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The Hybrid Scooter 337

anthemaniac writes "Hybrid cars are all the rage. Now comes a hybrid scooter. It gets beyond ethanol and lots of batteries, though, running on a hydrogen fuel cell that charges a battery. During braking, energy is also harnessed. All this and speedy too, says inventor Crijn Bouman of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. For now, however, the prototype lacks one crucial component: the hydrogen fuel cell! It's coming, Bouman says. Yes, just like $5/gal gas..."
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The Hybrid Scooter

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  • hahaha (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eobanb ( 823187 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @11:27PM (#15788942) Homepage
    I don't think we should kid ourselves. $5/gal gasoline is coming. Sooner than most probably hope.

    Personally, I think the sooner it arrives, the sooner my fellow Americans will quit buying SUVs.
    • Re:hahaha (Score:3, Funny)

      by kfg ( 145172 )
      Personally, I think the sooner it arrives, the sooner my fellow Americans will quit buying SUVs.

      And the more I have to pay to fuel my . . .bicycle.

      KFG

    • Sweden already have it.

      Converted from swedish currency and metric units, 95 octane petrol costs 6.47 USD per gallon. 98 octane would run you a whopping 6.62 USD. And note that the prices have dropped recently.

      • by rammer ( 9221 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:23AM (#15789238) Homepage Journal
        >Sweden already have it.

        So does Finland and many other nations around the world.

        I always found it rather amusing the way people in the US bitched about "high" fuel prices.
        BOO HOO.

        This morning here in Tampere,Finland the price was 1.42 EUR/l for 95 octane (6.843 USD/gal for SI-unit impaired).
        This about average for the whole of Finland.
        Combine this with the fact that due to idiotic taxation Finland has the oldest cars in EU. (Not counting former soviet bloc).
        And cold winters. And large distances. Then you will have some understanding of how much it sucks to have these fuel prices.

        Stop complaining until your gasoline prices are as high as this.
        Although when the US has $6 gas we will probably have to pay 12.

        What is the price of fuel ethanol again?

        Within the next year fuel ethanol will be cheaper than gasoline almost everywhere. If current trends continue.
        They probably will not continue due to increased use of ethanol.

        But within 5 years ethanol will the fuel of choice.
        And until they can manufacture hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen in sufficient quantities for sufficient prices I don't imagine that this will change. Maybe in the next 20 years. Maybe by then we will have fusion reactors. (Yeah right!!)
        • So does Finland and many other nations around the world.

          I always found it rather amusing the way people in the US bitched about "high" fuel prices.
          BOO HOO.

          This morning here in Tampere,Finland the price was 1.42 EUR/l for 95 octane (6.843 USD/gal for SI-unit impaired).


          Just FYI, in The Netherlands 95 octane already goes for over 1.50 EUR/litre. A full tank for my car (which needs 98 octane) costs almost 70 EUR :-/. So I totally agree, except that 'amusing' might not be the exact words I'd use, 'pitiful' would
        • I am from the US, and I have not yet had the opportunity to travel outside of the US, so my knowledge is based on talking to friends who live in other countries, and specifically to people who have lived in both Europe and the US.
          Granted, gas is cheaper in the US than in many other places in the world, but even with relatively lower gas prices, I think that the price of gas going up effects Americans more than people in a lot of other countries. Part of it is because a lot of people in the US buy SUVs and
          • by AGMW ( 594303 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:40AM (#15789681) Homepage
            I think what you are saying is that if the US wanted to try and move to a more eco-friendly transport infrastructure, they wouldn't want to start from here.

            On my trips to the US I've been amazed to find that there aren't any pedestrian walkways (pavement to us UK chaps, and I think "sidewalk" is what you US fellows call them). Because of the ubiquitous car (and that perhaps because of the cheap petrol) there is no (useful) public transport, and because there is no public transport, everyone uses the car, so why build cycle lanes or sidewalks, or foot-bridges over highways.

            It's a bit of a catch-22. The problem is that the petrol is going to run out at some point - the light at the end of the tunnel isn't some unobtanium that's gonna replace petrol, it's a runaway train hurtling towards us.

            But it's not a vote winner. Do you want $2 on a gallon of gas to put towards finding an alternative? Hell No! No Gov, local or otherwise, is going to impose that tax because they won't get re-elected, and when the problem does hit they'll all be nicely retired from the fray, so why bother now - right?

            What we need is some government with some backbone to impose the tax, to encourage (nay, fund!) the research. There'd be a bunch of bleating about it now, but in 20, 30, 50 years, it'll sure be nice to realise we're ahead of the curve rather than sitting in the dark in our houses that we can no longer afford to cool in the summer or heat in the winter.

            But then I was always a "do my homework as soon as I got it" sort of person, rather than the "stay up late the night before" chap.

            • Amount of money spent on war in Iraq would probably lead to some significant breaktroughs in alteranative fuel. Ironically, that war even increased the price of oil.
            • What we need is some government with some backbone to impose the tax, to encourage (nay, fund!) the research.

              backbone = balls

              I live in the USA, and I welcome a higher gas tax and higher gas prices, so long as that money is going to research and road maintenance instead of lining someone's pockets. Even though higher gas prices aren't hurting me substantially, I miss the days when $10 (USD) would get me 330 miles.

            • Indeed, because throwing money at problems has been so successful at solving other societal problems.

              Now believe it or not, I'm all for alternative fuels and whatnot. I just don't think that saddling commuters with punative taxes (which is what your suggestion essentially boils down to) is the way to get there.

              Frankly, I can't understand why third-world and developing countries can have cars that run on 100% ethanol, yet we in the States can't. Well, I do.... but it still doesn't make any practical sense
            • Actually, it wouldn't be a tax. It'd be the death of a subsidy.

              Seriously. We pay $3/gallon of gas cos our government makes it that way. I think it's kind of annoying. I'll take the $6-12/Gal it takes to drill and make the stuff, and you can use that subsidy money to pay for research into new technologies (which will then be lapped up by gas-price-exhausted citizens).

              Meanwhile, the millisecond US citizens have $6/Gallon gas, you'll see a huge surge in ethanol conversion. The changes to a car are mostly
          • Here are two ideas for you.

            1. Buy a small car. (appologies for this, but I think in metric) 400 miles a week is 640kms. Pleanty of small cars can get 7 litres per 100kms. Thats about 45 litres a week. If your petrol is $3 a gallon, 3.8 litres to the gallon, 45/3.8*$3 is only $36 a week, not $100. Which is only 5% of you income before paycheck. A Prius can get 4.5l/100kms ($22 a week, 1.5% of your income). I just realised that to be spending $100 a week on petrol you car must be getting 21 l/100km which
          • by ColaMan ( 37550 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:49AM (#15789827) Homepage Journal
            Australians are in a similar situation - fuel here is the equivalent of USD3.90/gal.
            It's a 9 hour drive to the next largest population centre of 200,000 people. Forget rail/bus/air transport.

            The most popular large sedans in Australia have 6 cylinder engines that get about 27-30mpg highway. V8's are becoming, well, not 'rare', but they're a lot less visible than they used to be. While there's plenty of large cars and 4WDs, but theres none so large as what I've seen in the states as 'common'. For example, there's one (1) F350 truck in my town of 25,000 people.

            You're going to have to adapt. Your cars will shrink, they'll become more fuel-efficient and their total horsepower will reduce. But saying that, you'll still be driving them everywhere for a long time yet.
          • You are EXACTLY on target. Well written and clearly explained.

            However most of these guys who live outside the US would never learn the issues we are facing.

            In Keene, NH for instance (which is a very small town), walking from local mall to the local Holiday Inn/mini-Walmart takes 45 mins. to 1 hour. By the local Monadnock Taxi it would cost $5.00 to cover the distance.

            To those of you outside US, stop complaining about Gas prices. If you live in US, the so-called cheap Gas eats up a lot of money due to the

            • walking from local mall to the local Holiday Inn/mini-Walmart takes 45 mins
              So build your buildings closer together.

              Here in Europe, living in the centre of the city, within walking distance of everything, is becoming more and more popular. As transport becomes more expensive, the suburbs will wither and die.

          • To take an example, I had a job interview last week. It was about 40 miles away from my house, on the other side of the city (technically it was outside of the city, but in the greater metropolitan area, and only a couple of miles outside of the city proper). The round trip in my car (a relatively small car by US standards) would have cost me about $20 with the current gas prices (40 miles each way, 80 miles total, and it would have taken probably about 1/2 a tank of gas). Assuming I were to get that job, u
        • Just out of curiosity, doesn't most of Europe have free, or at least government subsidised, health care? I spend around $200USD per month for myself and my wife for health insurance. That's whether I use it or not. If I do use it, I have a $15 copayment right off the top (which is pretty cheap). Then the insurance only pays about 80% of the remainder. It usually costs me around $50-$100 every time I have to go to the doctor or dentist for anything. Prescriptions are mostly covered by insurance (I only
          • The USA has one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world. In a socialised healthcare scheme, when people start to feel ill, they go to the Doctor because 'the government' is paying for it. In a private healthcare system, people put it off as long as possible, because they will have to pay for it. At the end, the cost of treatment is significantly higher, because preventative medicine tends to be much cheaper.
        • This morning here in Tampere,Finland the price was 1.42 EUR/l for 95 octane (6.843 USD/gal for SI-unit impaired).

          Don't forget to convert your octane too, as we use a different octane calculation in the USA. [wikipedia.org] Your 95 octane is 87 here.

          I live in the USA, and I'm waiting for the diesel [f1engineering.com] motorcycle [m1030.com] to become available, at a more reasonable price.

          Scooters are great if you live in a small city, but even in a city like New York where scooters have the potential to be practical, most other traffic (especiall

        • I always found it rather amusing the way people in the US bitched about "high" fuel prices.

          To see whether the bitching is justified, you should look at the structure of our economies. We are used to cheap fuel and expensive healthcare (like $500/month/person for good health insurance), you are used to the opposite. If we could have free healthcare, $5 gas wouldn't be a problem. Realistically, $5/gallon gas probably won't be a hardship for /.'ers, who are somewhat educated (hey, I said 'somewhat') and pr

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @12:36AM (#15789118)
      because when it comes right down to it, they're safer. Sadly, the reason they're safer is they destroy anyone or anything not in an equivalent vehicle. So, you're a professional earning $40k+/year, why not spend the extra $200/month so that when your lousy driving causes and accident you walk away with a scratch and the other (poorer) guy bites it? Wish I could say I was trolling, but about once or twice a year I read a story on fark or rotten or even my local paper about some drunk SUV driver killing a family because he ran a red, and he doesn't even see a chiropracter. I'm one of the have-nots, and I'm driving an old station wagon, so I'm more than a little concerned.
      • by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:30AM (#15789259)
        Why not build a custom car, that simply "abuses" the high ground clearance on SUV's and the like? Something that simply slides under those types of cars and makes them airborne?

        Since most of the kinetic energy from the other car will remain as forward momentum, your car "just" has to absorb a bit of energy, and you do have seat belts and airbags to make you even safer.

        You end up with two nice effects:
        1) SUV crashes, takes most of the brunt and hopefully explodes in a nice fireball.
        2) SUV driver might end up severely injured or dead along with their passengers

        Enough of those crashes, and people will start shunning the crappy SUV's
      • SUVs are indeed safer ... in a crash. On a gentle curve, on the other hand, they're a death trap. How many accidents are you in? How many times do you turn? Of course, I'm even more screwed since I ride a bike, a vehicle which can sadly only claim the safety edge in one situation: falling into a body of water. When you're on a bike, SUVs are the ideal vehicles to be involved in collisions with, since they guarantee you a quick clean death, rather the lifetime as a cripple in excruciating pain that car
      • by monsted ( 6709 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:15AM (#15789514)
        I'm reasonably certain that you'd be safer in most of the offerings from a certain swedish brand of cars recently bought by Ford than you'd ever be in an Escalade.

        SUVs don't make you safe, it only makes you bigger and gives you more kinetic energy to get rid of. Sure, it'll trump a 1980s Ford Escort, but that's not because an SUV is safe, it's because the Escort is shitty. http://www.euroncap.com/ [euroncap.com] runs a good testing program and you might note that a Toyota Prius gets a better safety rating than a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
      • by HaydnH ( 877214 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:44AM (#15789574)
        "because when it comes right down to it, they're safer. Sadly, the reason they're safer is they destroy anyone or anything not in an equivalent vehicle."

        Actually there have been a lot of studies that have shown the opposite, for example have a look at the chart on page three of this pdf. [lbl.gov] You'll see that in this study the amount of deaths of the primary driver per million sold is higher in SUV's than large cars, midsize cars, minivans and imported luxury cars. Compact & subcompact are worse for the primary driver - obviously tin cans with a motor don't handle accidents well! Pickup trucks are the second worst and I'm suprised they're not more similar to SUV's. The worst is sports cars, possibly a combination of the historically bad handling of american sports cars and the fact that 150-200mph on a suburban road is usualy a bad idea!
      • I realize this could never happen, but deep down, I feel we'd be better off if we had a law that people were limited to 5 accidents. After that, they had to drive a sub-compact car. If you've been in more than 5 accidents in your life, you suck at driving and shouldn't be putting others at risk by driving anything larger than a VW rabbit.

        Of course, this is totally unrealistic. But it annoys me when most of the bad drivers I see are either in giant trucks or large "granny" cars. I'd even say all people o
    • Re:hahaha (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eivind ( 15695 )
      It's already here for much of the world. In Norway currently a liter of gas costs on the order of 12.50 nok which is pretty exactly $2. Converted to gallons that works out to $7.50/gallon.

    • Gas (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mark_MF-WN ( 678030 )

      There's no reason gas has to reach $5/gal. If America (and yes, it pretty much HAS to be America that leads here, no one else has that rare combination of extensive agricultural, vast industrial power, and a free market that's willing to work with the government on super-projects) were to get really serious about producing biopetrol and biodiesel, as well as radically scaling up its ethanol production capacity, this could be averted. America is a fantastic chunk of land for producing absolutely INCREDIBLE

      • Re:Gas (Score:2, Informative)

        There's no reason gas has to reach $5/gal. If America (and yes, it pretty much HAS to be America that leads here, no one else has that rare combination of extensive agricultural, vast industrial power, and a free market that's willing to work with the government on super-projects) were to get really serious about producing biopetrol and biodiesel [..]

        It does not [petrotec.de] HAVE [www.iwr.de] to be the US that leads [cleanairnet.org] in Biodiesel. [biodiesel.de]
    • My Honda CR-V SUV gets excellent fuel economy, surpassing not only all trucks, but most SUVs and many sedans. And this is due to the design, not even using a diesel engine or hybrid drive. Why would I buy a sedan that gets *marginally* better fuel economy using the same technology (as the CR-V will go hybrid eventually), and lose versatility and safety? There are times when money isnt everything. Is repeating the party line as you have done really the pinnacle of objective thought?

      Further, we can simpl

    • $5 per gallon for gasoline? I wish!

      Here in the UK the price is now about £1 per litre. That translates to $7 per US gallon. This price has risen by about 5p per litre in the last month thanks chiefly to our good friends in Israel.
  • It doesn't run on hydrogen only a lithium ion battery. What is so special about this?
    • by tempest69 ( 572798 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @11:58PM (#15789033) Journal
      The Hydrogen Fuel-Cell is able to both charge and provide power to the engine. The electronics are jacked if it doesnt work this way. My guess is that the H-power would go straight to the motor in a high drain situation, and in a lower drain the H power would work to keep the Li battery at a modest reserve. The regenerative braking couldnt recharge a fuel-cell, but would be great for the Li-battery.

      My best guess is that the Li battery shouldnt need to be all that big (capacity wise), if your running a fuel cell then you already have a very efficient way of making electricity on demand, so there is less need to store the energy in the Li batteries. It could allow for quick bursts of speed, and a reasonable choice for regenerative braking.

      Storm

      • Unless the hydrogen fuel cell simply isn't capable of providing enough enegery to achieve maximum acceleration. In that case energy from the battery and the fuel cell would be required to accelerate and the relatively low output fuel cell would charge the battery during less demanding periods.

        The fuel cell would only need two states on and off. On, during acceleration and when the battery is low on charge and, off, when enegery demand is low and the battery is nearly fully charged. This way you could get
      • I ride a pushbike to work but I have seen people riding those small electric scooters in traffic and frankly it would scare me. On my bike I can accelerate and brake faster than anything with an engine. The scooter with its small engine and wheels just can't keep up in the same way. I think it would be a hazard on roads with stop-start traffic.

  • Hybrid? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PaintyThePirate ( 682047 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @11:33PM (#15788955) Homepage
    It seems to me that this is not actually a hybrid, since it has only one method of propulsion, an electric motor. Perhaps the designer got a little buzzword-happy
  • by nerdsv650 ( 175205 ) <nerdsd AT nerdy1 DOT com> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @11:49PM (#15789009) Homepage
    > It's coming, Bouman says. Yes, just like $5/gal gas..."

    Anyone want to bet that California will see $5/gal gas within 12 months?

    I'll see your hummer and raise you my Corola...

    -michael
    • "Anyone want to bet that California will see $5/gal gas within 12 months?"

      Funny? I've lived in Cali for 2 years and the price of gas has gone up at least over a dollar a gallon. Okay, $5 may not happen in 12 months without a few events to spark it, but it's easy to picture.
  • If you're in the UK you're probably why gasonline's dropping a couple bucks a gallon. Sorry to get your hopes up, guys...
  • by Anonymous Crowhead ( 577505 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @11:52PM (#15789018)
    It use the latest in bio-energy too. Arguably one of the most efficent machines on the planet, it's called a bike.
  • Scooter? (Score:2, Troll)

    First of all, this isn't even a "hybrid", since it only seems to feature an electric motor. (And how is this news?)

    Second, I'm more interested in GM's next generation MY2008 GMT-900 full-size SUV platform [auto123.com] (Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon, Yukon XL, Escalade, Escalade EXT): it will have a full/strong hybrid option, powered by both a 5.3L Vortec V8 featuring Displacement on Demand/Active Fuel Management, which can disable 2, 4, or 6 of the 8 cylinders as necessary, two 30kW electric motors and a continuously variable
    • Re:Scooter? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Moocowsia ( 589092 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @12:28AM (#15789098)
      I'd say yes. Barring all emissions and fuel arguements, SUVs and trucks still aren't all that great vehicles. Right now I'm in the bush outside of Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada, and were dependant on heavy duty or lifted trucks to move geological and drilling supplies around and these trucks (Silverado 2500HDs and such) are just getting at what they should be used for. In town (Whitehorse) they're horrible to drive, have huge blind spots, take forever to slow down, have very poor weight distribution, handle like complete junk and still manage to carry less than my dad's work van. A SUV or full size truck shouldn't be on the top of the list for people who aren't in desparate need to carry a few drums of diesel or require large amounts of ground clearence or an insane amount of towing capacity.
    • Re:Scooter? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Then is it still "wrong" to drive an SUV instead of an Accord? (*waits for chorus of "yes" for all kinds of ridiculous reasons* - please, bring out the safety and bumper height arguments too!

      Do you consider these ridiculous:

      1/ Weight.
      2/ Drag.

      Regardless of how efficient your propulsion system, or how friendly the fuel and byproducts of making and running it are, the added weight and drag of an SUV means that more energy is required to run it.

      Unless of course your energy source is charged from nothing but the
    • Yeah, that's the Chrysler/GM codesign hybrid. The Durango is going to get the same system.
    • Re:Scooter? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shmlco ( 594907 )
      Yes, because the problem with your argument is that it STILL uses more fuel. If those systems were in lighter, more aerodynamic vehicles we'd be talking 40, 50, or even 60 MPG. So it's still burning twice as much fuel as a more efficient vehicle, and driving up demand in the process, which translates into less fuel and higher prices for everyone else.

      And that's not even getting into the additional CO2 emissions and energy-independence arguments.

      Being responsible is being responsible. Period.
    • Perhaps you should check out some european or japanese diesel cars which can regularly top 50mpg and even the petrol cars can do 40+. Sorry my friend, but 30mpg in 2006 is a joke and it highlights just how bad a design SUVs really are for normal road transport. Sure , use them if you're a farmer or someone else who needs 4x4 everyday , but buying them purely as a one upmanship on other people or because you've got some sort of insecurity issues in the trouser department is just wrong.
    • I'm as excited about GM's "full/strong hybrid option" as I was about their diesel implementation back in the 70s. Which is to say, "Not at all." There has to be at least one other person here who remembers those PsOS.
      --
      The usual disclaimers apply.
  • by SpudB0y ( 617458 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @12:02AM (#15789049)
    Remember all of those pictures of millions of Chinese riding their bikes to work? Now they are buying cars instead. Soon, many Americans will be wishing they could ride their bikes to work.

    I'll really start worrying when I can't afford gas for my moped.
  • ...now we can zoom down the street looking completely silly at half the fuel costs!
  • Go electric (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Here in Shanghai and everywhere in China, you can buy for an electric bicycle or scooter for less than $200 US dollars after some bargaining.

    Electric bikes are spreading quickly since they do not require driver license and speed up the commuting. Their price make them affordable for a wide range of Chinese (and expats).

    You get between 10 to 20 miles of autonomy depending of the brand/model which is good enough for most of the daily commuters and you still have the pedals in case of shortage of power.
    • Re:Go electric (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @12:59AM (#15789174) Homepage
      Here in Shanghai and everywhere in China, you can buy for an electric bicycle or scooter for less than $200 US dollars after some bargaining.

      They're everywhere in Japan as well, especially the "secondary motor" bicycle kind, where you still pedal and the motor gives you extra help for inclines or headwinds. They extend the range, you don't get sweaty, and they're very cheap to buy and run - the drive system doesn't actually need to be able to push the bike all by itself afer all, so the whole package is small and light.

    • I bought an electric scooter (not a moped but the sort you stand on). I thought I might
      be able to use it for commuting short distances but its really only a toy as it runs out
      of power after only a few miles and it is hopeless on any hills of more than a few degrees incline. And of course once the power runs out you have to push it. An electric bicycle however seems like a good idea.
    • I have a bike of the type you described. I just got off it about 10 minutes ago, actually.

      The e-bike is great. I love mine. However, it's not a solution to all problems. Here are the problems that I see with e-bikes in China:

      • Bike thieves are everywhere, and it's better to steal e-bikes instead of a normal bicycle.
      • The bike lanes are crowded, and people simply don't watch where they're going. They swerve all over the place, and cars speed around blind corners.
      • Of course you need a license - I had
  • Hydrogen economy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c.r.o.c.o ( 123083 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @12:39AM (#15789123)
    If before the war in Iraq the US would have taken even a small part of the money spent on it, the entire economy would have been well on its way to becoming hydrogen based. According to the US government itself, by 2010 $570 billion will have been spent on the "war on terror" (http://www.cbc.ca/cp/world/051006/w100670.html). If one hydrogen refueling station were to cost $10 million each, each city on the continent could have at least one built by the government itself. Even adding the need for new electricity generation, it would still cost less than the "war on terror"

    Then the dependence on foreign oil and its associated conflicts would have decreased significantly. And since the US is still the world's largest economy, this would have had a domino effect throughout the rest of the world, if only because of the economies of scale would be taken care of.

    I know this is a naive way of looking at the issue, but it was still a missed opportunity. And it will keep happening untill there are no other alternatives. The oil companies are generating HUGE proffits due to high oil prices and our dependence on it. The domestic car manufacturers cannot afford the R&D costs associated to switching over to fuel cells. And the consumers themselves do not want change, and will continue driving V8 monsters for as long as they can afford it.
    • If one hydrogen refueling station were to cost $10 million each, each city on the continent could have at least one built by the government itself. Even adding the need for new electricity generation, it would still cost less than the "war on terror"

      That's cool, you'd have a whole lot of hydrogen fuel stations. But what are you going to pump? How are you going to produce hydrogen in an energy-efficient manner? And where are you going to be getting the fuel that's needed to process the hydrogen? Then once
      • I know this is a naive way of looking at the issue

        It's not naive--far from it. It's just not politically correct. What's naive (though it *is* politically correct) is to think that the trillions of dollars spent on (you forgot to include the costs of the Afgan and Iraq wars in your figure-- the total is indeed well over a trillion) will make us safer. In reality, a few million dollars spent on extra security and a few basic improvements with inter-agency communication was all that was needed after 9/
        • If the government put a hydrogen fueling station in every city and built a few power plants (which don't need to be anywhere near populated areas, and thus can easily be nuclear, solar, wind, or some other form of non-polluting type) dedicated to large-scale hydrogen production via electrolysis of water, I'd wager that the auto companies would work out the technological kinks of hydrogen cars on their own and the "social" issues would be non-existent in the face of 1. Saving money and 2. running 100% non-po
    • $570 billion ... and this is what passes for "conservative" in America? Damn, if a few enterprising Republicans were interested, they could split off and form The Conservative Party of America (or something like that); run on a campaign of cutting taxes, slashing spending, using the military solely for domestic defence, and stamping out corruption, and they ought to be able to completely trounce the Republicans (who have completely betrayed their conservative ideals) and the Democracts (who have completely

    • And the best part of your plan is that the oil companies could get even more money generating all of the power necessary to operate those 57,000 hydrogen-generating stations!

      1. Subsidize $570 billion in H2 plants.
      2. Create hydrogen from mass amounts of fossil fuels.
      3. Profit!!!!
    • $570 billion? Who cares? When you consider that we didn't have any of that money in the first place (deficit in the trillions).

      It's not a situation of "Too bad we wasted all our money on Thing A, because now we don't have the cash we need for Thing B".

      We never had the money for the war on terror. If we really want to change to an alternative fuel source, we'll just do it. When you're that far in the hole, whats another couple hundred billion?
      • I'm sorry, but it IS that situation. The money already spent on Thing A has surpassed $300 billion. The money was there. Why could it have not been used on Thing B?
    • You seem to have forgotton that Bush and his gang are brain damaged.
    • The oil companies are generating HUGE proffits due to high oil prices and our dependence on it.

      Bingo. Which is exactly why we went to war instead of building efficient infrastructure at home. We're not just over there securing rights to our oil interests, we're destabilizing the region which drives the price of oil up everywhere; hence, the HUGE profits.

      Christ, it's getting to the point where I don't even have to put my tinfoil hat on to believe it anymore.

    • If before the war in Iraq the US would have taken even a small part of the money spent on it, the entire economy would have been well on its way to becoming hydrogen based.

      This idea assumes, of course, that God has a sneezing fit and the universe is suddenly run by cartoon physics.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The current price is over $7.50 per gallon in most of Europe.
    When will the price get down to $5.00 again ? I believe this will be after the hydrogen fuel cell, when demand for petroleum based products fall.

    The US should add $2 per gallon in tax, and send that to research in better energy sources. Right now US is the western country that does the least to protect environment, and it completely ignores global warming.
  • by richardtallent ( 309050 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:32AM (#15789271) Homepage
    My Vespa LX-150 [vespausa.com] gets around 60MPG. It's a city bike, and only 150cc, but plenty enough power for city traffic (cruises up to 55-60mph). I spend less than $5/month in gas.

    Piaggio, makers of the Vespa, are actually working on [retrothing.com] two hybrid models, but the rumor is the under-seat storage will be reduced or eliminated for batteries, so I have no interest in upgrading.
  • Over here (.fi) there's already a commercially available hydrogen powered scooter, made by this company [hydrocell.fi] (whose English pages are quite poor). They also make fuel cells with integrated hydrogen storage, and separate hydrogen storage tanks. There's also political talk about finally taxing biodiesel and ethanol fuels like petroleum-based fuels, instead of slapping users with a penalty tax. In effect, this would be a big step toward making the biofuels viable alternatives.

    Yes, over here gas does cost $5/gallo

  • $5/gal gas (Score:4, Informative)

    by nmg196 ( 184961 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:56AM (#15789598)
    $5/gal gas? Wow that's cheap!

    Here in the UK, it's already the equivalent of $7 per US gallon (97p/litre) or more. You guys don't know how good you've got it.

    Mind you, the average "yank tank" probably uses more than double the fuel of the average European car. I think our average engine size is still under 1.6 litres in the UK.
  • ENV Scooter (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Danzigism ( 881294 )
    I'm sure most of you are aware of the many different types of Hydrogen Fuel Cell scooters out there on the market, or are about to make their debut.. Some time in 2006, the ENV Scooter is supposed to be released.. I really hope it pulls through, because the bike goes about 50mph and is super quiet.. supposedly you don't even scare the birds near the road away.. I read in a couple places that you can get a kit from this ENV company that will allow you to produce your own hydrogen, and when you have all your
  • Mass Transit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:24AM (#15789896)
    Hybrid scooters are nice, but what the US really needs is better, more available mass transit.

    Most people won't buy this scooter, but they will ride a train.
  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:39AM (#15789945) Homepage Journal
    ...I think I prefer the hybrid scooter shown near the bottom of this page [ourlighterside.com].
  • Nice, but I would never call this a hybrid, it's an electric scooter with a built in hydrogen fuelled fuel cell recharger, People over use trendy terms

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