Toyota's First FCVs To Arrive In Showrooms Christmas 2014

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
toyota s first fcvs to arrive in showrooms christmas 2014

Toyota is wasting no time in moving forward toward a hydrogen future, announcing it will build its FCV Concept-based fuel-cell sedan this December, with sales coming just in time for the big-red-bow-tie Christmas 2014 sales extravaganza.

The Japan Times reports the FCV will likely be built by the dozen on a monthly basis at the automaker’s Motomachi plant in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. As for price, early adopters can expect to fork over some ¥8 million (~$78,000 USD), while those coming aboard in the next decade will pay between ¥3 million and ¥5 million (~$29,000 and ~$49,000 USD) to contribute toward the water cycle.

For those who dive into Toyota’s hydrogen-electric future, range is expected to be 300 miles per tank, with refueling to take anywhere from three to five minutes at a hydrogen fueling station. Though the automaker has no plans to emulate Tesla’s Supercharger infrastructure for its FCV, it will lend its hand in developing and managing the supply of hydrogen.

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  • Redliner Redliner on Jun 09, 2014

    It looks funky and it's from the future. It's a Toyota. It will do just fine. I want Gen 2 of this car. Like the Prius, it only gets better from here.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jun 09, 2014

      It will be an epic fail. EVs have basic infrastructure which has been in place for a century, and cheap EV-specific infrastructure is expanding greatly. HFCs have virtually no infrastructure, and it's expensive. Governments won't be so keen on paying for it, either, due to the price.

  • Luvmyv8 Luvmyv8 on Jun 09, 2014

    I can see my dealership stocking this one. I wonder if we'll add some sort of refueling station on site? My dealership has one of those Bl!nk stations so I could see this happening. Not my cup of tea appearance wise but it is interesting. ... and I want one of those penguins.

  • IMatt IMatt on Jun 09, 2014

    Who cares what the thing looks like? This car is all about what's underneath. I'd love to see how these will be further integrated into our automotive landscape. For those that do care about looks that strongly, VW makes a nice New Beetle these days....

    • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Jun 09, 2014

      I car that the production version is an unremarkable little car because it makes me feel better about Toyota and concept cars in general. I never paid any attention to them and when I did it was scary. Now I know that these flamboyant uglies represent nothing but a manufacturer's game face, not some irresistible styling force that will engulf my little world. As far as what's underneath, I'm 59 and I don't care about any future far enough out there that it might present anything besides ICEs and hybrids as mainstream vehicles. Maybe FCVs will work out, maybe not. There seem to be pretty good reasons noted above to doubt they will. BTW, I love New Beetles and if anyone beside VW made them we'd have at least one.

  • Martinwinlow Martinwinlow on Jun 12, 2014

    "There seem to be pretty good reasons noted above to doubt they will." Wow, this is an understatement if ever I have heard one. "Noted above" does not even begin to cover why the H2 FCV will fail dismally. Really, there is only one advantage to the FC over EVs - relatively fast refuelling - and many, many very serious problems. As mentioned above, the main infrastructure to support EVs world-wide is already in place - the electric grid and domestic wiring. All that is needed beyond what already exists is a relatively inexpensive rapid charge infrastructure. FCVs, on the other hand, will require a truly mind boggling spend to put in even a basic re-fuelling infrastructure. Toyota, itself, says one H2 refuelling station costs about $500-$1m. Again, Toyota, itself, (for example) says the infrastructure required for just SoCal will cost ~$140M. by extrapolation, the rest of the US will cost about $12b. That doesn't include all the hugely expensive tankers that will be needed to ferry the H2 about. Then there is the cost of the cars, themselves. Their latest one is about $80k and it isn't as big as a Tesla Model S, nor as quick (by a long way), nor as fast (it's also much more attractive to look at). Then you have to pay for the H2 - or at least you will eventually as I believe Toyota is going to provide it for free initially. Then there's the H2 , itself. It is one of the smallest molecules in existence and consequently, very difficult to prevent from leaking. In order to store a reasonable amount of H2 in a practical sized tank (about 5kg gives a range of around 300 miles) the H2 is compressed to 700bar (700 atmospheres or 10,000 psi!). Leaks will be inevitable. H2 has one of the widest flammability ratios with air - much wider than natural gas for example. This means any leak has a high likelihood of igniting given a suitable source of ignition, a spark, discarded cigarette etc and it burns with an invisible flame… I'll leave the potential consequences of that to your imagination. In short it will be a disaster simply waiting to happen. A ruptured H2 tank (like the Tesla fires a few months back caused by road debris penetrating the underside of the car) will not just slowly start to smoulder and after 15 minutes or so start to burn. You will get an instant and profoundly destructive explosion that will destroy anything within a 50m radius and probably more. The first time this happens anywhere in the world will be the end of H2 FCVs unless they can come up with a way to store H2 more safely. It is possible but Toyota are going with the compressed H2 system for now. The penguins in the photo are nice (we all like penguins, don't we?). If they are there to suggest FCVs are ecologically sound, then Toyota are trying to deceive you. FCVs *might* be slightly more ecologically sound than ICEVs ran on diesel and petrol but in fact 98% of H2 is current derived from natural gas in a process called steam reformation (or 'cracking'). Ergo, FCVs will principally be powered by fossil fuel. The other alternative method of production is electrolysis of water. The UK government are committed to spending millions on this form of H2 production saying it is a marvellous way of harnessing excess wind power. The only problem is (on top of all the above) that the efficiency involved in using electrical power to make H2 and then 'burn' that in an FCV is hopeless. It would be 10 times more efficient (once you take all the compressing and shipping of H2 on top of the actual electrolysis into account) to just use the wind turbine's electrical output directly in EVs. Lastly, people often raise the issue of where all the 'extra' electrical energy required to power all our EVs is going to come from. Well, it is a little known fact that one gallon of petrol or diesel uses about 6kWh or electricity to refine. An efficient EV will go nearly the same distance on that amount of electricity as an average ICEV would on the gallon of fuel. As most countries refine their fossil fuels locally, no huge net change in electricity generation is needed. I've been saying all the above for the best part of a year in response to articles like the one above. I've never had a single person involved in the industry respond, countering anything I have said. So, is it all true? If so, surely anyone with half a brain could see that H2 FCVs are just never going to work for anything more than a very niche market. They are certainly not going to threaten EVs as the replacement of the fossil-fueled transport system we have all become shackled to. So why on Earth are so many supposedly intelligent organisations still pursuing it and governments throwing so much cash at it? Please, someone, point out where I'm wrong. MW