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Electric Currents

Hydrogen Ballot Stuffing: A Postscript

Very early in the month of July it became obvious that something 'funny' was going on with the voting on our monthly ePoll, which asked the following question:

Do you agree that over the long-run, hydrogen fuel cells will supplant batteries as the dominate power source for future electric vehicles?

Spurred on by comments of a reader, I decided to see why the votes on this poll and earlier ones dating from November, 2013, seemed so skewed. As I reported in two follow-up blogs, it became apparent that our reader polls were being electronically manipulated, probably by a single computer hacker that was spoofing other computers, literally from locations around the world, including from the troubled eastern zone of Ukraine and across the border into Belorussia.

In response, I implemented some additional security measures and that seems to have stemmed the attacks, at least for now. I restarted the poll after resetting the database from the point at which it became obvious the attacks had begun. The results are much more in line of what I would expect from EV World readers. Here are the results as of that reset. It represents the last 15 days of July:

Yes 63
No 221
Uncertain 23

A total of 307 people responded. Of those, 28.5% agreed that hydrogen fuel cells will supplant batteries in cars in the future. In contrast, 72% disagreed with the statement. The remaining 7.5% said they weren't certain.

I am of the view that EV World readers are pretty knowledgeable when it comes to both battery and hydrogen fuel cell technologies used in electric vehicles. If this is the case, and I certainly believe it is, it seems pretty obvious that our readers, at least, are confident that battery-powered EVs will continue to dominate the EV world. While hydrogen fuel cells do offer some advantages over current battery technology in terms of range and refueling time, the continuing research progress in battery chemistry [for example see the string of announcements on various lithium battery 'breakthroughs that now seem to occur weekly') suggests we're going to see ever-higher energy densities and falling battery cell prices. Tthe recent agreement between Tesla and Panasonics on their forthcoming 'Gigafactory,' being just one more example.

Nearly as interesting as the poll result itself is the vigorous reader dialogue it and my two blogs spurred, generating a long thread of discourse, both pro and con. I, for one, appreciate the passion displayed by the topic. Thanks to all for taking the time to contribute your viewpoints. I think this is a race that whichever technology may nose into the lead from time to time, we all end up being winners.

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