Fuel-cell Vehicles Twice As Fuel-Efficient As Gas-Powered Cars.

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
fuel cell vehicles twice as fuel efficient as gas powered cars

Hydrogen does not seem on top of President Obama’s agenda, neither does it rank very high on Martin Winterkorn’s list of priorities, but it sure is popular in Japan. Japanese carmakers, led by Toyota, are targeting a 2015 launch of hydrogen cars.

Toyota also says they are the most energy-efficient.

According to The Nikkei [sub], Toyota figures that fuel-cell vehicles are about twice as fuel-efficient as gas-powered cars. And contrary to popular wisdom, there is lots of hydrogen. Says the Nikkei:

“Hydrogen can be made from liquefied natural gas and obtained via industrial processes such as the refining of petroleum and the production of steel. Oil refineries produce massive amounts of hydrogen to remove sulfur while producing gasoline and other petroleum products.

As refineries start to close, oil companies will no longer need to use hydrogen to remove sulfur from petroleum products. This will create a surplus supply of hydrogen, which can then be used to power fuel-cell vehicles.”

There is another source of hydrogen: Dead trees. A group in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture. wants to produce hydrogen from gas generated by turning timber into wood chips.

The hard part is to make fuel cell vehicles affordable, and to package everything so that it fits a compact car. Toyota does not have a problem envisaging fuel cell vehicles at a reasonable cost. Two years ago already, Toyota’s chief engineer Satoshi Ogiso told TTAC that an affordable hydrogen-powered car in this decade is “his job.”

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  • Oelmotor Oelmotor on Mar 22, 2013

    Japan does not have natural resources and they are forced to look for alternatives to keep the country mobile. I bet the Japanese long term thinking and planning will prevail leaving the other auto manufacturers a decade behind like the hybrid technology.

    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Mar 22, 2013

      @Oelmotor I don't think Toyota is as good at what you are saying, they are good at marketing and perception. BMW and Toyota are working together, Toyota badly needs diesel tech and BMW wants hybrid tech. My feeling is Toyota is slowly losing ground. They aren't offering enough new. They seem to charge a premium for ordinary vehicles.

  • BrianL BrianL on Mar 24, 2013

    Have the figured out how to make them not cost so much? If I remember correctly, when GM was doing Fuel Cell Equinoxs, they cost 150k a piece. If they can make the price drop, I think we would all be interested.

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.