Renault’s Hydrogen Fantasy Debunked – CleanTechnica


Renault’s hydrogen idea automobile is a fantasy that must be debunked. The idea is to make a c-segment MPV / SUV with a smallish battery (40kWh) and a hydrogen gasoline cell vary extender that may add an additional 500 miles of vary utilizing a 15 kW gasoline cell. This sounds good, however the satan is within the particulars.

For the time being, there isn’t a hydrogen filling infrastructure. You cannot get it once you want it while you’re touring. However there’s a usable charging infrastructure in some nations, and a mediocre one in different nations, each for AC charging for every day wants and DC charging for touring wants. So this automobile is for no less than 5, maybe ten years into the long run.

In these 5 or extra years, with tens of billions in subsidies, there might be an European-wide H2 filling infrastructure within the making. In the identical time, largely financed by industrial events, there can be a really usable European DC charging infrastructure for drivers touring with electrical automobiles.

That is solely about Europe, as a result of Renault sells primarily to Europe with some gross sales in Africa and Latin-America. Any massive scale hydrogen infrastructure as wanted for automobiles is extremely unlikely in these locations.

This idea automobile has a 40 kWh battery. In 5 years it will likely be no downside for many drivers to cost their automobile in a single day. For these with charging on their very own property this goes with out query. For many parking in public areas, the variety of chargers in strolling distance can be enough for most individuals. This charging infrastructure is augmented by charging at buying facilities and at workplaces. For touring to locations with out an electrical grid, hire a giant diesel SUV and put a couple of jerry cans with reserve gasoline within the trunk.

As is talked about in lots of discussions earlier than, 40 kWh is greater than sufficient for every day use by the overwhelming majority of individuals. Charging each few days or as soon as every week would suffice for his or her wants. That makes the five hundred miles of prolonged vary by costly hydrogen an possibility for touring. This additional power is provided by a 15 kW gasoline cell.

With that sort of vary you shouldn’t be compelled to journey at say 55 mph. On European highways 75-80 mph is extra customary. The Scenic identify is the identify of the Renault midsized MPV, maybe evaluating right into a SUV. That’s not probably the most economical of physique types.

Hydrogen tanks for 500 miles of vary are requiring a variety of house. Whereas huge on the skin, this automobile won’t be huge on the within, or it might be actually huge on the skin, making this automobile not the primary alternative for vacation journey with a household.

Two of the three 53-liter, 700 bar hydrogen tanks that present about 350 miles EPA vary

The 15 kW provided by the gasoline cell is hardly sufficient for 55 mph when you may have a really environment friendly, streamlined automobile. However who is aware of what 5 extra years of electrical drivetrain growth can convey. Maybe it’s sufficient for driving a giant, totally loaded MPV at 50 mph. For touring at 80 mph, what’s regular for these journeys, with a household and baggage, maybe even a roof coffer, it will likely be over 25 kW that the motor is consuming.

Now some not so difficult math. When consuming 10 kW, the battery is flat after 4 hours driving. When driving at 80 mph, meaning a flat battery after 320 miles and slowing to lower than 55 mph (some power is required for the airco in summer time, and heating in winter, the 2 hottest instances of the 12 months for touring).

Now we have now solely 320 miles of vary complete, not an additional 500 miles of prolonged vary.

In 5 years, battery expertise can be so much higher. The present excessive costs due to demand being bigger than provide, each for uncooked and processed supplies because it is also for battery cells, cannot final for ever. Not in 5 years, however seemingly effectively inside ten years, battery costs will return to regular, based on the battery expertise price curve.

This price curve has been in impact for no less than the final 20 years with a mean decline in costs of simply over 14% annually, halving costs each 5 years. The price curve doesn’t have a look at chemistry. It doesn’t care whether it is NMC, LFP, sodium-based, and even nano-scale flywheels contained in the black field. The power storage price per kWh are decrease annually. Shortage attributable to disasters or provide and demand being out of steadiness can disrupt this development. After some time, the worth will return to the conventional stage.

In ten years, the cell value for batteries will seemingly be round $25/kWh. A 100 kWh battery can be so much smaller, cheaper, and probably not heavier than this development, with its battery plus large hydrogen tanks and a gasoline cell. A 100 kWh battery can even convey you 320 miles additional earlier than it’s flat. However a cease to cost each 2.5 to three hours (200-240 miles) whereas utilizing the toilet and getting some refreshments is wise on lengthy journeys. Solely when touring on the German Autobahn with speeds over 100 mph do you want a bigger battery.

Now with the enterprise case for this hydrogen dream actually debunked, what relaxation is an easy query. What are they pondering at Renault? Or higher, why aren’t they pondering at Renault?


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