By on November 5, 2013

toyota-fuel-cell-vehicle-1-1

At Toyota’s recent Hybrid World Tour event, managing office Satoshi Ogiso made it clear that the company continues to see hydrogen fuel cells as part of the future drivetrain mix and that Toyota’s first commercially available hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will go on sale in 2015. Ogiso indicated that at the upcoming Tokyo and Detroit auto shows Toyota will be showing “a well-defined mid-size four-door sedan concept” powered by the company’s latest fuel cell. Images of the Toyota FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) Concept have now been released in advance of the Tokyo show. “Well-defined” appears to mean close to production ready.

The four seater, said to cost up to $100,000 when it does arrive in production form, will likely have a 300 mile range. The FCV Concept has two 70 MPa high pressure tanks for storing hydrogen located below the body which feed a small, lightweight fuel cell stack, a proprietary Toyota design. The “Toyota FC Stack” has a power output density of 3 kilowatts per liter, more than twice the power density of Toyota’s current “Toyota FCHV-adv” fuel cell stack. The system also includes a “high efficiency boost converter”. The result is higher voltage, allowing the use of fewer cells in the stack and smaller electric motors. That means reduced costs but also reduced weight, a critical factor in electrically powered vehicles.

 

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40 Comments on “Toyota FCV Concept Previews Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car To Go On Sale in 2015...”


  • avatar
    Syke

    Something new for the Hollywood crowd to early adopt. Hopefully there’s a few filling stations within reasonable distance of Beverly Hills.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Yup.

      Just to show how pointless this is, let’s look at another, much more common gaseous fuel that’s also good for the environment, not to mention much more widely available: natural gas. They even sell cars that run on it now.

      In the entire Seattle/Tacoma area, how many public-access natural gas filling stations are there? Two (last time that I checked, anyways).

      And are there any filling stations on major interstates leading east or south within the range of existing natural-gas-powered vehicles? Nope.

      We have to crawl before we can walk.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        I’ve never quite figured out why the greenies are so hot on fuel cells, and not on natural gas. Does the drilling of natural gas get in the way of windmills and solar cells? Or, is it just that no energy solution that currently exists and is in the mainstream is allowable?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          If you want to eliminate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions, then you need to stop burning carbon.

          Natural gas is a petroleum product, so it produces greenhouse gas emissions at the tailpipe. EVs and FCEVs do not.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Another but of irony – commercial produced H2? Well a lot comes from cracking the H2 out of natural gas.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            Extracting H2 from nat gas is the only current method that makes economic sense.

            Also, water vapor coming out of a fuel cell tailpipe is a GHG, too.

            Some will say that water vapor doesn’t count because of the water cycle, rain, etc. However, water vapor must incrase to a critical point to even form clouds (and clouds themselves have an adverse warming effect) Then, they must increase further to a critical point to produce rain, but even then it does not destroy the clouds nor return the air to any sort of ‘dry’ condition, thus retaining the adverse conditions. (Also, hydrogen–which happens to leak out of most everything–is an indirect GHG, so using more of it, which would lead to leaking more of it, would also increase greenhouse effects.)

            I doubt anyone really knows if a hydrogen economy with water vapor as an exaust would produce more or less warming effects than CO2. I certainly don’t, but at least I recognize the possibility of unintended consequences.

          • 0 avatar
            charly

            water vapor doesn’t count because it is only active the atmosphere for a few days unlike CO2 which takes thousands of years

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Great, so BP and Exxon will have a hydrogen pump available at their stations for all the fuel cell cars that need to be filled up?

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Speaking of Toyota, it appears they hacked your website today.

  • avatar
    cammark

    It’s unavoidable to compare this to Honda’s FCX Clarity. The Honda was a limited release lease-only deal but it was 7 years ago that it was released. From what I’ve read, it is only about 50% less power dense and has 20% shorter range.

    Will Toyota be truely selling these or doing a “beta test/glorified rental” like Honda has done?

    The cost of the FCX Clarity on Honda’s website over the corse of the 3 year lease is $21,600. Will the Toyota still be worth $80,000 after three years? $64,000 after 5?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Craziness.

    This will become one of Toyota’s grandest flops, since there is no infrastructure for hydrogen, and I just don’t see soccer moms handling it.

    When the first hydrogen filling station appears in flames on someone’s dashcam, someone will juxtapose the Hindenburg video next to it, and then the gig is up for this fuel.

    I like hydrogen in principle, but not in practice for a layman’s application like cars. Hydrogen works well in rockets, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      You could have a hydrogen ‘infrastructure’ overnight by installing reformulators at gas stations to strip H2 off of hydrocarbons, piggybacking either off of gasoline/diesel or natural gas pipeline infrastructures.

      However, at $1/Watt for fuel cells, a 100kW vehicle unit would cost more than the frickin car.. That price needs to come down to more like 6-10 cents per Watt.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        100kW is a bit much for a car to keep it in motion. 40kW fuel cell to keep it in motion + battery power for acceleration. Problem is that you that get in the whole plug-in loop with H2 being more expensive than electricity so you want a big a batter as possible to handle your daily commute so you end up with a fuel that is only used for long distance driving and not commercially viable for most gas stations

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      It’s not a flop, it’s a compliance exercise.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Toyota could never deploy enough of these science experiments to make a difference in compliance, although I suppose Fiat is doing the same thing with the 500e.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          It’s called “malicious obedience.”

          Follow the rules, then use the results to show the agency that the rules aren’t working. That’s what GM did with the EV1 and what Toyota did with the first generation RAV4 EV.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I’m wondering if this could be a predictor of the next Camry shape.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Goodness, I hope not. I wouldn’t say that the current Camry is a bad-looking car—although they could sure do something about that gap between the leading edge of the hood and the bumper—and making the Camry look like this concept sure wouldn’t give Toyota ammo against competitors…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Why does it seem like, particularly with Asian manufacturers, concept cars are getting uglier and uglier? I thought concept cars wee supposed to be objects you’d drool over…

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Ugly concept cars aren’t limited to the Asians. I certainly don’t drool over many I see (unless they are so ghastly I run/stumble away in horror and hit my head, and drool into a puddle under my unconcious body.)

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The timing of events is too coincidental.

    Toyota cuts deal with Tesla.

    Tesla S is actually a huge success, they got almost everything right.

    Toyota can’t give away the RAV4s built with the Tesla system.

    Toyota had said as far back as 2007 that electric cars were a non-starter, they were going to leapfrog full electric and go straight to fuel cell while refining their hybrids.

    Last week Elon Musk basically says fuel cells are a big ball of bullshit.

    Toyota officially announces their fuel cell hydrogen car for 2015 for public consumption – following their innovation timeline established in the last decade (now we know where the R&D money is going)

    I think the relationship between Tesla and Toyota is turning sour – fast.

    No winners or losers here, nor implying anything about the viability of fuel cells, Tesla. Toyota or otherwise,

    Just when you connect the dots, a bigger picture of discourse comes into view.

    If Toyota is right, Tesla has bet on a dead end. If Tesla is right (H2 is only good as a rocket fuel) there are going to be BBQ fuel cell cars. Or they both could be wrong, and the two happily coexist,

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The timing of events is too coincidental.

    Toyota cuts deal with Tesla.

    Tesla S is actually a huge success, they got almost everything right.

    Toyota can’t give away the RAV4s built with the Tesla system.

    Toyota had said as far back as 2007 that electric cars were a non-starter, they were going to leapfrog full electric and go straight to fuel cell while refining their hybrids.

    Last week Elon Musk basically says fuel cells are a big ball of bull hockey.

    Toyota officially announces their fuel cell hydrogen car for 2015 for public consumption – following their innovation timeline established in the last decade (now we know where the R&D money is going)

    I think the relationship between Tesla and Toyota is turning sour – fast.

    No winners or losers here, nor implying anything about the viability of fuel cells, Tesla. Toyota or otherwise,

    Just when you connect the dots, a bigger picture of discourse comes into view.

    If Toyota is right, Tesla has bet on a dead end. If Tesla is right (H2 is only good as a rocket fuel) there are going to be BBQ fuel cell cars. Or they both could be wrong, and the two happily coexist,

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “I think the relationship between Tesla and Toyota is turning sour – fast.”

      I think that you need to drop your Toyota-hatred-all-the-time shtick, and start trying to be objective.

      Toyota has been working on fuel cells for at least two decades. Other automakers have also been researching them.

      In 2015, the volume requirements for the California zero emissions vehicle program are increasing. FCVs and EVs can both be used to fulfill the requirements.

      It should be pretty clear that TMC just wants to comply with the rules, particularly given its dominance in the California market. It will move these things at a loss if necessary; the company doesn’t have much choice.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      So far I believe its 2-0 Tesla over Toyota on the car BBQ.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Well Fuel cell cars aren’t here for public consumption – although a number of makers have examples on the road in different parts of the globe.

        Pch101s rant above aside – there is nothing in his post that I basically didn’t already say. Toyota is on the record poo-pooing full electrics. The Tesla powered electric RAV4, although a compliance exercise has not sold, in part likely due to the platform (older gen RAV4) and sticker price ($54K before government handouts IIRC and before the price drop). Toyota’s R&D has been heavy in fuel cells, they are on the record on this back to as far out as 2007.

        Toyota appears pretty right that full electrics (or series hybrids like the Karma and Volt) are dead ends.

        Elon Musk did say fuel cells are BS, and Toyota IS his partner and an investor in TSLA. When the head of company X says that technology their partner is working on is BS, his exact on the record words – it isn’t haterade to go, wow, love appears lost between the two.

        I think fuel cells are darn interesting, but, but, but, H2 is darn volatile and has to be stored at high pressure and super low temperatures. Fuel cells generate massive amounts of heat. Even in critical implementations like the ISS they aren’t even close to 99.999% reliable (no fires and for all of space travel one can point to Apollo 13 as a H2 specific incident – Challenger was solid rocket failure, Columbia was heat shield failure, Apollo I was a pure O2 under pressure fire – Soviets are pretty tight lipped on their accidents). So for manned space flight, H2 doesn’t have a horrific track record (I said manned not rocketry in general lots of blown up rockets).

        A 6th grade student can tell you, rupture a liquid H2 tank in an accident and bad things are going to happen. Even if the H2 doesn’t ignite the super cooled liquid rapidly expanding can cause fatal thermal injuries. It is dangerous stuff.

        Who is right? I don’t know. But I’m not aware of any fuel cell car burning up catastrophically in the wild from any maker. Had it happened, I’m sure it would be news.

        But when you look at the events of the last month it paints a picture of a straining relationship between Toyota and Tesla. Gee, like partners in the car industry haven’t had falling outs?

        I don’t think either are right or wrong, if Toyota IS right that full electrification is a dead end, Elon has problems. BUT, he sure has experience with hydrogen as a fuel and fuel cells, so could adjust.

        Seeing how almost every major maker is working in H2 – there is a lot of belief, I would think beyond compliance for the state of California, that this is the way to go.

        Even if this is for California, with the continued expansion of China as the number one car economy, and a growing list of cars designed to keep China happy (Ford 1.5 liter engines, interior design, size of vehicles – you see it everywhere) we’re reaching a tipping point where the makers are going to tell California GFY

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          If Toyota is wrong or right but can’t take the technology mainstream, worst case scenario they are out years in R&D but still have hybridization to fall back on. If Tesla is wrong Musk can eject before the dead end is realized and he’ll still be hailed as a visionary as he counts his millions and the Model S just gets written into the annals of history. If I were a betting man, I would place my money on the latter barring revolution in battery design.

          Few things would make me happier than someone like Sergio M doing a press conference explaining how California has gone way off the reservation with their demands and to GFT.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “there is nothing in his post that I basically didn’t already say”

          Er, no. With absolutely no proof, you’re claiming that there is some great schism between Tesla and Toyota, and that the fuel cell vehicle is somehow timed to reflect that alleged schism.

          The reality is that Toyota has been working on fuel cells for a long time and has little choice but to offer them. That would be true with or without Tesla.

          All of the major players in California are going to have to deal with the 2015 requirements. Tesla provides a partial solution to Toyota’s regulatory challenges, but it isn’t enough.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            No, are you being obtuse? I’m saying Elon Musks’s comment, again, that fuel cells are BS (TTAC gods won’t let me spell out BS, he said the whole word, not BS) and H2 is only good for rockets a WEEK before Toyota announced their fuel cell car is going to market is the timing.

            I don’t think for one second Toyota yanked a fuel cell car out of their butts in a week to prove Elon Musk wrong. To think that Elon Musk isn’t connected enough to know Toyota’s alternative fuel and electrification roadmap seeing how they are partners, is just plain silly. Does he see five year road maps? Doubtful. Was he made aware of what was being shown in Tokyo (more specifically his team) seems almost certain.

            It isn’t Toyota, it’s Elon Musk. Or is that so hard to understand???

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Is taking things out of context a learned behavior, or does it just come to you naturally?

            The relationship between Toyota and Tesla is obviously one of convenience and limited to particular niches. The two companies don’t have to be aligned in every respect in order to do business together.

            Musk was ranting about fuel cells in the context of BMW, which is a direct rival to Daimler, the latter of which does have a relationship with Tesla.

            But more to the point, Tesla is trying to compete with BMW in Europe, and Musk’s style is to trash talk anyone who he perceives to be a threat. Meanwhile, the relationship between Toyota and Tesla continues.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Minor nit on Apollo 13 – its failure was the explosion of an oxygen tank due to overpresurrization caused by a stuck bimetal thermostat used for heating its contents. The cause has a detailed history, but it was basically a pressure explosion of a containment vessel without fire

          Hydrogen was not involved.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        “So far I believe its 2-0 Tesla over Toyota on the car BBQ.”

        @28 – Not really, when you consider how many Toyotas are on the road. Probably a few dozen burned up yesterday with no fanfare.


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