Alternative Fuel Cell Vehicles

Reader Question:Hi Austin,

I have some specific queries about alternative fuel cell vehicles. With your expertise, I think you are the right person to answers my questions.



Hi there Daryl,

Here are the answers to your queries:

1. What are your opinions of fuel cell vehicles?

I really like the concept, but that technology is so new I do not have any personal experience with working on them yet. My neighbor has a Toyota Pruis, and she loves it and says she gets about 55 MPG. It is so quiet you do not hear her pulling up in my driveway.

2. What are the prices of parts for them?

That is too new for me to know yet. I would expect the prices to be higher than our current technology, but as with everything else, prices will decline over time.

3. Do you think that in the future gasoline cars are going to be replaced by alternative vehicles (electric, fuel cell, and flex fuel vehicles, etc.)?

I really like hydrogen vehicles, and some countries like Norway are already using pure Hydrogen fueled vehicles. Hydrogen is cheap and easy to make and the byproduct of using Hydrogen is water vapor.

Why the US is not embracing this simple and effective technology is beyond me maybe it’s too simple and effective to make huge profits with it like they are with oil!

4. What are your opinions on flex fuel vehicles?

From what I see on the road today, it seems Flex fuel vehicles are limited to government vehicles and large commercial fleets. I do not think the American public is ready to try a different method of fueling their vehicles.

Most gas stations I visit now are promoting 10% Ethanol in their fuels, but since they started advertising this the prices for fuel have not dropped, the performance of the fuel has not improved, and I do not think that using only 10% Ethanol will have any dramatic impact on greenhouse gases or the dependency on foreign oil. To me I think this is just a ploy by BIG OIL to make the public feel like they are doing something good.

5. Do you see in the future more mechanics working the alternative vehicles?

Sure I do. I remember in 1985 when most American vehicles were being made with “computer controls” the mechanics shuttered to think – “I’ll be working on computers? I want to work on cars not computers” and now of days you would not think of a vehicle without at least ONE onboard computer system.

To be honest, many of the younger mechanics do not know how to work on vehicles without a computer! Overhauling a carburetor was something we did 5 times a day in our shop, but now if and when we every see a vehicle in our shop without a carburetor only 2 of our 6 mechanics can properly overhaul it anymore.

On the flip side to that, all of our mechanics are certified with a hand held computer scanner and can trouble shoot just about any computer or emissions sensor type of problem. I can not imagine a vehicle without a least one on board computer system now days! 🙂

Austin Davis

Posted in: Running Problems

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