The Truth About Cars » hydrogen fuel cell http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 04 Dec 2014 19:13:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » hydrogen fuel cell http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Question Of The Day: What Does Japan Know About Fuel Cells That We Don’t? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/question-of-the-day-what-does-japan-know-about-fuel-cells-that-we-dont/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/question-of-the-day-what-does-japan-know-about-fuel-cells-that-we-dont/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 16:39:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855985 A new report from Reuters highlight’s the Japanese auto industry’s increasing focus on hydrogen fuel cells, a technology that has long been written off as dead by many industry observers and battery electric vehicle advocates. Reuters reports Japan’s government and top carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp, are joining forces to bet big that they can speed […]

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A new report from Reuters highlight’s the Japanese auto industry’s increasing focus on hydrogen fuel cells, a technology that has long been written off as dead by many industry observers and battery electric vehicle advocates.

Reuters reports

Japan’s government and top carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp, are joining forces to bet big that they can speed up the arrival of the fuel cell era: a still costly and complex technology that uses hydrogen as fuel and could virtually end the problem of automotive pollution…With two of Japan’s three biggest automakers going all in on fuel cells, the country’s long-term future as an automotive powerhouse could now hinge largely on the success of what they hope will be a key technology of the next few decades.

While Nissan is a notable holdout (pursuing battery EVs like their signature Nissan Leaf), Toyota and Honda are pursuing hydrogen as the alternative fuel of the future, and they have the backing of the Japanese government.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy… also included a call for subsidies and tax breaks for buyers of fuel-cell vehicles, relaxed curbs on hydrogen fuel stations and other steps under a road map to promote hydrogen energy.

While Honda has been promoting fuel cell technology since the 1990’s, Toyota recently abandoned their EV program in favor of focusing on hydrogen. Despite all of the criticism of hydrogen fuel cells, their cost and the lack of infrastructure, the technology is still alive in this corner of the automotive world – one that is arguably the leader in hybrid cars and alternative powertrains overall.

Industry scuttlebutt has it that Japanese OEMs are convinced that the cost of developing a hydrogen fuel station network is going to be cheaper than developing a 500 mile EV battery, but I’m still curious: what are we the public – and the hydrogen skeptics – missing out on that’s driving Japan to persist with fuel cell technology?

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2015 Toyota FCV Unveiled, Priced From $68,688 In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-toyota-fcv-unveiled-priced-from-68688-in-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-toyota-fcv-unveiled-priced-from-68688-in-japan/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 05:46:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852073   Toyota’s first mass production fuel cell vehicle was unveiled today in Tokyo, prices from just under $70,000. Specs and global pricing were not announced, but Toyota said the roll-out of the car would be initially limited to areas in Japan with hydrogen fueling infrastructure.  A roll-out in the United States and Europe is coming […]

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Toyota’s first mass production fuel cell vehicle was unveiled today in Tokyo, prices from just under $70,000.

Specs and global pricing were not announced, but Toyota said the roll-out of the car would be initially limited to areas in Japan with hydrogen fueling infrastructure.  A roll-out in the United States and Europe is coming in 2015.

Despite many observers taking a bearish stance on fuel cells, Toyota is all-in on hydrogen, after ditching their EV program in 2012. The question is, what do they know that we don’t that is giving them such confidence about a technology many thought was dead in the water?

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Toyota Will Put Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle On Sale Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/toyota-will-put-hydrogen-fuel-cell-vehicle-on-sale-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/toyota-will-put-hydrogen-fuel-cell-vehicle-on-sale-next-year/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 12:30:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=694449 It doesn’t have a name yet, and the prototype that Toyota unveiled at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show was covered in camo, but the Japanese automaker promises that they will be selling a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in the United States next year. The company is claiming it will have a range of 300 miles […]

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It doesn’t have a name yet, and the prototype that Toyota unveiled at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show was covered in camo, but the Japanese automaker promises that they will be selling a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in the United States next year. The company is claiming it will have a range of 300 miles and will refuel in less than five minutes. The Corolla sized sedan has been tested in North America’s hottest and coldest locations and Toyota says that the emissions free car will have an electric motor rated at greater than 100 kW (>130 hp) and be able to accelerate from zero to sixty miles an hour in about 10 seconds.

“We aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel; just everything necessary to make them turn,” said Bob Carter, Toyota’s senior VP in charge of U.S. auto operations. “For years, the use of hydrogen gas to power an electric vehicle has been seen by many smart people as a foolish quest. Yes, there are significant challenges. The first is building the vehicle at a reasonable price for many people. The second is doing what we can to help kick-start the construction of convenient hydrogen refueling infrastructure.”

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Toyota’s not saying what the car will cost but it claims that it has significantly reduced the cost of building a fuel cell, approximately 95% in a little over a decade. Toyota spokeswoman Jana Hartline says that Toyota will give consumers “a variety of options” when the H2 FCV, including outright sale. That would make the Toyota FCV the first fuel cell vehicle available for purchase in the U.S. Honda has made fuel cell cars available but only on leases.

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Besides the cost of the fuel cells, which typically use precious metals as catalysts, the other barrier to fuel cell vehicles in a lack of fueling stations, so while you’ll be able to buy a Toyota FCV, you’ll only be able to do that in California, which has at least a rudimentary hydrogen infrastructure. Toyota is working with UC Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Program to map out where additional stations should be placed, and based on their models, they say that an additional 68 hydrogen fueling stations will be needed when the cars go on sale.

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California currently has nine public hydrogen fueling stations, mostly around Los Angeles and San Francisco. Another 19 are under development. The state of California has approved $200 million in funding to build hydrogen stations in the state in 2015 and another 20 stations are expected in 2016.

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Carter said that Toyota also plans to independently address the issue of fueling stations. “Stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen.”

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Chief Engineer: Next Gen Prius Will Get Better Gas Mileage, Cost Less http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/chief-engineer-next-gen-prius-will-get-better-gas-mileage-cost-less/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/chief-engineer-next-gen-prius-will-get-better-gas-mileage-cost-less/#comments Thu, 29 Aug 2013 10:23:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=502089 The chief engineer for Toyota’s Prius program, Satoshi Ogiso, who is also managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp, gave some hints about the next generation of Toyota’s highest profile hybrid car at a presentation held as part of Toyota’s Hybrid World Tour, a press event that gathered together all of Toyota’s hybrid cars sold around […]

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Toyota’s Satoshi Ogiso and Bob Carter address the global media gathered in Ypsilanti for Toyota’s Hybrid World Tour press event

The chief engineer for Toyota’s Prius program, Satoshi Ogiso, who is also managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp, gave some hints about the next generation of Toyota’s highest profile hybrid car at a presentation held as part of Toyota’s Hybrid World Tour, a press event that gathered together all of Toyota’s hybrid cars sold around the world for the first time in one place, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, not far from Toyota’s large R&D center in Ann Arbor.

Ogiso, who oversees product planning and chassis engineering for Toyota, said that while the company continues to work on fuel cell cars and expects to be selling 10,000 or more fuel cell cars a year by the 2020s, Toyota is committed to the concept of hybrid cars that combine electric motors and combustion engines. Due to refinements in Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, the next Prius will get “”significantly better fuel economy in a more compact package that is lighter weight and lower cost, Ogiso said.

“The performance of this next generation of powertrains will reflect significant advances in battery, electric motor and gas engine technologies,” the Toyota engineer said. He also said that while hybrid components will get smaller, the footprint and interior dimensions of the Prius will remain the same.

Comparing a 10% gain in fuel economy to sprinter Usain Bolt taking a second off his world record in the 100 meter dash, Osigo said that Toyota is aiming at 55 mpg for the next Prius, compared to 50 mpg for the current model. In response to a question about when that next Prius will arrive in showrooms, Osigo gave the standard ‘can’t comment on future product plans’ response but then pointed out that the first three iterations of Toyota’s flagship hybrid were spaced six years apart, hinting strongly that the new Prius will be launched in 2015.

That car’s traction batteries will have a higher energy density, and its electric motor, though smaller, will put out more power. Toyota is also aiming for a thermal efficiency of 40% for the gasoline fired combustion engine, which would be the world’s most efficient.

Future models of the Prius may also feature a wireless charging system that Toyota will being testing next year.

Ogiso said that the next Prius will be the first Toyota to use the company’s New Global Architecture platform and it will have a lower center of gravity and better structural rigidity.

Ogiso also addressed other alternative energy developments at Toyota, including hydrogen fuel cells and supercapacitors. While Toyota is already planning production fuel cell cars within the next decade, supercapacitors, which are used in Toyota’s TS030 LeMans racer, also on display at the event, are not yet ready for use in a street car.

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Hyundai Assembling Fuel Cell Tucsons For Mass Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/hyundai-assembling-fuel-cell-tucsons-for-mass-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/hyundai-assembling-fuel-cell-tucsons-for-mass-production/#comments Tue, 21 May 2013 21:51:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=489150 As one of the big dissenters from the battery-powered EV lovetrain, Hyundai is about to put its money on Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology. Starting in 2015, it intends to assemble up to 10,000 units of a fuel cell-powered version of the Tucson crossover at its plant in Ulsan, South Korea. While EVs have grabbed a […]

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As one of the big dissenters from the battery-powered EV lovetrain, Hyundai is about to put its money on Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology. Starting in 2015, it intends to assemble up to 10,000 units of a fuel cell-powered version of the Tucson crossover at its plant in Ulsan, South Korea.

While EVs have grabbed a lot of media attention lately, fuel cells have made a slow comeback at manufacturers like Daimler, Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota and BMW. Even Renault-Nissan is in on it.

One Hyundai officially we spoke to gave a few reasons for the company’s decision to pursue hydrogen fuel cells rather than battery-powered EVs. According to him, hydrogen powertrains are easy to scale to nearly any vehicle size, whereas EV batteries “have a logarithmic function between range, performance  cost and vehicle size.” A battery with increased range is much heavier, costlier and takes longer to refuel. Fuel cells on the other hand, don’t have that problem, and take roughly 9-10 minutes to “refuel”, while range is typically around 400 miles.

Hyundai has also apparently reached a point where cost reduction and economies of scale are making fuel cells viable for the mass market. The next step will of course be the infrastructure  Their internal research shows that fueling stations need to be within 5 miles of one’s home to be viable, and the question of who will chip in to help build that network (government, private corporations or private-public partnerships) is still up in the air on a larger scale – but Hyundai and the U.S. government recently announced a partnership to help advance the network of hydrogen stations across America.

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