Why, must you post a car blog? Don't you know I am in the middle of a massive data conversion/migration? I think I established myself as a Prius hater, last time this topic came up and I still make no bones about hating them. However, I recently came across a car I think is doing everything right - the Honda FCX. A lot of people look down on Hydrogen fuel cells, because of the energy conversion ratio, however most of those arguments fail to say anything other than, "where do you think that energy is coming from". So, let me see if I can clarify.
1) Nuclear -- we all love to hate it, however in terms of energy conversion efficiency it is a bit hard to beat. The US stopped making nukes, while countries like France continued developing them. Nuclear has become more efficient and produces less waste, however it still produces waste that is hard to dispose of.
2) Wind -- Despite potentially making some species of birds extinct wind has a lot of potential. According to http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy06osti/39534.pdf we could make hydrogen processing completely grid independent.
3) Solar -- I am not as big a fan of solar solutions, due to relative efficiency per acre calculation, but nonetheless it is possible. http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2004/12/65936
4)Geo-thermal -- Currently most hydrogen fuel is extracted using thermal power, however thermal power is only about 40% efficient at best. However it could potentially be a passive non-waste producing source of energy.
In addition a lot of people will point out that Hydrogen will only work with subsidies, which is true. However most people don't seem realize how heavily subsidized the oil industry is. Beside wars that we may or may not have waged on the behalf of oil. Oil companies received low interest and often tax free loans for new construction, Research and Development is subsidized by the federal government, Oil exploration legal issues are handled by the US, Corporate income tax breaks, Petroleum taxes are the lowest of any US commodity, and the list goes on. The point being for any fuel to have competitive pricing vs. oil, it will have to be subsidized in some way. Hydrogen's main cost is the initial infrastructure, once that is developed the only research and development cost will be efficiency. Currently the best efficiency we have with electrolysis conversion is about 80-95%. While fuel cell efficiency sits around 50% without using any thermal capture. By using a process that captures the thermal energy, efficiencies have been shown to up 80+%.
Why is the FCX the way of the future? Because it fits in with our existing culture of going to a pump and filling up with fuel. It looks like a car and has all the space of a normal car, without batteries filling up the trunk. It weighs the same as a car. It drives like an electric vehicle, but you don't have to wonder about what all the strip mining, that is going on in Canada to provide the raw materials demanded by Prius's batteries, is doing to the environment. The car can be built from beginning to end in one factory. Currently the FCX gets around 200 miles to a tank, but expect that to improve if money is put towards this vehicle. I say death to Hybrid and all hail to the Hydrogen powered machines of the future. I didn't think it would be possible, within this decade, to produce a usable Hydrogen powered car; but I was wrong and I have never been happier about being wrong. I only hope Honda employs a policy of giving these away to celebs that is as aggressive as Toyota's was with the Prius. Because, let's face it, if people don't see idiots in the tabloids driving something, they are not going to want it.