Toyota hydrogen car still on for 2015

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Toyota FCV-R

The Toyota hydrogen car is still set to debut in 2015. Photo Credit: Njo/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

Toyota has been saying for some time that the company will have a hydrogen fuel cell car out by 2015. Toyota is at least being consistent, as the company has continually reaffirmed that a Toyota hydrogen car will be out in that year.

Toyota hydrogen car apparently on track in development

Many carmakers have been developing hydrogen cars in recent years. Toyota had working prototypes on the road in 2002, according to AutoBlog, and by 2010, Toyota asserted that the company would put out a hydrogen fuel cell car by 2015.

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In 2011, according to Engadget, Toyota took a concept car, the FCV-R to various auto shows. The FCV-R was visually stunning but was also a working prototype.

Since then, Toyota has repeatedly asserted that a Toyota hydrogen car would be out by that year, including a recent reconfirmation issued at an automotive seminar in Michigan, according to Inside Line.

Gonna need more stations

Initially, according to Engadget, Toyota estimated its hydrogen car would cost about $125,000 in 2010, but later that year, according to Inside Line, figured out a way to cut the cost to about $50,000, for the car to be fiscally viable.

The second hurdle, which just like natural gas cars is the major obstacle to the technology taking off, is that there aren’t many places for hydrogen cars to get hydrogen fuel. The state of California, according to USA Today, plans to have 68 available by the time the Toyota hydrogen car goes on sale. According to the Department of Energy, there are currently 54 nationwide, of which 23 are in California. As it stands, it will be one of two available models, the other being the Honda FCX Clarity. It will be some times before a hydrogen car shows up at .

Those are going to be some hefty auto loans in pursuit of a green vehicle and not a lot of places to fill them up.

Hydro kids, hydro wife, and hydro husband

There are actually two types of hydrogen cars. The Toyota hydrogen car, along with the Honda FCX Clarity, are fuel cell cars. Fuel cell cars are electric cars, but powered by hydrogen fuel cells rather than batteries. Compressed hydrogen gas is fed from a tank into a “stack” of fuel cells and combined in the cells with air, which includes oxygen. The hydrogen and oxygen, in a process called hydrolysis, combine to make water, which creates an electrical charge. The electric current is harnessed and used to power the car. Water is the sole emission.

The other is the hydrogen combustion engine. Similar to how engines can be converted to run on compressed natural gas, compressed hydrogen gas is injected into the engine and ignited in the cylinder. According to the Department of Energy, they are more fuel efficient than gas engines and unlike fuel cell cars, aren’t plagued by typical electric car maladies such as needing to warm up longer and not working well in cold weather.

One example, the BMW Hydrogen 7, according to Wired, had both hydrogen and gasoline fuel lines that could be switched at will, sort of like GM and Ram’s upcoming CNG pickups. It had gotten a fair bit of coverage as of 2006, but hasn’t progressed. Mazda, according to MSNBC, had created several hydrogen-powered cars a few years ago, most notably the Hydrogen RE RX-8, complete with a hydrogen-burning Wankel engine.

Sources

AutoBlog

Engadget

Inside Line

DOE: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/stations_counts.html

USA Today: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/08/toyota-to-start-selling-hydrogen-fuel-cell-car-in-2015/1#.UCKxzaCBW_0

DOE: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/avta/light_duty/hicev/index.html

Wired: http://www.wired.com/cars/energy/news/2006/11/72100?currentPage=all

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32658132/ns/business-autos/t/mazda-giving-green-twist-rotary-engine/#.UCLOBaCBW_0


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