Jay Leno Speaks Out On behalf of BMW's Hydrogen Initiative - VIDEO STORY
How The AUTO CHANNEL Sees It
By Marc J. Rauch, Exec. Vice President & Co-Publisher
My partner, Bob Gordon, and I have put a fair amount of time into examining the issues and alternative technologies available to solve the energy/pollution/foreign oil dependency problem. Frankly, itís surprising that we could have arrived at a serious position on any topic since we laugh and joke about everything, almost non-stop.
But we have, and in short, itís this: Internal combustion engines are still the way to go, but not gasoline or diesel-powered.
For the near-term, car companies should be building compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles (mandated by legislation, if necessary). Currently, of all the large car makers, only Honda is producing CNG cars (Civic) in the U.S. CNG is in plentiful supply, right here and right now in America; itís cheaper than gasoline and provides more power per gallon than gasoline (corn ethanol, by comparison, produces less power per gallon than gasoline); and it doesnít cause the air pollution problems that gasoline or diesel do. CNG distribution should be mandated immediately. Every filling station should be required to have at least one CNG pump. States like California had no trouble forcing oil companies and gas stations to produce and sell that poison MTBE gasoline, so they owe us, the public, to do something correct. This would be a good first effort.
Also, for the near, but more important longer-term, we believe, like Jay Leno, that the hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine is the ultimate solution. Hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine technology is here, right now Ė BMW has proven this. As compared to hydrogen fuel-cell engines or stored-electric engines, it doesnít have to wait for battery technology to improve to give us the driving characteristics that we are used to (speed and driving range). And, like hydrogen fuel-cell engines, the internal combustion hydrogen engine does not pollute. The base ingredient is water, and the end result is water.
The only thing lacking is hydrogen fuel availability on a large scale local level; but then this problem is shared by hydrogen fuel-cell engines, which requires the same hydrogen fuel. So, presuming that the Federal or State Government(s) can mandate CNG distribution, then they can do the same for hydrogen fuel. Why bother waiting for battery technology to improve when we can go straight to hydrogen internal combustion.
Itís disappointing that other than Quantum Technologies (www.qtww.com), no other car makers have supported the BMW vision, and unfortunately Quantumís support seems to be waning in favor of other commercial opportunities. We hope that they will re-new their own energy to continue with internal combustion hydrogen engines and that the other car companies will see the light (especially if itís a wind-powered electric light).
Weíve yet to hear good, rational reasons why the hydrogen fuel-cell alternative is better than hydrogen internal combustion. If you know of any, please share it with us and our audience.
Thanks for your time, and now, herrre's Jay: