Driving the future: GM's hydrogen-powered Hy-wire

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    #1
    But $5m vehicle faces long road to mass production

    April 17, 2004

    CAMBRIDGE -- We are performing a Hy-wire act without a net.

    Of course, a net is not necessary when you are not toe-gripping a tightrope high above the circus ring but are, instead, hissing and whirring over wet pavement in an enclosed lot on the MIT campus.

    And trepidation bubbles not from any fear of falling, but fear of what a mistake might do to the more than $5 million worth of automobile that is under your control.

    This is driving the future: the General Motors Hy-wire, a hydrogen-powered prototype that represents the highest rung in an automotive ladder GM intends to climb over the next 15 to 20 years -- with many rungs underfoot in the immediate months.

    What GM is doing, said Elizabeth Lowery, vice president for engineering and environment, is embarking on a ''path to zero" in environmental impact that ''may mean doing away with the internal-combustion engine."

    http://www.boston.com/cars/articles/2004/04/17/driving_the_future_gms_hydrogen_powered_hy_wire/
     
  2. macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #2
    they announced the hy-wire over a year ago, there have been threads on it long ago. For the most part, the hy-wire has never been considered something that will actually make it to production, despite the obvious advantage of the skateboard design and ability to interchange body styles. A lot of people think hydrogen-powered cars will be outdated by the time they hit production, since it could take 10+ years to find a way to produce hydrogen without burning oil...

    i think the air-powered car stands the best chance of being the next big thing, but who knows...

    paul
     
  3. macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    #3
    Having MIT assisting GM will be a big boost. I agree that 10 years out who knows. I'm sure that we can both agree that we are going to need an alternative clean fuel source.
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

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    #4
    any steps to become less reliant on fossil fuels and that will help cut pollution certainly ought to be received with open arms. here's hoping that all the major manufacturers will speed up development of alternative fuel based transportation.
     
  5. macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #5
    Coal or Nuke. Modern coal plants produce almost no NOx and SO2 and have efficiencies that would make Carnot weep.

    Nuke plants for safety reasons run much cooler and less efficient, but without the CO2.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Sparky's

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    #6
    "Discovery comes from research...", and we gotta start somewhere. As long somebody is trying to use his or her head to come up with viable solutions to the "energy crisis" I feel it's a good thing. The fact they have to spend $5m on it well..... that makes me feel they could spend a little more time on the drawing board before being afraid to hurt such an expensive prototype.

    A feeling I've had for some time is "M-I-T-k-e-y m-o-u-s-e" There is a lot to be said for practical experience in the real world. because we like you. :eek:
     
  7. macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #7
    My point wasn't that hydrogen powered vehicles are a bad idea; my point is that you shouldn't make it sound like the end-all, hydrogen is one of many alternative fuel sources that may be the foundation for the next generation of vehicles. non-hydrogen fuel cells; compressed air; sealed-battery; cold fusion, who knows. The automakers seem to be giving themselves 15-20 years to bring a serious alternative-car to the market, that would be backed up with a fuel distribution network... And because gas stations and consumers aren't going to just switch easily, they have to pick the most solid technology to move forward with-- otherwise it'll be rejected which could delay the alternative car even longer. The consumer base doesn't care as a whole that we're going to run out of crude oil (and clean air) one day, they're going to take their time with it.

    I personally hope they incorporate the concept of a skateboard with interchangable parts in whatever car they go with, but like i said, i don't think GM is serious about the hy-wire making it to production... The finished product, even if hydrogen powered, will no doubt be very different. The air-car, i believe, has the unique kit concept, where you buy a $8,000 kit that's shipped to you, and in 8 hours you can have a car assembled. Last i heard, they were looking for a way to make the shell out of hemp, making the car almost entirely green (eco-friendly, not color). I don't know how well a kit car would catch on, dealerships would most certainly do it for most suburbanites. And the air-car has the advantage that it actually cleans the air, producing negative emissions, but has the same problem of pollution produced from air compression in the first place.

    as for coal, you're stuck with a nonrenewable resource, which would defeat the purpose of the car. And coal mining is not an eco-friendly proposition, especially since it's mostly done through strip mining, i think. Nuclear might have potential, but there haven't been any new reactors built in this country in 25 years. God knows what's going to happen in that industry...

    paul
     
  8. macrumors newbie

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    #8
    The only problem is, that "one day" is coming up pretty soon. With the sheer amount of research of the subject, according to all estimates, we've got about 20 more years of oil left, give or take, if consumption continues to grow at the same rate as currently. After that, it won't be economically viable to continue drilling anymore, since they simply won't make any money off of it, and will probably be spending more money just to take it out of the ground. That's a lot to think about...

    -- Michael
     
  9. macrumors regular

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    #9
    Pfft. Producing hydrogen without using oil is easy. Use a clean energy source like solar, wind, hydroelectric, etc. and run that power through water. The water separates into hydrogen and oxygen. Let the oxygen go into the atmosphere (since we'll use up an equal amount in a bit anyway) and store the hydrogen. The vehicle uses the hydrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere to create water and electricity. Trick here is getting solar and wind efficient and cheap enough as well as making that process of turning the water into hydrogen and oxygen (known as Electrolysis) as efficient as possible.

    Fortunately, we're making create strides with both. Solar has dropped in cost by 95% since the 1970s. We're supposed to cut Electrolysis costs in half within this decade. Wind used to be forty cents per kilowatt-hour in the 1980s to about five to three cents per kilowatt-hour. To get it competitive with gasoline, we need it as about 1.5-2 cents. We're almost there. Give it a 3-5 more years and we'll pass that mark up.

    ....

    GM needs to put a Mac in that beautiful vehicle. :)
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    etoiles

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    #10
    don't forget that nuclear reactors run on a non-renewable resource, too... which might run out 'in the near future' as well.

    And remember that you don't have to wait for alternative energy sources to become more affordable before starting to act: reducing your energy consumption (turning that computer off at night, not putting ice in every drink, turning off the AC, driving less etc.) is much easier and cheaper, too. ;)
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    voicegy

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    #11
    The world's first and most advanced fuel depot to offer a comprehensive array of alternative and traditional fuels to motorists opened on July 21, 2003 at the new Regional Transportation Center in San Diego. This ultimate "gas station" offers 9 kinds of fuel for whatever runs your vehicle: ethanol, regular gasoline, super gasoline, premium gasoline, ultra low sulfur diesel, bio-diesel, propane, natural gas, and electricity. Adjacent to the center is the Pearson Ford dealership offering several models of energy efficient and alternative fuel vehicles.

    http://thesoydailyclub.com/BiodieselBiobased/fuelcenterRTC08082003.asp
     

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  12. macrumors 68000

    GeeYouEye

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    #12
    To which resource are you referring? Uranium won't run out for several thousand years, at the very least, by which time I have no doubt that it won't be needed anyway.
     
  13. macrumors regular

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    #13
    I agree- As soon as an affordable pollution free vehicle comes out, I will get one.

    -ajmbc
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    etoiles

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    #14
    maybe for a little bit longer if we find new deposits, but I doubt it would be thousands of years. Current known resources will last for about 50 years, and there should be about three times as much in 'speculative resources' left...according to the World Nuclear Association
    A few things on those numbers however: they are from a pro nuclear power association, so they are probably more on the optimistic side. Also, we don't know if we will be able to get to those 'speculative resources' (politics, cost etc.). And lastly, this is based on the current burn rate, not taking into account the additional consumption if we were to replace other sources of energy with nuclear power.
     
  15. macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #15
    True but that's why we have fast breeder reactors :)
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    How on hell can you say that nuke powerplant dont polute???

    First they contribute to heating the air in the area, but worst of all the leftovers are going to polute for generations. When you talk polution, you have to go up and downstream from the process of creation to see the 'real' polution.

    I think the first initiative that should be done by the governement is to remove sale taxes from hybrid and clean cars. In the long run, everyone win.

    I have a friend whos dad is a car dealer, he was selling all of the hybrid models at cost. This is giving him a lot of visibility but while I was talking to him the other time he said that even with the big rebates, its hard ot sell these car because they cost too much and buyers mentality has to change. Instead of wanted an efficient car, people think they need powerfull car (SUV...), etc. Maybe when the price of gaz goes to 1$ (can)/L, people will start thinking...
     

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