Toyota Leasing Fuel Cell Hybrids in Japan

John Horner
by John Horner
toyota leasing fuel cell hybrids in japan

In response to Honda's upcoming limited release of the FCX Clarity fuel cell car, Toyota has announced plans to start leasing the seductively named "FCHV-adv" in Japan later this year. If this is a beauty contest, FCX kicks FCHV's butt. FCHV-adv's main claim to fame: a range of 760 – 830 km (472 – 516 miles). Long term durability of the fuel cell unit itself is "subject to ongoing R&D," which means it isn't there yet. Meanwhile, "Honda Motor Co.'s revamped fuel cell vehicle for leasing in California is rolling off a Japanese factory floor later this month." Forget Ford vs. Chevy; the real battle today is Honda vs. Toyota. Which begs the question: what happened to the GM Hy-Wire concept vehicle Wagoner showed off way back in 2002 as the The Answer? And lest we forget, where's the hydrogen for these vehicles going to come from? Oil?

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  • Rtz Rtz on Jun 06, 2008

    Keep this in mind: Think about those solar cars the universities build and "race". You think those are powered solely by and only by solar cells? They have batteries on board charged up by the panels. Kinda like an EV? These fuel cell cars are typically weak. They have batteries on board to give them umph. If they only had a powerful fuel cell, that would be one thing. Instead, they have a battery pack. I've never seen a powerful fuel cell. Question any fuel cell vehicles power output and if it has any batteries on board and how many. An electric vehicle will smoke a fuel cell vehicle any day of the week. Also question the price of the fuel cell and or the price of the vehicle. Does the fuel cell have any platinum in it? That is the big question. What's the current price of some hydrogen? The other thing is, what is the price of your electricity? Mine is like .08 cents a kWh. What has the price been for the last 50 years? With hydrogen, we will be subject to potentially high fuel prices just like we are with gasoline and even shortages and constant prices fluctuations. It's no free ride and I don't see it being any cheaper then a gas car. With a battery car; you can build one, own one, and drive one TODAY. Don't like high gasoline prices? Switch over and don't buy the stuff anymore. That's the ultimate statement. Hybrids are only half. Go all the way. It costs some people ~$60 to fill up their trucks fuel tank. What will be the breaking point where they sell that vehicle off and get something different? Will it be an $80 fill up? Or a $100 fill up? Or will it just be common to dump $120 in the tank? No big deal. Imagine filling up your fuel tank and it runs you $185. Will they export all our fuel burning cars to places like Iran and Saudi Arbia where fuel is like eleven and twelve cents a gallon after we switch over to electric? Or maybe ship them all to China for scrap steel? Think about all those people who paid top dollar for those museum cars from Barret Jackson. They always said cars were not a good investment. If someone bought a muscle car for $90,000; that does not mean someone else will pay that.

  • Rtz Rtz on Jun 06, 2008

    Also, here is a decent battery primer: The batteries are still in low volume production. Hence the price. When it ramps up though! Just think if you made batteries and yours were at the lowest price. I need about 10,000 cells. If I wasn't the only one. Who's moving some volume now? "The new TS-LFP800AHA can deliver up to 2400A continuous current" That's a little bit of power huh? ;)

  • Rm Rm on Jun 07, 2008

    Anyone want to take bets on when we'll see the movie "Who Killed the Fuel Cell Car?" Toyonda are doing many of the same things GM did with EV1 but with FC cars. Small scale production and leases. They're producing their own fuel cells, whereas GM had Delphi and GM Ovonic doing battery development/production. I wonder what the reaction will be when Toyonda don't put these things into full scale mass production? Granted Toyonda have been at this for quite a while in developing not only the fuel cells but also the supporting electrical systems to have a good electricity based vehicle. So... If the fuel cell doesn't quite pan out, they should have lots of good well developed and proven technology if there's a decent source of power.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jun 07, 2008
    NBK-Boston: As it stands, batteries are not very energy dense and take a long time to charge, especially given the current generally available in an ordinary home (240v, 100 amp). One must have faith that batteries will still improve a great deal in cost and capacity before a practical EV can be marketed. Regarding charge times, a dedicated “charging station” with better service could be faster, but then the car’s electrical architecture would have to be beefier (to an impractical extent?) to cope. You talk like they are still trying to beat some technological hurdles. A GOOD EV is current tech! You could do everything with a good EV you could do with a commuter car now. Today. Right now. Except the patents for the current best battery (large format NiMH) are held by Chevron who won't let the world license the design. You can thank GM for that one. They sold the patents to Chevron. The patent expires in 2015. Expect no changes on this topic unless somebody develops another battery that is equal or better than NiMH. You wake up in the morning, go out and unplug you car and drive to work with a/c or heat, with a stereo or wipers on. You've got 100 miles available to you. How long is your commute? Mine is about 15 miles with all the kid deliveries built-in. My wife's trip is 25 miles each way. When you get home, plug it back up. No, you may not drive it to the next state to see Grandma but that is what ICE powered cars are for. Electricity prices going up? Put solar on your roof anf charge for free. How about never going to a gas station and buying gasoline again? Sounds great huh? Scares big oil to death so they don't want us consumers to drive EVs. Neither do the car makers who suddenly don't have ICE systems to maintain for you or parts for ICE systems to sell parts for. Neither do the auto parts stores who no longer have alot of parts they can sell you. In fact little things common to all cars like brakes no longer are an issue with regen-braking. FWIW both of my FWD cars are on their original rear brakes at 152K and 161K miles respectively. What if they didn't need front brakes for 200K either? Patent encumberance: Still pretty damn expensive but remember that you can take the driveline with you to the next car. And there are all sorts of ICE fuels and maintenance you won't have to buy anymore - including repairs.