Toyota’s press conference at the 2014 CES trade fair had nothing to do with infotainments or apps or any of that nonsense. Instead, they gave the onlookers a glimpse into the future of motoring. And it looked just like what we have right now, which is why it is going to be successful.
As Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota U.S. said: “We aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel; just everything necessary to make them turn.” And the key to that is fuel cell technology. It allows car maker to keep making cars the way they’ve been doing for the past 100 years, and the users to keep using them the way they know how.
With fuel cell technology you don’t need to wait around for six or more hours for the batteries to be charged and give you another 100 miles of stressful drive before they need another hit of electricity. N FCEV comes with own generator. All you need to do is fill it up with Hydrogen like you would with petrol. And that’s the tricky bit, because there is no sound infrastructure for H2 delivery anywhere in the world, yet.
Toyota, however, believes that developing such infrastructure is a small price to pay given the advantages of such technology. They are so confident of fuel cell they are going to launch the first mass-produced and affordable fuel cell vehicle in form of a family sedan next year. They brought along the concept version and a camouflaged test unit to the CES and confirmed the preliminary specs: “a driving range of about 300 miles, zero-to-sixty acceleration of about 10 seconds, with no emissions, other than water vapor. Refueling of its hydrogen tanks takes three to five minutes.”
The new Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle will be launched initially in California, where Toyota is running a research program with University of California Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) to help map out potential locations for new hydrogen fueling stations.
So does this mean all the time, energy and money that other car makers are spending on plug-in electric vehicles are going to be wasted when Fuel Cell takes over? Only time will tell.