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Retired Electrical Engineer Believes in Fuel Cell Vehicles

style="text-align: center;">This is a guest post by John R.

Please take me seriously since I am. I am a retired electrical engineer. I began my career I as a technician at Bell Telephone Laboratories. I worked there from 1967 through 1970. I then went to Wescom (now Rockwell company) and worked there from 1970-1978 were I was promoted to design engineer, and finally a supervisor of analog interface design. I co-founded my own company started in 1978 namely Televation Telecommunication Systems, Inc. I sold my half of that business to my business partner in 1998 and retired to play with antique cars.

During my career I was granted 9 patents in the areas of power conversion using switch-mode power supplies, analog to digital conversion circuits and telephone interface circuits. I invented a transformerless telephone interface hybrid circuit that was patented by Wescom and was a significant piece of original thinking. 8 more patents followed with some in partnership with others.

I am known as a “think outside the box” kind of engineer and since retiring I have designed about 75 products for the antique automotive market place and have a company called “Fun Projects, Inc.” that makes reproduction parts for Model T Fords. I got my ham radio license in 1959 at age 15. I now use high tech to make low tech just for fun. I have built five 1/2 scale model electric model T Fords for my children back in the early 1970′s who are now grown. Those cars would go about 25 miles on a charge so about the same as present day battery operated “all electric” vehicles.

They used PWM type switchmode speed controls and were as efficient as any present day electric battery car. I see no future in that direction and I am distressed that the local clubs and other people think that a lead acid battery powered “golf cart” is the future. I see it totally differently and have followed at a distance the Honda Clarity and fuel cell vehicles and see THOSE as being the way to go for sure. I want to get involved in this enterprise in whatever way I can. I am 68 years old and am kinda looked at as the “grey beard” guy on electrical automotive stuff on antique cars.

My company is licensed by Ford Motor Company to put the Ford Script on things I make so I am not a newbie to totally original design ideas. I live on them. I have an idea of how you might make a big splash in publicity for free by going in a direction that might not seem obvious. I have even been called up by Jay Leno to help him fix his Model T Ford. He also called me back to thank me when my idea turned out to be what in fact was wrong with his antique T Model Ford. He is a genuinely nice man. We are NOT personal friends but I do have his personal phone number to call ha ha.

I STRONGLY feel that the fuel cell car is what our country should be investing in and that other hybrid cars are NOT stepping stones to that direction but will do what other hybrids have done in other markets and that is to delay the entry of the “real” technology that we need. I am not afraid to address a room full of people who think I am wrong because I am NOT wrong that electric battery power cars are NOT the way to go. We have been waiting for a “breakthrough” in batteries for over 109 years (1902 Waverly Electric car has about the same range as the Chevy Volt without gasoline).

It is time to stop betting on a battery breakthrough and start thinking about using a fuel cell. Maybe I am wrong but I can’t get much support around here from anyone. I was invited to join an electric car club but I frankly looked at what they were doing and see them as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Charging stations every 20 miles per car sold is hardly a practical idea given that copper must be MINED out of the ground and is not as plentiful as Hydrogen in nature.

Some copper for motors yes but a super heavy duty grid to charge up a whole population using electric cars is not a practical idea in my mind and it just moves the pollution to the power company smoke stack.

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