Saturday, July 15, 2017

On-The-Air (14/07/2017)

On-The-Air (14/07/2017)
A very pro-mining interview with Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly clean energy vehicles. In particular he is championing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles because they, like catalytic converters for internal combustion engines, require platinum which South Africa is by far the biggest producer of.

As I've said many times before hydrogen fuel cell vehicles make very little sense. Unlike battery electric vehicles that can be charged anywhere there is a electric plug socket, fuel cell vehicles need to be filled at a pump, at the moment there are very few of these, and most of them are concentrated in either California or Japan. Creamer claims in the interview that fuel cell cars can get a range of 500km, the latest fully electric Tesla Model S already has a 500km+ range so why is there the need for the added complexity of a fuel cell when a simple battery electric powertrain is capable of the same range.

Battery technology is also improving at an exponential rate and at the same time prices of battery cells are dropping. Where around $35,000 would only get you an electric car with roughly 100 mile range a year ago, it will now get you one with over 200 mile range in the case of the Chevy Bolt and the new Tesla Model 3. Before the end of the year the new Nissan Leaf should also be offering a similar range at a similar price to these two. At this rate it won't be too long before the average affordable electric car has a plus 300 mile (500km) range.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will also require regular servicing due to the added complexity whereas battery electric vehicles require virtually no major maintenance checks.

In the end the consumer will decide and no doubt they will decide they would rather have the simplicity and low running costs of an electric vehicle.

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