Originally Posted by BLUE TII
48 stations for almost 40 million people (the population of California). That's a long queue if everyone decided to fill up at the same time
Seriously, there's still a LONG way to go before H2 becomes practical. I think that it will happen, but not before 2030 IMHO. Unless we are talking about very small areas, as you say.
By 2030 the next Rx will be out of production, so that leaves us with the "small areas" part. Does this mean that Mazda should design a car thinking only about San Fransisco, Los Angeles and Tokyo buyers? The rest of the world (that would generate at the very least 90% of the total sales)? Who cares!
That doesn't make sense IMHO, designing a product so that its cost increases just because a minority of its users MAY use the dual fuel capacity, while EVERYONE pays for it.
Ok, the car would be dual fuel, so it could also run on gas and it would not be dependent on the availability of hydrogen to function. But then what's the point of giving everyone an H2 fuel system if it's understood that the vast majority of the end users will only ever run the car on gas? It would just be a waste, as I said dead weight. Worse, dead weight one has to pay for.
The only approach that may work IMHO is the one that was adopted with the Rx-8: a base model that is gas-only and a special hydrogen/gas dual fuel vehicle. Maybe this time the dual fuel version could be orderable at any dealer, but apart from that it would be Rx-8 hydrogen encore.
That could work, but then where's the innovation over the Rx-8? The fact that it would be orderable at any dealership while the hydrogen Rx-8 was not?
As for the "This is where people live who would buy $60-70k rotary car." part, I see here
that less than 21% of all FDs in the USA are in California. Maybe it was higher when they were new, I don't know
A quick look here
indicates that more than 40000 FDs were produced in total (I'm not sure how many were manufactured in 1992, so I didn't count any for that year). So, putting those numbers together, about 5% of all FD's are in California. Some that were sold may no longer exist, but still that's a farly small percentage of the total.
Also California is the state with the highest population in the USA. Indeed the two states with the next highest population (Texas and Florida) come in 2nd and 3rd place in the FD registration numbers list as well. So if one were to correct those numbers to calculate "FDs pro capita", then the difference with other states may be even smaller.