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Tesla's Elon Musk Dumps All Over Fuel Cells

At a recent speech in Munich, Germany, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) founder and CEO Elon Musk referred to fuel cells as, well, "baloney" would be the polite term. He said even those developing the technology -- which converts hydrogen into electricity -- don't really believe in it because "it's like a marketing thing." What does our Motor Money team of John Rosevear and Rex Moore think about Musk's remarks? Find out in this video.

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Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (2)

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  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2013, at 9:02 PM, tmorris911 wrote:

    This sounds like the battle between Tesla and Edison over AC vs. DC. Edison killed a poor elephant with AC to "show" people that it was "dangerous." It was a marketing ploy because Edison was heavily invested in DC. Meanwhile, Westinghouse went with AC and so went the world. I don't blame Musk. And I don't know which is better in the fuel cell vs. battery battle royale. I do hope his marketing "show" works out better than it did for Edison.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2013, at 10:40 PM, speculawyer wrote:

    He's right. Former DoE chief and Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu effectively said the same thing. Fuel cells are too expensive, there is no hydrogen infrastructure, hydrogen is not cheap, and it is not easy to store/transport. Those are 4 huge problems that need to be solved and it is not going to happen.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2013, at 11:01 PM, Mkhost wrote:

    Neither technology will be the future. It will be ultracapacitors. Elon Musk knows this because he is already investing in the technology.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2013, at 12:00 AM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    A fuel cell is just like a battery. It just stores the power differently. Musk can be down on them all he wants but there have been working models of them for several years now and more and more mfgs are moving that direction.

    Simply put hydrogen can be pumped into a tank very quickly. A filling station network can be set up very quickly as no real infrastructure is needed. A cement pad and a tank, just like a propane filling station.

    Are they the future? I know that unlike Tesla that needs the power at the recharging station for hydrogen you can bring the water or gas to the power and then transport the hydrogen.

    Also the technology is far from mature. Batteries and electric motors advances are small. The chances of a major break though are not looking great any time soon for EVs. That makes fuel cells a tempting place to look for a replacement to gasoline power.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2013, at 1:12 AM, Sukakaka wrote:


    You are crazy if u believe hydrogen is easy. Will u pay more than gasoline to refuel your car at $5 a gallon? There are only a handful of hydro stations where is the infrastructure you are talking about?

    Electricity infrastructure is already built. You just change the voltage and connection. And it is cheaper to run than gas and faster acceleration. And in three years time there will be a 35k 200 mile range ev. A hydrogen car costs 500 k for less than 200 miles. Do the math then you wont be so crazy. Lol

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2013, at 8:08 AM, JRP3 wrote:

    Simply put, Musk is correct. Using electricity to split hydrogen from water, then storing that hydrogen, which being the smallest element tends to leak out of everything, then compressing and pumping the hydrogen to fit into a tank in a vehicle, then using the hydrogen in an expensive fuel cell with a limited life span to create electricity again, to spin an electric motor is incredibly inefficient, and frankly basically impossible with the non existent hydrogen infrastructure. Meanwhile electrical outlets are everywhere already and batteries are already cheaper than fuel cells, and likely to get even cheaper in the future. Hydrogen is a dead end.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2013, at 12:06 PM, Sudre wrote:

    If I am hearing correctly, the argument is Fuel cells are better because the tech is scaling up faster? Is that the bull some of you believe?

    The first hydrogen fuel cell was created in 1838! and the tech is still not running a production car yet! Yah it is moving right along. At this rate we might have the infrastructure and reliability be 2138.

    Likewise. Lithium batteries were first proposed in the 1970s. Look how fast they have come along. We already have several production cars running on them and the reliability is improving in leaps and bounds and the manufacturers get a handle on the limitations which is mainly temp control.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2013, at 1:52 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    tmorris911, for a hint at the results, look to the past. The guy that killed the elephant, liked DC and loser of the contest: Edison.

    The guy that invented AC and sold it to Westinghouse st winner: Tesla.

    Regardless of how great fuel cells are and terrible battery limitations are perceived to be, electricity costs far less than gasoline per mile. And hydrogen costs far more than gasoline mile.

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