Toyota Firm on Developing Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology

Toyota has reconfirmed plans to launch a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle soon. Bob Carter, Sales Head Toyota US, recently claimed that their primary focus at the moment, is working on Hydrogen fuel cell technology. We expect a lot of people to be interested in this technology when it finally makes its commercial entry across global markets. Carter spoke at the Consumer Electronics Show, this week in Las Vegas, where Toyota showcased its four door sedan concept – the FCV, an alternate fuel cell powered vehicle, expected to be up for sale by 2015 in California.

Even though this technology is near completion, final tests need to be performed, to ensure maximum profitability. According to statistics, Toyota’s initial market plans require additional vehicles, if they plan on catering to various market segments simultaneously. Demand and inquiries have already overcome production capability. Hence, expansion plans are on the card.

Even if the technology is ready for public launch, vehicles cannot be sold on a mass scale, as long as infrastructure is not set up. This could result in further delay as Governments around the world are not quite keen on setting up a project, this huge, unless other car makers step into this field. A proto type model of this vehicle is however being tested in North America while results are currently being measured.

We expect a total driving range of around 300 miles, while acceleration from 0 – 60 MPH is possible in less than 10 seconds. Performance figures may not seem impressive, although we expect greater fuel efficiency and less CO2 emission. This should reduce tax expenditure and make up for high prices quoted at the time of purchase.

Re-fuelling takes between three and five minutes, post which, you can cover another 300 Miles easily. Critics point out the fact that setting up infrastructure, at this level, is quite expensive and if these vehicles are not accepted by a majority of the global markets, resources will be lost. Hydrogen fuel cell could be a commercially viable technology, only if other charges can be reduced. Electric vehicles, for example is seen as a tough competitor of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles.

This needs infrastructure and development too. Both technologies cannot coexist as they require massive one time investments. Hence, companies and the authorities need to come up with a singular solution to this problem. Toyota is yet to officially announce the working principle behind the FCV concept. This has created a huge wave of interest among car enthusiasts, designers, engineers and general media.

Fuel consumption and cost have been cut off by 95 percent thanks to Hydrogen fuel cell technology, while modern technology has also reduced cost of manufacturing and assembling. Toyota claims that they have been able to save up on 90 percent of production cost on their proto type, if they had designed it back in 2002. Various education institutions are related to this study and development, while major partnerships are required to turn this innovative technology into commercially viable vehicles.

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