CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – New cars being produced in Japan have platinum- and copper-intensive fuel cell drives that outdo battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs) in cold climates as the EV batteries drain when the heaters are switched on, Ivanhoe Mines executive chairperson and founder Robert Friedland said on Wednesday.
The fuel cell would replace battery electric vehicles, Friedland predicted firmly on day three of the Investing in African Mining Indaba being covered by Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online.
The fuel cell, being exothermic, provides the required heat.
“Unless you want to burn newspapers in the backseat to stay warm, when you turn that electric heater on in a pure electric car you drain the battery,” he said, adding that the fuel cell required platinum which his company was taking steps to mine in South Africa.
The fuel-cell driven Honda Clarity sedan he simultaneously projected on to the big screen, which has a range of 590 km and is refuelled in five minutes, requires one full ounce of platinum in every car.
“So, don’t think that we’re reaching the end of the life of the platinum industry. Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.
Moreover, there would not just be fuel cell cars, but also fuel cell trains, trucks and buses.
He likened the car of the future to a theatre experience and, thanks to platinum, emission free.
“You won’t have to call Uber. The machine learning artificial intelligence in your device will know you want a car, the car will be waiting for you, it’ll be like a theatre experience. You’ll be wildly consumptive of electrical energy…you’ll be able to have a board meeting and enjoy a movie while you’re driving in this car of the future,” he predicted.
The President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping was determined to clean the air in China, which the platinum-using fuel cell vehicle can do.
“Chinese people breathe some of the most foul air in the world. India has that problem as well. The solution lies in fuel cell automobiles,” Friedland said, adding that China was poised to be the world’s largest producer of fuel cell cars and was well aware that it was in their national security interest to cooperate with Africa to make sure there was a stable and sustainable way to lead the clean-air revolution.
KEY TO HYDROGEN'S POTENTIAL
Fuel cell electric vehicles use compressed hydrogen gas that , when combined with oxygen and drawn through an electrolyte, creates electricity, which powers an electric motor that emits only water vapour.