Aptera Hydrogen Model

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Aptera Hydrogen Model

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Aptera Hydrogen Model

  • Aptera Hydrogen Model

  • Matt Gleason

    Member
    July 18, 2022 at 8:59 am

    Aptera seems to be about efficiency, open minded design, and forward thinking. If/when hydrogen fueling infrastructure is available, I’d be curious if Aptera would pivot to hydrogen, or make a plugin FCEV model with more like 40 miles of battery range that can take advantage of the solar panels.

    Hydrogen’s advantages are that it’s more energy dense, less reliant on heavy rare earth minerals, and doesn’t have the problems of battery degredation and slow charging. Its drawbacks are lots of energy loss in production and transportation of hydrogen fuel, and lack of infrastructure.

    However, hydrogen can monetize renewable energy by acting as a profitable energy storage and transfer solution, and technology is in the works to make small home fueling stations. I’m optimistic about its role in the future of energy.

  • Selvan Poothamby

    Member
    July 18, 2022 at 9:08 am

    I especially love the fact that in return, it waters the earth.

  • GLENN ZAJIC

    Member
    July 18, 2022 at 9:42 am

    While there are some great ideas for using hydrogen, like ocean freighters, the Aptera (and probably most road transportation vehicles) is not one of them. Toyota has learned this the hard way.

    • Matt Gleason

      Member
      July 18, 2022 at 9:47 am

      I personally think Toyota’s issue is lack of infrastructure available, and high prices of fuel due to it being a new technology. Electric cars have made it through a rough few decades of development, so I think it’s too early to call the whole concept of hydrogen unviable.

  • Joshua Rosen

    Member
    July 18, 2022 at 9:44 am

    Hydrogen fails as a terrestrial transportation fuel on every level. It’s inherently several times as expensive as charging batteries, the process of electrolysis, compressing it or worse liquefying it, transporting it and then converting it back to electricity in a fuel cell throws away about 2/3rds of the energy. It’s not energy dense, the gas is light but the pressure tanks and fuel cells aren’t and it’s volumetric density is awful. Compare the Toyota Mirai to a Tesla Model 3, the Mirai weighs 4255 to 4335 lbs, the RWD Model 3 RWD weighs 3648 lbs, the AWD weighs 4250lbs. The cargo space of the Mirai is 9.6 cu feet, the Model 3 is 19.8 cu feet.

    You have to get the energy to where it will be used. For electricity that just involves wires, which we already have. Hydrogen requires tankers and tank trucks.

    The cost of building out a fueling infrastructure is prohibitive. It costs Tesla about $43K per Supercharger, so a typical 8 charger station is about $350K. Hydrogen stations cost 10X that. What’s more you would need 10 times as many hydrogen stations as Superchargers because there is no such thing as home hydrogen fueling, 90% of EV charging is done from home using EVSEs that cost in the neighborhood of $1K to install (I paid $1K to bu and install my ClipperCreek and $1250 to buy and install my Tesla EVSE). Even more importantly the work of building out the charging infrastructure is well underway, you can already go coast to coast with an EV, you can’t leave California with an FCEV.

    Finally almost all Hydrogen today comes from reformed methane, a process that releases as much or more CO2 as burning gasoline. Almost none comes from renewables. Because of the inefficiency of the hydrogen cycle you wouldn’t want to waste any clean energy producing hydrogen. Every joule of clean energy that goes into making hydrogen is three joules that doesn’t go into the grid to display fossil fuel energy. Even if you could make hydrogen from spare clean energy you wouldn’t want to waste in a cars. A far better use for clean hydrogen is to displace dirty hydrogen in processes that require hydrogen such as fertilizer manufacture.

    • Matt Gleason

      Member
      July 18, 2022 at 10:00 am

      I agree that it isn’t viable for small cars in its current state. However, much of the same has been said about BEVs in the past. I hope the technology advances and becomes more affordable through usage in long haul trucks and ocean liners, and can be scaled down to cars eventually.

      I didn’t know how heavy the Mirai is, so now I wonder if that number can be brought down to a weight that would fit the Aptera. I had assumed battery metals would be heavier than the FCEV drivetrain. If this weight can be improved, there can be some real MPGe efficiency gains to be made.

      Even so, the reduced dependence on battery metals is very attractive to me. A big argument I’ve heard against BEVs is that they’re most likely totaled once the battery has degraded significantly, since the battery is most of the car’s price, and is currently not very recyclable. Even with solid state batteries that degrade less and have higher energy density, the environmental and social cost of mining those metals is high.

      • Joshua Rosen

        Member
        July 18, 2022 at 11:06 am

        Batteries are going to improve at a much faster rate than fuel cells. We are well past the tipping point, the money is going into battery research not fuel cell research. Billions are being spent on battery R&D, tens or hundreds of billions are being spent on battery plants. Ten years from now batteries will be cheaper and better than they are now. What those batteries will look like or contain is anybodies guess. They might be solid state, they might be sodium instead of lithium, they might be metal air, or they might just be an evolution of existing batteries. They only thing certain is that they will be better than what we have now.

        But even today batteries are pretty good. The warranty on a Tesla battery is 120,000 miles, I’m almost 68 and the most I’ve ever put on a car is 123,000 and I always keep my cars until they have to be towed away, so I’m not concerned about battery life. An Aptera is 2.5 times as efficient as a Model 3 so I’d expect a minimum of 250,000 miles before the battery wears out. LFP batteries have several times the life of NMC batteries and CATL has announced new LFPs that are approaching NMCs in energy density and that’s this year. The only expensive component in an LFP is the lithium. The earth has no shortage of lithium, we just have to build the mines to get it. There has also been breakthroughs in sodium batteries. Sodium is dirt cheap, if a practical sodium battery can be developed then batteries can become really cheap.

        • Matt Gleason

          Member
          July 18, 2022 at 11:15 am

          That all sounds very good. I just hope no alternatives are given up on prematurely, and that a healthy amount of competition between technologies finds the best options for every use case.

          • Joshua Rosen

            Member
            July 18, 2022 at 11:45 am

            Hydrogen has it’s place, just not as a transportation fuel. The US fertilizer market is $190 billion. If the cost of clean hydrogen can be brought down to the cost of dirty hydrogen that will have a huge impact on climate change. There are places in the world where there is an immense amount of solar energy and very few people, Australia and Saudi Arabia come to mind. They have huge deserts that could be covered with solar panels but not enough people to consume that electricity. Convert that energy in to ammonia and ship it around the world. Ammonia is a liquid, or as ammonium nitrate a solid, so it’s easy to ship. It doesn’t need pressure or cryogenic tanks like hydrogen gas, just ordinary tanks or containers. The market for ammonia already exists, all you need to do is substitute one source for another.

      • David Marlow

        Member
        July 18, 2022 at 2:03 pm

        For Aptera a vehicle dedicated to efficiency, hydrogen will never be a viable alternative, as generating it is inherently inefficient (and they don’t make in wheel ICE’s) . Maybe you could import it from Saturn to use on Mars some day.

  • John Voules

    Member
    July 18, 2022 at 11:14 am

    Not quite sure why hydrogen is being discussed on our page. The 1st vehicles built were electric…then ice motors were developed. 100 years later we’re back to battery, any other technology to be developed would need to be a breakthrough tech that would need 20+ years to refine and then creat an infrastructure. I just want to take delivery of my APTERA and drive away thank you.

  • kerbe2705

    Member
    July 18, 2022 at 11:36 am

    @Matt Gleason It’s important to keep in mind that fuel cells are heavy and expensive, that crash-proof high-pressure fuel canisters are large and heavy and that FCVs still require a significant Lithium Ion battery pack as a buffer.

  • Jonah Jorgenson

    Member
    July 18, 2022 at 11:43 am

    I think Joshua Rosen enumerated most of the reasons hydrogen is not in the cards for noncommercial vehicles. As of January 2021, there were 45 publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations in the US, 43 of which were located in California. In 2021, there were about 108,000 public charging ports in the US. That’s nearly one port for every gas station in the US.

    It should be clear from this data where the growth is, electric vehicles. The hydrogen infrastructure is so far behind and so underfunded that it can not catch up. Hydrogen may be appropriate for large commercial vehicles but not for cars.

  • Curtis Cibinel

    Member
    July 18, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    With up to 1000 miles of range why would we need the higher energy density of hydrogen. Hydrogen has some advantages and may be a good choice for aircraft or shipping but the round trip efficiency sucks. A 600 mile Aptera using LFP (ie based on EVE 280K LFP cells) would resolve the rare metal concerns but its largely overstated and honestly hydrogen fuel cells use even rarer metals. Hydrogen is also incredibly expensive (again due to energy losses in production, compression etc). You can’t fuel a vehicle from the sun with hydrogen since the equipment for production/compression is heavy.

    You also answered your own question – hydrogen infrastructure doesn’t exist. An Aptera is soo efficient it can be charged with a normal extension cord at a reasonable rate; infrastructure for that definitely does exist.

    PS: I did the math. Volume and weight for the LFP cells would be less than that of the 2170s for the 1000 mile Aptera; it should definitely be a possibility. LFP cells with good enough energy density didn’t exist yet in 2019 but most likely they will explore it after they ship initial units.

    • Russell Fauver

      Member
      July 19, 2022 at 12:01 pm

      @curtis, funny you mentioned EVE 280K, I just bought a set of those for my Solectria Force. They’re on a slow boat from China right now. Compared to my car’s original wet cell NiCads they are roughly the same volume but 150 lbs lighter. The NiCads delivered 75 miles per charge, these should yield 250.

      • Curtis Cibinel

        Member
        July 19, 2022 at 12:56 pm

        Thats awesome 👍. I’d love to hear how the upgrade goes. Making a small kit EV from 1996 which cost almost $90,000 (before inflation) into a modern EV with a reasonable range yourself using off the shelf parts is super impressive.
        How many cells did you end up with? I’m curious how someone with an electronics background would think of my estimates for Aptera (LFP Potential tab). I’m unclear how heavy the DC/DC converter to get up to a decent voltage adds to the cost/weight and how that influences it.

        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Tuu7avKH2dS_JPk7aiP2av09a1f1WE0OvvNH6fdHpiQ/edit#gid=1082711820

Viewing 1 - 8 of 8 replies

or to reply.

Original Post
0 of 0 posts June 2018
Now