Toyota’s Hydrogen vs. Tesla’s Batteries: Which Car Will Win?

2013 Tokyo Motor Show – Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) Concept. Photo: Toyota.

Internal combustion engine, or ICE, vehicles have been around for a while. Unfortunately, gasoline consumption is neither good for the environment, nor cheap. That's driving automakers to search for the next big technology to power tomorrow's cars -- and fueling a fight for the future between two competing technologies.

Car giants like Toyota Motors  (NYSE: TM  ) , Hyundai Motors  (NASDAQOTH: HYMTF  ) , and Honda Motor  (NYSE: HMC  )  are betting on hydrogen fuel cells. But Tesla Motors  (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) is going all in on lithium-ion, or li-ion, batteries. The victor in this contest could determine what powers our vehicles for decades to come.


Tesla Model S. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Believe it or not, electric vehicles have been around since the 19th century. But they declined in popularity due to their limited range, and improvements to gasoline-powered vehicles effectively drove them into oblivion.  Now, however, they're making a comeback. There are currently a number of battery electric vehicles, or BEVs, available, and they absolutely cut out the cost of fuel, and reduce our dependency of foreign oil. That's the good news.

Unfortunately, there are a number of big issues with BEVs. Unless you're willing to shell-out for Tesla's Model S, range is still a significant issue. And even if you do opt for the Model S, the battery can take 20 minutes just to reach 50% charge, compared to a few minutes' refueling for ICE cars. The National Academy of Sciences, or NAS, lists both of these issues as significant deterrents to mass-market appeal for BEVs.  

But those aren't the only problems with batteries. Li-ion, the battery of choice for most BEVs, is expensive. And even though the price has dropped significantly, even under optimistic conditions, by 2030 the price is not expected to get below $200-$250/kWh. For an 85KWH battery with 300 miles of range, this translates to $17,000 for the battery alone.

By 2050, under optimistic conditions, the NAS stated : "The practical cost limit of Li-ion cells is probably about $80/kWh, and the corresponding pack cost would be $150-$160/kWh." That's still $12,750-$13,600 just for the battery.  Further, the NAS said: "The present average auto has a range of about 300 miles on a tank of gasoline. Very few affordable BEVs will greatly exceed 100 miles for the next several years." In other words, the affordable 300-plus-mile range BEV won't be arriving anytime soon.

Plus, while li-ion vehicles sound "green," as I previously wrote, BEVs are only as green as what charges the battery. Consequently, even with estimates from advances to grid power in 2035, charging a BEV on the U.S. average electricity grid mix will produce anywhere from around half to 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions of a gasoline-powered vehicle. (That's only slightly better than diesel engines, which are expected to produce 85% of a gasoline engine's emissions.)  

Furthermore, manufacturing one battery for a BEV releases between 10,000 and 40,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To put that into perspective, Climate Central estimated that manufacturing a gas powertrain for a 3200 lb car would create only 1,486 pounds of CO2 . Consequently, according to Climate Central, the only way to recoup a battery's carbon debt relative to a gas-powered car would be to subsequently charge it only with green, carbon-free energy, and then drive the car it powered for tens to hundreds of thousands of miles. 

But wait -- the picture gets worse. The most popular way to get the lithium for li-ion batteries is through salar brines -- underground pools of water that have absorbed abundant lithium and other minerals. According to the European Commission on Science for Environmental Policy, pumping and processing these salar brines causes a significant environmental, health, and social impact to the places where li-ion is located.

In short, while li-ion cars emit fewer greenhouse gases than ICE vehicles, the techonology isn't nearly as "green" as it seems. 

Hydrogen fuel cells

Toyota FCV concept. Photo: Toyota.

Enter hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, or FCVs, aren't yet available, but both Toyota and Honda are showcasing their concept fuel cell vehicles at this years Tokyo Motor show, with plans to launch around 2015. Furthermore, Hyundai has already developed a production fuel-cell electric vehicle, the iX35, and just delivered its first line-produced ix35 to Copenhagen, Denmark. Plus, Hyundai said it plans to release 1,000 ix35s by 2015, and 10,000 more shortly after. More importantly, here's why auto giants are pushing for hydrogen.  

Honda's Next Generation Solar Hydrogen Station Prototype with FCX Clarity. Photo: Honda.

First, hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, so the use of it as a fuel eliminates our dependency on foreign oil. Second, FCVs can be refueled in minutes, and have a driving range similar to an ICE vehicle. More importantly, the price for fuel cells has decreased dramatically, thanks in no small part to their reduced use of platinum.

According to the NAS, "Detailed analyses of current costs and expected technology advances that are already under demonstration have resulted in a fuel cell system cost estimate of $39/kW for a high-volume FCEV commercial introduction in 2015." 

Even better? By 2030, the Department of Energy, in conjunction with NAS, estimates that the price for an average FCV will be around $34,181, before government subsidies. That's in comparison to the price for a BEV, which in 2030 is $34,979 .

True, the FCV owner will have to pay for hydrogen, but the total ownership cost per mile is $0.358, just slightly above the $0.355 cost for battery-powered cars. More pointedly, when refueling, the greenhouse gas emissions from hydrogen produced from natural gas are estimated to be 45% to 60% of a gasoline-powered car by 2035 -- less overall than the GHG emissions from charging a BEV. 

No, it's not the Hindenburg on wheels
When people think about hydrogen, they envision the Hindenburg disaster. Luckily, new reports show that the Hindenburg actually caught fire due to its gasbag's fabric being coated with iron oxide, cellulose acetate and aluminum powder, aka, a highly flammable propellant .

In actuality, hydrogen is no more dangerous than gas. According to the IEEE:

A key fact is that hydrogen is 14.4 times lighter than air, rises at 20 m/s (45 mph), and thus quickly dilutes and disperses. Thus it is difficult to contain hydrogen for a hazardous scenario. Hydrogen has a diffusivity in air of 3.8 times faster and rises 6 times faster than natural gas, thus rapidly escapes upwards if accidentally released. Hydrogen combustion produces water vapor and this, together with the absence of carbon, means that a tenth of the radiant heat is produced compared to a hydrocarbon fire, thus the risk of secondary fires is greatly reduced.

 In other words, hydrogen is safe for use as a fuel.

What to watch

ix35. Photo: Hyundai.

FCVs are coming, and really, the only significant barrier to entry is the current lack of refueling infrastructure. However, countries like Europe and Asia are building the necessary equipment -- as is California. More importantly, that same lack of infrastructure also applies to BEVs. In addition, FCVs have significant advantages over BEVs.

Right now, Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai are getting ready to release their FCVs in Europe, in the next few years. And they're not the only car manufactures with a FCV in the pipeline: Almost every major car manufacturer is working on a FCV. Why? Because they could very well be the car of the future -- bad news for Tesla, but great news for the environment and us. Consequently, if you're looking for your next great car stock, I'd go with any of the above that are betting on hydrogen.

The future of vehicles may be uncertain, but this industry is already changing the world
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Read/Post Comments (62) | Recommend This Article (26)

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  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 10:35 AM, luckyagain wrote:

    Is this an ad for Toyota? You can refuel the EV overnight in your garage. There are not any hydrogen fueling stations that I can see.

    Actually hydrogen fuel make a lot of sense because it allows solar electric plants to have a way to store energy while the sun is down. Shipping it can be done by a known technology: pipelines are almost everywhere in the US. Finally it can burned along with natural gas to make electricity when and where it is needed. Since most cars in the US are used to commute less than 50 miles, an EV will probably handle about 90% to 95% of the miles driven in the US.

    Honda's Next Generation Solar Hydrogen Station Prototype with FCX Clarity looks neat but I kind of doubt if it can produce enough hydrogen in a day to power even one vehicle.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 11:06 AM, Dmitrii wrote:

    You are wrong.

    The hydrogen car consume 4 times more ENERGY per mile driven than electric car: it takes a lot of energy to get hydrogen. While element hydrogen is very abundant in the universe, it is inside compounds, mostly water (or you can mine the Sun or Jupiter - which is obviously impossible). It takes a lot of energy to get H2 from water (H2O). Water is the result of combustion of hydrogen.

    So you will need 4 times more power plants per hydrogen car than per pure electric car.

    Hydrogen fuel cells require platinum, which is way more expensive and scarce than lithium. Besides, production of platinum is more polluting.

    Hydrogen as gas is the most dangerous gas from the point of view of explosiveness (according to national and international standards). It requires very special equipment and environment to work with. Malfunctions are deadly (check ISA or ANSI for more details). Explosion of hydrogen car will dwarf the explosion of natural gas car, and it will happen after impact (as soon as hydrogen piping or tank is damaged). Forget Hindenburg, explosion of H2 car will be way more spectacular.

    Working with liquid hydrogen is even more challenging.


    You can not use any existing gas piping architecture to work with H2. Industry standards prohibit that, and for reason. Hydrogen is very different and is far, far more dangerous than methane (natural gas), let alone by other pipelines.

    Hydrogen is one of the most dangerous substances used in industry.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 11:31 AM, bartly123 wrote:

    What if TESLA were working to install a micro wind turbine system that would permit the vehicle to only have to be charged overnight once or twice a year? Rhetorical. It would be self charging while driving. Device already exists and is being tested by DARPA to insure power output and reliability. Weighs only 8 lbs. Two will be sufficient under the hood to charge vehicle. Please attempt to get ALL the facts before acting as a cheerleader.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 11:42 AM, MyPiks wrote:

    What companies make the fuel cells for these new cars? That seems like a better investment

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 11:48 AM, ducatidesigns wrote:

    Last time I checked, Europe and Asia were continents, not countries.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 11:51 AM, Rotomoley wrote:

    As a physicist, this article, good as it is, seems a bit over optimistic on hydrogen. It's not without serious safety concerns. It must be pressurized to 10,000 psi to fit enough energy into the small form factor of a car and get 300 miles range. Even the smallest hole, let alone a rip the the planned carbon fiber spheroid that contains it, will self combust (expanding hydrogen gas gets hot, unlike most gases). With thousands of such cars on the road it's only a matter of time before catastrophic events. Hydrogen flame temperature is about 4000 degrees F enough to melt steel. Gasoline is about 1000 degrees F. At 10,000 psi, there is potential for near instaneous dispersal of burning hydrogen over a larger region. Particularly onerous at a crowded intersection, public garage, or private home garages. Hydrogen, although abundant in the universe, is in compound form on earth. To produce it require the electrolysis of water or extreme temperature dissasociation of methane, other hydrocarbon or water itself. Thus the process is highly energy intensive and requires large inputs of energy either through the electric grid or through burning hydrocarbons (which produces green house gases). There is exactly zero hydrogen infrastucture which would be very expensive to develop, especially if piped hydrogen is anticipated as in some scenarious. The technical and economic obstacles to wide spread hydrogen use are huge and would be very costly. It's early to say FCV's have an useful and practical advantage overall over BEV's. Right now, BEV's work under existing infrastructure. FCV's would not.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:00 PM, sorenkarl wrote:

    First of all, abundance elsewhere in the universe is irreverent. Second, here on Earth, hydrogen does not exist as a singular element. All of it is bound to other molecules, like water and complex compounds. Releasing and capturing hydrogen requires large amounts of energy that produces CO2. More energy then is returned when it gets used, so there is a net loss of energy overall.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:03 PM, tas wrote:

    We already have an energy source that's readily available and cheap, it's called oil!!!!!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:04 PM, rcmansid wrote:

    I am betting on Super/Ultra Capacitors supplementing Lithium Batteries or some kind of instant rechargeable hybrid capacitor combo battery pack.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:11 PM, mnpackers wrote:

    Both the FCV (Fool Cell Vehicle) and the All Electric Vehicle are commercially impractical.

    Fuel Cells from a technical standpoint are fragile and the catalyst (platinum) make them too costly for commercial usage. In addition the so called Hydrogen infrastructure is very complex due to pure hydrogen's physical properties of wanting to bind with other elements.For practical vehicle distance Hydrogen needs to be compressed to tens of thousands PSI...go ahead and sit on that "bomb", I'll pass.

    Battery technology may have reached close to it's limits of storage capacity per volume. As we like to say there are three types of liars " Liars, Damn Liars and Battery Engineers".

    Both these technologies look great on paper - it's just when you try to commercialize them that they become totally impractical and way too costly.

    If you want to make a million dollars in either of these technologies, start with 50 million dollars!

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:13 PM, SanDiegoCoyote wrote:

    "What if TESLA were working to install a micro wind turbine system that would permit the vehicle to only have to be charged overnight once or twice a year? Rhetorical. It would be self charging while driving."

    I guess I'm not completely understanding the concept. It seems like it would be at best a wash, because you still need to use energy to get the car up to speed to charge it. Would it only work when the car is decelerating?

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:14 PM, SanDiegoCoyote wrote:

    I'm betting on a return to the horse after all this nonsense with cars is over.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:14 PM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    Good thought provoking article. I'd like to see CNG included in the comparison someday if its viable.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:16 PM, 123dlsmith38 wrote:

    The comparisons in this article are silly. A difference of less than $1000 in price for the vehicle by 2030. Wow that's something to jump up and down about.

    The difference in cost of operating is .003 cents a mile. Totally incredible.

    No really, if hydrogen can be economically extracted from water then hydrogen vehicles would be a good thing, but until that happens here is a better idea:

    Mandate that gas powered vehicles have to shed a certain percentage of weight per vehicle. Insist that all vehicles sold for personal use, including SUVs and trucks have to get over 30 mpg. This would cause the requirements added in the mid 90s that ALL vehicles have to have all the extra reinforcement metal to be less important, so maybe this requirement could be removed or greatly reduced. I drove a Geo Metro, 1994 model, 3 cylinder motor and it got about 42 mpg on the highway which was important to me because I drove about 100 miles a day.

    I rolled this vehicle early morning in the country, driving a road that was wet and I didn't realize it because it was dark and it had rained in this area but not where I lived. Rolling many vehicles will collapse the roof at least a little bit and causes it to be totaled so the insurance company got me a 1996 Geo Metro. Same motor, but this vehicle had the new safety requirement met, so the vehicle was almost 1000 lbs more. That's a huge difference for a small car and a small motor. The end result was a car that got around 30 mpg. And then all of a sudden an economy car is no longer economical.

    My Dad's Buick LeSabre or however you spell it, made in 2001, great car, got gas mileage that was as good as the 96 Geo Metro.

    Those 95' laws killed economy cars because of all the added weight. Lose all that weight and cars would be a lot more economical again even with gasoline engines, but you have to reduce the weight in SUVs and trucks in case of accidents with economy cars. That's why the law was passed in the first place.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:18 PM, youngstuan wrote:

    Tesla poked the Bear, now the Bear wants to maul Tesla.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:22 PM, RHO1953 wrote:

    Obviously hydrogen is better. But all of it is based on faulty assumptions. AGW is a sham, that isn't a good excuse to do this. Hydrogen makes perfect sense for other reasons. You can always extract hydrogen from water, even seawater. That makes it the perfect fuel. Using nuclear power to generate the power for hydrogen extraction makes the most sense.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:56 PM, XMFBreakerTinker wrote:

    Yes, we will build enough nuclear power plants to zap enough water to free up its hydrogen to make new fuel for cars...except, how many nuclear power plants would it take? A lot more than are currently planned by where will the difference come from, oh yes, oil, coal....there is your clean hydrogen...well, we can keep drilling for natural gas and get our hydrogen there....there goes your clean hydrogen

    Infrastructure? Batteries already have an infrastructure, and where it is lacking Tesla is building it out.

    Cost estimates by 2030, give or take the margin of error, at best you can conclude that there is no difference, except the article is almost giddy about this statistically irrelevant cost difference...which also absolutely denies any progress that a focused company like Tesla can make on the technology that otherwise would not be made in the technology.

    All in all...lets see a FCV car sell 20,000 cars in a year, and lets go from there. Prius did it, Tesla has done it and in sex style, Honda has failed to do so despite several years of effort, Toyota will release its prototype car "around" 2015...this Toyota wants to cannibalize its Prius sales I doubt they work very hard internally to push the FCV car.

    This said, who cares. Gas and Tesla's and other electric cars (that are clearly not Tesla's) co-exist and so will FCVs, but seems to me these FCVs will be of the un-sexy variety and will compete with the Prius and the iBMW, the Leaf and their ilk, and will not compete with the BMW 3, 5, 7, Lexus IS...Tesla S, X, or Generation III class of vehicles.

    Let me know how many BMW 3 series have been lost to a LEAF.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 1:02 PM, weaponz wrote:

    The answer is simple. BEVs. It is no contest, BEVs are superior in almost every single way.

    And there is a few mistakes in the article, while electric cars existed in the past they were nothing like the BEVs of today. Things like Lithium Ion and even transistors were not invented yet. The BEVs of today are completely different from the ones ages ago.

    As for the price of lithium ion, the prices of lithium ion has been improving much faster than the predictions. That is why they had to adjust prediction every year. Your predictions from the NAS are based on 2009/2010. In 2012 the prediction for lithium ion would be 160$/kwh by 2025.

    And your making the assumption that lithium ion is the end of all BEV battery technologies. Hardly so. After lithium ion there is metal air batteries.

    One thing is for sure, Toyota and Honda have no plans to build hydrogen infrastructure. They are going to let the government handle it. That is because to build it would cost trillions. And we all know by the time the government gets through all the red tape, everyone will already be driving a BEV.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 1:02 PM, Phrontrowalpine wrote:

    Yeah, but does it do 0-60 in 4.2 seconds?

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 1:05 PM, Fooloprunes wrote:

    I think I 'll stick with my VW Jetta TDi for a bit. It consistently returns 50mpg+ on the highway and the average since new is over 45mpg.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 1:09 PM, okjerryds wrote:

    Electric, Hydrogen, Natural gas, Propane, that's all good if they were affordable and you could find the fuel to run them...People can't afford new vehicles either, so there is a dilemma that you should pay attention to.. I think the fuel should be there before the vehicles. I drive an E85 truck and there is no fuel available for it, why go through the motions if you can't follow through with the support....You people are full of B---S---, lies and promises you can't keep....

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 1:14 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Fantastic article! To the critics of hydrogen, particularly weaponz , the National Academy of Sciences' report the author is referencing is from 2013. It’s the latest info. Get your facts straight.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 1:44 PM, mziggy wrote:

    If you are really trying to be cleaner and better for the planet go hydrogen fuel cell. It's the future. Truly, by going to a battery you are in fact worst then ICE cars because battery acid has negative effects on health and environmental health; most of all, you can't get rid of battery acid. While it's not as bad as a lead acid battery, the negative impact is still evident. On a side note: With more improvements to the hydrogen fuel cell and solar panels, eventually, people will be able to live off the grid; therefore, removing the need for the electrical companies in the future. Will it ever happen? That is the question to ask. Doubtful that Edison/etc. would let that happen, but this is something to look at in the future - clean independent energy.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 2:01 PM, luckyagain wrote:

    Dimitri - my comment about using pipelines to ship hydrogen is meant to show that the technology already exists to ship gas. I did not mean to say that existing pipelines could or would be used. Shipping hydrogen via a pipeline would probably require different pipelines but it would more of adaptation than inventing a totally new technology.

    The major problem with solar is how to store the energy produced when the sun is not shining. Using electricity to produce hydrogen from water is a known technology. Burning a gas to produce electricity is being done today with natural gas. I do not know if the economics would work today, maybe it would or maybe it would not. As solar electric becomes cheaper, it could reach the point where a surplus of electricity is available and at that point using electricity to make hydrogen and shipping it for later use will become feasible.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 2:26 PM, weaponz wrote:

    @smithy07 - Interesting statement considering the last report published by NAS has not released a report for 2013. Last time NAS released a report was in 2010. So your statement is flawed off the bat. It is not like NAS does a yearly report on this unfortunately. I know it is confusing as many 2013 articles reference it and makes it seem like it is recent but it isn't.

    @mziggy - Battery acid? Your confusing Lead Acid batteries used in the 12v batteries with BEV batteries such as Lithium Ion. There is no battery acid in Lithium Ion batteries.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 2:28 PM, citengr wrote:

    The batteries of 3 TSLA cars combusted, and does anyone know the damages? Are batteries truly non-polluting as claimed?

    Also, a truck carrying 4 big tanks of compressed hydrogen combusted in Los Angeles on 11/14/2013. No damage or explosion reported though the truck was totaled by flame. Do anyone have data showing explosion of CNG or H2 cars?

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 2:32 PM, kingofrome wrote:

    Hydrogen fuel cells have a huge safely issue!!!! they drain out water out of a tail pipe. would never buy !!! it will create black ice on roads. i thought black ice was bad from emissions through the tail pipe but water. so many cars will be the the ditches in winter..... its a car idea that will never work in cold climate regions

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 3:37 PM, speculawyer wrote:

    Batteries win. End of story.

    Not necessarily Tesla's and not necessarily in pure EVs. It will be a combination of plug-in hybrids and pure electrics that win. Too many issues with hydrogen . . . fuel cells are not cheap, no H2 infrastructure, hydrogen is not cheap, etc.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 3:53 PM, speculawyer wrote:

    Why does this article completely ignore plug-in hybrid electric vehicles like the Volt? They solve the range issue . . . which really isn't much of an issue if you have another car, sign up for car sharing, rent a car, borrow a car, or otherwise deal with your occasional long trips. Phevs can massively reduce gas usage. people dont drive as much or as far as they think

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 4:24 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    weaponz, you are woefully uninformed. NAS just released this report, "Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels (2013).” Go here to download the report:

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 4:26 PM, dpTrail wrote:

    The only practical means to create commercial amounts of Hydrogen is from cracking Natural Gas. Just run Natural Gas Cars! Converting anything from one form to another always has a cost.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 4:48 PM, lschlesi wrote:

    The real answer to generating the massive quantity of pollution-free electric power needed for both BEV or FCV technology is off planet power generation (orbiting solar power satellites) linked to each other and to the ground by dispersed microwave beams as first proposed by Dr. Gerald O'Neil in the 70s (see 'The High Frontier' by Gerald O'Neil).

    The accumulation of solar energy in space is roughly 10x more efficient than on the ground and, power generators strung out in the right orbit, would always have sunlight on at least some of them (plus, no cloudy weather in space).

    The large (2 to 4 square mile) receiving antennas on the ground would be cheap to build and easy to maintain. Even 3rd world countries could build them.


    1.) Constant flow of electric power that could be routed to almost anywhere on the planet.

    2.) Power source is totally non-polluting (the Sun).

    3.) Generating stations could be automated and nearly maintenance free.


    1.) Initial cost would be huge, but ultimately worth it.

    2.) Effort would probably require international cooperation, which is not very easy to achieve.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 5:13 PM, weaponz wrote:

    @smithy007 - Sorry that is not the same kind of report they published before. There is no analyses of the current cost changes. They only included old data from their reports and have not conducted a new study.

    If you look at the sources they used, you would noticed none of the sources was past 2011 for their data. This is also why the report seems to in some cases address 2012 as though its the future and not the past.

    Most likely this report was written in 2011/2012 and published in 2013.

    This is also seen as they call IPM motors the current motors and AC induction motors future motors when the Tesla Model S and even the Tesla Roadster uses AC induction motors.

    Effectively that report you just linked is a summary of past reports. To give an outlook. But the data is grossly outdated. For one they estimate that in 2015 it would cost 720$/kwh. The Volt today in 2013 is estimated to be 300-400$/kwh (This is 2020-2025 territory).

    At 720$/kwh in 2015 a Tesla Model S battery would cost 61.2k. That is in 2015!

    So as you can see the data in that report is way outdated.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 5:31 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    weaponz, are you seriously suggesting that the National Academy of Sciences doesn’t know what it’s talking about? Wow. Good luck with that. You’ve just lost all credibility.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 6:04 PM, weaponz wrote:

    @smithy007 - No I am suggesting you linked to a summary article summarizing old outdated data. As I mentioned before, NAS has not done any new research on the topic since 2009/2010. They really need to do a new study with current information. Which is why I stated, the NAS needs to do a new study as much has changed.

    Unless your implying GM and Tesla have no clue what they are paying for the batteries they themselves are making?

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 6:06 PM, radicalyahoo wrote:

    Wow... talk about negative bias against BEVs as if the author was a consultant for Japanese auto manufacturers of Hydrogen vehicles. As if there is not carbon impact to manufacturing any other vehicle type... so much for balanced journalism.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 6:16 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    weaponz, the audacity to suggest NAS is uninformed is laughable. I guess when they said “new report” they didn’t actually mean it, right? Maybe they just got lazy. Someone better tell Congress. Like I said, you’re credibility is gone.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 6:27 PM, BBBBandit wrote:

    In deciding between hydrogen and electricity, it is important to remember the Hindenberg. (For the youngsters in the crowd: Google it). While it is true that a serious crash may trigger a slow-burning fire in the Tesla's battery compartment, it will not burst into a fireball like a sparked blimp.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 6:50 PM, Compewterbleu wrote:

    Honda's had a hydrogen car for years, whose paying these writers?

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 7:16 PM, handybunk wrote:

    The really true option is a plug-in cng hybrid. Battery progress will help, and utilization of hydrogen(compressed natural gas) will utilize existing products. No gasoline or diesel.......You have internal combustion with a truly renewable fuel, existing battery tech(or count on future tech).

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 7:21 PM, fpl1954 wrote:

    Hydrogen isn't any more dangerous than any other fuel - by definition all fuels are dangerous, every one is chosen because it will explode. However, Hydrogen as an automotive fuel has a serious problem, it has far less energy density than hydrocarbons. It has to be liquified to work as automotive fuel, and that is very expensive and makes it difficult to handle because it has to be refrigerated or the tank has to handle pressure - like a propane tank. Not impossible, but also not easy or cheap. Electric cars have their flaws too. The best long term solution is some sort of short range vehicle that runs long distance on induction coils embedded in the road way. These already exist and are working well in road trials in S. Korea. It does require reworking the roads to embed the coils, but done right that is a one time expense. Large trucks will have to stick to liquid fuels, but it is time we separated them from cars anyway. There are too many trucks on the road, or too many cars, anyway they don't run well together because trucks need far stronger roads but car drivers don't want to pay for far stronger roads so we have high maintenance roads instead. Let's make high load lanes where trucks can run without cars interfering, and induction lanes where cars can run without trucks. They can merge at exits. Everyone wins.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 7:33 PM, weaponz wrote:

    @smithy007 - Again you are not understanding. I am not claiming that the NAS is uninformed. I am saying your are uninformed.

    First of all there is a difference between a report and a study. In 2009/2010 they conducted a study on the data. This is just a report base on previous information.

    Second, this report was compiled in 2011/2012. And published in 2013.

    If you look at the sources for the report data. It cites old sources. And this practice is not uncommon unfortunately. Due to lack of funding research on these kind of things is out dated. I work in market research and I read a lot of different reports and studies on data. And sadly many reports use data that spans up to 10 years ago even due to lack of funding to research and keep things up to date. I am all for the NAS conducting a more recent study, but to this day it does not exist.

    The latest research by McKinsey point to battery prices hitting 200$ in 2020.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 8:00 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    weaponz, I’ve read some of your other comments on articles. It’s pretty clear where your bias is. I get it. You like BEVs. You REALLY like Tesla. Unfortunately, the NAS is responsible for helping shape policy, and the report in question is a forward looking one on which avenue will be best for alternative energy vehicles. Your attack on it (and your attempts to undermine it) are nothing short of ridiculous. I’m sorry, but you might want to reevaluate that. You love Tesla. That’s great. It’s not the best alternative energy vehicle. Period.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 8:03 PM, Statonist wrote:

    Wow. I guess it's right when they say only believe half of what you read. There are an awful lot of people here with their opinions...and that's all they are, opinions. Your opinion is that the car would be a driving bomb. False. Your opinion is that hydrogen can not be economically produced. False. Your opinion is the infrastructure is not going to be available. False. I think it would be best to educate yourself before typing away. I know very little about the EV vehicle or the workings of it, so I am going to refrain from commenting on it lest I sound like everyone else. Now go back to finding out what a Kardashian is wearing.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 9:02 PM, EdwardInFlorida wrote:


    "You love Tesla. That’s great. It’s not the best alternative energy vehicle. Period."

    And what is the "best" alternative energy vehicle then Smithy007?

    No matter how you want to cut it, Tesla is the best of it's kind for now. Everything else is just vaporware that has no existing infrastructure to support it.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 10:26 PM, weaponz wrote:

    @Smithy007 - While I do like Tesla and it seems you hate Tesla that has nothing to do with the factual discussion at hand. I'd rather not get into pointless bickering about personal views and stick to the facts.

    You are clearly trying to mislead people to think that any of the things written in that report represent the views of the NAS and that I am somehow trying to discredit them. On the contrary you are mistaken and it is clearly written in the report that these views DO NOT represent the views of the NAS and only represent the views of the author (Douglas M Chapin). (page 3)

    Now that we got that misconception out of the way. This report in question is a summary report based on previous reports made and was put together with years of data. The data they used for battery prices is 2009/2010 and they put together the data in 2011.(Page 283-284)

    The last meeting they discussed energy storage and cost was in march 2011.(page 169)

    So again, stop making things up!

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 10:55 PM, fredjohnson55343 wrote:

    Toyota wins. By the time fuel cells are common everywhere, all the Tesla cars will have self-ignited and burned to dust on the highways.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 11:23 PM, Badskpr wrote:

    The BIG PROBLEM is INFRASTRUCTURE! Republicans are blocking it in Congress because BIG OIL finances their campaigns. Hence more chemical fires, oil spills, and no GREEN energy such as Urban Green Energy 5 KW OFF GRID "Sanya Light Pump" cost 30K with AFDC 80% grant ( Us code title 40 section 2232 sub section 819). There is no OFF GRID infrastructure today for hydrogen fuel cells. RENAULT is leading the charge with SEVEN ELECTRIC VEHICLES (VANS/CARS/Quadra-cycle).

    You do not hear about them because they are FRENCH and BUSH and Romney hate the French even if it is throughout Europe/Australia/Israel/China/and Turkey.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 1:05 AM, smithy007 wrote:

    weaponz, at this point you’re out and out lying. The report includes data from the EPA from 2012, and countless others, the front page clearly states, “This National Research Council report assesses the potential for reducing petroleum consumption and green-house gas (GHG) emissions…” and the authors are the Committee on Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES), Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS), and the National Research Council. Now, it is completely ok for you to be a Tesla fan. But having an unhealthily bias (and that’s what it is) is not. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about, or are purposefully trying to mislead people and discredit the NAS.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 2:31 AM, weaponz wrote:

    @smuthy007 - I keep repeating basic stuff and you don't seem to listen. The report was done OVER TIME as they tackled issues 1 by 1. The data specific to batteries was last tackled and discussed in 2011 as per report.

    If you notice, most of the article uses EIA 2011. The last meeting recorded was in may 2012 and it was for report writing. Not for research. Most of the 2012 data has been spliced in after. But again all these stuff is irrelevant because the data for the battery storage is dated 2010/2011 on the report.

    And for the last time, YOU ARE NOT THE NAS!

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 3:06 AM, weaponz wrote:

    @smithy007 - Oh and here is a more up to date report which actually includes data from 2012. The report and estimates is by the IEA. (International Energy Agency)

    The 2012 battery prices is 485$/kwh.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 6:27 AM, jefftheman1 wrote:

    what most folks don't take into consideration is the battery besides the very very cheap charge is saving you huge amounts in fuel thus making this debate mute as far as cost!

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 7:16 PM, mitviet wrote:

    who cares what the cars would run on... Telsa would beat this Toyota just for look, hands down !

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 1:44 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    mziggy, Battery acid? EV's use lithium ion batteries. The chairman of BYD drank the fluid in their lithium batteries because some journalists suffered from the same delusions that EV batteries use some form of battery acid. Internal combustion cars are the ones that use lead acid batteries.

    Fuel cell cars are electric vehicles by the way. The difference is that instead of using a solar panel on your roof to refuel, you must use expensive hydrogen that is currently made from reforming fossil fuels.

    In the future you may even have the opportunity to use even more expensive hydrogen, that is made from renewable resources, to run your electric car. That will then be turned into electricity with, an expensive platinum filled fuel stack, to run your electric car.

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 1:56 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    Statonist, an EV vehicle is really very simple. It is a vehicle powered with an electric motor much like a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is. Except there is no hydrogen fuel stack to produce the electricity. An EV then must store the electrical energy, procured cheaply from an outlet, rather than make it from expensive and hard to store hydrogen.

    An EV must have a big battery, the larger the battery the more expensive it is. Hydrogen fuel cell cars have batteries also, but they can be much smaller since the expensive fuel cell stack is creating electricity from compressed hydrogen on-board.

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 2:17 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    "Furthermore, manufacturing one battery for a BEV releases between 10,000 and 40,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To put that into perspective, Climate Central estimated that manufacturing a gas powertrain for a 3200 lb car would create only 1,486 pounds of CO2"

    LOL, does this even have the slightest feel of rationality to it? One car requires 40,000 lbs of CO2 to be released into the atmosphere for a simple battery, and the other only leads to 1,486 pounds of CO2 released for production of it's entire drive train. Seriously? An order of magnitude, then four times over more, in CO2 emissions. Just to produce an EV battery?

    If that is true then the lead acid battery in a conventional car must be responsible for about 260% of the cars CO2 emissions during production. Well, clearly that cannot be biased in any way shape or form...because I read it on the internet!!!!

    We must immediately ban all children's toys that use batteries because of the huge amount of CO2 being released from the production of battery using goods!!!!! Laptops, cell phones, quartz watches gotta go - seriously Katie, apply some critical thinking before you copy someones amazingly specious conclusions.

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2013, at 8:14 AM, LikeTesla wrote:

    Nice little game of switch you play. Compare to electric on gas cost but compare to ICE on pollution. My family owns and operates two electric vehicles "today" and they run off of Solar Power! Our consumption of gasoline has dropped dramatically and I expect the pollution output as well. What would your comparisons show if Natural Gas was used to power electric power plants, instead of FCV's, which then powered electric cars? My understanding is that refueling infrastructure for FCV is very very expensive and while I may have missed it I don't see a vast infrastructure expansion by anyone!

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2013, at 8:17 AM, LikeTesla wrote:

    Oh yes, we refuel in our garage for the most part and via Tesla should be able to drive around the country at little to no cost. Unless the value of your free time is much higher than $120/hour spending 20 minutes or an hour recharging every once in awhile in order to drive across country at no cost is not much of an imposition.

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2013, at 8:24 AM, LikeTesla wrote:

    If not for Tesla the automakers would still be cranking out huge 15 MPG vehicles as far as the eye could see and to hell with what needs to be done or with what should be done. That is there history in large measure ..., at least without government intervention!

  • Report this Comment On November 25, 2013, at 5:58 PM, dickbojack wrote:

    After reading an hour's worth of the debate over HVCs vs. BEVs I believe the plug in hybrid is still the best bet for most people over the next ten years. A CNG/Plug in hybrid seems like a good choice.

    I have been driving an original 2000 Honda Insight with an actual 62 MPG fuel efficiency over the last 13 years and 130,000 miles. Its been a great/fun car but Its getting close to time to buy a new car. My first choice would be a CNG/Plug-In with a lithiun ion battery pack and a close ratio six-speed manual transmission.

    Like I was 13 years ago, the early adapters who can afford it should buy the HVCs and BEVs to help the technology progress. All options discussed seem to require the generation of cheep carbon free electricity to make much sense. I still vote for nuclear electic generation.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 2:50 AM, Cornan wrote:

    a) A car ugly like this I don't want to drive no matter what! It looks a monster out of an Ultra Seven movie!

    b) This article is simply bogus. The author should make more research on fuel cells; the infrastructure needed to extract the needed H from water it is not that trivial!

    c) I will tell you why Tesla type of vehicle likely will win, even though the Lithium batteries are not that effective yet: research for capacitors and other type of batteries are on the way now especially after Tesla showing the world and the lazy Toyota, Audi, BMW, GM, Ford, etc what an electric car can be. I simply can't go back. I see even cars that I wanted to buy in the past (Audi R8, etc) and when compared to the Model S, they look lame.

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2014, at 11:29 PM, GetMeTheBigKnife wrote:

    I would not want my loved ones to ever be transported in something powered by a potential hydrogen bomb.

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