    Not gonna happen, because it's physically impossible.

    BTW -- If this thread was posted in the "Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles" section of the forum (at the bottom of the main Forum menu, under "Other"), I wouldn't post the following link, because as I've said, I think there should be a "safe haven" for those who actually are driving a fuel cell car; a safe haven section of the forum where they can discuss their experiences. (Once they've actually leased a "fool cell" car, it's rather too late to try to convince them it's a very bad idea.) But since this thread was created in the main part of the forum, which is for plug-in EVs and not for "fool cell" cars, then I think it's fair game to link to this thread:

    "How to Promote the Hydrogen Economy Hoax"
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  6. JJD

    JJD New Member

    The link above didn't work...try this one:

    The biggest problem with pure electric vehicles is the range anxiety. (Obviously, hydrogen PHEVs don't currently solve that problem, since hydrogen stations remain rare, but hypothetically, more stations could solve that problem). While hydrogen is not currently available through carbon-free production, electricity is also commonly produced with a carbon footprint.

    The problems you describe in the well-to-wheel distribution can similarly be solved when (and, granted, if) cheap, clean electricity becomes available. Meanwhile, pure electric will retain its major disadvantage of range anxiety, at least with current technology. Presumably, there's an upper limit on the development of battery power, as well. ICEs currently permit 24 hour operation, with brief interludes for refueling; until a pure EV can win at LeMans, hybrids will continue to be an answer for long trips, and hydrogen does have the potential for reducing the carbon footprint, not in comparison to EVs, but in comparison to oil--perhaps not yet, but potentially in the future.
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  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Thank you! I wonder why my link didn't work. o_O

    It always dumbfounds me when "fool cell" fanboys claim that cheap electricity will make fool cell cars practical, while ignoring the fact that cheap electricity would make BEVs even more competitive against fool cell cars than they already are!

    There is, at least theoretically, about one-and-a-half orders of magnitude of further improvement in energy density possible with batteries. In theory, batteries could be as energy dense as diesel or gasoline. I don't expect in practice that they will ever achieve that high an energy density, but it's difficult to believe that batteries won't eventually reach at least 3x or 4x current energy density, and almost certainly even better improvement in cost.

    Not so with using hydrogen as an energy carrier. It's rather hard to "improve" or invent a better version of the hydrogen molecule!

    And, you only need to make one set of batteries for the lifetime of the car. For fool cell cars, the fuel in the tank has to be replaced several hundred times. For a PHEV that uses a fuel cell range extender, of course you wouldn't have to replace the fuel as often, but that means lower demand for hydrogen fuel, which means far fewer hydrogen fueling stations, leaving them too rare for driving in most areas of the country, which again is one of the things which makes it utterly impractical to use hydrogen as a major transportation fuel.

    The potential for reduction of carbon emissions by using H2 as an energy carrier are, at best, only about 30-40% less than using gasoline. Why this mad desire to use what is very nearly the worst possible choice for a fuel, merely because in theory it produces no carbon emissions at the actual tailpipe of the car? Why not advocate for something far more practical, such as biodiesel or synthetic methane? Some fuel that isn't so massively energy-inefficient, and doesn't require massively expensive fueling stations to handle a massively impractical fuel? I'll tell you why: Because Big Oil shills promote using hydrogen as fuel. They promote it precisely because they know it is a dead which will never, ever threaten the use of gasoline and diesel!

    Now, that's not to say you yourself are a Big Oil shill, JJD. But you should be aware that, by advocating for the "hydrogen economy" hoax, you are being used as what is called a "useful idiot" by Big Oil shills. I advise you to wise up.

    * * * * *

    The reason we have seen a dwindling of fool cell fanboys over the past few years is that even for those engaging very hard in wishful thinking and science denial, it's hard to ignore what's happened in California. Despite all the propaganda from the California Fuel Cell Partnership and all the wishful thinking from fool cell fanboys, the price of H2 has stubbornly refused to magically fall as more and more H2 fueling stations have been opened. In fact, it has gone up a bit, even as shortages in the fuel become more acute.

    Why is that happening? Well, as one person who (like me) refuses to engage in science denial put it:

    "If only the world weren’t governed by the unfair and cruel laws of thermodynamics and economics, the hydrogen economy could rule the world." – HVACman, comment at, July 8, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
  9. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    There was an extra "https://" at the beginning of the link for some reason. Fixed now.
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  10. JJD

    JJD New Member

    I don't think you've quite attended to the key point of my argument, which isn't about the cost of the electricity--it's about range anxiety. So long as batteries have a more limited range, and take 30 minutes or more to charge, the average consumer will reject pure electric cars. Thus, the PHEV is a more practical choice for most. Therefore, comparing the fuel cell to an electric car isn't really the issue--it's comparing a fuel cell PHEV to an ICE PHEV. Which, as you point out, would lead to 30-40% reduction in the carbon footprint, well-to-wheel. Scale that up to a large percentage of the vehicles on the road, and that could be a significant carbon savings.

    I am not a fuel cell "fanboy," incidentally. I frankly know little about them. I live in an area with zero infrastructure to support them. However, I know that range anxiety and recharge times are going to be the impediments to wide adaptation of pure EVs for some time to come, in a population which remains addicted to the F150 and the SUV, and isn't even convinced of climate change--and won't be so long as believing in climate change demands actual personal inconvenience.

    As for being a schill for Big Oil--I think that check must have got lost in the mail...
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  11. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    While I can appreciate your lack of fondness for hydrogen vehicles, please keep discussion of the larger issue of hydrogen as fuel separate from individual models.
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  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    That's an argument in favor of gasmobiles. It's not an argument in favor of FCEVs, whether they're PHEVs or not.

    I do agree that it seems PHEVs should be more practical for most people than BEVs, so I've been surprised that the PEV (Plug-in EV) market is showing faster growth in BEV sales than in PHEV sales. My guess is that most PEVs are being bought by people whose families have more than one car, and they have a so-called "hybrid garage" with one gasmobile and one PEV.

    Again, that's an argument in favor of gasmobiles, not FCEVs.

    The trend is already clear: Newer PEVs have longer range and charge faster. Not all of the newest ones charge faster, but competition will continue to drive down charging times. When the average charge time gets down to ~10 minutes or less for 300+ miles of range, then few if any car buyers will care that it takes a bit longer to charge a BEV than to fill up a gasmobile.

    Of course, that will require some significant improvements in batteries, which currently can't be practically charged that fast. It will also require much more powerful EV fast-chargers than are currently deployed. So my guess is that will take a decade or perhaps more to become reality.

    But it will become reality sooner or later, unlike cheap and widely available H2 fuel.

    If there is a future for FCEVs, it will come from cars with onboard fuel reformers, powered by some practical fuel such as synthetic methane. So long as the fuel is not sourced from fossil sources, it will be carbon-neutral. Using methane instead of gasoline or diesel would also be far less hazardous to public health, whether used to power ICEVs or FCEVs. And unlike trying to use highly compressed H2, it could be done fairly simply and easily, without requiring massively expensive distribution and dispensing infrastructure.

    In other words, using synthetic methane could -- unlike H2 -- be a practical and widespread fuel which contributes very little to greenhouse gas emissions.

    JJD likes this.
  14. gooki

    gooki Well-Known Member

    I don’t think we even need a significant battery improvement to get close enough to mass acceptance of charge times. The Taycan will be very close at launch. 250 miles in 15 minutes. Chargers are already being installed to support this rate.

    My guess is we’ll see 300 mile charge of an EV in 10 minutes within 5 years.

    Range anxiety for EVs is becoming a thing of the past if you buy quality. Yes some manufacturers will continue to push low range, low price EVs. But dollar for dollar, EVs that are in the same price range as FCVs will have sufficient range.

    FCVs also increase the vehicle complexity.
  15. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Some of us are rather skeptical that any current mass-produced car can be charged that fast, repeatedly, and have the battery pack last for years. Some of us think that was just a publicity stunt by Porsche.

    But we will see what we will see, when the car is used by actual retail customers.

    I very much hope you're right! Personally I'm not that optimistic, but I'd looooove to be proven wrong about that!
    :) :) :)

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