Automotive

Toyota reveals exterior design and pricing for Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota reveals exterior design...
In the past, Toyota estimated a range of 300 miles (483 km)
In the past, Toyota estimated a range of 300 miles (483 km)
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The Toyota FCS will hit the market next year
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The Toyota FCS will hit the market next year
In the past, Toyota estimated a range of 300 miles (483 km)
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In the past, Toyota estimated a range of 300 miles (483 km)
Toyota reveals the production Fuel Cell Sedan
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Toyota reveals the production Fuel Cell Sedan
The Fuel Cell Sedan stores energy in a hydrogen tank
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The Fuel Cell Sedan stores energy in a hydrogen tank
The FCS's fuel cell stack creates electricity from a chemical reaction
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The FCS's fuel cell stack creates electricity from a chemical reaction
The Toyota FCV concept made appearances at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and CES 2014
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The Toyota FCV concept made appearances at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and CES 2014
The Toyota FCV concept made appearances at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and CES 2014
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The Toyota FCV concept made appearances at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and CES 2014
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Toyota showed its Fuel Cell Vehicle at this year's CES, discussing plans to bring it to market in 2015. The company has taken the next step, revealing the production design and Japanese pricing for the model, which it's now calling the Fuel Cell Sedan.

Toyota plans to begin selling the Fuel Cell Sedan in Japan before April 2015 and send it on to the US and Europe by Summer 2015. The car will launch in Toyota and Toyopet dealerships in parts of Japan that have the appropriate hydrogen refueling infrastructure, starting around 7 million yen. When converted today, that equates to around US$69,000, but Toyota is holding off on releasing official US and European pricing.

The production FCS looks nearly identical to the FCV concept. Defining visual elements like its elevated hood, black-out pillars and sculpted rear quarter panels are all there. Alterations include redesigned front intakes, the addition of side mirrors and the loss of the conceptual headlamps and tail lamps.

Toyota has not announced the final specs, but the car's electric drive unit will use electricity derived from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. That reaction will occur by way of the hydrogen fuel cell stack fed by high-pressure hydrogen tanks that can be refilled in about three minutes. Toyota claims the design will give the FCS range and performance comparable to a gas car while cutting emissions to mere water vapor. At CES, Toyota estimated a range per tank of 300 miles (483 km).

Toyota reveals the production Fuel Cell Sedan
Toyota reveals the production Fuel Cell Sedan

While hydrogen fuel cell vehicles promise to combine range and refueling ease comparable to gas vehicles with the emissions-free driving of EVs, they're not without some downsides and question marks. Much like the electric charging infrastructure was when EVs began hitting the market, the hydrogen fueling infrastructure is in its infancy in places like the US. The country's Alternative Fuels Data Center lists just 12 hydrogen stations across the country, most of them concentrated in Southern California.

"The issue of infrastructure is not so much about how many, but rather, location, location, location,” Bob Carter, senior VP of automotive operations, Toyota Motor Sales USA, said at Toyota's CES press conference in January. "If every vehicle in California ran on hydrogen – we could meet refueling logistics with only 15 percent of the nearly 10,000 gasoline stations currently operating in the state. Stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen."

The infrastructure is indeed starting to happen in places like California. Last month, the California Energy Commission announced $46.6 million of funding for accelerating hydrogen refueling station development. This will help bring California's number of stations from nine to 54, just beyond half its longer term goal of 100. Toyota itself is assisting with funding for FirstElement Fuel, one of the companies that was awarded Energy Commission monies.

Toyota is not the only automaker hard at work on fuel cells. Hyundai delivered its first Tucson Fuel Cell in California just this month, easing the refueling burden by tying unlimited, no-added-cost hydrogen fueling into the $499/month lease. Honda joined the Korean automaker in showing its latest fuel cell concept at last year's LA Auto Show, and other automakers like Ford and Mercedes are also working on fuel cell technology.

Source: Toyota

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13 comments
Daishi
I read that Toyota is going to kill off the EV RAV4 and go hydrogen to meet their criteria of ZEVs for California. Nissan is taking the opposite route and is planning to have 4 EV's in their lineup by 2017 I think. At one point Toyota was licensing technology from Tesla for the RAV4. IMHO I think trying to retrofit a budget ICE vehicle by shoving an electric motor and battery into the engine compartment is probably the wrong strategy. I think until battery prices drop from ~$500/kWh to $300/kWh over the next few years EV makes more sense at the higher end where there is more margin. When I drive through some areas every 4th car I see on the road is worth over $50k so many people have the money but who wants a $50k base model RAV4?
Slowburn
The emissions from the car is water vapor. This does not mean that the emissions from the generating the hydrogen does not exist; in fact when you consider the inefficiency of generating hydrogen you should come to the conclusion that fuel cell vehicles are not as low impact as ICE vehicles. They are ludicrously expensive as well.
DaveGAus
So the FCV is here, cool. However, I have to ask, why? Why would anyone want one? Is it faster? Less expensive? Can you fill-up at home? Or for that matter, can you travel with it? What is the X-factor that would compel someone, anyone to purchase one? The answer of course ("none") is a big issue. You are not going to entice people to spend large sums of their money to better the world. That' not the way Capitalism works. It must be good for the individual. Without a very large gas tax, and massive government investment in infrastructure, Fuel Cell vehicles are simply doomed in the US, even if it were the best choice. So, I'll stick with Tesla, with 25% the fuel cost, very low maintenance, never see another local gas station again, and travel around the US for free. Oh yeah, with Porsche-topping performance.
physics314
All the arguments made for ICE and EV today, in opposition to FCV, could have easily been made for horses and horse-drawn carriages, in opposition to ICE... in 1900. Fortunately, Henry Ford had this to say on the subject: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Slowburn
@ physics314 Ford was offering horse users twenty big horses that didn't tire to people use to one or two that did. Hydrogen fuel cells replace the batteries in an EV but unlike ICE has no tolerance for alternative fuel.
Mel Tisdale
Any comparison of the various types of fuel for cars has to take into account the forecasts for fossil fuel availability. We are past peak easy oil and rapidly heading towards peak tight oil. That can only mean that availability and price are going to alter dramatically. Especially availability. That will most likely lead to a situation where cars that run on gasoline will face rationing. In short, we are not far off settling for anything that will get us from A to B, and to heck with the niceties that seem to influence so many.
VirtualGathis
@slowburn - "...inefficiency of generating hydrogen..." This is entirely dependant on the process used to generate the hydrogen. If you use a nuclear reactor to thermally crack water it's not really inefficient and it will be vastly less polluting than the gasoline it would replace. Using modern reactor design it will be safer too. Here is another otion for thermal cracking of water that would appease the anti-nuke crowd. It's less efficient and requires vast tracts of land occupied by complex maintenance intensive machines, but hey that is the cost of "safe": http://marketplace.yet2.com/app/insight/techofweek/64292?sid=220 If the anti-nuke crowd were overcome you could render the entire thing vastly more efficient by creating a capacitor based hybrid that uses a nuclear battery, either a beta decay battery or something like the one in use with "Opportunity", to power a vehicle. The advantage would be never having to charge up or fill up, well not for 15-20 years anyway. Dump the used cells back into a re-enrichment process and you close the loop with minimal waste stream.
Nathan Tessier
Hemp and Hydrogen are the only way to go regardless of what people 'feel' about either. Big Pharma and Big Oil will let neither happen. We will have world war caused by the Multinationals before either are realized on a mass scale.
Don Duncan
I love to dream of PV generating and storing electricity at home to fuel my car/house. I'm even willing to pay a little more to be independent. I hate monopolies in any form. I support all forms of voluntary interaction, and predict the market will provide everything we need cheaper and cheaper in time, as opposed the ever increasing cost of govt. and its crony crapitalists. That said, until batteries improve, I would buy an ICE fueled by CNG. It's half the price & pollution of gas, produced at home, and plentiful.
DrPepper59
I just want to push down the front hood and close it. What a stupid looking car. For $69,000.00 make it look nicer. I remember hearing about personal nuclear batteries that would run your car your house and other thing back in the 50's. That would be scary in today's world with all the terrorists in the world.