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Hydrogen fuel-cell cars look to overtake electric autos

CNN -- As electric cars try to forge more than just a niche in the market, the auto industry is already looking to another form of clean technology that could overtake today's battery-powered vehicles.

Commitments by automobile manufactures to develop hydrogen fuel-cell cars have surged in recent months. Toyota, Hyundai, Daimler and Honda announced plans to build vehicles that run on the most abundant element in the universe and emit only water vapor as a byproduct.

"A lot of auto makers believe the fuel-cell vehicle is just a better performing vehicle and just makes more sense," said Kevin See, a senior analyst of electric vehicles at Lux Research in Boston.

A fuel-cell-powered car can travel much longer distances than battery-powered ones before needing to be refueled, and fuel cells can be


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Submitted Nov 26, 2012 By: skb69sa
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Author Topic: Hydrogen fuel-cell cars look to overtake electric autos Back to Topics
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rjhenn
Champion Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Dec 8, 2012 11:07:57 AM

E-Squirrel - "Large collectors of either wind or solar are optimized by being placed in an area where either the sunshine, or the wind is unusually abundant."

Not always. Often the overriding factor is that the area isn't being used for anything else.

" Residential situations are rarely in such optimal locations, and rooftop installations are also usually non-optimal for orientation and seasonal azimuth either, or obstruction for wind turbines."

But there are so many possibilities, and they're right where the power is needed.

"Residential installations may make you feel good about conserving, and prepare you for unforeseen future difficulties however. Nowadays, that can't be discounted."

That, plus they're much less inviting targets than huge centralized facilities.

[Edited by: rjhenn at 12/8/2012 1:10:25 PM EST]
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E-Squirrel
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Dec 7, 2012 6:26:14 PM

Not really. Large collectors of either wind or solar are optimized by being placed in an area where either the sunshine, or the wind is unusually abundant. Residential situations are rarely in such optimal locations, and rooftop installations are also usually non-optimal for orientation and seasonal azimuth either, or obstruction for wind turbines.

I don't think that you can find real, counter examples. Residential installations may make you feel good about conserving, and prepare you for unforeseen future difficulties however. Nowadays, that can't be discounted.
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rjhenn
Champion Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Dec 7, 2012 12:44:31 AM

Economy of scale is largely wasted in large, centralized solar and wind projects. The equipment costs more, largely because of the size of the units required, which increases the need for strength. Maintenance is also a major cost (what does it take to replace a wind turbine blade that's 60 meters across and attached 80 meters above the ground?).

And you get a large area with decentralized projects by putting units on many roofs, rather than trying to find an area that you can dedicate to solar energy collection, which will likely not be near where the energy is needed, thus adding distribution costs to everything else.
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E-Squirrel
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Dec 4, 2012 6:47:33 PM

Certainly smaller installations cost less, but the advantage of larger projects is economy of scale. Smaller installations of wind and solar voltaic projects, such as individual homes may be "cheaper", but not necessarily less per actual watt-hour delivered.

Wind power is relatively mature; I wouldn't expect many significant improvements in that area. Solar voltaic cells, on the other hand probably do have some significant technology gains ahead of them.

Irrespective of the technology, all solar voltaic projects fight the same problem, which is that the sunlight energy is relatively diffuse, and you need a large area to capture significant amounts. This tends to favor larger projects covering acres, rather than just the roof of an individual dwelling.
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rjhenn
Champion Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Dec 3, 2012 11:57:04 PM

E-Squirrel - "Yes, it is. Because the wind and sun are "free", its the significant capital costs which results in the very high prices of the electricity produced. As I already explained, oil, coal and natural gas are popular because, the cost of electricity generated is significantly cheaper."

Exactly why I believe the emphasis should be on much smaller wind and solar installations, small enough to power individual homes and office buildings, with excess power being fed into the grid. The capital costs would be much lower per KWH.

"Solar and wind cannot compete with these on the basis of cost, which is why they provide only a small fraction of the electricity generated."

More because they're really not well suited to large centralized projects. Both require excessive amounts of space, which is only really practical in remote ares, or where they can share that space with other facilities, such as buildings.
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E-Squirrel
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Dec 3, 2012 6:34:00 PM

rjhenn repeats:

"That's the initial cost."

Yes, it is. Because the wind and sun are "free", its the significant capital costs which results in the very high prices of the electricity produced. As I already explained, oil, coal and natural gas are popular because, the cost of electricity generated is significantly cheaper.

Solar and wind cannot compete with these on the basis of cost, which is why they provide only a small fraction of the electricity generated.
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honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Dec 1, 2012 6:19:00 AM

rjhenn, thanks for responding :)
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rjhenn
Champion Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Dec 1, 2012 1:52:13 AM

E-Squirrel - "The equipment "cost" for solar and wind is higher per actual watt generated than other techologies. That is why the electricity cost is higher. The reason that oil and coal are common for electric generation, is their cost."

That's the initial cost. When you amortize that over the life of the equipment (assuming proper equipment) the total cost may be lower, because the 'fuel' is free.

Of course, that depends on a whole host of other variables. One of those seems to be the size of a project. Unlike many other projects, it doesn't seem like there's much economy of scale in either wind or solar power production.

And, of course, if you don't want to kill a lot of people with the exhaust from oil or coal fired plants, the cost rises.
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E-Squirrel
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Nov 30, 2012 7:01:57 PM

Honda0105, rjhenn,

The equipment "cost" for solar and wind is higher per actual watt generated than other techologies. That is why the electricity cost is higher. The reason that oil and coal are common for electric generation, is their cost.
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honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Nov 30, 2012 3:55:13 AM

rjhenn, I agree, the equipment is the only cost for solar.
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rjhenn
Champion Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Nov 29, 2012 12:54:48 AM

The main problem with solar and wind generation of electricity isn't the cost, but how to store it for future use. Freestanding units that combine solar and wind with hydrogen storage would solve that. And the only cost to solar and wind electricity is the initial investment in hardware and upkeep on that hardware. The power source is free.
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honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 10:04:18 PM

Haven't seen that many H2-cell vehicles. Seen definitely more EVs so far.
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E-Squirrel
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 8:03:56 PM

rjhenn suggests:

"Of course, we could produce freestanding units that would use solar and wind energy to generate electricity, which would be stored as hydrogen."

Well, as long as YOU invest the capital yourself. Not only have you chosen the most expensive way to produce hydrogen, you have saddled the final coast with the most expensive electricity that we know how to generate.

Don't we already pay enough for fuel now? You want to multiply it?
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rjhenn
Champion Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 6:01:58 PM

E-Squirrel - "Well, very, very little electricity will be used to produce hydrogen; its just too expensive. Most hydrogen will be produced from natural gas instead."

Of course, we could produce freestanding units that would use solar and wind energy to generate electricity, which would be stored as hydrogen.

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bston
Champion Author Oklahoma City

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Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 11:26:15 PM

Very interesting.
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E-Squirrel
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 2:07:37 PM

OilOnTheCheap asks:

"Where is all of the electricity going to come from to make all of that hydrogen to run everyone's cars?"

Well, very, very little electricity will be used to produce hydrogen; its just too expensive. Most hydrogen will be produced from natural gas instead.

Of course, this just leads you back to the question, why don't we just make more CNG cars for a fraction of the price? The distribution infrastructure for CNG would appear not to be any more expensive, and the vehicles are practical now.
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rrs517
Champion Author Colorado

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Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 12:24:24 PM

A good energy solution once it becomes economically viable - and we're getting close.
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remay
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 4:26:51 AM

"Hyundai has announced that it will offer a fuel-cell version of its ix35 sport utility vehicle (known as the Tucson in the U.S.) on lease by the end of this year. It plans to make up to 1,000 fuel-cell cars by 2015 and thereafter 10,000 fuel-cell cars per year."

Ok, but... what about infrastructure???
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tomok
Champion Author Portland

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Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 3:42:52 AM

Hydrogen fuel-cell cars look to overtake electric autos but how much for the hydrogen gas refill? IF hydrogen can be cheaply produced from water, then so be it - otherwise hydrogen is very expensive to make. Produce vehicles that can use many different fuels and fill up with the least expensive one. Produce plug-in 'multiple fueled' vehicles and use the battery until the fuel cell needs to kick in and charge the battery.
Whatever the size or shape of the vehicle, vehicle manufactures Produce and the population ‘Drives’ vehicles with high MPG, are very safe, reliable, have a ‘reasonable’ cost and a good ‘value’ for the money.
The price of fuel at the pump is too high!
XII/XXII/MMXII!
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GasFreeLeaf
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 2:51:17 AM

For decades companies have been in on the government grant hydrogen merry-go-round and still don't have an economically viable product.

Where is a hydrogen fuel station when you need it? The few in the Los Angeles area cost the U. S. tax payers over a million dollars each to power the fleet of research vehicles. Some test cars have caught fire the few refill stations still accrue down time and need high maintenance. The hydrogen commonly is produced from natural gas and using electricity which seems like a waste of clean energy to get hydrogen.
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Z51Corvette
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:56:12 PM

The advantages are there... but the disadvantages may offset them... COST... is the bottom line factor. Before you walk the plank... you should determine the cost of the vehicle over the life of its existence... including fuel costs, maintenance costs, etc..... then we might have a better idea!
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MAC48
Champion Author Dallas

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:44:00 PM

One can see that a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle does solve one of the electric vehicle concept’s most glaring short coming which is range per “fill-up”. It is also very plausible that hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles will create a larger niche market in the national vehicle fleet. However, there is no way that a vehicle that costs 2.5 times its internal combustion engine sibling is ever going to grab much more than the mere pittance of the market that EVs now have.
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OilOnTheCheap
Champion Author Ventura

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:32:28 PM

Where is all of the electricity going to come from to make all of that hydrogen to run everyone's cars?
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mrselfdestruct
Champion Author Arkansas

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:24:04 PM

As long as I can remember driving has never been too "safe".
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firefly09
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:21:34 PM

Will they be safe? How long will they last???
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Mowerman08
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:05:48 PM

Any thing but batteries.
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Buddy2264
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:04:29 PM

Either hydrogen or CNG, but can they make them safe?
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N5EXY
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:03:58 PM

The hydrogen producing process uses electricity so the fuel-cell car is an electric auto with an extra step.
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arb0526
Champion Author Greensboro

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:03:38 PM

ok
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dabuzman
Champion Author Seattle

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:03:21 PM

About time they got smart. Make a retro kit to work on today's car ans they would have second winner>
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blazerbob91
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:01:09 PM

Sooner or later we will see Fuel cells
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tidalwave3
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:00:13 PM

This is the wisest solution: Hydrogen is the source of power where something else generates electricity to be stored (inefficiently, may I add) in some form to then power motors (not an engine). A lot of inefficiencies in electric cars :(
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stueyAZ
Sophomore Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:59:36 PM

lol
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HumbleHarv
Sophomore Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:59:16 PM

I just read all four pages of comments and there were some very good ones - but -

I have been driving the Mercedes-Benz B220 F-Cell - hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle. I am enjoying it and it is only available by lease - no sales at this time.

True, the fueling infrastructure needs to be created and the cost of the fuel cells needs to decline, but the benefits will still be the same.

We will never run out of hydrogen and you don't need to drill a well to get it.

Many other fuels look to be cost effective and readily available - like natural gas, but only hydrogen can provide a long driving range with no carbon emissions. I am trying to do what I can to ward off man-made global warming.
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dollarwatcher
Champion Author Wisconsin

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:57:17 PM

I'll stick with 92 octane premium.
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69Bonne
Champion Author Gary

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:56:30 PM

CNG will probably be here before feasible hydrogen systems can be developed.
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Fitwit
Champion Author Stockton

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:52:40 PM

So when a topic is no longer available like the following one, why don't you substitute it with an article that is available?
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us4usa
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:52:37 PM

CNG is the next step...
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papou
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:51:16 PM

They sell hydrogen added additions even at the flea market
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Fitwit
Champion Author Stockton

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:51:01 PM

Isn't Hydrogen what the Blimp was filled with?
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bvrbill
Champion Author Eugene

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:46:55 PM

Interesting technology. The cost needs to come down.
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vrossi46
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:45:03 PM

"Hydrogen fuel-cell cars look to overtake electric autos"

wouldn't take much
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melvindale
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:43:45 PM

But what is the price if Hydrogen fueling capability is added to an existing gasoline station?

It can't be that much, as the average new gas station costs just over one million dollars to build. See example: http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/building-types/service-station/all/

So new gas station $1M vs. New Hydrogen Station $1M.

Where is the extra cost? Where is the large price? Seems same/same.

So, most stations would add the H2 to Gasoline dispensers, or give them their own dispensers. Whatever.
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mstearno
Champion Author Dayton

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:40:12 PM

gm stunk on this too
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mstearno
Champion Author Dayton

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:39:39 PM

hard to believe
taxpayers were stuck on this
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sweething545
Rookie Author Baton Rouge

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:38:30 PM

Yep???????
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vibdata
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:38:06 PM

Too exotic. Electricity's bad enough. Who's got hydrogen cells for fill-ups?
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southrob
Champion Author Tucson

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:37:24 PM

better technology
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drz614
Champion Author Harrisburg

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:35:16 PM

ok
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MopedTime
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:35:09 PM

Paradigm shift!
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dcjauburn
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:33:04 PM

Doesn't the fuel cell just replace the batteries in an all electric vehicle?
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