For 7 years, VW software thwarted pollution regulations

For 7 years, VW software thwarted pollution regulations
In a Tuesday, May 5, 2015 file photo, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn addresses the shareholders during the annual shareholder meeting of the car manufacturer Volkswagen in Hannover, Germany. Winterkorn apologized Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, after the Environmental Protection Agency said the German automaker skirted clean air rules by rigging emissions tests for about 500,000 diesel cars. "I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public," Volkswagen chief Martin Winterkorn said in a statement. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

Volkswagen became the world's top-selling carmaker trumpeting the environmental friendliness, fuel efficiency and high performance of diesel-powered vehicles that met America's tough Clean Air laws.

VW's success story was so good that pollution-control advocates did their own tests, hoping to persuade other countries to enforce the same strict standards.

Instead, they got a foul-smelling surprise: In actual driving, the VWs spewed as much as 40 times more pollution from their tailpipes than allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"We ran the program to show that U.S. diesels are clean," said John German, senior fellow with the International Council on Clean Transportation, the group that blew the whistle on Volkswagen. "Turned out we found a violator."

The EPA and the California Air Resources Board announced the violations on Friday, accusing VW of installing software that switches on pollution controls during smog tests, then switches them off again so that drivers can enjoy more engine power on the road.

VW got away with this scheme for seven years, and according to the EPA, didn't come clean even when repeatedly confronted with evidence of excessive pollution.

Industry analysts say the company was likely trying to reduce costs and improve performance, to match its marketing.

Instead, VW's stock plunged a stunning 17 percent on Monday, costing the company $15 billion in market value in a single day. It also outraged customers, turned up the heat on the CEO, and could bring up to $18 billion in penalties from the U.S. government alone.

The company stopped selling the vehicles and likely will have to recall nearly 500,000 Jetta, Golf, Beetle and Audi A3 cars dating to the 2009 model year.

CEO Martin Winterkorn promised a company investigation as he apologized on Sunday, saying VW had broken the trust of customers and the public. He also pledged to cooperate with government investigations.

U.S. diesel emissions limits, mainly for ozone-causing nitrogen oxide, are more strict than those in Europe. Removing the chemical requires additional hardware. Instead, VW used secret software—an algorithm that detects when cars are being tested on treadmill-like devices called dynamometers, and stealthily switches the engines to a cleaner mode.

For 7 years, VW software thwarted pollution regulations
In this photo taken Feb. 14, 2013, a Volkswagen logo is seen on the grill of a Volkswagen on display in Pittsburgh. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says nearly 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars built in the past seven year are intentionally violating clean air standards by using software that evades EPA emissions standards. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Because smog tests are almost always done on dynamometers, VW got away with the scheme for seven years, until the "clean transportation" advocates went to West Virginia University, which tests emissions using equipment that fits in car trunks.

WVU tested three cars in real-world conditions— a 2012 VW Jetta, a 2013 VW Passat and a BMW X5 SUV. The BMW passed, but the university found significantly higher emissions from the Volkswagens, according to the EPA.

The university and the council reported their findings to the EPA and CARB in May 2014, but VW blamed the problem on technical issues and unexpected conditions. The automaker even did a recall late last year, without much improvement, the EPA said.

Only when the EPA and CARB refused to approve VW's 2016 diesel models for sale did the company explain what it had done.

"We met with VW on several occasions, and they continued to dispute our data, so we'd return to the lab," recalled CARB spokesman Dave Clegern. "Over time, VW had no other explanations left, and it was our lab staff who actually got VW to admit that there was, in fact, a defeat device."

VW's diesel cars represent just a fourth of its U.S. sales, so the company was probably trying to avoid the cost of more sophisticated pollution controls, since it sells far more diesels in Europe, said Alan Baum, a consultant in Detroit who advises automakers on fuel economy regulations.

"That enabled them to offer the diesel without some of the additional hardware and software in the U.S.," Baum said.

The scheme also gave VWs better mileage, German said.

The scandal is already damaging VW's reputation as the people's car. European regulators announced parallel investigations, and the EPA said it is expanding its probe to make sure other automakers aren't using similar devices.

For 7 years, VW software thwarted pollution regulations
In this Nov. 20, 2008 file photo a Volkswagen Jetta TDI diesel engine is displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Green Car Journal named Volkswagen's 2009 Jetta TDI as the "Green Car of the Year" at the show on Thursday, making it the first clean-diesel vehicle to win the prize. Around 15 billion euros (US$ 16.9 billion) was wiped off the market value of Volkswagen AG on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 following revelations that the German carmaker rigged U.S. emissions tests for about 500,000 diesel cars. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

VW board members reportedly planned a crisis meeting Wednesday ahead of their regular board meeting. And at the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said "we are quite concerned by some of the reports that we've seen about the conduct of this particular company."

VW CEO Winterkorn will face difficult questions in the coming days.

"I'd be surprised if Winterkorn can ride this out, but in Germany there's often a slightly slower process in these matters," said Christian Stadler, a professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School.

For a company to engage in such blatant trickery, top executives must have been informed, said Guido Reinking, a German auto expert.

Winterkorn is an engineer by training who led research and development across the VW group beginning in 2007, and became chairman of the management board the same year.

The illegal software was made and installed in vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines during the model years 2009 through 2015, the EPA said.

Car owners do not need to take any immediate action. The cars threaten public health, but the violations pose no safety hazards, and the cars remain legal to drive and sell while Volkswagen comes up with a plan to repair them at company expense, the EPA said.

VW didn't acknowledge its scheme until Sept. 3, EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia said Monday. On Sept. 9, without making any reference to VW, the Justice Department announced a renewed commitment to holding individual executives accountable for corporate wrongdoing. And when the EPA announced VW's violations on Friday, it noted that in addition to the corporate fines of $37,500 per vehicle, individuals could be fined $3,750 per violation of the Clean Air Act.

On Capitol Hill, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said his subcommittee will determine whether auto buyers were deceived. "The American people deserve answers and assurances that this will not happen again. We intend to get those answers."


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Sep 22, 2015
Volkswagen, the Official Car of the New England Patriots!

Sep 22, 2015
Maybe some good will come of it. If all diesel engines take a hit in sales maybe the big auto makers will finally put some sensible EVs or hydrogen vehicles on the market.
It's not like this isn't doable as Tesla and Toyota demonstrate.

Sep 22, 2015
Heh. Auntie, you just won't let hydrogen go, will you? :P

But I agree in principle with what you wrote. For seven years, VW fraudulently made diesel seem more attractive to consumers than it actually is. Rebalancing public perception of diesel should give a modest boost to cleaner vehicle technologies.

If VW crashes and burns to ash, it could set off economic repercussions globally. It's a big damn company. 600,000 employees is not small. Germany itself owns stock in it and uses the dividends to offset taxes. We can hope that regulators and prosecutors will act forcefully, but I'd prefer to see harsh criminal penalties for individuals than to see punitive monetary penalties greater than the company can bear.

Next up: regulators and scientists are going to be testing practically everything real hard to see if anyone else is rigging emissions tests. Anyone care to place a bet as to whether VW is the sole culprit?

Sep 22, 2015
Ironically, I was on the verge of buying a diesel VW Beetle. I have long been "prejudiced" against diesels, thinking they were dirty and slow, but I was impressed with the performance, fuel economy, and apparent cleanliness of the VW.
Diesel cars have never been popular in the US, and this ensures that they never will be.

Sep 23, 2015
VW fraudulently made diesel seem more attractive to consumers than it actually is.


Let's call a spade a spade - the European fuel taxes are what made diesels more attractive than they really are.

The problem of high emissions and test cycle busting isn't exactly a new phenomenon - it was already known for years that the real on-road emissions from the average diesel car hasn't improved since the Euro 2 standards.

That said, I think gasoline cars get a clean slate on false premises, because the emissions from gasoline cars get tested under load on a dynamometer, while in the real world they pollute most when idle or low load, while diesels pollute the least when idle or low load and most when under load in a dynamometer due to the way these engines operate.

In a real world rush hour city traffic, it's the modern gasoline cars that pollute more because the engine isn't combusting very well under throttle and there isn't enough heat for the catalytic converter.

Sep 23, 2015
If all diesel engines take a hit in sales maybe the big auto makers will finally put some sensible EVs or hydrogen vehicles on the market.


Over 96% of the US light vehicle market is gasoline cars. Diesels are a rare sight, except with trucks.

Part of the reason is that in the US there isn't a 75% tax on fuel, part is that the US emissions standards are rigged in favor of gasoline engines and part is that the US diesel fuel supply has been historically dirtier with more sulfur allowed than in the EU.

The irony is that modern high efficiency gasoline engines have the same issues as diesel engines. High compression ratio and turbo pressure saves fuel and makes more power, but also more NOx emissions, and fuel injection causes incomplete combustion and particle emissions because some of the fuel remains in droplets that burn from the outside in and leave a little soot kernel. The particles are just smaller and lighter than with diesel, so they pass the smog tests.


Sep 23, 2015
you just won't let hydrogen go, will you

Of course not. It's the most elegant technology. We're at a point where we can easily make it work. It's environmentally safe. It's not a health hazard. It plays well with all the other renewable energy sources. We have the cheap production, storage and distribution capability (and the latter is not even needed because you can produce it in situ wherever you have access to the energy grid).
What's not to like? No other technology has all these advantages.

Sep 23, 2015
It's the most elegant technology. We're at a point where we can easily make it work.


On both accounts: how?

We have the cheap production, storage and distribution capability (and the latter is not even needed because you can produce it in situ wherever you have access to the energy grid)


That just blatantly isn't true. We have none of that, not in the US, not in EU.

Hydrogen, where available, simply comes from natural gas because the technologies and devices to produce it "in-situ" cost millions. It's incredibly hard and expensive to store in any great quantities, and the cars that use hydrogen are either cumbersome and awkward, or incredibly expensive and awkward.

We aren't anywhere closer to an actual hydrogen economy than we were 20 years ago.

Sep 23, 2015
Aunty wrote, "We're at a point where we can easily make it work. It's environmentally safe. It's not a health hazard. It plays well with all the other renewable energy sources. We have the cheap production, storage and distribution capability (and the latter is not even needed because you can produce it in situ wherever you have access to the energy grid). What's not to like? No other technology has all these advantages."

You left out compression energy losses and leakage. Again! Those losses compare disfavorably to almost any other method of storing energy from electricity.

Making cars run on compressed hydrogen - easy. Producing hydrogen from catalyzed electrolysis - easy. Compressing and storing - hard and costly. Graphene containers? The worst leaks will be in the valves and connectors. And the technology to apply graphene in either doesn't exist.

Improving batteries will take the wind out of hydrogen's sails before it ever gets off the ground.

Sep 23, 2015
What's not to like? No other technology has all these advantages.


None of the advantages you list actually exist.

Instead, hydrogen is a safety risk for being the easiest gas to leak, the hardest to detect a leak, the easiest gas to ignite (of the reasonable fuels), and the one with the widest explosive range in mixture with air. It gets shit mileage and range for being the least dense fuel, requires immense and hazardous pressures or unreasonably low temperatures, or expensive and rare metal-hydride materials to contain in any useful amount, is difficult and expensive to produce cleanly, doesn't work well with ordinary engines, and cannot be easily, cheaply and safely transported in bulk quantities.

There's so many pieces of the puzzle missing that I simply don't understand how you can make your claim.

Sep 23, 2015
Making cars run on compressed hydrogen - easy.


Actually no. Ordinary engines don't run well on hydrogen because of its tendency to pre-ignite and blow back on you. It requires so little to get started that you can't use high compression ratios without causing engine knock. BMW tried to make a gasoline-hydrogen flex-fuel car but it was a dismal failure.

The alternative is hydrogen fuel cells, which currently cost hundreds of thousands and degrade quickly in use.

Producing hydrogen from catalyzed electrolysis - easy.


Not so easy. Small scale electrolysis requires large amounts of purified water to stop the cells from fouling, or frequent replacement of the electrodes. Large scale electrolysis boils the water to remove solutes and splits the steam. Neither process is economically viable and hardly in use anywhere.

Sep 23, 2015
Eikka, I'm not speaking of 'ordinary engines.' But cars already exist which can use hydrogen as a fuel. Easy, from the standpoint that the technology is here, not pie-in-the-sky.

Electrolysis is also a technology that's here. It's not effortless, and it's not all that cheap, but it's doable.

The real issues are compression and leakage.

I'm not as worried as you are about hydrogen's explosive risk. *All* fuels used in internal combustion engines pose risks like that. Hydrogen's leakiness adds a bit of an extra dimension to that risk, but it's manageable - don't store hydrogen in closed spaces. Leave containers - and cars - in the open.

I agree with you that the energy density of compressed hydrogen - unless you really push up compression costs to ridiculous levels - is low. All the more reason that improving batteries will kill hydrogen vehicles before they really can get any traction.

Sep 23, 2015
https://en.wikipe...drogen_7

That's the BMW car I was talking about.

It chugs half a liter of cryogenic liquid hydrogen per kilometer, which translates to 4.7 MPG. There's a 45 gallon (!) insulated hydrogen tank at the back which takes up the entire rear compartment, and even that gives it a range of just 200 km.

The interesting bit is that it uses diesel-style ignition to overcome the problem of early combustion with hydrogen. The gas ignites as soon as it enters the cylinder. One of the issues with using hydrogen in an internal combustion engine is the fact that it still produces NOx emissions with nitrogen from the ambient air.

And:
Once the tank's internal pressure reaches 87 psi, at roughly 17 hours of non-use, the tank will safely vent the building pressure. Over 10–12 days, it will completely lose the contents of the tank

Sep 23, 2015
I'm not as worried as you are about hydrogen's explosive risk. *All* fuels used in internal combustion engines pose risks like that.


They really don't - not to the same extent as hydrogen.

Think of a parking complex full of hydrogen cars, or a tunnel full of cars, leaking into the air inside. Hydrogen loses its lift when it's diffused and thoroughly mixed with air, so it lingers around much like a cloud of mist.

It takes 0.2 Joules of energy to ignite the mixture, and when it goes, boy it really goes. There's been plenty of accidents in powerplants involving hydrogen, because hydrogen is often used as a coolant and working fluid in mechanisms, and these accidents all occurred from leaks in the tanks and pipes, with hydrogen clouding up with air and meeting an ignition source - and after the resulting bang half the side of a building goes missing.

Sep 23, 2015
unless you really push up compression costs to ridiculous levels - is low


You can't compress it enough. Even at 700 bars it's still roughly half the density of liquid hydrogen, and liquid hydrogen still gets you shit for mileage.

Even a small economy car won't do much better:

Suppose an engine average power to be 20 kW (27 HP) to represent some small economy car, and the efficiency at 50% to represent a fuel cell vehicle. Since the energy density of liquid hydrogen (-253 C) is 2.36 kWh/L, that would make it consume 17 liters per hour, and at an average road speed of 80 kph it would make 21 liters per 100 km or 11.2 MPG

City mileage would be worse.

Sep 23, 2015
As a reference:

https://en.wikipe...er_Plant

On January 8, 2007, a hydrogen supply truck was making its routine weekly delivery of H2 gas to the station's hydrogen system, when an explosion occurred at 9:20 a.m. Truck driver was killed in the accident, and ten other people were injured. Premature failure of the pressure-relief device's rupture disc was blamed.


The hydrogen tanks and filling tubes were outside of the building, in "open air".

Hydrogen diffuses 3.8 times as fast as natural gas, so it spreads around from the leak very quickly and makes an explosive cloud. It's odorless, tasteless, and otherwise harmless so you can't sense its presence.

In free air it would quickly dilute to levels where it just can't ignite, but you only need a building wall or a tree next to the leak to concentrate it because it loses lift when diffused and mixed. It's basically a myth that hydrogen just harmlessly rises up into the winds.


Sep 23, 2015
Thanks for the information, Eikka.

I concede the validity of your points.

Sep 23, 2015
I'm not as worried as you are about hydrogen's explosive risk.

I dunno about whether this poses such a huge risk. Hydrogen is used in all kinds of industrial settings. The last time I heard of a hydrogen explosion was....Fukushima.

That hydrogen is flammable over a larger range is not in doubt. But the stuff doesn't pool like gasoline. The only wayto be in danger is if it is contained by a non-ventilated ceiling (like in Fukushima). There's a rather easy (and passive!) way of preventing buildup: a hole.

Yeah...so a H2 truck exploded in 2007. A quick google showed the last oil truck exploding just six days ago killing more than 100 people and injuring 50. So?
http://www.reuter...20150917

And as I said: with access to the grid you don't need to ferry this stuff around with trucks at all. Bury the storage container with a light roof and any explosion - should it happen - will just go upwards.


Sep 23, 2015
I think hydrogen is most deadly when it is generated by the reaction of Zirconium with water at high temperatures in a nuclear reactor. It tends to destroy a lot.

Sep 23, 2015
But the stuff doesn't pool like gasoline.
It does pool in inverted pockets. The design of bldgs containing or producing H2 is very intricate and well-regulated.
http://www.pnnl.g...15am.pdf

Sep 23, 2015
Bury the storage container with a light roof and any explosion - should it happen - will just go upwards.
-Again - there are many regulations regarding the storage, production, and use of H2. Explosion venting has been thoroughly explored and is an integral part of these regs.

Sep 23, 2015
The explosive nature of H2 must be granted as a valid point. The risks can be mitigated. It's not a show-stopper, though it is cause for attention to variables both within vehicular design and beyond it.

If H2's energy density and costs were appealing, it might be worth wrestling over mitigating its risks as a vehicular fuel.

I really don't see how anyone can argue that its energy density and costs to produce, compress, store and prevent leaks can be effective for vehicular transportation.

Certain auto manufacturers seem to want to disagree. I don't really understand why. They haven't made a business case for hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

Maybe they're just trying to dazzle regulators and confuse the public? Get them to delay more serious regulations of fossil fuels while everyone waits for the 'hydrogen economy' that's never going to arrive? That's certainly what's going on with the coal industry's 'clean coal.'

Sep 24, 2015
Great comment thread. Personally I'm still on the fence - anything that has a high energy density is always potentially explosive. It's great to have options through - to explore each tech's failure modes, scalability, ROI etc. That's progress!

Sep 24, 2015
If H2's energy density and costs were appealing

Density is only an issue where storage space is limited. If we're thinking about backup for the grid then space is not anissue.
Cost is also not an issue since the cost is exactly zero. Currently we're throwing away energy that is in excess of what the consumers use - even with grids that are all fossil fuel powered there is always a few percent over-production going on. That could all be channeled into making hydrogen without endangering the stability of the grid.
Then there are the days when solar/wind parks are turned off because they deliver far more than the grid can handle. That amount will only increase as more renewables are added.
Who cares if the efficiency of thsi is atrocious (which it isn't)? It's free.

Sep 24, 2015
They haven't made a business case for hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

They have:

1) It's environmentally friendly (no smog)
2) It doesn't have the grid issues that many EVs charging at once would have (there are solutions for this but hydrogen would probably be cheaper)
3) It's a potential replacement for the most polluting source out there: ship engines
4) Fill up times are very short compared to EVs
5) Hydrogen is (as mentioned above) dirt cheap in a renewable-heavy energy setting to the point where you could give it away (or probably have to pay someone to take it off your hands).

Sep 24, 2015
Yeah...so a H2 truck exploded in 2007. A quick google showed the last oil truck exploding just six days ago killing more than 100 people and injuring 50. So?


Tu-quoque fallacy, and hydrogen used in the large scale would likely kill even more.

. But the stuff doesn't pool like gasoline. The only wayto be in danger is if it is contained by a non-ventilated ceiling (like in Fukushima).


I just contradicted that. When hydrogen is diffused and mixed with air, it does pool up and cloud around the leak site because the more it mixes with air the more it loses its buoyancy and the slower it rises.

At the low end of the explosive range, it no longer lifts but simply moves around with the immediate air currents, which is why it becomes trapped by a simple wall or the side of a building that shades the leak from the winds.

I used to have a link to a site that listed dozens of hydrogen explosions in powerplants with references, but I've since lost it.

Sep 24, 2015
5) Hydrogen is (as mentioned above) dirt cheap in a renewable-heavy energy setting to the point where you could give it away (or probably have to pay someone to take it off your hands).


That's just pure fantasy.

How is it that cheap when the energy sources themselves aren't? It would be a very perverse situation and a very exploitative society, because someone has to pay for it anyways.

2) It doesn't have the grid issues that many EVs charging at once would have


Yes, except there's a near total lack of infrastructure to refuel H2 cars at all.

3) It's a potential replacement for the most polluting source out there: ship engines


Methane does that job better because it doesn't take such a tremendous volume.

4) Fill up times are very short compared to EVs


Filling a pressurized hydrogen tank is actually speed limited because of compression heating. when you increase pressure by 700 times, the temperature goes up 700 times. PV = nRT

Sep 24, 2015
Yeah...so a H2 truck exploded in 2007.


And it wasn't the truck that exploded. The truck itself actually survived, because the leak didn't originate from the truck, but the powerplant's own hydrogen tank pressure relief valve.

The valve was supposed to vent the hydrogen safely into the winds, but it instead pooled and clouded around the plant site until an ignition source blew the whole thing up.

Another part of the reason why hydrogen pools up like that is because any leak from a high pressure tank is expanding by a great deal and it becomes very cold. It cools the surrounding air as it mixes, and cold air sinks towards the floor taking the hydrogen with it.

Furthermore, a hydrogen explosion as compared to an ordinary gas explosion is very rapid and violent. If a house fills up with gas from the mains and it ignites, usually the windows and doors fly out in a big "whoomph". If the same happens with hydrogen the whole thing gets absolutely shredded.


Sep 24, 2015
http://www.scienc...08007052

It is of course technically feasible to fill a hydrogen tank in under 3 minutes with the use of a cooler in the filling pump. It just takes more energy to do so. The technical limitation is that the composite tanks can't heat up over 85 C or else the epoxy starts to degrade and the whole thing may rupture.

Which brings on the obvious question: what happens when you put such a composite tank in a fire?

Sep 24, 2015
Then there are the days when solar/wind parks are turned off because they deliver far more than the grid can handle. That amount will only increase as more renewables are added.
Who cares if the efficiency of thsi is atrocious (which it isn't)? It's free.


It's absolutely not free.

Every bit of power from renewables that is not used simply shifts the cost on the energy that gets used. A wind turbine or a solar plant costs X amount of money to have, and produces Y amount of energy, and when you manage to use Z amount of it, where Z < Y the price of energy is X/Z.

When you utilize the spill-over energy, you simply increase the amount Z. That makes the overall cost of energy cheaper, but not free. It's never free - at best you can achieve a price X/Y by utilizing all of the energy.

It's only "free" if for some reason, such as governmet subsidies, the energy is being given to someone for free, as paid by someone else.

Sep 24, 2015
Auntie points out that grid energy that is wasted could be scavenged into an energy storage medium and released back into the grid when needed. That's sensible, if the business case is positive and beats competing strategies.

There are many competing strategies. I mentioned a couple of them: pumping water upward is one. Melting sodium or something else is another. Batteries are also a possibility. We could come up with more with little effort.

Thus far the business case for *no* grid waste capture system has been made well enough to invite investment (except for batteries on small scales; see Tesla's home battery grid buffer for an example).

Because hydrogen's energy density is very low unless a great deal of energy is used to compress it (which also means cooling it, as Eikka pointed out), it's hard to anticipate how hydrogen's business case for grid waste energy capture is going to beat even the worst of the alternatives on any scale.

Sep 24, 2015
I always assumed this kind of cheat was extremely common. I once owned a car where the dealer explicitly told me that when it was time for the emissions test, that I should bring the car in so they could "prepare" it for the test. I'd get it tested and pass, then return to the dealer to have it restored to it's original state. I suspect this is not uncommon. Modern technology only allows the car itself to detect that it is being tested and make the adjustments on its own. One need only look at the skies over most large cities to see that the testing seems rigged.

Sep 24, 2015
As for hydrogen serving as a vehicular fuel, the headaches just don't stop coming. Low energy density. Safety arguably worse than gasoline. Leaks always problematic. Compression (and cooling) costs, which leads to a net energy delivery of a low fraction of the energy required to liberate hydrogen from water and prepare it for use. Vast infrastructure build-out costs, far more than the cost of tweaking the grid to support battery-electric vehicles. All so we can hang on tenuously to some version of internal combustion engines?

We don't have a hydrogen infrastructure. By the time we could put one in place at enormous expense, it will be overcome by events - batteries will store a lot more energy, charge faster, operate more safely, and deliver vehicular performance that beats IC vehicles, let alone hydrogen-powered vehicles. The handwriting is on the wall. Eventually even aircraft are going to switch over to battery propulsion and charge off the grid.

Sep 24, 2015
The only corporations touting hydrogen are:

- Pipeline companies. The decline of fossil fuels is going to destroy them.

- Oil companies and their gas stations. People going electric won't need 'em. They will need charging stations, but there's nothing but grid electricity needed, and that's everywhere.

- Auto manufacturers who want governments to back a strategy that will fail so they won't have to retool their IC vehicular plants so soon. They know electric is coming. They'd like to slow that down and stretch out the value of their current investments in IC manufacturing. That's why Toyota and a couple of others keep pushing hydrogen concept cars. They'll never mass produce any. It's the exact same strategy as that used by the coal industry: string along the public and politicians with a fake 'almost here' technology that will never bear fruit while they keep spewing and raking in profits.

The infrastructure costs alone for hydrogen are prohibitive.

Sep 24, 2015
Here's the hydrogen accident database, I found it again:

https://h2tools.org/lessons

It's an incomplete list because it's based on submitted case studies. In reality there's estimated to be over 40,000 hydrogen cooled generators in powerplants all over the world, and every couple years there's a leak and a bang somewhere - usually due to neglect and poor maintenance. They're just usually reported as "fires" because a hydrogen explosion sounds too threatening for the company PR.

The question is, when you put 100 million cars on the roads and load them with hydrogen, how many will be ill-maintained and neglected?


Sep 24, 2015
Auto manufacturers who want governments to back a strategy that will fail so they won't have to retool their IC vehicular plants so soon. They know electric is coming.


My guess is that they're playing bait and switch.

The technology to do hydrogen vehicles translates to vehicles running on natural gas and synthetic methane, for which an infrastructure exists, but they can't reveal that card yet because they don't want to repeat the dismal failure what was electric cars in the 1990's.

In the 90's, car companies were boasting about how they could make electric cars, to improve on their public image, so California went and made a law that they have to make them to sell any cars.

In order to avoid a similiar fate, the car companies now are offically reaching for impossible goals, so they can keep developing without worry that the government would suddenly force them to bring half-baked solutions on the market at a loss.

Sep 24, 2015
Plausible, Eikka. Would like to see a smoking gun.

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