Those looking to spice up a dinner party should seat John Krafcik and Carlos Ghosn next to each other should they get the opportunity. Krafcik, who runs North American operations for Hyundai, recently appeared to take a poker to the concept of battery-electric vehicles, which have long been espoused by Nissan-Renault chief Ghosn, and pushed his weight behind hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
Krafcik, in an interview with Plug In Cars, noted that most EVs have to carry around about a half-ton of batteries, whether fully charged or tapped out. Additionally, batteries lose about one percent of their capacity each day they're not used, while recharging them from anything other than a quick charger takes far longer than refilling a fuel-cell vehicle with hydrogen. Krafcik said this all points to what he called "so much inherent waste and inefficiency" in battery electric vehicles.
Last month, Hyundai shipped the first production ix35 Fuel Cell (which will be known as the Tucson Fuel Cell when it arrives in the US) vehicles to Copenhagen, where they will be used as part of the city's municipal fleet and its efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions (fuel-cell vehicles emit water vapor). The automaker is planning on building 1,000 of the fuel-cell vehicles by 2015. Of course, Krafcik may be in for an uphill battle, as hydrogen refueling stations can cost as much as $2 million a pop to build. As a result, there are just 53 hydrogen refueling stations in the US, compared to the more than 18,000 public and private electric-vehicle charging stations, according to US Energy Department figures.