What is a Fuel Cell Vehicle?
It is a vehicle equipped with a “Fuel Cell” that generates electricity through the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to power the motor driving the vehicle. Hydrogen, which replaces gasoline as fuel, is an environment-friendly energy source that can be produced from various raw materials.
Toyota has also made use of hybrid vehicle core technology in the development of this vehicle.
From the early stages of their effort to make Sustainable Mobility a reality, in 2002 Toyota began the world’s first limited sale in Japan and the US of the “Toyota FCHV” as an ideal eco-car. Toyota has made concrete achievements in Fuel Cell Vehicle development.
But its splashy debut at this affluent coastal community included a message of exclusivity: Don’t expect to see too many of these vehicles soon.
Modest production goals for Toyota’s challenger to battery-powered cars such as Nissan 7201.TO +0.59% Motor Co.’s Leaf and Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA -1.58% ’s Model S will put few of the alternative-fuel vehicles on the road over the next few years.
Takeshi Uchiyamada, chairman of the world’s largest auto maker, said Toyota would build 700 of the vehicles next year and ramp up annual production to “tens of thousands” in the 2020s. Even at that longer-term target, the rate would represent a tiny fraction of the nearly 100 million cars sold around the world a year.
Using hydrogen fuel cells to propel cars has long been a goal of clean energy advocates because such vehicles emit only water and heat. Toyota and other car makers have worked for decades to develop cells that are small, reliable and cheap.
A hydrogen refueling station in Japan. It can take a few minutes to refill a car outfitted with fuel cells.Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Toyota executives say the costs of fuel cells are falling faster than those for electric batteries. A decade ago, platinum-based fuel cells were so expensive that prototype vehicles cost $1 million to make. There has been more than a 90% reduction in cost, but the vehicles still cost twice as much as a gasoline-powered car. The recent drop in world oil prices makes it even harder for fuel cells to catch on.
Another big obstacle to widespread adoption of fuel-cell vehicles is the dearth of places motorists can stop to top off their hydrogen storage tanks.
With only about 15 public refueling stations in the U.S., the challenge to build hydrogen refueling infrastructure is enormous, particularly when the U.S. has committed more than $2 billion toward building an electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
In the U.S., Toyota is contributing money toward the infrastructure investment, something it isn’t doing in Japan and Europe. Its effort is similar to that of Tesla’s rollout of fast-charging stations around the country.
Toyota is helping to finance the construction of 31 fueling stations in the U.S. and company executives made it clear it will invest further to ensure that more stations are built.
“When it comes to these types of cars,” said Toyota’s Mr. Uchiyamada, “they have to be developed hand-in-hand with infrastructure, so we are planning to supply support infrastructure development during the first period of our launch.”
California and a collection of other states give auto makers double the pollution-reduction credits for a fuel-cell vehicle than an electric car, making fuel-cell vehicle sales an attractive way to meet coming tailpipe-emissions limits.
Toyota has lent startup FirstElement Fuel Inc. $7.3 million to build 19 hydrogen fueling stations in California. Most of the pumps will be built at existing gas stations at a cost of about $1.4 million a station, said Joel Ewanick, chief executive FirstElement and a former marketing chief for General Motors Co. GM +4.24% California has pledged to invest up to $200 million over 10 years to build at least 100 fueling stations and First Element won a contract to build a portion of them.
Toyota also is contributing an undisclosed amount toward building 12 stations in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut with Air Liquide SA,AI.FR +0.25% an industrial-gas company with 60 hydrogen stations globally. These five states have regulations similar to California that give auto makers credits for selling zero-emission vehicles.
Recently, a measurement system has been created and users will purchase fuel in kilogram increments. The high-pressure tanks on the coming Toyota vehicle hold about five kilograms of compressed hydrogen. Each kilogram costs about $10 and a full tank gives a driver about 300 miles of range, or about $50 in fuel costs for 300 miles of driving.
Unlike electric vehicles, which by some estimates require 1.5 charging locations for every electric vehicle, a single hydrogen pump can serve hundreds of vehicles a day because refueling is so much faster. Fuel-cells can be refueled in five minutes or less, have a long driving range and can be used on heavier vehicles like trucks more practically than electric batteries. Toyota’s own executives recognize the challenges it faces. Satoshi Ogiso, a managing director of Toyota, joked that most people believe Mr. Uchiyamada is like Don Quixote, featuring “idealism, without practicality.”Mr. Uchiyamada, known as the father of the Prius gasoline-electric hybrid, is a noted skeptic of pure electric vehicles. He and Toyota are betting that hydrogen fuel cells will become more economical and practical than battery-powered vehicles.
Honda on Monday said it would delay the launch of its own fuel-cell vehicle until 2016 because of concerns over recall costs. Hyundai Motor Co. 005380.SE -0.83% , the South Korean auto maker, is already selling in California a fuel-cell powered version of its Tucson sport utility vehicle. Hyundai expects to have sold 60 of the vehicles by year-end. Unlike Toyota, Hyundai hasn’t invested in infrastructure.
Fuel cells work by splitting off an electron from the hydrogen atom, creating a current. The hydrogen atom then re-connects with oxygen and produces water and heat as byproducts.
INOVASI BARU: Toyota kembangkan kendaraan charger listrik
Selasa, 04 September 2012 | 10:41 WIB
TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp. mengembangkan kendaraan charger listrik (bus fuel cell) untuk memasok jaringan listrik ke rumah atau kantor baik untuk kebutuhan sehari-hari maupun dalam kondisi darurat bencana alam.
Pengembangan bus ini merupakan bagian dari latihan kendali bencana dan akan digunakan di Aichi Prefecture dan Toyota City yang sudah dimulai sejak kemarin, Senin (3/9).
Bus ini memiliki teknologi V2H yang dapat dipakai untuk menghidupi 20 layar monitor yang ada di kantor pusat kendali bencana.
Teknologi V2H ini menghasilkan listrik dari reaksi kimia hidrogen menjadi uap air dengan hasil samping energi listrik.
Energi listrik yang dihasilkan akan disimpan di baterai dan selanjutnya dipakai menggerakkan motor listrik.
Teknologi ini sangat ramah lingkungan dan memiliki tenaga lebih besar dari mobil listrik. Karena produksinya besar, ada sisa energi yang dapat dimanfaatkan untuk kebutuhan lain. Sisa energi itulah yang dialirkan ke gedung.
Toyota mengungkapkan kemampuan teknologi ini salah satunya adalah dapat menghidupkan listrik di ruang olah raga sekolah dengan konsumsi sekitar 100kWh selama lima hari.
Produsen mobil terbesar di dunia tersebut mengatakan bus V2H ini dikembangkan dari FCHV-Bus yang merupakan kendaraan eksperimen Toyota dalam pengembangan teknologi alternatif fuel cell untuk kendaraan besar.
Bus ini memiliki dua outlet listrik (AC 100 V, 1.5 kW) didalam kabin yang bisa memasok maksimum daya 3kW.
Rencananya Toyota akan melakukan uji coba V2H system untuk bis-bis bertenaga fuel cell pada 2013 dan 2014 sebagai bagian dari Toyota City Low-Carbon Verification Project. (Bloomberg/17/Bsi)