TO THE EDITOR:
Thank goodness at least one alternative to the electric vehicle is getting some traction. The hydrogen fuel cell seems to be the most logical competitor to electric. With an unbiased listing of the pros and cons of fuel cell vs. electricity, the winner is obviously the fuel cell. Unfortunately, naysayers will say “never” in the short term because of the cost of more R&D, initial investments required and the termination of billions in plant assets with their current reciprocating piston tooling and equipment. However, I suggest long-term thinking.
Even if the oil giants cannot stomach an early cessation of their billions of investment in offshore drilling, there is a short-term solution to mitigate their concerns: natural gas.
Until the fuel cell is ready for universal acceptance, natural gas is a logical interim alternative.
After all, the oil companies own most of the reported almost unlimited supply of natural gas. Furthermore, the automakers can tweak carburation of the reciprocal piston engine and therefore minimize concern for early plant termination. Of course, the income from natural gas sales should help put the oil companies’ economic concerns to rest.
Natural gas now needs a leading oil company for public endorsement. Fuel cells already have Toyota as their leader. These must be our short- and long-term automotive solutions.
Unfortunately, the EV proponents will be upset until they recognize electricity production requires even more fossil fuel use and the expended batteries are not easily recyclable. Guess which side environmentalists will support? I see a win-win-win.
RICHARD HERDEGEN, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The writer is a retired General Motors executive.