Monday, April 23, 2007

GM Shanghais the Volt

The Technology Review published by MIT reports on the hydrogen fuel cell version of the Volt announced in Shanghai.
The flexible electric car platform is innovative, but the fuel-cell version is freighted with hydrogen's flaws.

....swapping out the generator for a fuel cell may be a step backward. That is in part because producing the hydrogen needed to power the fuel-cell version could increase rather than decrease energy demand, and it may not make sense economically.

"The possibility that this vehicle would be built successfully as a commercial vehicle seems to me rather unlikely," says Joseph Romm, who managed energy-efficiency programs at the Department of Energy during the Clinton administration. "If you're going to the trouble of building a plug-in and therefore have an electric drive train and a battery capable of storing a charge, then you could have a cheap gasoline engine along with you, or an expensive fuel cell." Consumers will likely opt for the cheaper version, Romm notes.