Mark Hanson Reports from EVAA - ETIC 2002
Tuesday, December 17, 2002 

EVAA Electric Transportation Industry Conference 2002 "ETIC 2002"
Conference & Exposition December 10-13, 2002 Hollywood, Florida
by Mark E. Hanson Copyright 2002

Click here for some cool pix from the show...

Executive Summary:

With Focus on Technical Improvements and trends in the EV Industry.

An initial overview was presented at the starting plenary session entitled: "National Energy Security" that set the theme of reducing reliance on foreign oil, which inadvertently funds terrorism. Throughout the conference there was a noted change in agenda as the federal dollars have been changed from EV's & Hybrids in the previous PNGV program now cancelled by the Bush administration in favor of the "FreedomCar" initiative towards a hydrogen based fuel cell economy. The CARB EV mandates were also blocked by this administration. There was more emphasis on fuel cell conferences and infrastructure, ie; "gas stations" for national hydrogen delivery to these proposed vehicles. Noticeably absent was improved battery technology seminars that was prevalent in previous years. The oil companies and government seamed to embrace the hydrogen based economy better than EV's since it still can be distributed like oil and highway taxed at the pump. When you plug an EV into your garage, you are avoiding taxes and the oil companies altogether. 

I noted from attending the Building a US Hydrogen Infrastructure was that a hydrogen based infrastructure would cost 2 trillion and be similar to putting a man on the moon or the interstate highway system and would take until the year 2030 to fully implement. Bush is to make an announcement during the State of the Union speech regarding funding on this hydrogen based infrastructure and fuel cell vehicles and to include the initiative in the 2003 Energy Bill. Even though the general consensus of the vehicle manufacturers was that fuel cell vehicles would be available in 2010, they would not be affordable (below $100k) until 2030. Thus with formidable obstacles, cost & infrastructure it will be a long time before we see practical affordable fuel cell vehicles. 

This directional push appears to be more political than scientific. After pressing speakers on this issue in the fuel cell seminars, they conceded that direct burn hydrogen piston engines starting with Ford and BMW by 2004 would probably be available first due to their lower cost and within 10% efficiency of fuel cells but with minor pollution. My comment was, "Space Shuttles are nice but not many can afford one". There were several new NEV's demonstrated but their top speed was federally regulated to 25mph, and with their $10 - $14k price tag, they will be a tough sell. Presently for on-road 55-65mph useable vehicles, there was only the Toyota RAV4-EV available only in California. Ford dropped their nice "Think" EV and GM dropped their EV-1 with the political winds changing. There are still independent converters listed and used EV's available on www.evalbum.com but no mass production. There was a time window (that has passed) during the resurgence of patriotism in the months after 911 that could have been seized to eliminate mid-east oil funding. 

Thus rationing and more fuel efficient vehicles (hybrids and EV's) could have been implemented during this time window of opportunity. This is similar to what FDR did immediately after Pearl Harbor to rally the nation behind fuel conservation. Chevron-Texaco noted that with our present consumption increasing; 2011 will be the peak of oil production where the world will be half empty. Beyond 2011 the fuel prices will steadily increase as supply becomes more scarce. This will induce other means of transportation as petroleum is needed for many critical plastic-rubber products not just burning for vehicles and wasting diesel fuel for heating homes (primarily in the Northeast). The present hybrid sedans are manufactured by Honda (Civic & Insight) and Toyota (Prius). The American manufacturers said they will concentrate on the larger hybrid vehicles, trucks & SUV's probably due to their higher profit margin and poor fuel economy. Even in a hybrid, SUV's will never approach the fuel economy of an aerodynamic lightweight sedan.

Opening Plenary: "National Energy Security, the Imperative in Electric Transportation". The theme this year has changed more towards the focus due to recent world events and reducing dependence on foreign oil through the use of various technologies, hybrids, fuel cells and EV's.. The opening speakers were Ed La Rocque National Manager of Advanced Technology Vehicles for Toyota and Bob Schomber, Regional Fleet Manager of Florida Power & Light. Key elements of the conference were cars on display, fuel cells, infrastructure, testing, seminars and the ride & drive program. Al Weverstad, Fuel Efficiency Director of GM noted that funding mid-east oil poses a national security risk. Fuel cells will help drive us from the oil based economy to a hydrogen based economy. Eugene Zeltmann, CEO of New York Power Authority noted that half of our oil is imported and 2/3rds goes to transportation. Oil consumption is going up while production goes down. Oil peaks in 2011, beyond which production will go down with sustained price increases. 

EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) works on reducing oil consumption with alternatively fueled vehicles. "This would create hundreds of thousands of jobs replacing oil demand by electric demand". Energy mix including wind and solar will be needed. Light hybrids now and plug in hybrids (true hybrids) would allow customers to plug in and avoid the gas station while also allowing long trips. Hybrids presently are the most visible products to reduce our national dependence on foreign oil. The Think by Ford, now cancelled produced 100 vehicles that worked well in tests for city hub transportation. Eugene went on to say that we must have a world beyond oil. There is a promising and essential environment for EV's.

Joel Szabat Deputy Assistant Secretary with the DOT said that Bush said, "we rely on oil from nations that don't particularly like us". The RSPA decision coordinates transportation in national disasters, supports advanced technologies, fuel cells and hybrids with a hydrogen fuel cell economy. There are presently 600 miles of hydrogen pipeline mostly in Texas. There must be 40 megatons of Hydrogen produced to fuel 100 million cars per year. Two trillion dollars of gas stations and infrastructure would have to be replaced. This would be similar to the cost of putting a man on the moon or building the interstate highway system, he said. CAFE is 21 mpg with SUN's exempt and that must be changed. This results in 2 Gegatons of carbon emissions presently. to reduce to sustainable levels, cars would have to be 125mpg which is of course impossible. Therefore cars must be changed to being fueled by something other than gas. In a plea to the engineers present, he stated: "Let us know which technologies are good and which ones will not work.

Tom Gross, Deputy Assistant Secretary with DOE and board of directors for energy efficiency noted that supply coal and natural gas has makes US electricity and imported oil is mostly wasted in inefficient vehicles. Saudi has the largest reserves of the world's oil supply at 26% with Iraq second at 11%. The growing gap between production and demand is presently 11 million barrels (22gal/barrel) per day. A 60% increase in cafe and 10 billion barrels from ANWR in Alaska still won't close the gap without something different. Since world supply will peak in 2011 and start down, global emissions of CO2 must approach zero to achieve stabilization. So we need a national energy policy to end dependence on foreign oil. With a hydrogen economy we must overcome infrastructure and economic barriers. We must eliminate the need to worry about where our next drop of oil is coming from. www.eren.doe.gov

John Dukakas with the transportation sector (taxes, regulations & grants) encourages buying EV's, scooters, and electric buses.. There are points of disagreement between the house and senate over diesel low sulfur, particulate traps and NOX (nitrous oxide) filters to qualify for grants. New diesel technology has cleaner benefits by 2007. Low sulfur fuel should be expanded to more markets. Authorizing appropriations for new diesel development should occur since they use 30% less fuel than gas. (Europe has 40% diesel cars).

Dave Vesey, President with Chevron-Texaco Technology Ventures theme was "Building the Road to the Energy Future". He said I'll bet the EV folks are thinking "Oh wow, let's hear from the oil guy"! "We are not thinking that as we run out of oil, we run out of energy. We are a energy company, not just oil and gas". we are developing fuels of the future such as clean burn gas, hydrogen economy and gasification operations. We want to accelerate energy innovation by developing fuel cells and fuel processing. A fuel cell power plant has been developed and Texas-Ovonic battery is a joint venture to develop better lighter batteries. A hydrogen and fuel cell partnership is being developed with the path forward being a mix of technologies. Presently hydrogen generation will probably be made from natural gas reformation.

Battery and Charging Technology Seminar:

Michael Miller - Director of New Products at Curtis Instruments of Mount Kisco NY manufactures battery chargers, speed controllers, battery gauges and contactors. He explained what a good charger should do. Battery charging is critical in the care and feeding of the battery and it insures a long life and can also record its' history. Battery balancing (or equalizing) is also required. Maximum efficiency is achieved by charging at a slow and constant rate. PFC or unity power factor aids in efficiency (since there is minimal heating of the AC line and connectors and more power can be achieved from a given wall source). The charge rate and temperature monitoring are tailored to the battery sometimes using pulse charging for increased charge rates. Precise control of full charge, the last 10% and in some chemistries 1-2% must be paid attention to. Current, voltage, temperature and sometimes pressure must be looked at by the charger with precise partial state of charge control. Application friendly, opportunity charging, use of vehicle, frequency of charging and nightly charging define the design of the charger. UL and FCC regulations must also be adhered to.

Mike Saft with Saft America said that Lithium Ion batteries are presently the best at 194wh/kg. Electronics, charger and monitoring are required. Three percent DOD is normal for a hybrid vehicle or in a 42V system works well. The Li-ion batteries are also used in military hybrid Humvees and built 190 different systems for hybrid cars. Price has dropped 20% per year and by 2006-08 may drop enough to see widespread use.

Jonathan Whartman, Electric Fuel Corp (on buses) noted zinc air battery use on buses. He indicated that diesel pollutes and hydrogen is too expensive. Zinc-air has a zinc anode with two air anodes and is cost effective originally invented in 1894 patent. Buses are a preferred use since they run all day in dense urban environments. One bus = 20 cars operating with a central depot funded mostly by government. Evaluations in Las Vegas have been operating. There are 18 67V modules in three trays at 312 kWh, regenerative braking with no transmission. The route is 125 miles in stop & go traffic shown by Arthur D Little Corp. market data.

Allen Cooper, UK with Advanced Battery Consortium evaluated valve regulated batteries. He tested a 144V 2V-8ah per cell VRLA battery. He noted that a faulty cell will cause the whole pack to fail. (This is why I have a battery scanner on my EV's). He preferred the cyclone cylindrical battery and beefed up the terminals on both ends of the battery for better high current charge/discharge capabilities shown in a comparison chart. He minimized interconnects with thick PCB's to bolt interconnect all 72 cells.

Government & Regulatory, Tax Code to Research Dollars 

Shelly Launey, Director of Clean Cities Program with the DOE talked about "deployment money" for EV's. They encourage public-private partnerships for ethanol, biodiesel, propane and electricity. There are 501C3's for 140k vehicles increasing 18% per year. You can make solicitations for grants by February and cost share is 30%, ie; the grantee must pay at least 30% of the project cost. See www.ccities.doe.gov for funds available. There is also a TEA 21 Transportation Equity Act for funds available.

Ben Yamagata talked about federal tax incentives and a 10% EV credit until 04'. There is a $2k deduction for purchasing a hybrid he said. Energy Policy bill (HR4) was cancelled due to a diesel addition added by the House as "alternative fuel". The energy bill will come up again in 03'. He said there will probably be tax credits for MPG and using a cleaner engine.

Mild to Plug In, A Look at Hybrid Configurations:

Andy Frank with the University of California said that plug in HEV's (true hybrids) are a stepping stone towards a fuel cell car. He noted that Bosch in 1950 developed the 1st hybrid and that mild hybrids such as the Honda Insight/Civic or Toyota Prius boosts fuel economy up to 50%. Plug-in HEV's offset gasoline usage by 50-90% and there is no need for a rapid charge. Ford is developing a 325hp hybrid Ford Explorer which is 200hp electric and 120hp gas. This gives higher performance at a lower cost. The electric motor does most of the low-end acceleration. A plug-in hybrid would be 20-60miles in electric only mode with a 2x fuel economy increase over a standard vehicle. The transmission is a CVT torque converter squeezing the chained belt with a pulley to change the ratio (similar to go cart CVT's).

Robert King with GE talked about their hybrid bus program based at GE R&D in Schenectady NY. (The on road EV electric car group was cancelled in Salem VA in 98') Robert is working with NY Power Authority using batteries and ultracaps on a Novabus. This hybrid bus demonstrates a shift of a portion of diesel used to the grid. A 40 foot Rapid Transit System bus was used with Zinc Air batteries. The AC Induction motor regens downhill. This was also tried with a 47 cell 320 Kwh Nicad power battery with ultracaps. Key Point: The ultracaps helped improve range by 20-30% by soaking up the current surges. A 100kw fast charger was used with very good 97% efficiency. The bus was run 112 miles and compared to a standard diesel 4.3mpg 26.2 gal per 10 hour shift. 

Plug in during driver's breaks and 30 minute end of shift produced 71kwh of electric into the bus. Thus 20.7 gallons of diesel was used instead resulting in a 5.5 gallon savings per 10 hour shift.

Richard Smith of Maxwell Technologies talked about his Ultracaps. Maxwell has production in San Diego with other manufacturers in Europe and Panasonic in Japan. He said there are several 2nd sources for a good design in product. They are $65 per 2.5V cell 2700F in 02 and dropping to $25 in 04 for the same 2700F cell.

David Deacon with Azure Dynamics who develops series hybrids noted that we should build contracts not prototypes. NRE (non-recurring-engineering) funding should be obtained up front prior to building an expensive prototype. He went on to say that reduction on foreign oil should be the Bush administration's policy although sometimes it isn't. Lower cost of military deployment of theater of operations is now $40 per gallon of fuel and could be reduced with hybrid technology. Health care cost in Ontario is $1 billion for air quality and $20 billion in the US.. Regulations will come more from city governments. A series hybrid has low development costs using PM motors. The key point he made was that fuel cell vehicles can only be implemented in series hybrid mode. Build a business case not prototypes for a real order before starting work. "Don't burn your money on prototypes" he said. (He did build a prototype but just made sure he got paid for it up front as most inventors/engineers usually get taken to the cleaners if they don't require an NRE fee.)

Environmental Capitalism; Making Money While Doing Good

Jonathan Lash, President of World Resources Institute talked about a Shell partnership to reduce demand for oil and better long term choices. Historical context is needed to establish what happens over long term. Humans tend to only look at the short term. (You can't take a snapshot in time based on personal experience to set policy). The US economy has quadrupled as the population has doubled and the pollutant emissions have decreased by 40%. This is quite an achievement. It appears that a rapidly expanding fossil fuel economy makes society better but this is only a 50 year snapshot not a long term solution. Climate change is real and underway. The arctic ice cap is retreating and trees are budding a week sooner. We don't know what the climate shift (long term effects) will be. The coral reefs and old growth forests are retreating. Only about 1% of the world's water is drinkable. Seventy percent of the water is used for agriculture. 

The Colorado River no longer reaches the sea. The poorest people suffer the most from the effects of the developed world. We can and have improved on areas such as civil rights and women's equality so change is inevitable just a question of when and where. There are reasons for sustainability and risks if you don't. Driving new processes and products into knowledge intensive products is the best economic direction. The market is not the top 2% of the pyramid but the bottom 4 billion people. They are more interested in becoming entrepreneurs, not revolutionaries. Lord John Brown founder of BP did not want to be on the wrong side of the climate issue and do the right thing. We are changing the world for our children and grandchildren who won't be able to change it back. Energy sustainability is not a threat but an opportunity.

Florida Power and Light Paul Evanson President stated that EV's don't move the pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack since total energy efficiency is 60% better than burning many small engines individually. They are installing stationary fuel cell plants for evaluation. Electricity is critical for the development and world sustainability but we take it for granted. Nuclear waste in one spot is better than in multiple locations. Renewables such as wind is the right way to go. Bird deaths are rather common around windmills so everything has its tradeoffs. They can be thought of as a sculpture not an eyesore. Hydrodams effect fish but are with wind an excellent electricity source. So there is constant balancing making money while doing good. 

FP & L has the best environmental record of any power company. Ninety-two billion kWh of usage was sold last year. FP & L reduced usage by 32MW by using a residential on call program which turns off air conditioners in 15 minute cycles during peak demands also saving on building new power plants. Present supply mix is 1/4 nuke, 1/4 gas, 1/4 coal and 1/4 renewables. Most new plants are natural gas fired and new gas turbines are improving efficiency by 35%. Hydrocarbons emissions were 294 pounds per MWH now .02 pounds per MWH while doubling capacity with an overall pollution reduction of 80-90%. Outside operations include a solar plant in the Mohabe desert and hydroplants in Maine. FP & L also has 26 wind farms in nine states and on the Washington-Oregon boarder 150' in diameter on 200' towers. Environmental products are not marketing gimmicks but a passion for the company.

Robert C Stempel former CEO of GM and now Chairman of Energy Conversion Devices talked about how electric drives are moving us to a hydrogen economy. His company develops solar photovoltaic shingles that integrate into the roof. Ovonic-Texaco NiMH batteries are used in production EV's. Chevron-Texaco will produce 1.2M NiMH batteries in 2003. The Toyota Prius is making a profit. Now a hybrid family van from Toyota is on the way and a Ford Escape SUV will soon be available at 35mpg highway. In the 1940's Germans ran ICE's on H2 but hybrids with fuel cells are more (about 10%) efficient. 

Ross Witschonke vice president of Ballard Power Systems (fuel cells) noted that the fuel cell was invented in 1894 by Withrum Ostwald and predicted that it would someday replace the fossil fuel vehicle. The Necar fuel cell vehicle cruised 3200 miles across the US. The Ford Focus and Honda fuel cell vehicles travel 190 miles with a 100mph top speed. Toyota also has a fuel cell vehicle. Both Ford and BMW also have a cheaper direct burn hydrogen engine. He also noted that the US ignored the Kyoto global warming and pollution treaty.

Building a U.S. Hydrogen Infrastructure: The roles of Government & Industry

Richard F. Goodstein of Air Products & Chemicals talked about infrastructure and pipelines. Highest priority is fuel cell cost reduction, hydrogen production delivery and storage. Federal fleets demonstrate the viability of hydrogen fueled vehicles.

Steve Fan with Ford Motor Company talked about sustainable mobility. Affordability is a major challenge and production, storage and high pressure. Hydrogen detection is necessary since it is a colorless ordor-less gas and highly explosive. Educate the public with understanding and acceptance as well as tax incentives.

Christian Biggs of GM said that fuel cell vehicles will require the cooperation of the energy sector in order to make it happen. The new autonomy vehicle and hy-wire vehicle will be ideal platforms for fuel cell vehicles. Hydrogen could be generated at local stations or at homes and businesses. In the chicken and egg, the vehicle must lead and be developed first..

Blair Heffelfinger talked about fuel cell business activity. Hydrogen presently has a lack of infrastructure which could be solved by on site steam methane reforming of natural gas. Petroleum and natural gas reformation into hydrogen will be the most common process initially. Methanol as hydrogen is viable and current world surplus could service 10 million FCV's. Biomass based liquid methanol using dried sewage sludge is being tested at Schwartz Pumpe in Germany which produces 75 megawatts of electricity and has a methanol production capacity of over 33 million gallons per year. Coal based methanol production of 275 billion tons of recoverable coal reserves with 1 billion barrels, landfill gas methanol, feedstock production is also a possibility. Direct burn H2 engines will come first due to cost.

Moving Beyond Petroleum: The Perspective of the Oil Industry

Alicia Boutan of Chevron-Texaco Technology Ventures talked about how an oil company can become an energy company. Eleven billion barrels of oil replaced 127% of the nations oil reserves last year. Texaco Ovonic battery systems is a joint venture of Chevron-Texaco and Ovonic for NiMH batteries for hybrid vehicles and 42V car systems.

Jim Seba with Conoco-Phillips talked about clean energy technologies. They also have carbon and graphite operations. Presently they meet the 35 ppm low-sulfur requirement for clean gas. Clean Diesel is at 10 ppm using their "S Zorb process". Their carbon/graphite operations produce ideal thermal and electrical conductivity parts.

Chris Dekoning with Shell talked about hydrogen and creating a more sustainable future as hydrogen will become the ultimate fuel he said, with zero emissions fuel cell technology. There is a +-20% adjustment in the fuel refinery process to adjust for more demand for diesel or gasoline. We will expand our portfolio like the 40% Europeans who drive diesels and biodiesel will be available in the next 5-10 years. Coal gasification process can yield 2/3rds diesel and 1/3rd gas. Within 30 years there will be a shift to hydrogen and oil production will peak in 8 years. There are 37 gasiffiers in coal power plants presently and US has a 250 year supply of coal..

Kateri Callaha, President of EVAA introduced Ken Cameron with GM corporation on fuel cell activity. The "Autonomy" platform vehicle was developed for hybrids and fuel cell vehicles and uses a drive by wire "Hy-wire" design. Hybrid buses improve fuel economy by 40% and 13000 hybrids save 40 million gallons of diesel. Their parallel hybrid truck gets 10-15% better fuel economy than a standard and the Chevy S-10 fuel cell gas reformer gets 20% better fuel economy. Hydrogen3 is an improved drive train with fewer components and reduced weight. These vehicles are a positive business case for GM.

The Electrowave tour of the downtown South Miami Beach electric buses was excellent. The electric buses made by AVS Advanced Vehicle Systems in Chattanooga Tennessee operated at 10c per mile including battery cost vs 30c per mile for the diesels they replaced. The battery packs are swapped within 15 minutes twice a day and opportunity fast charging is being tested which in a pilot program is working well without having to swap the batteries with a fork lift at all. The twin 11" Solectria AC motors in the rear operate the bus through a single drive axle up to 35mph without a transmission. There are two 156V 2k pound batteries in steel containers on either side of the bus low and centered for proper weight distribution for excellent handling. They have fork lift slots on the bottom for easy swapping using a fork lift. Presently the air conditioning which runs constantly in stop & go traffic in South Beach Miami is propane powered but should be electric drive in the future with opportunity charging becoming more prevelant.

Ben Knight, VP of Honda Motor worked on the Insight and Civic to improve the quality of life. Hybrids will dominate in the next couple decades with SULEV close to 0 emissions with early adopters. The Civic is the same drive train as the Insight but with 30% more power.. lower operating costs and fewer trips to gas stations will pay only a 1-1.5k premium which now is a $3k premium. FCV's will take up to 30 years to implement. The Honda FCX will use an ultracap or aux battery in conjunction with the fuel cell for current surges since fuel cells are not as "stiff" (low impedance) as a battery.

Tayai Kahni Director at Toyota said that 100k Prius's have been sold and are making them at a profit. Hybrid efficiency is better at low speeds due to the electric motor assist in their parallel hybrid. Toyota hybrids and fuel cell hybrids use a battery for peak current demand like all FCV's. Supplies for hydrogen will be biomass, coal, petrol, natural gas, and electricity. Commercial introduction will occur in 2030 and small scale demo's by 2010.

Reg Modlin with Daimler Chrysler is the Director of environmental energy and planning seeking energy independence. He said that EV's with batteries are deficient vehicles since they don't go as far. Plug-in series hybrids are viable but cost is an issue. (All FCV's are series hybrids also). NEV's such as Gem etc can be used to reduce ICE use. Fuel cells are a big challenge and far into the future and DaimlerChrysler is not interested in EV's.

John Wallace with Ford said they explored EV's and didn't have success. ( I observed the Think was an expensive AC drive which could have been made cheaper although it was well liked in California during the Pivco Citi-Bee program.) He said there was a cost issue with no profits. (They only hand built 100). There is a limited market he said. Oil use doubled every 20 years and will peak in 2011 and decline after. (Where have I heard this before?) Ford is targeting the better profit hybrid SUV's such as the Escape SUV similar to the Explorer with low volume production in late 2003 to fleets. (Not publicly available) Retail will be in 2004. Ford fuel cell vehicle "Escape" battery will be used in the H2 fuel cell vehicle with availability to fleets on a limited basis in 04' . He took a jab at EV's and said we are not interested in the Sierra Club or Union of Concerned Scientists, just the facts with regards to fuel cell vehicles.

(Note: The US auto manufacturers are working on SUV hybrids and leaving the lesser profitable more efficient aerodynamic sedans to the Japanese manufacturers. This strategy could backfire in 8 years).

Dave Hermance with Toyota Tech Center developed the FCHV 4-door 5-passenger SUV with a fuel cell PEM stack at 90kW and using a NiMH battery same as the Prius. It's performance is 0-60mph in 12.8 seconds max 96mph governed. It has the best efficiency in its class. It is designed with common swappable components and will be introduced by 2012. Infrastructure is not the exclusive responsibility of the auto manufacturers since it will cost 2 trillion dollars to develop hydrogen supplies and hydrogen gas stations. Federal standards, building code, fueling standards and test standards will need to be developed.

Scott Staley PNGV now Ford Fuel Cell program improved range, cost at $3000 per kWh or $300k for a Ford Escape like vehicle. Presently they are using compressed H2. Core fuel cell development partnership with government is under the "Freedom Car" initiative. They use a PEM fuel cell system and a bi-directional DC-DC converter. Presently the cost is 3x to 7x the cost of an ICE vehicle even when in mass production. Ford has built methanol and H2 vehicles. Best cost we can achieve will be $300 per kw in 500k units annual volume. There will be a direct hydrogen burn engine by 04'.

Doanh Tran with Daimler Chrysler said that a chemical hybrid is a lot easier than reforming hydrogen from methanol. Vehicles must be low cost, low maintenance, safe, quiet and operationally transparent. Low fuel consumption and emissions are a must. The fuel cell operates at 80C and cooling is a challenge in a 40C desert environment. Liquid hydrogen is cryogenic and will blow off and therefore be impractical in use. Presently the fuel cell vehicle from plant to wheels (well to wheels) is 40% LESS efficient than an EV. (See www.transportation.ana.gov for comparisons.)

The Electrowave tour was great on the electric buses in South Beach Miami. The twin 11" Solectria AC motors propelled the vehicle with a single speed to 35mph. The vehicle handled well with the twin 2k lb fork lift removeable batteries low and centered. The twice daily battery swap operation takes 15 minutes and a new design being tested uses fast opportunity charging to eliminate the swapping. The electric buses operate at 10c per mile including batteries compared to 30c per mile of the previous diesels. The continuously running air conditioner required in Miami stop & go traffic was propane powered but can be electric in the opportunity new version.