"Two new studies reaffirm: advanced battery vehicles - not fuel cells - are the logical / best way forward."

(..although not necessarily for filling-station operators, Big Oil, Government fuel-tax collectors et al)

(Update '04: Note: A crucial US DOE study confirming the relative inefficiency of FCV's compared to pure battery vehicles - linked to and quoted below - no longer appears to be available ie. it seems to have (been?) disappeared...see also 'EV's Are Still The Gold Standard' in Electrifying Times.)

Study 1) "Fuel Cell Vehicles: Solution or Shell Game?" by Stephen and James Eaves.

Study 2) "Perspectives on Fuel Cell and Battery Electric Vehicles" by Alec Brooks.

- Why have we chosen to headline these near-parallel studies at this time? Two primary reasons:


-EVUK was recently contacted again by Stephen Eaves of lithium battery specialist Eaves Devices of Rhode Island USA.
(See EVUK April 2002 news item "US Co. seeks UK/worldwide partners for its new generation of low cost, ultra-long-range lithium batteries." )
This time Eaves was interested to know if we would consider posting up a link to his recently completed "BEV vs. FCV" research document. Our response of course was "Just try and stop us!" - or words to that effect.


- We(unlike Stephen Eaves -see below) had already read Alec Brooks' study and were struck by the similarity(conclusions,well-to-wheels methodologies) between the two papers.

Reassuringly - though no doubt disconcertingly to many fuel cell evangelists - the Eaves study draws substantially on the US Department of Energy's (DOE) own statistics and analyses (Go to - data that interestingly/curiously did not deter the DOE itself from its decision to give priority backing to FCV's.

Note also that these two BEV vs. FCV studies were were completed entirely separately and independently: indeed their respective authors were completely unaware of the existence of the other's work until after publication. All the more remarkable therefore that such strikingly similar conclusions were reached by both parties.

What's more - joining up even more dots and coming almost full circle - Alec Brooks has very recently left AC Propulsion to rejoin Aerovironment where he led the teams that developed the GM Impact electric vehicles about which EVUK recently headlined a feature titled "Ex-GM EV1 pioneers fully committed to development of ultra long-range battery EV's".. Click here for brief summary of Alec Brooks EV career so far.

Email Exchanges: Eaves-Brooks-EVUK
- Following the appearance of the two studies the authors contacted one another - for the first time - to further discuss their findings. Stephen Eaves was then good enough to forward these impressively insightful and lively exchanges to us and we have decided with the authors' consent to reproduce them in full here.


(Stephen Eaves to Alec Brooks)

Hello Alec,

Thank you for your detailed review of our paper. I have also read your paper carefully. I think your (lower) estimates on the performance and efficiencies of the vehicles more accurately reflect the vehicles that have been brought into circulation. You also confirmed our doubts that the range estimates provided for FCVs today are not put through the same rigor as that applied in the case of BEV range estimates.

Our primary objective in this paper was to get it into a popular publication so that the word could get out on how BEVs are still the best bet for producing a ZEV. Considering the current hype around fuel cells we had to be careful and very conservative on the data. Because of this, we restricted ourselves to the DOE studies.(See Our thinking was that if we used the government's own studies to cast doubt on their decision for fuel cells then a publication might take a chance and publish the data. Unfortunately we have had no luck getting it out there.

Besides the higher efficiency numbers that we used for hydrolysis, the other area that may have caused us to get higher numbers would be the fuel cell plant efficiency numbers. The DOE was pushing a greater than 50% efficiency on the fuel cell plant because they have their back up against the wall on overall well-to-wheels fossil fuel usage and green house gas emissions. As you correctly pointed out in your paper, if they do not show very high efficiencies, then they are boxed into a situation where a hybrid might produce less emissions and use less fossil fuel then the FCV. The flip side was that the high efficiency numbers forced higher weight and volume for the FCV. Having the HEVs perform better than the FCVs is a bad thing as far as the US companies are concerned because they are way behind in the HEV arena.
They would rather control the market with an alternative like FCVs. Among other things, I would like to talk to you about the more accurate calculations of efficiencies for hydrolysis, I think this could make our data more accurate if we can find some DOE or other good references on it.

As you can see from our paper, yes, we believe that a BEV with Lithium Ion can produce a practical 300-400 mile vehicle. Everything works better with a long range battery. We have data on Li-ion that shows that if a max range of 350 miles was given to the vehicle, but the average commute was 70 miles, then the Li-ion battery would have a cycle life of 10,000 to 12,000 cycles - the math says 840,000 miles! Of course other calendar life issues would limit the life, but it certainly seems possible that we could see a 200,000 mile pack. A large battery runs much cooler and can be rapidly charged.
Even using more conventional charging methods, a hundred miles of range could be returned in 5-6 minutes.

What would be incredible would be to take a Li-ion BEV to one of these FCV competitions and blow them away. We should keep talking about ways to get people to organize around this.


(Stephen Eaves to Jim Carlucci,EVUK)


Eaves Devices develops electronic controls and battery management devices for advanced batteries. I lead another start-up company Modenergy that is developing a lower cost Li-ion battery scheduled to be released for demonstration purposes at the end of the summer.

I thought that you may be able to make use of this paper that we have written on the subject of BEV versus FCV. It is based almost entirely on government studies (see and shows the superiority of battery electrics over fuel cell vehicles. In the present media environment, we were unable to get it published so we are taking the grass roots approach. It uses conservative data, but still is striking when the impact of the FCV decision on renewable energy is considered. I have been informed that there is an additional paper on this written by Alec Brooks of AC Propulsion that makes a more aggressive analysis, but either way the argument is very strong, as you probably know. Alec also has a longer piece that he gave at the CARB workshop last December. It is online at

We hope that you may make good use of the paper in your efforts on BEVs.

Best Regards
Stephen Eaves
Eaves Devices Inc


(Stephen Eaves to Jim Carlucci,EVUK)

Hello Jim,

The paper written by Alec Brooks was presented to CARB while at AC Propulsion. The paper uses another approach to conclude that FCVs may use as much as four times the energy as BEVs. I included our exchange below for reference. Our analysis is more conservative than that of AC Propulsion because it is based on the approach of using the governments own studies to question the fuel-cell vehicle decision. So we have a range of 2.4 to 4 times the energy usage of BEVs if both papers are considered - still nasty no matter how you cut it!

Alecs' paper is at:


(Alec Brooks to Stephen and James Eaves)

----- Original Message -----

From: "Alec Brooks"
To: ;
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 1:01 AM
Subject: Your paper on fuel cell vehicles

Dear Stephen and James,

Tom Gage at AC Propulsion forwarded your excellent paper to me. You did a great job of bringing together the published data. I assume you've both seen the testimony I gave at the CARB Dec 5, 2002 ZEV workshop (available at

I reached much the same conclusions as you did, but used a combination of published EPA data and data gleaned from discussions with people in the business. I came up with a factor of four in electricity consumption of FCVs and BEVs based on the EPA data for the RAV4 EV and the Honda FCV.

- A couple of things to keep in mind in doing these sorts of energy analyses - be very careful about using the product of a string of efficiencies. The efficiencies are not always referenced consistently. For example, electrolyzer efficiency is often stated relative to the higher heating value of the product hydrogen, while a fuel cell's efficiency is often rated relative to the lower heating value of the hydrogen consumed. With hydrogen, the difference between higher and lower heating value is pretty big - about 15%. Also, a measure of well-to-wheels efficiency may be misleading. What most people mean by well to wheels efficiency is the average efficiency of delivering propulsive force to the roadway. But what really matters is the efficiency of delivering *net energy* to the roadway; i.e. the net of all positive and negative (braking) energy. BEVs excel at capturing the negative energy while fuel cell vehicles don't, leading to another sizable difference. Your number for 10% on energy recovery from regeneration for EVs is low based on my experience. I saw more than this in my EV1 (based on returned Ah), which had poor regeneration. AC Propulsion vehicles are very good; I have seen more than 20 percent in heavy freeway traffic. The original GM Impact was shown to have 44% range extension due to regeneration on the urban cycle.

I always like to bypass efficiency and get real data; how many kWh to make a kg of hydrogen? How many miles can you go on a kg of hydrogen, etc. This gets right to what matters. From what I have found out, the real fuel economy of FCVs is about 30 to 60 miles per kg of H2. Most researchers continue to use vague efficiency ratios compared to conventional cars (like twice as efficient) which are almost always way off the mark from reality.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on the future of Lithium batteries for EVs. It seems to me that with Lithium, it is quite possible for a BEV to have double the range of a fuel cell vehicle. I am not with AC Propulsion anymore; I am back at AeroVironment, where I had been previously for quite a long time.

best regards,
Alec Brooks


(Alec Brooks to Paul Govan,EVUK)


Feel free to use the letter on your site. Also feel free to use the longer piece that I gave at the CARB workshop last December. It is online at and at

You may be interested in the CARB meeting that is scheduled for 9:00AM tomorrow (24 April) California time. The board will be deciding on whether to include battery electric vehicles in the new ZEV program, or place all bets on fuel cell vehicles. The meeting(and future meetings) will be webcast at

best regards,

Alec Brooks


(Jim Carlucci, EVUK to Stephen Eaves)


Have closely read your study: of course we agree with the whole darned thing - give or take the odd %-age point!

The fact is most people do or would agree if they were allowed to be completely honest. Sadly, in our oil-and-ICE -protectionist world, honesty is in short supply from the automakers, oil companies, our corporate media, politicians and all the other assorted vested interests that are determined :

a) to keep the ICE on its pedestal for as long as possible. Even if this means $100+ billion for a Mid-East war or two - or drilling in Alaskan Wildlife Refuges.

b) to ensure that whatever replaces it, (most) drivers will continue to be forced to visit filling-stations to pay through the nose for fuel - whether hydrogen or petrol/gas. Long-range battery EV's that could be cheaply recharged mostly at home and at night would pose an enormous threat to the cosy traditional revenue streams of so many individuals, industries and governments - and they know it!

Even more so outside the US - in Europe governments of course rake in over 3 dollars tax for each gallon of petrol sold - so obviously they are keen, to say the least, to keep us all locked onto the filling-station 'reverse-umbilical' for as long as possible.

The prime concern of the oil/auto industries and governments never has been: "What is best for the planet? What is best for the consumer's pocket-book?" We waited 20 odd years for the elusive, long-promised 100 mile a gallon car - but we're still lumbered with 15 mile a gallon SUV's and pick-up trucks and average car fuel economy below 30 mpg in the States and Europe.

But what carmakers, oil companies and politicians and our media clearly love more than anything about FCV's is the sheer procrastination-potential - all those lovely excuses to delay mass roll-out for another 10-15-20 years. Where there's no will there's delay, right? I imagine you've read the Union of Concerned Scientists' piece "Subsidizing Big Oil".

The powerful vested interests that oppose BEV's even more than they opposed the elusive 100 mpg car or the 30 mpg SUV know full well that advanced BEV's could be proven and mass-marketed far sooner than FCV's (without the hydrogen cost, infrastructure, storage, distribution, platinum etc problems...) if they were given the right backing and investment - which is precisely why they're all working like never before to misrepresent them and kill them off !!

The best way to win the argument now is for a company at long long last to actually get a 250+ mile per charge (lithium) battery-powered prototype sedan(or similar) out there. We have had endless promises from scores of lithium battery specialists - but we have yet to see a lithium BEV with a range over 120 miles - let alone over 200 miles.

Cheers, Jim


(Stephen Eaves to Jim Carlucci, EVUK)

Hello Jim

I cannot tell you how much I would like to demonstrate a 250+ mile per charge EV. I expect to be able to demo a vehicle, one way or another, in a year.


Alec Brooks' EV career : - has now returned to AeroVironment Inc. where he had previously spent 17 years holding the posts both of Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and where he led the development of vehicle-to-grid power applications. He has an extensive background in vehicle development, technical management, and engineering analysis. During his 17 years at AeroVironment, he led the teams that developed the GM SunRaycer, the GM Impact electric vehicles, and an operational replica of a flying pterodactyl. He holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.

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