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Toyota plans to expand production, shrink cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

13 Comments
By Naomi Tajitsu and Maki Shiraki

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This seems totally contradictory to the report the other day stating all passenger cars will be electric by 2040. Was Toyota not informed? Or, was the government speaking out of its bottom, again?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Dissillisioned

FCV cars are electric. Hydrogen is used for electric production instead of charging big batteries that then drives an electric motor.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I kind of felt that hydrogen was a dead end compared to battery powered ones that everyone else is making ( which have a lot of advantages). But I wonder if Toyota is playing a very long game here and betting that the price of cobalt will make those prohibitively expensive once they get up to scale due to scarcity, a problem not posed by hydrogen. It’s risky but they might come out the winner in a few years.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"hydrogen will become a key source of clean energy"

This is a common mistake - coal oil gas, solar etc can all be used as SOURCES to make hydrogen. Hydrogen is just the storage medium for the energy.

To make hydrogen a meaningfully sustainable, it should be made using clean and renewable SOURCES such as solar, wind, biogas etc

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ifd66

This is a common mistake - coal oil gas, solar etc can all be used as SOURCES to make hydrogen. 

In that sense coal, oil and gas are also medium of energy.

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This is a huge development for several reasons.

Hydrogen offers many advantages over battery powered systems. Fuel cells don't degrade over time like batteries. They don't lose capacity when it gets cold. They can be refueled quickly.

Most importantly, hydrogen can function as a bridge between fossil fuels and alternative energy sources as it can be easily extracted from natural gas. Best of all is that hydrogen takes the random, uneven supply out of alternatives. Energy that is produced from wind and solar is not storable like a tank of oil. Creation of hydrogen from electrolysis is storable as a compressed gas. This allows alternatives to be much more practical and it completely eliminates carbon emissions.

The holdup in using hydrogen has always been the cost of the fuel cells. Apparently, those problems are being solved. A hydrogen based economy could literally save the world from climate change by knocking out carbon emissions.

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Yes, it only two days to contradict that government announcement the other day about all future cars being battery powered.

Since the hatchback Prius in 2004, Toyota's hybrids have all been PHEV capable with a bigger battery. Toyota's lack of enthusiasm to fit a bigger battery or switch to lithium instead of the older NiMH suggests they are not convinced by electric cars. They also have experience from selling an all-electric RAV4 way back in the States. I see a lot of problems with hydrogen, but if Toyota see problems with electric cars vs. hydrogen ones, and Honda do too, I am inclined to believe them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We have H2stations here , we just need a few more . 1 kilogram of H is 1 gallon of gasoline equivalent

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It only two days to contradict that government announcement the other day about all future cars being battery powered...

The government plan is about EV (電動車) in general, not just battery powered EV.

See their document:

http://www.meti.go.jp/shingikai/mono_info_service/jidosha_shinjidai/pdf/002_01_00.pdf

It clearly states that EV (電動車) refers to HEV (Hybrid EV), BEV (Battery Powered EV), PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid EV) or FCEV (Fuel cell EV).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To make hydrogen a meaningfully sustainable, it should be made using clean and renewable SOURCES such as solar, wind, biogas etc

Hydrogen to be found in water and chemical compounds with carbon thus in principle a source.

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I do not understand this strategy. hydrogen as a substitute for gasoline is nice and all but the mechancial comlpexities of the drive train, exhaust, intake, cooling system, starting system, charging system, etc. are essentially the same as a gasoline-powered vehicle. Those mechanical components are responsible for the kind of repairs that nickle-and-dime you to death once a vehicle reaches a certain age.

The future for EV vehicles makes far more sense as they are comparbly simple as they have none of the above plus, no belts, no filters, no hoses, no oil changes, no pollution controls, no transmission, no timing belt, etc., plus with regenerative braking the brakes last longer. Note that I am talking pure EV here, not something like Toyota's Prius that because of its hybrid design, is even more complex than a gasoline-powered vehicle as it still has all the above mechanical liabililites of a gasoline engine along with an electric motor that must be charged by the gasoline engine..

Of course, EV means less service revenue for automobile dealers and Toyota may be looking out for them because hydrogen-power will require almost as much service (less pollution controls) as gasoline. This scenario reminds me how the large copier companies are loath to switch from toner-based imaging to the inherently more cost-efficient and reliable inkjet imaging, all because of the damage it will cause to the revenue stream of their dealer channels.

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hydrogen as a substitute for gasoline is nice and all but the mechancial comlpexities of the drive train, exhaust, intake, cooling system, starting system, charging system, etc. are essentially the same as a gasoline-powered vehicle

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles use electric motors, not internal combustion. They are 100% electric cars and very analogous with battery powered electric cars. Hydrogen gas is used in a fuel cell to produce electricity with the only by product being water vapor. The problem with hydrogen FCV is the hydrogen creation (efficiency and cost), fuel cell stack, and lack of infrastructure. The problem with battery EVs, is battery degradation after long periods, environmental impact of Battery replacement, weight, and resources like cobalt being harder to procure (especially for Japan).

Though most EV cars in the future will probably be only battery powered, don’t count out hydrogen for big trucks, trains, buses, power grid energy storage, big electric planes, and yes some normal passenger cars.

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hydrogen as a substitute for gasoline is nice and all but the mechancial comlpexities of the drive train, exhaust, intake, cooling system, starting system, charging system, etc. are essentially the same as a gasoline-powered vehicle

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles use electric motors, not internal combustion. 

BMW has a program [BMW Hydrogen 7] where they use hydrogen in the usual combustion engines. Bivalent engines which means that you can use gasoline as well as hydrogen.

Most car manufacturers will go for the Fuel Cell option and BMW is also here involved.

Though most EV cars in the future will probably be only battery powered, don’t count out hydrogen for big trucks, trains, buses, power grid energy storage, big electric planes, and yes some normal passenger cars.

Where do you base the assumption on that 'most EV cars in the future will probably be only battery powered' ?

Battery powered EVs are just a transition between combustion verhicles and the hydrogen FC cars. Batteries have environmental consequences way larger than with fuel cells. Interesting times ahead.

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