Honda has leased its hydrogen-powered car to its first U.S. consumer, according to this Reuters story. The move is part of a series of rolling tests designed to iron out some of the kinks in the new system.
I’ll be the first to admit that my depth of knowledge on fuel cells is limited, although working here at Technology Review has given me a crash course. I do know that Joseph Romm wrote a piece for us last year detailing why he believe hydrogen cars were likely to fall short when it came to the consumer market.
One of his main arguments:
Fuel cells are small, modular, electrochemical devices, similar to batteries, but which can be continuously fueled. A fuel cell takes in hydrogen and oxygen and puts out electricity and heat; its only “emissions” are water. This sounds like an energy panacea – but today, more than 160 years after the first fuel cell was built, and after more than $15 billion in public and private spending, fuel cell technology still has not achieved major commercial success.