Retirefund is for sale!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Electric cars vs Fuel Cell cars - the argument for both!

Honda Fuel Cell CarImage by Joi via Flickr

Electric Vehicles - EV's

Electric cars from Tesla Motors to the Chevy Volt, Toyota and Hyundai have been the talk of the investment community for the past 2 years. Lithium players have benefited from the hope of this technology and new Junior miners are jumping into the space looking for fresh Lithium deposits. However, according to John Peterson, the technology itself may not be a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine found in 98% of vehicles today.

John Petersen, an alternative energy expert with a strong background in electric battery technology, makes a very good argument for investors to shy away from the hype and keep a solid foundation in "facts" instead of "hype". I recommend you read this informative article at Seeking Alpha. Once you have read this, and digest the argument, you may no longer wonder "who killed the electric car"! It may be that the electric car killed itself.

However, this begs the question, why is Honda going with it's new fuel cell vehicle? Is Honda's management stupid or has it done due diligence that makes it run in the opposite direction of the herd mentality! Why has Ford contracted with Azure Dynamics to have their electric drive train in Fords new, "Truck of the year".

After all, a herd mentality led to the over production of SUV's in the 1990's. A herd mentality led to every asset and stock market bubble in history, including the meltdown of 2008. Mr. Petersen makes a very strong argument for seeking a contrarian investment strategy when it comes to Electric vehicles replacing the internal combustion engine. Here is our contrarian view.

Fuel Cells

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the entire universe. When astro physicists send out "signals" into the universe to look for intelligent life, they always include the atomic weight of hydrogen in their message. That is how common this element is. Pure hydrogen is also the best fuel for fuel cells used in cars and buses. There is, however, a problem with storage of pure hydrogen, given it's volatility, however at the outset of the production of the internal combustion engine, volatility of gasoline was also a problem, which was eventually overcome. The production and storage of pure hydrogen will also, eventually, be overcome. Where does that leave the fuel cell industry in the meantime?

Natural Gas is the most abundant and cleanest source of hydrogen today, and it is already in production throughout North America, which houses the largest deposits of natural gas on the planet. That gas has only recently become available in abundance, thanks to the fractionation technology developed to extract it from Shale (Shale gas). Natural gas is also easily utilized in fuel cells and although it doesn't have a neutral effect on the environment as does pure hydrogen, it is a much cleaner fuel that any other fuel available, especially when used in fuel cells.

Fuel cell buses are already on the road and in production at this writing. You will see them ferrying athletes and spectators to the Winter Olympics in February. Fuel cell trucks (running on natural gas and eventually pure hydrogen), fuel cell ships and finally large fuel cell stacks to replace coal fired electric plants. Can a battery do these things?

Natural gas and eventually pure hydrogen fuel cells may be the future of transportation, the future of back-up power and the future of power plants in general. Lithium will power the wireless market and, with advances in technology, may power electric vehicles. North America will lead the way, (China is ramping up) and this will no doubt affect your Retirefunds over the next few years, no matter where the market is today!

The argument for Lithium
Electric vehicle drive trains
Vehicle fleet niche-NYT

Related articles by Zemanta
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 comment:

auto mirror said...

For me as a citizen, I will go for an electric car. It is environment friendly car since it doesn't produce carbon monoxide and reduces the sound creates by the machines and engines. As you can see, most electric cars has clear car mirrors because it produces a less dust that fuel powered car.