BMW and Honda have reiterated their commitment to hydrogen-powered cars after they were dismissed as “not the way to go” by an expert on alternative fuels.
James Woolsey, chairman of the US advisory board of the Clean Fuels Foundation, told the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders last week that the cost of establishing an infrastructure of refuelling stations was too expensive to make hydrogen a viable option.
He also slammed plans by California governor Arnold Sch≠warzenegger to build a string of hydrogen filling stations – dubbed “hydrogen highway” – along the Pacific Coast of the US.
He added: “Hydrogen and fuel cells are not the way to go. The decision by the Bush administration and the State of California to follow the hydrogen highway is the single worst decision of the past few years.”
Woolsey predicts it will cost $1 trillion to establish a hydrogen infrastructure in the US alone. But Honda UK environment manager John Kingston calls hydrogen the “Holy Grail from an environmental perspective”.
Kingston says: “We feel that hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology is the ultimate environmental solution because it delivers zero harmful emission driving.”
Honda has unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell-powered concept car called the FCX Clarity, while BMW has built 100 hydrogen-powered 7 Series cars to “kick start the process”.
A BMW spokesman says of Woolsey’s remarks: “We are surprised and we don’t agree with them. We have made it clear that we see this as a very long-term goal. He is right that it will take a lot of time and money to put in place, but nobody has come up with an alternative. One thing that is certain is that fossil fuels are running
out and we do need something that enables us to power not only our cars but also