ACC 1 William Kibbe 27 March 2005 Electric, Hybrid or Fuel Cell Technology.

What is the best choice for America?

It has often been said that Americans have love affairs with their automobiles. It is true that Americans have come to depend on their automobiles more and more every day. Americans own more vehicles than the citizens of other countries do. Figures from the 2001 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey show approximately one vehicle for every one driver, and 1.89 vehicles per household. In that household there are approximately 3.74 daily trips per person averaging 9.8 miles each (9). So many vehicles, driven so many miles has given rise to some very big concerns. The two major concerns are the impact of so many vehicles on the environment and the rapid depletion on our fossil fuel resources. Most people agree that it is time to make some serious changes in transportation to help with these concerns. America needs the right technology for new personal vehicles for the near future. What should be considered in making the choice? The vehicles we drive today are primarily Otto Cycle internal combustion piston engines. This style engine was invented in 1876 by Augustus Otto. In the one hundred plus years since then, the basic design and function has remained unchanged. Improvements in efficiency have resulted in performance improvements. However, the efficiency of today’s internal combustion engine still only achieves approximately 30 percent. This accounts for much of the concerns from using such engines. It is time for newer technologies that operate at higher efficiency ranges. While there are new automobile powertrain technologies under development, some of which are currently available to the consumer. A universal standard that a majority of consumers

Bill Kibbe

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400 were electric powered (5). Future Technologies. Hybrid Powered 3. Electric Powered According to NADA’s research data. Electric Powered 2. 10. There are three new technologies poised to take the place of the Otto Cycle combustion engines. They are: 1. Fuel Cell Powered Each of these technologies has benefits and certain drawbacks.6 million new vehicles where sold in North American in 2003 (5). Recent breakthroughs in both electric motor technology and battery technology has brought the performance levels of electric vehicles very near to the performance levels of the average gasoline powered piston engine. These motors are powered by a large bank of rechargeable batteries. What issues need to be considered as part of this examination? The primary issues needing to be considered are: A. Let’s consider each. Electric powered vehicles use high output electric motors to propel the vehicle. Suitable performance issues. a closer examination of these issues may reveal that these issues are not as . However. Environmental issues C. The major selling points for electric powered vehicles have been economy and elimination of air pollution emissions. A close examination of these technologies is in order to make an intelligent choice. B. 16. Cost of the technology. Of those.or manufacturers agree on has not been adopted.

The average monthly electricity cost for a typical EV driver is less than $15. The truth is that when using electricity generated from dirty sources such as coal and oil. that advantage is short lived. EVs’ lead-acid batteries must be replaced every 3 years at a cost of approximately $8. This means no tailpipe emissions to harm the environment. This is twice the average cost of the average family vehicles being purchased today. This will produce an effective driving range of only 40 to 120 miles depending upon driving conditions. Although the initial maintenance cost for maintaining an EV is lower than a combustion engine vehicle. electric vehicles may actually create more of some pollutants than comparable internal combustion engine vehicles (4). This is compared to 350 to 400 mile range on a tank of fuel on most combustion engine vehicles. General Accounting Office cited a German study that estimated the environmental impact of electric vehicles with two distinct energy mixes: one comprised of only 49% coal-fired electricity. Economy should envelope the total cost of operating the vehicle.ACC 3 true as once believed.000 (2). The feature that has been most attractive to consumers who are interested in this vehicle is that it does not burn fossil fuels.000. compared to $50 for gasoline (2). A report by the U. taking 4 to 14 hours depending on the battery type and the voltage level used in recharging. That means the generating plants that produce the electricity for recharging the batteries are emitting pollutants. while it is true that there are no tailpipe emissions.00 (1).000. there are indirect emissions. It runs on rechargeable batteries.S. When it comes to pollution. This should include the initial cost of the vehicle.00 to $ 40. The largest part of this equation is the initial cost of the vehicle. Assuming that 49% of an electric vehicle's charging energy is Bill Kibbe Page 3 10/27/2010 . and one comprised solely of coal-fired electricity. Also consider that battery recharging can be a frequent and lengthy process. Current retail costs of production electric vehicles (EV) average is $30. fuel costs and maintenance/repair costs.

The theory behind the hybrid is one developed by Sir Isaac Newton. and that sulfur oxide emissions would increase by a factor of 10. Hybrid vehicles are currently in high demand by American consumers. when assuming that an electric vehicle is charged with 100% coal-fired electricity.being derived from coal. that an object at rest tends to want to stay at rest until acted upon by an outside force. electric vehicles would cause comparable levels of nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide to be emitted. . the vehicle does have some pretty impressive credentials of its own. Practical application of these laws would mean that it takes a great deal of energy to put on object at rest into motion. And this laws’ inverse. the study found that when compared to combustion engine vehicles. the primary obstacle to EV automobiles becoming the technology to replace combustion engines is the high cost and the limited driving range. And the electric motors are powered for high output batteries that are recharges through regeneration and the combustion engine’s generator. 250% more nitrogen oxides. The hybrid vehicle is a combination of a conventional combustion engine powered vehicle and an electric powered vehicle. Furthermore. but considerably less energy to keep that object in motion. the study estimated that the electric vehicles would emit 150% more carbon dioxide. and 2400% more sulfur oxides than a comparable internal combustion engine vehicle (9).435 hybrid vehicles were sold in 2003 (8). Putting aside the scientific studies. Hybrid Vehicles According to Polk’s motor vehicle registration database 43. Although much of the vehicles success can be attributed to its popularity among Hollywood types. The combustion engine is much smaller than usual. One of his laws of motion states that an object in motion tends to want to stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force.

Fuel Cell Vehicles One future technology that is on the horizon is fuel cell technology.000 extra to build a hybrid compared to a conventional vehicle of that same model (5). While the technology does seem to be the American automobile consumers dream. but that will be short lived. Many claim that fuel savings will soon offset that initial cost. Some manufactures may be willing to absorb these costs to capture market share.ACC 5 The hybrid vehicle is powered by high torque electric motors using energy stored in quick discharge batteries to launch the vehicle and help get it up to highway speed. America still burns more fuel each year than it did the year before. Over a period of time at cruising speed. Just how much fuel savings will be realized? Here are a couple of examples: Honda Civic Gasoline -29/38 (1) Honda Civic Hybrid -47/48 (1) Ford Escape 2WD. they really do not come close to solving the problem of fossil fuel dependence. the small combustion engine can take over and maintain that momentum. Once a cruising speed is reached.Automatic -19/25 (1) Ford Escape2WD Hybrid Automatic . Even though technology is reducing the miles per gallon consumption.000 to $5. the generator driven by the combustion engine can recharge the batteries again.36/31 (1) While these numbers do represent a substantial reduction if fuel consumption. Fuel cell technology is Bill Kibbe Page 5 10/27/2010 . it costs automakers $3. there are some drawbacks. One is initial cost. This combination can fulfill the consumers demand for power and economy.

This reaction in a single fuel cell produces only about ~0. which looks something like ordinary kitchen plastic wrap. The anode is the negative post of the fuel cell. The electrolyte is the proton exchange membrane. where they can recombine with the hydrogen ions and oxygen to form water. It conducts the electrons that are freed from the hydrogen fuel molecules so that they can be used in an external circuit. Vehicles powered by fuel cells are still in the developmental stage. the positive post of the fuel cell distributes the oxygen to the surface of the catalyst. the vehicle does not have to recharge its batteries in the same way as an electric vehicle does. It is usually made of platinum powder very thinly coated onto carbon paper or cloth. The most promising type of fuel cell for automotive applications is the polymer electrolyte membrane or proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). This specially treated material. only conducts positively charged ions. A membrane is a medium that separates the anode and the cathode (3). The cathode. the electrons combine with the protons to reduce oxygen and form water. From a technical point of view they should be viewed as electric vehicles since electricity generated by the fuel cell is used to drive an electric motor. It also conducts the electrons back from the external circuit to the catalyst. Electrons liberated during fuel oxidation in the anode travel through an external circuit which includes the electric motor that powers the vehicle until they reach the cathode.seen by many scientists as the answer to both pollution and fossil fuel dependence. Inside the cathode. However. It is this fuel that is used by the fuel cell to produce the electricity. the .7 volts at a nominal current density of 1 A/cm². The catalyst is a special material that facilitates the reaction of oxygen and hydrogen. Instead the fuel cell is actually producing the electricity to power the electric motor as the vehicle is being driven down the road. The fuel cell vehicle is filled up with a liquid (or gaseous) fuel the same way a combustion engine vehicles gas tank is filled.

the only byproduct being water. The transient behavior of PEMFC’s. This is not the case in an automobile application. This is an extremely efficient method of powering a vehicle with no pollution. in order to compete with internal combustion engine powered vehicles. and hydration of the membrane to control the output voltage of the fuel cell and degradation of the fuel cell. most scientist predict it will be at least 2010 before development is complete. Department of Energy Bill Kibbe Page 7 10/27/2010 . good fuel economy and near zero emissions. performance. Works Cited (1) 2005 Fuel Economy Guide U. Which technology will win out? The one that can provide good power performance. pressure. During that time there would have to be a network of hydrogen and or methane filling stations put in place to service these vehicles fuel needs. oh yes! Everyone can afford one. And. The fuel cell stack voltage then becomes a product of a single fuel cell operating voltage times the number of fuel cells in the stack (3). A fuel cell will work very well in a stationary application where the demands are constant and predictable. Production of variable state fuel cells is still in the future. These same demands must be met in any new technology. economy. is particularly critical since in entails control [Awk] of the air and fuel flows. That will not change.S. it is still a ways off. So while this technology is very promising. and emissions. PEMFC’s must operate and function as least as well as them. So what is the best way to power America’s vehicles? Every manufacturer of modern automobiles has juggled three balls in satisfying consumer demands. However. Most all fuel cells developed to date are steady state and not suitable for automobile applications. temperature .ACC 7 voltage can be increased by stacking the fuel cells in series. following abrupt changes in the power demanded by the vehicle.

L POLK HYBRID VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS REPORT Copyright © 2005 R. (9) U. 2004 Article 4 National Automotive Dealers Association NADA’s Industry Analysis Division (Paul Taylor. D. chief economist) ( 6) Summary of Travel Trends 2004 National Household Travel Survey U.M.C. Pukrushpan (4) Electric Vehicles: Likely Consequences of U. 218 No.S. Polk & Co.S. March 2002 (3) Control of the transient behavior of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell systems Journal of Automotive Engineering November 2004 Vol.(2) Clean Alternative Fuels: Electric Vehicles U. General Accounting Office Research and Development Testimony GAO-02-810T June 6 2002 . Gateway Japan Publishers (1996) (5) NADA's AutoExec Magazine May.S.Grujicic. K. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Washington. D11 M. Hu Center for Transportation Analysis Oak Ridge National Laboratory Timothy R. and Other Nations' programs and Policies.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA420-F-00-034. Reuscher MacroSys Research and Technology December 2004 (7) Optimizing Efficiency of Internal Combustion Engines Rajesh R. L. Parwani National University of Singapore (8) R. Patricia S. Chittajalla and J.T.

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