E-Cars Dead At Birth? Singapore Says No To E-Cars As Asian Giants Increasingly Place Bets On Hydrogen Propulsion

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Business soon could be getting awfully rough for electric (battery) car technology manufacturers.

For example, German online news weekly FOCUS here reports how the Singapore government “does not want electric cars” and even “is blocking electric cars”.

E-cars dirtier than claimed

According to Minister Masago Zulkifli bin Masagos Mohamad, who is responsible for the environment and water supply, Singapore has “no interest in a lifestyle, that is being promoted by Tesla’s Elon Musk.

“We are interested in clean solutions to get climate problems under control,” said Zukifli.

FOCUS adds that Musk’s e-car strategy has been “met with massive criticism” in Singapore.

In fact, the Singapore government also had previously decided to impose a CO2 tax on e-cars because the fossil fuels used for generating electricity for the e-car needs to be taken into account.

E-cars have environmental drawbacks

Singapore has strong arguments against more e-cars, FOCUS adds. One reason is that the country relies on a dense public transport network of bus and rail, and so throwing e-cars into the mix would only lead to congestion. The forward-looking Zukifli is clearly placing bets on hydrogen propulsion for the future.

This may explain why a number of countries (e.g. Germany) have been stalling when it comes to investments in electric car infrastructure. Why invest tens of billions in an electric car infrastructure when it may be obsolete in a decade or less?

According to FOCUS: “This [hydrogen propulsion] has a particularly low CO2 footprint, given that rare metals are required for the manufacture of electric car batteries and it has not yet been clarified how they can later be disposed of safely.”

Asia going full throttle to hydrogen

Reuters here reports that China, Japan and South Korea “have set ambitious targets to put millions of hydrogen-powered vehicles” – hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) – on the road by the end of the next decade.

According to proponents, hydrogen FCVs are clean, the gas is plentiful in supply, offers distance ranges similar to gasoline cars and are free of battery-manufacture and after-life disposal/environmental issues.

According to Reuters: “Many backers in China and Japan see FCVs as complementing EVs rather than replacing them. In general, hydrogen is seen as the more efficient choice for heavier vehicles that drive longer distances, hence the current emphasis on city buses.”

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Overview of hydrogen, and why it’s a threat to Tesla:

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21 responses to “E-Cars Dead At Birth? Singapore Says No To E-Cars As Asian Giants Increasingly Place Bets On Hydrogen Propulsion”

  1. Graeme No.3

    There is only one possible problem, the cost of hydrogen gas.
    Yes, I know the claim that ‘renewables’ will supply lots of excess electricity at zero cost so that (inefficient production) of hydrogen will be cheap. And that there is no problem with liquefying it nor its propensity to leak, nor its very wide explosive limit in air, nor its poor octane rating that means vehicles will have to use other conversion type motors.
    And I believe in the Fairy Godmother and the Easter Bunny.

    1. Stewart Pid

      Poor octane rating???
      Hydrogen 130+ (lean burn)
      Methane 125
      Propane 105
      Octane 100
      Gasoline 87
      Diesel 30
      Table 1-7 Octane Numbers of Comparative Fuels

      1. Graeme No.3

        Well I was relying on an old rating of 66 in a standard internal combustion engine.
        François Isaac de Rivaz built the first internal combustion engine powered by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen in 1806. Doesn’t seem to have caught on, does it?

  2. John

    Wow, common sense… finally!

  3. Curious George

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. [Napoleon]

  4. J Martin

    Graeme, excess wind and solar and paticularly nuclear could readily produce lots of hydrogen. Ammonia, NH3, can be used as a room temp and pressure free liquid carrier, there are companies that are working on inline conversion back to hydrogen before feeding it to the engine or fuel cell.

    So hydrogen could well become a common fuel.

    1. Yonason

      “…there are companies that are working on inline conversion back to hydrogen before feeding it to the engine or fuel cell.” – J Martin

      Seriously? Earlier today I was thinking that might be the best way for hydrogen as fuel to work, IF it could be done. So, if they are working on it, maybe they think it can be done.

      Thx.

    2. Graeme No.3

      Excess wind and solar? When they cannot keep the grid running? Granted that you have to build far more capacity to provide (theoretically) enough for use, or lots of storage for that electricity, so hydrogen MIGHT be a means of storage.

      But large amounts of extra capacity have to be paid for, so you have to account for that as a cost (or rely on the Fairy God Mother to wave her magic wand). Then you have the small problem of efficiency, which for intermittent low levels of generation would be lucky to achieve 35%. High pressure, high temperature methods can get to 78-80% efficiency but that means an extra cost.

      And storage would be a real problem with hydrogen with its well known properties of embrittlement of metals and leaking. I agree that ammonia would be a better choice for storage. How do you proposed manufacturing it? The well known HABER process has been in use for over a century, have you a better method?

      1. Yonason

        “Excess wind and solar? When they cannot keep the grid running? “

        Take them off the grid, and only use them for tasks that don’t require on-demand consistency. Use ’em when they work, and no worries for consumers when they don’t. And when their lifetime expires, don’t rebuild. Better than just tearing them down, even though they never should have been installed in the first place.

        Power the grid with reliable traditional fuels.

    3. Aussie

      Just be careful here! Ammonia is not a nice substance and leaks are a problem. Here in Australia we need to register all ammonia installations and have evacuation plans in place.

      I would also caution on hydrogen as it is very “leaky” and flames are invisible.

      Real Engineering has an excellent video comparing both electric and hydrogen. Electric came out on top easily.

      Me personally? I prefer what we have. The fuel tanks are very light where batteries are v heavy and hydrogen cylinders are also v heavy. And it all works with a proper infrastructure in place. We have huge amounts of oil available and can convert coal to fuel per the process used by Sasol. We also have further to go in efficiency here.

      Co2 is not proven to produce warming, and in the decades to come this will become more clear. The internal combustion engine will be with us for a while.

  5. Tom Anderson

    Produce hydrogen with gigantic solar cell plantations and wind farms, non-polluting clean energy — the ones responsible for hundreds of thousands of avian deaths and environmental ravage. There is no free lunch, particularly when you start off by considering carbon dioxide a pollutant.

  6. John F. Hultquist

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cell#Fuel_cell_electric_vehicles_(FCEVs)

    This is dated, but a useful read.

    Fast refueling seems to be the bright spot.
    These have been used for years in a variety of vehicles.
    Sourcing and delivering Hydrogen is an issue.
    Today one can go to many places and buy propane in a tank. Companies even deliver this. Why not hydrogen?
    I’ll guess this is part of the solution to mobility.
    I don’t believe a climate-crisis exists but congestion and poor air quality in cities does.

    I’d buy a vehicle like the Hyundai Nexo if the price was closer to $30,000 than it is to $60,000.
    – – – And if it was made by Subaru of America.

  7. John F. Hultquist
  8. Graeme No.3

    John F. Hultquist:

    There is a big difference in handling; Propane requires just 1,220 kilopascals (177 psi) of pressure to keep it liquid at 37.8 °C (100 °F). Strong tank only and dispense as a liquid.
    Hydrogen boils at minus 253 °C at atmospheric pressure and Compressed hydrogen in hydrogen tanks at 350 bar (5,000 psi) and 700 bar (10,000 psi) is used for hydrogen tank systems in vehicles, based on type IV carbon-composite technology. Note its low density so big tanks needed for good range.

    Despite some readers enthusiasm hydrogen has quite a few problems as a fuel. Cost of producing it is one. Ultimately they may be overcome but let us not go blindly into something because it sounds like a good idea.

    1. John F. Hultquist

      Just for the record, my current car — and my next one — is a small Subaru.

      However, it does seem that Hydrogen does have some uses in certain applications. So too for EVs, and solar and wind in general.

      I help maintain, fix, and build hiking trails in the Cascade Mountains. I often drive 80+ miles one-way and end up 6 to 12 miles at the end of a primitive road.
      We tell our volunteers that if they are trying to do something and it is not happening — they’ve got the wrong tool. Same with cars — I’ve got the one that works for me.
      In totally different circumstances, another sort of vehicle might be a better choice. A serious evaluation of alternatives would be needed, and if the result said fuel cell, I would buy one.

  9. Georg Thomas

    The sudden paradigm shift from battery-based e-mobility to hydrogen goes to show that the purported issue (an apocalyptic threat) is not taken seriously by the alarmists; far more important to them is keeping up the power of their religious messages (to control people and change society according to green plans).

    For more than 30 years, I’m being told that an apocalypse is imminent.

    If alarmists really thought such a dreadful scenario existed, they would not take 30 years to discover that battery-based e-mobility is crap, suddenly discovering that hydrogen offers the best solution.

    Instead, they used battery-based e-mobility as an exercise in deceiving people about a technology and by this deception proving and reinforcing the efficacy of their religio-ideological cultural dominance, training people day in and day out to dance to their preposterous tune.

    People have been so conditioned by green magical thinking that rational assessment is replaced by “reasoning” like this: “I’m told it is green, therefore it must be the best solution.”

    German car manufacturers have invested gigantic sums in politically mandated battery-based e-mobility and now they’re told by the green junta:

    “We were only kidding – we’ve decided to worship a new monstrance – make new investments to produce the new fetish, you capitalist pigs!.”

  10. Mike Ellwood

    Check out http://www.thesciencecouncil.com/pdfs/P4TP4U.pdf

    “Prescription for the Planet” by Tom Blees

    Chapter Five: The Fifth Element Page 152

    About boron-powered cars, yes, that’s right: boron. Fascinating idea that comes originally from Oak Ridge NL. Boron gets burned to boron oxide and this is retained. When all the boron is used up, the fuel “cartridge” is removed, and a new one slotted in. The old one is sent off to be reprocessed back to pure boron. This will need a lot of energy, so this plan presupposed that we have virtually unlimited electricity (or heat) from (this book suggests) the Integral Fast Reactor, pioneered this time, by Argonne NL, also described at length in the book.

    The IFR has some similarities to, but some important differences from the Molten Salt reactor (but both are good ideas, IMHO).

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