Toyota bumps up hydrogen-powered car in US to 2015 (Update)

January 6, 2014 by Ryan Nakashima
Toyota FCV-R concept exhibited at the 2012 Washington Auto Show. Credit: Wikipedia

Toyota said Monday that a hydrogen-powered vehicle that emits only water vapor as exhaust will go on sale in the U.S. in 2015, a year earlier than it promised just two months ago.

The Japanese automaker made the announcement Monday at the International CES, the technology industry's annual gadget show. The shift came months after rival automakers Hyundai and Honda both said they'd start selling cars with that technology in the U.S. in 2015.

The electric car, which Toyota calls FCV for now, uses hydrogen as fuel for a battery. Toyota says it will have a range of 300 miles (480 kilometers), can accelerate from standstill to 60 miles per hour (96 kph) in 10 seconds, and can refuel its hydrogen tank in three to five minutes.

Toyota says it will focus on selling cars in California at first. Working with researchers at the University of California, Irvine, Toyota said the first 10,000 vehicles can be supported with only 68 refueling stations from San Francisco to San Diego. It noted that California has approved $200 million to build about 20 fueling stations by 2015, 40 by 2016 and 100 by 2024.

"This infrastructure thing is going to happen," said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Carter said all the cars in California could be served with just 15 percent of the 10,000 gas stations in the state now if they were spaced correctly. Researchers estimated where likely FCV buyers would need hydrogen stations and planned to put them within six minutes of their home or work.

"We don't need a station on every corner," he said.

A Toyota fuel cell concept vehicle is displayed during press event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the 2014 International CES on January 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Carter added that the U.S. branch of Toyota had recently increased its request for vehicles. He said that a 95 percent cut in production costs from the initial prototype would help it make fuel cell cars that are "a reasonable price for a lot of people."

Toyota Motor Corp. has promised to sell its fuel cell cars for $50,000 to $100,000, aiming for the lower end of the range.

Explore further: Toyota says new Prius, fuel cell car due in 2015

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5 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2014
Toyota should also look into home refueling stations as well. While not quite as efficient as mass produced hydrogen, it would be convenient, especially if it were powered by solar panels.
4 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2014
But why?? Hydrogen has to be produced and stored, which requires energy. Why not just skip this step and use batteries and super capacitors that are charged via solar?? Not to mention the added weight, complexity, and inconvenience of finding a hydrogen fuel depot lol. Also, hydrogen fuel cells only have like max 70% efficiency. What's wrong with pure electric? And if you say driving range, I will find you, and I will kill you.

EDIT: btw, that 70% efficiency is the fuel cell itself. This doesn't take into account the losses in production, storage, and transportation.
not rated yet Jan 07, 2014
My only concern with batteries would be the materials they are produced from. Finding enough to supply all our needs might be difficult, and importing from other countries maybe necessary. Hydrogen could lead to energy independence. As far as super capacitors go, I'm unsure how advanced they have become, and if they are ready for commercialization.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2014
@ekim You do know that "rare earths" are metals that don't form in veins right? Most of the ones used for batteries (lithium in particular) are quite abundant.
not rated yet Jan 07, 2014
@ekim You do know that "rare earths" are metals that don't form in veins right? Most of the ones used for batteries (lithium in particular) are quite abundant.

I just mention it because most of the known supplies of lithium are in other countries, much like the know supplies of oil. It is preferable to be self sufficient and energy independent.
1 / 5 (1) Jan 21, 2014
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