Hyundai! Give us Magnificent FCEVs!
Interview with William S. Lerner F.R.S.A.
2021년 09월호 지면기사  / interviewer | Sangmin

In July, when COVID-19 was raging around the world again, AEM contacted William S. Lerner F.R.S.A. in New York focusing on safety issues in the transportation sector and working on a wide range of ISO and SAE standards, He spoke out his candid opinions on a variety of issues including FCEVs and BEVs. In summary, we need to avoid black and white narrow thinking on many issues, give informations well and provide products that meet everyone's needs.

interviewer | Sangmin


William S. Lerner, a F.R.S.A. is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce,  a U.S. ANSI Registered Expert, with 20 ISO Delegate and Working Group member roles, has nine roles at SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers), whose focus is on safety issues in transportation including fuel cell vehicles and battery electric vehicles. He taught a master class recently on ISO standards through his fellowship, Harvard and Cambridge University associations in the UK. Lerner is also an inventor and consultant who has received 14 U.S. patents as and independent inventor (and recently filed three applications in the battery, hydrogen, fueling, safety and infrastructure areas) in consumer electronics, optics, photonics and safety related areas, is a globally published, peer reviewed author for his groundbreaking work in fiber optic technologies, and recently completed a certificate course with Rutgers University’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation UAS (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) Applications for Traffic Safety.



Q. Our interview was in 2019. In the meantime, we entered the corona-19 era and the U.S. government changed. Do you feel a big change in the US, and even global, regarding FCEV, just as the US government's policy on BEV has changed?

A. COVID changed everything. COVID decreased travel because offices were closed, and people worked remotely, and then those returning did not feel comfortable on the subways and busses. More people began driving to work.
Concerning the industry, Because the automakers use “Just in Time” stocking methods, there was a ‘’chip shortage.” There was no shortage, it was because the automakers were trying to be lean with inventory, and to keep costs down. Chips were ordered as they needed them. Other industry’s orders came first due to the increased demand for televisions, phones, tablets and other devices. The global shut downs also affected the chips. The lack of chips upset new car sales, and drove up the price of used cars. Why? For example Subaru lost about 45,272 sales due to being too lean with chips on hand.
So, if you need a car and there are none of the model you want new, you will look to a pre-owned vehicle. Currently in the USA used car prices have risen 45%. Who could have predicted COVID and what it would cause? The increase in working from home and not going to work, dramatically caused an increased demand for other items that use chips. And, the labor shortage during COVID hurt productivity, with apparently no end in sight due to the Delta variant.

The US Government certainly changed. No more so than for energy and environmental concerns. We are back on track in many ways, as a progressive nation, after a very long and dark four years. The previous administration discounted or ignored science, facts, promoted climate destruction, and basically did everything possible to destroy the planet, including rolling back vehicle emission standards. Finally, I feel hope for mankind, as the US Government is reverting back to the Obama era.

I think the Biden administration is not discussing FCEVs as they should. They are a very viable option, and it is not wise to focus solely on battery vehicles. BEVs are great, but they have many social, economic and power grid related issues that they are not discussing. We have an electrical grid that is over taxed. Texas had massive power shortages, and New York City residents are always told to conserve energy on hot days. So, how does that work? Conserve energy, and move everybody to electric vehicles that need charging? Where is the logic in that equation? So, you have a typical office worker arrive at their workplace at 9:00 and plug in their car. The same worker goes home at 6:00 and plugs in his car. Think of the power spikes, if everyone is roughly on the same timeline. We simply can't handle that in many markets. And, roughly 11 percent of all workers drive more than 30 miles to commute to work. And, driving cities like Los Angeles create greater need. The distances driven may not be great, but the amount of time spent in debilitating traffic is astronomical. And, in hot climates like Phoenix Arizona and Dubai, you must always have the air conditioning on, which is one of the largest users of a vehicle’s power on board. Furthermore, you can't drain an electric car down to a very low rate of charge. Why? What is the purpose of a car? To move you from point A to point B. If you need to get to a doctor, pick up an ill parent, escape an earthquake, flood, fire or other unplanned event, you need to have sufficient range at all times. And keep in mind, fully charging an large battery electric vehicle uses the equivalent amount of power as running an efficient refrigerator for a month. And, that is per charge. And, what about those in the lower economic sectors? Are they supposed increase their expenses if they don’t want to? That is unfair.

Q. Do you think that COVID-19 had a big impact on people's attitudes and thoughts?

A. COVID amplified the: “no one is going to tell me what to do” factor. Globally people have refused vaccines, refused to wear masks, and are protesting wearing them, and mandatory vaccinations from Paris to Philadelphia. COVID has created two classes. Those who are vaccinated, wear masks to protect themselves, and equally important, to protect others. The other class, sees it as a conspiracy, unsafe, governments interfering with their bodies and choices, and the biggest overriding factor is, again: “No one will tell me what to do.”, concerning, well, almost everything. So, if that is where we are today, what do you think will happen if governments declare everyone must shift to electric, or hydrogen? To add additional expenses? If you are living paycheck to paycheck, where is the money to bump up to a new car coming from? A rebate or subsidy is not the same as a free car. And, the affluent have chargers at their fancy stores, malls, etc. Will low income housing have them in plentiful supply? No. Even if there is a magic subsidy, you have to have a good credit score for a loan, your insurance will go up because the car is newer, and more valuable, your taxes will go up, if you are taxed yearly and your car is subject to a property tax like I am. And, finally, many people keep cars for years or decades? People are keeping their cars for longer and longer periods of time. What happens when you need to replace the battery? What if you have a second set of winter tyres? You have to buy new tyres for the car you may not want? That is a huge expense. Also, if we go fully electric, what happens to young first time buyers? They will be priced out of having a vehicle, since there are so few low cost pre-owned electric vehicles for them. The cost of replacing a car’s battery can be double the value of a depreciated used, high mileage car, so then what? Where is the value factor for those buyers? And lastly, what do we do with all the carcasses of cars that were powered by gasoline and diesel or those electric cars that are upside down in value? Recycle? Seriously? That consumes power, is not 100% effective, and not everything can be repurposed. And, the plan to electrify may backfire a bit. What if lower income people can't manage to upgrade to an electric car? Or don't want to? You may keep older polluting cars on the road for longer periods. And, if electric is the trend, gasoline and diesel cars will plummet in value. That makes them more appealing economically for young first time buyers, and harder for those wishing to trade them in. I am not preaching what I practice. My cars are my some of my prized possessions. I have three V8’s and a flat 6 sports car. Will I sell them and buy an FCEV or a battery car, or even go down to the size vehicle I really need. No. Not now. Clearly I will in the future, but I won’t be forced to get rid of any of my cars.

For Americans, F-150 Lightning is the fastest truck, appealing not only to the green crowd but also to those who want a strong and fast truck. On the one hand, it is necessary to consider the weight of the truck, the size of the battery, and the power that needs to be charged.

Q. I think the F-150 Lightning is the beginning of American electrification. Tell me what you think of F-150 and electrification.

A. Ford brilliantly introduced the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning truck comes out later this year. The F-150 is the middle of America’s favorite ride of choice. Nothing outsells it. Roughly 900,000 per year. So, the Mach-E, is conservative in design and I am sure it will be a big seller for them. The reviews have all been very positive. The F-150? It was a brilliant move. They will sell every one that they can make. Why? 0-60 MPH in 4.4 to 4.0 seconds. That is the same 0-60 as my BMW V8 twin turbo 750i X-Drive.
Ford will sell the majority of them because they are fast. Plain and simple, Americans are fascinated by tremendous amounts of horsepower, and “big engines”. The Lightening is the fastest truck available. The Ram 5.7 Hemi reaches 0-60 in 6.1 seconds, which was a benchmark. That is why Ford will sell every one they make. It also appeals to the ‘’green crowd” and those who want a new lightening fast truck. On the downside, think of the weight of that truck, and think of the size of the battery, and the power it will need to be charged. Few need such a large vehicle, but America is obsessed with large powerful trucks.

Concerning the lack of electricity to support Biden’s plan, as I am typing this New York City is experiencing a heat wave, like much of the USA. My building manager just sent this all residents in my building:

To All Residents
Due to the extremely high temperatures, The National Weather service has issued Heat Advisory for NYC and Con Edison wants to remind all customers citywide to conserve energy to relieve pressure from the electrical system.

Con Edison is asking customers to;
Limit use of washers and dryers. When possible do laundry at night to ease the burden on the electrical grid during peak hours.
Turn off air conditioners in unoccupied rooms. Raising temperature settings 2-3 degrees can save 10-20% electrical demand. Lowering your window shades will also save energy and help you stay comfortable Turn off other energy-intensive equipment, lights, televisions and game consoles when not needed or in use.
To avoid heat exhaustion, you should avoid strenuous activity or physical exertion outdoors. Last but not least, remember to drink plenty of water!

For more energy tips, visit

Now that I have discussed COVID, Biden and battery issues, I can now segway into hydrogen. Due to the COVID divide, and the Republican vs. Democrat nonsense in the USA, the same is true for hydrogen vs. battery. It is not an either or, and I am not taking sides, nor will I. Hydrogen, battery and all forms of hybrids are transportation options we need to explore. Who knows how it will shake out. At the end of the day, it is really up to the individual vehicle buyers, as it should be.

Due to the extremely high temperatures, The National Weather service has issued Heat Advisory for NYC and Con Edison wanted to remind all customers citywide to conserve energy to relieve pressure from the electrical system.

Q. Are you saying that with the onset of electrification, options and opportunities for alternatives should be guaranteed? Also, are you talking about taking into account the car market and culture?

A. Did anyone make a master plan that diesel cars would win a huge share of the market in Paris and virtually zero share in New York City? No, the markets decide what will be sold, and what is desirable. Gasoline is more expensive in Paris than in New York, so diesel had a great edge. People in Paris seem to buy the size car they need, for example. The streets are still narrow and spaghetti like, even after Baron Haussman’s utopian boulevard dreams. America’s SUVs simply don’t fit, and you don’t have a parking garage at every corner, since the buildings are older. It seems like a car is transportation, and not wrapped up in status, personality, size, image, income, etc. I lived in Paris for a few months, hence my opinions. In the USA, it is, in my opinion, entirely different. We buy what we want, regardless of size, need or even efficiency. We buy as reflection of our perceived self-image. We also buy gasoline vehicles because you can easily get gasoline. Diesel is not available at every gas station, and usually have only one dedicated pump. No one wants to spend one second more thinking about how they are going to fill their vehicle. It might have been different, if gasoline and diesel were readily available like in Europe.

American car culture tends to buy what it wants regardless of size, need, and efficiency. The car was considered the same as status, desire, freedom, design and supreme aesthetics. This dates back to the 1930s Cadillac V16.

American’s fascination with cars. Brilliant marketing, and Henry Ford. He made the Model T the everyman’s car. He made individual transportation a reality. The assembly line changed everything. Then the fantasy elements kicked in. That goes back to the American car culture from the 1930’s Cadillac V16. Yes, you read that right, a 16 cylinder engine. It was as long as a city block, see photo. Beautiful, large, elegantly styled cars equaled glamour, status, desire, freedom, ever changing magnificent designs, and an over the top estetics. It became part of the “American Dream.” The cars of the 1930’s through 1963 (the dawn of US emission standards) had no limits. Every year, the design was changed a bit, and if you were the slightest bit concerned about image or status, you traded up or got the car you saw at the autoshow that spoke to you. We did not have safety restraints either. No airbags, no soft dash surfaces, no design restrictions. In the 1950’s it reached it’s peak of design insanity. I was a part of it, and It was fabulous. My grandmother’s boyfriend had the car below. A 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. I certainly enjoyed the car when the top was down. I look back on those cars, and can’t believe how dangerous they were. People used to say: “It is a tank, I won’t be hurt. See photo of a similar car that had a small overlap crash at 35MPH. Size back then, meant nothing concerning safety. Today’s small cars are often at the top of the IIHS crash tests. Again, my focus is safety and I am writing the standards for first and second responders at SAE concerning crashes, battery vehicle fires and hydrogen vehicle incidents.

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz and Small overlap crash photos of similar vehicles at speeds of 35 mph. 

Back to the fabulous cars of yesterday…. You traded your car generally in a three year cycle. That three year cycle is so ingrained in the American mentality that leases on cars are generally for three years today. We are not a point A to point B culture. And, auto manufacturers know what the American market wants. In 1999, BMW released the ground breaking, mega-hit the X5. At 183.7 inches, it was a reasonable size. In 2021 the X5 is 194.3. They took the X5 and made an even larger version, which is virtually identical, called the X7, which is 203.3 inches. Why? Demand. Or perceived demand. We are currently in a ‘’third row” SUV craze, though few use or need them. One of my best friends has one. He complains that is it is so large, does not need a third row, and the X7 basically sits in a garage all week while he takes the subway to work. You buy what you want in the USA. And, now I feel I must discuss the other coast, Los Angeles. I lived there for seven months. You ARE what you drive. Seriously. I was 27, and rented a Chrysler convertible. I thought is was a reasonable car, cute and all black. Well, pulling up to valet parking stands in Beverly Hills, would produce looks of disgust from patrons and parkers. I caught on. So, I traded the Chrysler for a VW Golf convertible. Well, the looks changed to odd smiles. I was actually asked by someone at a party: “So, where does your sister live in the Valley, and why are you driving her car?” So much for my VW adventure. I traded that in for a black Mercedes convertible sports car. No more smirks, and scowls. Now, it was: “Hello stranger!” The valets were all very happy to see me.

Q. How far has your global standard(ISO, SAE) work on FCEV that you introduced 2 years ago progressed now? What importance do these have in opening the world of FCEV?

A. Well, everyday is a challenge. Why? Hydrogen is a tricky element. It is odorless, colorless, burns invisible to the naked eye during the day, likes to leak, embrittle and permeate liners. It also must be delivered to the vehicle pre-cooled to -40 C or so. We have to ensure the safe rollout from the station to the vehicle. I do that. My focus is safety, and it is better to mitigate any accidents rather than to treat them. Now for the good news. The hydrogen tanks in busses, cars, trucks, ships, are all perfectly safe. We have very strict guidelines (we shoot bullets at them and set them on!), and they have been incredibly reliable. We are working to implement uniform safety standards, and it is a work in progress. We simply don’t have enough data from real time fills or usage. There are not that many hydrogen powered vehicles in use today. As you can tell, I am very cautious, and work to prevent any injury. One injury is one too many in my book. Hydrogen comes with an unfair baggage. Hydrogen/ Hindenburg. In 1937 the Hindenburg disaster caused 39 deaths, and it was a tragedy, of course. But nascent technologies unfortunately are often not as safe, due to lack of data and full understanding of what is new. Automobiles created havok when introduced. The first death occurred in the USA when a horse was startled by a car, and killed a man in the street. Tragic too, but we continued to move forward. The early cars did not have seat belts, air bags, or any known safety device, and sometimes they did not even have a windshield. The amount of injuries of all types was catastrophic. Today, I can drive my BMW into a flat wall at 35MPH, open the door, and go for cocktails. I devoted three years to the prevention and mitigation of pediatric burn injuries. A serious burn can cause a life of pain, debilitation and the crushing of one’s dreams if it involves using a damaged hand as an example.

Battery fires burn hotter and in different ways, FCEV’s vent their entire contents rearward in an incident. The fire produced from AFVs(Alternative Fueled Vehicles) can be more intense, different in nature and in the case of battery vehicle fires, they can spontaneously reignite up to three times, and burn for weeks. I am part of a massive retraining movement for first responders.

Lerner said consumer needs vary and vehicles interact with the environment and share roads, which is why we should not focus on one powertrain. The photo shows Hyundai Motors’ global hydrogen campaign featuring BTS and NEXO.

Q. Please tell us about your ISO standard activities and new activities. And what is your attitude towards it?
A. I am now involved in every aspect concerning FCEVs, battery vehicles, battery storage,  fueling, infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, etc. I look at this as an economy as a whole. I need to have all the information that I can. I have about 29 roles at ISO and SAE combined. Few know what ISO is or what it does. For those who do, sorry for the basics I am about to describe. ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. Well, what do we do, exactly? We make the world work. We are the reason, we have the modern shipping containers, called ISO containers, we are the reason you can secure your child in the back seat of a car, yes the ISOfix latch, and we are the reason you can drive from Mexico to the USA and then up to Canada, and have the ability to put gas in your car, seamlessly. Without us, it would be global chaos. We started in the UK in 1947 and had, what may seem like today, the silly task of making screws fit bolts properly. Think about it. It is the basis for most gadgets and construction. Nuts and bolts. Goofy, but vital. We have 164 member countries using our standards, and many experts from each country participate. 164 out of 195 countries in the world, participate and/ or use our standards.That shows our reach. We have TAG Members, or Delegates who are experts, and vote. They represent their country. Our standards often go to the UN for reference. I am very proud of that! I have about twenty roles as a Delegate and a working group member. ISO standards are not laws, but directives that are followed. We are truly the benchmark for standards, and I proudly represent the United States at these global meetings. And, we routinely report to the UN, and enter their library for global guidelines.

I have nine SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) roles. SAE produces documents that are often followed. SAE will often try to harmonize with ISO. SAE in my opinion is more interactive, casual and open to provocative discussions. SAE standards are primarily used in the US and Canada. I enjoy both ISO and SAE meetings. They are completely different in my opinion. They range from battery vehicles, first responder, autonomous vehicles, hybrid vehicles, battery standards and transportation, etc. and of course hydrogen roles. I think you have to look at transportation as a whole. You can’t just focus on hydrogen, because the vehicles do interact with each other, and share the road together. “Knowledge is Power”, that is my motto. Concerning The discussion points that I am driving forward is that we tend to be black and white when thinking about issues, especially in this segment. Diesel-Bad, Gas-Bad, Electric-Good, Hydrogen-Good….well maybe dangerous???. Nonsense, it is all a curve and we all have to work together. Every year, gasoline cars become more and more efficient, concerning the identical model. What the industry, regulators, consumer agencies and automakers don't do is explain the technology, or arm consumers with choices.

For example: Airbags. No one teaches owners and passengers how to use them. You can't cross your arm across the center of the airbag, you can't put your feet on the dash. Instead, you hear complaints about how they injure people. Are we not surprised? Airbags come with dangers, and the owner must know. When seat belts were introduced, they touted the benefits. What they did not say, was that back seat passengers must wear them too. The laws of physics apply to the front passengers as well as the rear ones. And, worse, an unbelted rear passenger becomes a missile that can slam up against the front passenger or fly out of our ever expanding glass roofs. And, now that we are an SUV crazy culture, all heavy items must be secure or they could fly forward in a panic stop or accident. The conventional trunk, acted as a barrier to the passenger area. Every time you have have massive shifts in equipment or safety features, behaviours must change, and global education must occur. We all thought the safest seat in the car was the rear seat. Well, it is the opposite now. We have seatbelts with load limiters, pre-tensioners, and a host of airbags for the front seat passengers, and their knees.The rear seat passengers may have none of the above. Mercedes just introduced the rear seat airbag, to compliment their optional inflatable rear seat belt bag. However both the belt bag and the rear seat airbag should be mandatory, and standard equipment. Those fantastically large alloys with rubber band tyres do nothing to save your life. Again, choices. Safety is not seen or something people usually show off (I am the exception). I have rear seat belt air bags, pre-tensioners and load limiters for my passengers.

Lerner said we should try to avoid black-and-white narrow thinking on all issues, explain well, and provide products for consumers to choose. Photos are run-flat tire and alloy wheel and wireless EV charging.

Q. That is a very interesting point of view. There must be a lot of examples of this in terms of everyday car culture, right?

A. Tires and alloy wheels. In the USA there is a mindset that you must have bigger wheels. Bigger wheels? The overall diameter of the wheel and tyre is exactly the same, no matter if you have 15" or 21" alloy wheels. So, what is the push? Well a few things. Alloys are prettier than tyres which are ugly, so a larger alloy produces a prettier car. Price: They can cost thousands extra. And, the most moronic plan to be force fed to the public, which they gobble up, at luxury car dealerships is wheel and tyre insurance. They created the problem and they now have created such an issue you need insurance, because the rim can be $2200 USD and the tyre $400.00. And, at the same time, the manufacturers took out the spare, and gave you more expensive run flats. Why is the spare gone or worse, inclusion of a temporary spare which compromises safety and dynamics? Because they wanted it gone. They claim weight. Nonsense. Regular tyres may weigh 28 pounds, and runflats 33 pounds. Times that by four, and add the temporary spare's weight and it is a wash. Education? None. Lower aspect tyres (more rubber band like) produce a harder ride (and are harder on your car’s integrity), wear out faster, don't perform as well in the snow, and are more susceptible to flats. And, do you know how much oil it takes to make a tyre? Seven gallons. Recyclable? To a certain degree and that process takes energy. Another hit in the environment. And, runflats are absolutely useless if it is a side gash, not a nail for example. And, to top it all off, the inflation of the tire becomes even more important. You go down a few pounds in the tire of yesterday, it was not a big deal. In the low and wide tyres, a pound or two is a very big deal. That is why there are so many bent alloy rims. And, who checks their air pressure every month, after the car has sat in a cool flat area overnight. Me, and…. In the opposite end of the spectrum, Mr. X7 previously had a Mercedes E500 with AMG wheels, and had roughly four blow outs a year for each of the three years of his lease, with multiple damages to the rims. Did he care? "That's why I got the tire and wheel insurance, it is not my problem." it turns out it was his wallet's hit for the insurance, and a massive hit for the environment. All this for a bit more chrome and a bit less visible rubber. well. me. I dare you to find anyone who does that without failure.

One of my true passions is racing and F1. I missed my window to pursue that. However when you want to go around a corner on a track as fast as possible, you: Speed up to the turn, Brake as hard as you can, let the car regain its footing as you take the corner and slide out of it, then accelerate as fast as you can once the car is under control. Think about that. How many times have we all seen Porsches in the woods after turns? If you want a sports car for speed and agility, well, learn how to drive. A Nissan Sentra, with a trained driver, can outrun a Porsche in a turn if the Porsche driver does not know how to drive a car properly.

Concerning battery vehicles, we are now working on a wirelessly charging grid, highways, garages, etc. Nifty, right? Convenient to pull your car into your garage over a wirelessly charging pad. No wires, no issues. Well, not so fast. If you charge wirelessly you operate at power loss due to the space between the car and the pad. You have an efficiency of between 89% and 95% which is the goal. So, that means 5% of your household energy used to charge your car is wasted by using a wireless charging pad in your garage. So, tell the customers: “You can have a power savings 5-11% if you plug the vehicle in.” How do I know this? I am writing the standards for wireless charging. Sorry for having to sit through my Miss America contestant speech, but everything we do as regulators, manufacturers, standards writers, environmentalists, must include transparency, information, and ultimately choices made and adopted by the public after they have the facts. Buying a car is a very big deal, it is often the second most expensive purchase for the average citizen. This choice must be made with same care as buying a house, in many cases. Even if we magically could go into everyone’s garage and swap out their 15 year old, car with a shiny new battery vehicle, it will be an untenable burden for many. It means higher insurance, because the car is newer, higher property tax, because the value of the car is greater, and more expensive parts for repair. A bumper ding on a 15 year old car, may not be a big deal, but on a new car, you will have back up sensors,a back up camera, radar, eventually Lidar, etc. This becomes a very costly repair. Every action has consequences. Now to the front of the car. A headlight used to cost $20.00 to swap out. Now they can be $6500.00. Seriously? yes. And, they will only increase in price as we move to laser lights, if the USA ever allows vehicle lighting to progress, like the rest of the world.

Q. Again, let's talk about hydrogen cars. I think FCEV trucks should be prioritized in relation to economic hydrogen production delays, infrastructure constraints, battery electric vehicle priority policies to achieve zero emissions, and vehicle requirements. Do you have any other comments or additional comments on this point?

A. Good question. I think hydrogen trucks are the way of the future. The power to weight ratio is far better than an electric truck. Batteries are very heavy, and take a long time to recharge. Hydrogen wins on that front, and it wins on the economic front. Why? Well, a truck is designed to move cargo from point A to Point B. The more it moves, the more the owner of the truck makes in revenue, and the more the driver makes. A truck sitting at a charging station, does not earn money. Both the driver and the truck are idle.  It will all come down to dollars and cents, and clearly hydrogen will win in my opinion. Battery vehicles will probably be used for light duty delivery trucks, or any commercial vehicle that has down time. Meaning, a pizza delivery truck does not operate in the early morning hours, so it has time to charge. Taxis may also be hydrogen because they are often in use 24 hours a day. Drivers share the vehicles, one during the day, and one at night.

Q. You said in a previous interview that Hyundai Motors, as the leader of FCEV, needs a iconic model, supercar, like Elon Musk's Tesla. I thought the model Hyundai Motor made in this sense was HDC-6 Neptune concept. What do you think of HDC-6? Somehow I don't think you'll be satisfied with this truck.

A. Hyundai does need a car that makes you say: “Oh my gosh, that is so beautiful, modern and cool...I can’t wait to drive that!!!”. No disrespect, Hyundai, because I admire you, truly. What you need to do, and what I am waiting for is something youthful, a convertible, a sporty sedan, and wicked two seater that is fast. I like the NEXO, but it needs a sporty counterpart. I have never seen a company progress like Hyundai. Toyota broke ground with their Lexus division, and Hyundai is on a roll. I truly am in awe watching them become a global player with a fantastic lineup of cars and SUVs. They hired the former Bentley designer and it shows. The Genesis line is fantastic. And, to top it off, their cars sit at the top of the crash test ratings (just ask Tiger Woods) and the price points are more than fair. Great value, great design, and what more can I say? Well, Hyundai, hire me as a consultant, please!

Concerning the Neptune... I love it. It is so, ‘’Steampunk” and Art Deco. I love anything bold and daring. It hits every high note in my book. Well done, Hyundai.

HDC-6 Neptune concept. Lerner is looking forward to Hyundai's two-seater FCEV sports car.

Q. The thing that shocked me most about FCEV was that I think wrong about the idea that there would be multiple chargers in a hydrogen charging station. Also, I thought I could finish charging in five minutes, like a gas station. But it takes a lot of time to compress hydrogen, cool and melt the charger, and so on. What do you think of my experience?

A. Well, you are wrong! There will be multiple filling areas, like gasoline stations. And, I am on two committees that are trying for fueling time parity. We are doing everything in our power to make filling a hydrogen car, take the same time as filling a gasoline car. We are currently offering H35 and H70 fills. We are aiming for much higher numbers in the future. The issue is we can’t truly agree on a global scale about many of the dispenser issues, and challenges.

Q. Can we start mass deployment of FCEVs, whether trucks or passenger cars, by preparing hydrogen production scale expansion, standards, infrastructure development, supply chain and production lines, powertrain technology development, business models, and product strategies in 10 years?

A. Great bullet points. The mass deployment of FCEVs? Who knows. We can aim all we want, and create statistical benchmarks, and noise, but those dates and realistic goals constantly shift. In the USA, the fighting for Biden’s green plan is beaten to a pulp by the opposing Republicans. And, we have a four year cycle. The previous administration did everything to destroy the environment, including rolling back emission standards. Biden is on the complete opposite trajectory. If he loses in 2024 to the Republicans, we could be back to destroying the planet. Somehow science eludes many Republican leaders, which includes facts, concerning global warming.

The US is at such a crossroads. You can’t change people’s minds and beliefs instantly, or sadly in the four years he will be in office if he is not re-elected. We are not focusing on hydrogen vehicles, no matter how vocal I am. We are focusing on battery vehicles. Again, I am not pro-hydrogen, anti-battery. I am pro-choice and don’t take a side. I see advantages and disadvantages for both. Electric, is convenient, you can charge at home or the office, or even at the grocery store. There are blazingly fast models, and once again…. manufacturers, stop making my hydrogen push a misery! Give me some magnificent FCEVs. Give me a sports car, a convertible... anything that stirs desire. Hydrogen’s advantages are known, but I discuss what is not discussed. You can fill a hydrogen vehicle like a gasoline vehicle. No charging, range anxiety or absurdly priced replacement battery after ten years or so. 

If you live in New York City and have a golden idyllic life, you have a car of your choice, and a charging station at your disposal in your $700.00 a month parking garage. No worries, no hassles. The overwhelming majority of parking garages in New York City all have attendants who park your car, and will handle the charging. However if you are in a lower income bracket, and live in public housing for example, you won’t have indoor parking, and you probably won’t have access to as many chargers. That is not fair. We can’t make it harder for any particular demographic. If you park on the street, you lose the evergreen charging that you will have in a parking garage. Hydrogen clearly wins in that regard. Hydrogen clearly wins in the spaghetti streets In Paris, where your car is generally always parked on the street. We can’t make owning a car, more difficult. Even if there are on street chargers, not every space will have them. And, it takes a while. I even heard of a fist fight in a luxury garage, because the owner of a BMW could not charge his car, because a Range Rover owner parked his car, took the keys and blocked the charger.

Again, it all comes down to choice, and we must offer choices and include the needs of everyone, and every market. I feel like I am speaking to the wind most of the time, but I soldier on!

Lerner said “I’m the most vocal person I know at ISO, and certainly the most publicly demonstrative.”

Q. You said you have to look at everything holistically, and I really feel that you are taking a fairly comprehensive approach.

A. Concerning my roles, they have truly pivoted in the past few months. I was mainly focusing on hydrogen, but am now giving equal focus to battery vehicles. Why? That is the way the world seems to want to go, especially in the US market. I must know all I can, so that I can have these discussions, and back up my statements and beliefs, with facts. I must be on the cutting edge of all modes of transportation, which includes marine, rail, heavy duty, farm equipment, ferries etc. I have added nine additional roles, in the battery/ hybrid arenas. The standards are so granular in focus, that I must choose all the groups that produce, in my opinion, a well rounded expert. We can’t move forward without alignment. I often see myself as an aggregator. The government can’t decide what people will drive, or whether they will choose gasoline, diesel, hydrogen or battery. Consumers and Industries buy the fleet of cars, SUVs and vans for example. My mission is to educate, be transparent, engaging, and create interest, and offer alternatives. ISO and SAE standards are seen as being done behind an iron curtain, sequestered from the public, and churning out rules, that many think are industry self-serving. I taught a Master Class about ISO Standards through my Fellowship and Harvard associations in the UK. It was fascinating. All these brilliant minds in attendance, and what I just described is what they felt, if they knew anything about ISO at all. They felt their voice would not be heard, so many did not even try to be heard.

I am the most vocal person I know at ISO, and certainly the most publicly demonstrative. I never shy away from provocative discussions, and ‘’over-engage” which can be annoying to some. My mentors applaud my efforts, and I want to change the view of global standards. We do look outside the window, we do welcome outside presentations and data for consideration. We are dynamic, and I am proud to say that on most all committees we work for the greater good. The auto industry is a tough segment. They tend to know what they want, and what is not on the table for discussion. That empowers me to push ahead, be heard, address my issues, and most importantly, listen and convey my knowledge back to my constituents. And, at the end of the day, I am true to my own mission. I develop safety technology and patent my work as an independent inventor. I filed for three patents in the past few months. They all concern, vehicle, fueling, infrastructure and first responder safety. I hold fourteen patents, mainly in the safety area, and plan to have many more. Whatever is needed or not addressed is the technology that I develop. The vision I have of my work is to make the world a safer place for all, and I am always up for a challenge!  [AEM]

AEM_Automotive Electronics Magazine

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