Toyota plans fuel-cell car by 2015

Jun 23, 2009
Toyota Motor, the world's top automaker, plans to roll out a fuel-cell car by 2015 in its push to stay ahead in the global race for green autos, vice president Masatami Takimoto said.

Toyota Motor, the world's top automaker, plans to roll out a fuel-cell car by 2015 in its push to stay ahead in the global race for green autos, vice president Masatami Takimoto said.

His comments came at a shareholders' meeting at Toyota headquarters in Aichi prefecture in response to an investor's question about the company's outlook on zero-emissions technology, but he declined to elaborate.

Fuel-cell technology is considered a cutting-edge solution to reducing emissions as it generates electricity by combining a fuel -- usually hydrogen -- with oxygen, and therefore only emits water.

Toyota began limited sales of a fuel-cell in 2002 in the United States and Japan, using technology from its best-selling Prius hybrids.

But carmakers have generally concentrated on implementing the more affordable technology used for hybrids or battery-powered vehicles.

systems remain costly due to the technology involved and the fact that it is difficult to store enough hydrogen in a vehicle to allow it to travel as far as a conventional car.

is banking on greener cars to help it out of its current slump.

It fell into the red for the first time in nearly 70 years last fiscal year when it logged an annual net loss of 436.9 billion yen (4.4 billion dollars).

It expects an even worse performance in the current business year to March -- a net loss of 550 billion yen and an operating loss of 850 billion yen.

Vehicle sales are expected to fall to 6.5 million.

The company plans to expand its line of fuel-sipping hybrids and cut costs as part of efforts to return to profit. In May it launched its latest Prius, which was also the best-selling in Japan that month.

Also at the shareholders' meeting, Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the group's founder, officially replaced Katsuaki Watanabe as president.

(c) 2009 AFP

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Birger
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2009
The first fuel-cell cars will inevitably be quite expensive, since the emerging technologies still are far from optimal.
I hope the cars will have enough status to be attractive for luxury car buyers; once the world sees fuel-cell cars go into mass production other manufactureres will dare to follow suit. The infrastructure for supporting fuel-cell cars require the number of cars to reach critical mass before it becomes profitable.
El_Nose
1 / 5 (5) Jun 23, 2009
I don;t think the world has a choice anymore -- its fuel cell / ultracapacitor or bust baby. We are riding a wave that is either going to make it or crash hard.

May god bless our decisions and if you don;t believe then lets just say lets hope we are making the best choices with the limited knowledge we have.
lengould100
3.3 / 5 (4) Jun 23, 2009
Unless the big T has made some radical scientific breakthrough in secret, fuel cells are still never going anywhere. Requires too much platinum catalyst.

This is just a bunch of pr nonsense for the non-scientific press crowd, another spear in Toyota's campaign to block or delay as long as possible introduction of battery-electric series hybrids plug-in autos which will obsolete the complex, costly and proprietary Prius parallel hybrid drive system.
3432682
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 23, 2009
Fuel cell nonsense. A fuel cell sufficient to power a car would cost many hundreds of thousands.

Compressed natural gas is the future. New horizontal drilling methods are finding lots of natural gas. Wholesale prices are about 50 cents/gallon gasoline equivalent. Wholesale gasoline is $1.85/gallon.
googleplex
3 / 5 (4) Jun 23, 2009
If we all switched to nat gas for our cars what do you think would happen to the price? Nat Gas costs more to store requiring pressure vessels etc.
Electric vehicles would be the most economic. I would love to see more solar power plants using solar concentrators. Tidal/hydro makes a lot of sense too for northern latitudes. Wind is ok but not dependable.
Shootist
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2009
The first fuel-cell cars will inevitably be quite expensive, since the emerging technologies still are far from optimal.

I hope the cars will have enough status to be attractive for luxury car buyers; once the world sees fuel-cell cars go into mass production other manufactureres will dare to follow suit. The infrastructure for supporting fuel-cell cars require the number of cars to reach critical mass before it becomes profitable.


I'm not concerned about the fuel cell technology itself. However the hydrogen production, storage and transportation is another matter entirely. Unless these are PEM fuel cells that use natural gas or one of the 'thanes as fuels.

There are NO hydrogen mines. We do not have sufficient electrical generating capacity to electrolyze the H2, nor should we crack ammonia (which is largely made from petroleum) to get the hydrogen.

Currently, while very interesting, fuel cells are a pig in a poke.
Shootist
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 23, 2009
If we all switched to nat gas for our cars what do you think would happen to the price? Nat Gas costs more to store requiring pressure vessels etc.

Electric vehicles would be the most economic. I would love to see more solar power plants using solar concentrators. Tidal/hydro makes a lot of sense too for northern latitudes. Wind is ok but not dependable.


We do not have sufficient electrical generating capacity to power our homes and industries, much less electric cars, buses and trucks. In the 50 years I've been alive, electrical production in the United States has gone from a standard of 125V/250V household delivery to 108V/215V. The nominal output has degraded by 14%. The production capacity is insufficient for any additional needs.

At the current price of 30,000USD per kilo-watt/hour, solar is decades away from being useful in any sense. To switch to electric cars, trucks and buses, we need about 100 1000MW fission plants to be built in North America. That is the minimum one would need to convert our petroleum vehicles to electric. Or do you prefer pie in the sky?

defunctdiety
5 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2009
I gotta believe 100% electric "commuter" vehicles are our best hope. Rethink urban planning. Widespread implementation of biomass, geo-thermal, solar, wind, tidal and any other presently available "alternative" sources to supplement the grid. Create infrastructure and laws to make bicycle commuting more appealing (maybe decrease some insurance costs, while we're at it, by getting Americans off their fat butts?). Move the nations standards to high efficiency lighting and "smart" appliances. Perhaps develop a worthwhile monorail transport system? Basically, change everything about the American way of life, within the next generation or so if possible, please.

And oh yeah, right Toyota, fuel cells in 2015, got it, can't wait. ... next please...
Edylc
3 / 5 (2) Jun 23, 2009
Go rent "who killed the electric car".

They made 100% perfect all electric cars that could go very far on one charge, They have made a battery that if I remember correctly is far superior to any they have now and they didn't let it be used, they literally destroyed every one of the cars and the people who leased them were told to give them back or they would be criminally charged.

I don't know how more people don't know about this, But it shows that the only reason we don't have 100% electric efficient cars is because they don't allow it.

Seriously go see that movie, I couldn't believe it.

If you think I'm full of it don't bother saying anything until you see that movie.

It's not a Michael Moor in your face kind of thing, you don't have to agree to think "holy good lord this is crazy"
notaphysicist
1 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2009
I would rather Toyota sold diesel-engined cars and trucks in the U.S. _today_ rather than whatever in six years.
Soylent
2 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2009
At the current price of 30,000USD per kilo-watt/hour, solar is decades away from being useful in any sense.


This is a completely nonsensical statement. kW per hour is a nonsense unit unless you want to measure the rate of change in energy consumption(it is to energy as acceleration is to distance).

The price is off by many orders of magnitude. I've heard around 30 cent/kWh when financing and other costs are taken into account and that's roughly consistent with the 20-50 euro cent per kWh feed-in-tariff by which solar is subsidized in several European countries.

This is not the biggest problem of solar however. The big problem is the cost of the ungodly amount of storage and transmissions capacity you need to integrate solar into the grid without using massive quantities of natural gas that won't be there in 50 years.



otto1923
2 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2009
CO2 > methane > fuel cell
methane-based economy
http://en.m.wikip...uel_cell
http://www.physor...367.html
-also microbes being developed-
Shootist
1 / 5 (2) Jun 23, 2009
At the current price of 30,000USD per kilo-watt/hour, solar is decades away from being useful in any sense.


This is a completely nonsensical statement. kW per hour is a nonsense unit unless you want to measure the rate of change in energy consumption(it is to energy as acceleration is to distance).


You're right. I should have written 30,000USD per kilowatt. My neighbor just bought a 1.5kw solar for $52,000 installed. Will never pay it off using the electricity it produces. But it makes him feel green.

Me? I just installed a coal fired stove/water heater for winter heating. $500 and I installed it myself. I have some low quality coal (nasty sulfur smell) deposits on my land that will do nicely next February.
nick7201969
not rated yet Jun 24, 2009
The documentary movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" is also available on youtube (split into 10 parts). You can also use a bit Torrent (like uTorrent) to download the entire movie free. The movie has a lot of celebrity appearances in it like Tom Hanks, Letterman, Gibson,etc. Topics are across the board including Hydrogen Fuel Cells and the petro fuel proponents ulterior motives.
jerryd
1 / 5 (1) Jun 27, 2009

Shootist, your neighbor got ripped off. Solar PV should not cost more than $8k/kw and that is dropping fast now. I expect PV to be down to $4k/kw in 2-3 yrs, same as a new coal plant but it doesn't require fuel/coal. Batteries are not that expensive either.
You are wrong on AC voltage too. If you have low voltage call your utility and they can increase it.
Soylent, your statements about solar are not true. Solar happens mostly when power is needed most and with the many NG plants using gas turbine generator with the exhaust running the old steam generators with a combined 60% eff can be throttled. Since many solar units will be used they will average out so no fast power drops, peaks.

We have plenty of Ng, we just need to drill more when we need more. Currently we have too much supply causing low prices.

As for Toyota's fool cell car, it's a joke as an EV needs 1/4 the energy to go the same distance and costs 1/4 or less than a fool cell. While the car itself doesn't make emissions, making it's fuel certainly does either directly from fossil fuels or by the 4x's as much energy needed that could have went to displace fossil fuel.
EV's because they are so eff will be the future transport. I drive mine for under $.01/mile and my batteries are cell phone tower take outs with lots of life left, 4yrs , I get them for $18 each. My large EV MC trike gets 600mpg fuel cost equivalent I use for most of my transport needs.
Soylent
not rated yet Jun 27, 2009
They made 100% perfect all electric cars that could go very far on one charge, They have made a battery that if I remember correctly is far superior to any they have now and they didn't let it be used, they literally destroyed every one of the cars and the people who leased them were told to give them back or they would be criminally charged.


When you take a huge loss on each car you can't make it up on volume.

Those cars had to be recalled and destroyed because of criminal liability. Those cars had to be serviced regularly by qualified personel, which means in-house, which means a large, continuing cost to GM that serves exactly zero purpose.

GM only had a temporary exemption from crash safety requirements, which meant expensive crash tests in order to keep the existing cars on the road.

Seriously go see that movie, I couldn't believe it.

If you think I'm full of it don't bother saying anything until you see that movie.


I've seen the movie, you are full of it and so is the movie.

It's not a Michael Moor in your face kind of thing, you don't have to agree to think "holy good lord this is crazy"


No, it's much more incidious when they're not outright, in-your-face lying. GM correctly deduced that electric vehicles were expensive and uncompetitive with the technology and the $10-20/barrel of oil they had. Whether or not they made the correct decision to terminate R&D on EVs at the time, calling the EV1's back and destroying them was in my opinion the only option.
Soylent
not rated yet Jun 27, 2009
I expect PV to be down to $4k/kw in 2-3 yrs, same as a new coal plant but it doesn't require fuel/coal. Batteries are not that expensive either.


That's not a real world price. In the real world you're also paying for installation, inverters and other power-conditioning. The solar array also needs to be fairly large and you need to shop around a bit to get it that low.

It also doesn't necessarily produce electricity when you want it to and if you use the grid for that task you'll negate most of your CO2 savings.

You also appear not to understand capacity factors. That coal plant is producing electricty ~70% with the remaining ~30% being mostly scheduled outages or acting as spinning reserve. Those solar panels produce electricity around 20% of the time if you're in some place ideal like California.

Solar happens mostly when power is needed most and with the many NG plants using gas turbine generator with the exhaust running the old steam generators with a combined 60% eff can be throttled.


Solar produces the most power mid-noon, I don't know of any location where that matches peak usage rates which occur later towards the evening. The depression you make into the electricity usage rates makes two bumps, one small in the morning and one larger later in the afternoon.

You can't use much combined-cycle gas turbines with solar since their slew-rate isn't large enough(the steam plant used in the bottoming cycle is a large thermal mass and it needs to be heated by the exhaust of the gas turbine for a long period of time to produce sufficient steam. CCGTs are more expensive and the wear and tear of turning it on and off all the time is a much larger concern than for a single cycle gas turbine). You'll be increasing the proportion of gas burnt in cheap, ~30% efficient single cycle turbines. You'll also increase the need for spinning reserve drastically if there are enough solar generators in the grid since they're all acting in concert, responding to the weather. Spinning reserve is when a gas turbine or coal plant disconnects it's generator from the grid but still burns fuel to remains hot and in sync with the grid so that they can be plugged in at a moments notice.

Since many solar units will be used they will average out so no fast power drops, peaks.


On the contrary. Instead of one big, relatively smooth bump, you'll get several tall, short bumps that require faster grid response. On a sunny day there'll only be two, one in the morning before the panels produce an appreciable amount of energy and a bigger one in the evening. If you throw in weather you're going to see massive fluctuations in power output since there's no such thing as a national grid; most power is produced near to where it is consumed and these solar panels are going to act almost in unison to weather-fronts.

We have plenty of Ng, we just need to drill more when we need more.


No, you don't. We're only talking decades here. Natural gas is a high quality chemical feed stock, it's just plain dumb to waste it on electricity.

Natural gas emits plenty of CO2; less than half of coal with CCGT, more than half with SCGT.

And we(Europe) don't have lots of gas. We import most of ours from Russian Gazprom. They're not someone you want sitting on the spigot.

Luckily Sweden's grid is composed of about 50% nuclear, 40% hydro and the rest assorted stuff(e.g. CHP burning waste/trash/wood-chips/fuel oil...). If our greens had their way we'd shut down the clean, emissions free nuclear plants, remove the big hydro plants and build lots of small ones(no, the logic behind this makes no sense to me either), import all the gas we need to make up for the huge short-fall from Russia and try to shave off a few percent here and there with wind turbines. And then a miracle happens(they've never explained this part to me either) and ~20 years into the future we don't need the natural gas anymore because we have this nation-wide Rube-Goldberg machine that automatically eliminates all the variability, both short-term and seasonal.

Currently we have too much supply causing low prices.


That will change since the prices are too low and a lot of companies don't want to drill. Decline rates for natural gas wells are very high.

Have you considered that perhaps there's a reason natural gas companies like Enron and Shell were/are pushing wind turbines and solar power? Could they perhaps be wanting to lock in a captive buyer for their natural gas?

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