Toyota's hydrogen-powered car coming in 2015
LAS VEGAS, USA - Toyota's "car of the future," a hydrogen-powered, fuel cell vehicle (FCV) is one year away from becoming a reality.
The Japan-based car manufacturer unveiled the new concept car, a 4-seat metallic blue sedan, at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show.
The concept car, called the Toyota FCV for now, is based on an FCV prototype that has been used by Toyota for extensive on-the-road testing in North America.
The FCV sedan contains two hydrogen tanks. Hydrogen is mixed with oxygen from the air to create electricity to power the car. The output – 100 kW of horse power – allows the car to go from 0-60 miles (0-100 km/h) in about 10 seconds. On a full charge the car gets a range of 300 miles (483 km). Its only emission is water vapor.
The hydrogen tanks can produce enough energy to theoretically power a house for a week. Engineers are working on creating an external box that could be used for this purpose.
The hydrogen tanks are connected to a fuel cell, then a boost converter, then an electric motor and power control unit – making up the power train.
Toyota has been investing in fuel cell R&D for almost two decades. The major hurdle is being able to get the vehicle down to a reasonable price. The company says it has dramatically reduced the cost to build a fuel cell power train and vehicle fuel tanks. It will launch in 2015 with a 95% reduction in what it cost to build the car in 2012.
The car is set to be released first in California because the state has committed to spending US$200M to set up at least 20 new hydrogen refueling stations by 2015 and up to a hundred by 2024.
Unlike a typical electric car, refueling a hydrogen tank only takes 3-5 minutes. But unlike electric cars which you can plug in anywhere, hydrogen powered cars can only be refueled at refueling stations.
Toyota is working with the University of California Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) to help map potential locations for new hydrogen fueling stations.
Their model, which assumes users want refilling stations that are at most 6-minutes away, has produced a map that requires only 68 stations in San Francisco, Los Angeles Orange and San Diego counties, and can service about 10,000 vehicles. - Rappler.com