In their quest to make cleaner vehicles car makers first tried the hybrid solution with good results, but they are not fully green. Then they gave electric cars a shot, and although they have no emissions whatsoever,they are very convenient either. Now it seems that Hydrogen Fuel Cell systems are their next focus.
In many ways FCEV is the perfect solution. A fuel cell is essentially a power generator that makes electricity, which is then used to power the car’s electric motor. It is a pure EV in that sense. But instead of charging it, you simply fill it up with hydrogen, which takes only a couple of minutes and not hours. The only drawback is the need for a hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
Now, Honda has been a pioneer in developing fuel cell vehicles, but recently more car makers, namely Mercedes Benz and Hyundai, have been trying really hard to make fuel cell more mainstream. Toyota is the next big name to join the party, and thy are coming in heavy, announcing the launch of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle in 2015.
Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle uses a converted version of Hybrid Synergy Drive technology used in the Prius and many Lexus models, but here the petrol engine is replaced with a fuel cell and the conventional fuel tank with high-pressure hydrogen tanks. Dubbed FCV-R concept, and measuring 35mm longer than an Avensis saloon, this hydrogen-powered car will have a range of 420 miles.
Toyota expects fuel cell cars to reach full mass-market commercialisation during the 2020s. Hopefully by then most countries will have a network of hydrogen stations in place, helping the integration of these cars into people’s lives. The projected price for Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle is about 70,000 GBP, but they hope to reduce that by more than 50 percent before bringing its first model to market.