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Toyota is betting big on hydrogen fuel cell technology instead of going fully-electric

Toyota has pulled the wraps off its first production hydrogen fuel cell sedan. Based on the FCV concept that was first shown revealed last year at the Tokyo Auto Show, the production vehicle is a bit challenged when it comes to styling, but Toyota hasn’t exactly been known for producing consistently good-looking cars since the 90s.
 
But the most important piece to this vehicle its hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Toyota has shown a lack of interest in putting a lot of effort into fully electric vehicles (its RAV4 EV is merely a sideshow), and considers hydrogen to be a superior option.
 
"The reason why Toyota doesn’t introduce any major [all-electric product] is because we do not believe there is a market to accept it,” said Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada back in October 2013. "I personally expect a lot from this hydrogen fuel cell technology. If government and industry work together, this might be part of the long-term solution."

 
Although Toyota hasn’t revealed specs for the production model (which it says it will announced at a later date), the FCV concept featured a lightweight fuel cell stack (with a power output density of 3 kW/l), two 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks, and total output of over 100 kW to power the vehicle.
 
The concept was also rated to have a driving range of just over 300 miles before refueling is necessary. Speaking of refueling, the task of filling the hydrogen tanks should take roughly three minutes according to Toyota.

 
Toyota hopes to launch its new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in Japan by April 2015, where it will be priced at 7 million yen (roughly $69,000). The vehicle will also be sold in the United States, but will be limited to regions that have a sufficient hydrogen refueling infrastructure in place to support the vehicle.
 
The pricing puts the vehicle head-to-head with the Tesla Motors Model S, which starts at $69,900 and has a driving range of 208 miles. The more expensive models have a driving range of 265 miles.

 
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has already made his thoughts known on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, having stated in 2013, “Oh god … fuel cell is so bullshit. Except in a rocket.”

Sources: Toyota [1], [2]





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