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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Toyota Double Downs Investment On Hydrogen

      Continuing the hydrogen dream

    Toyota is planning a big push with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. According to Reuters, the Japanese automaker is doubling-down on investments for fuel cell vehicles by making improvements to reduce costs and building different models including commercial trucks.

    “We’re going to shift from limited production to mass production, reduce the amount of expensive materials like platinum used in FCV components, and make the system more compact and powerful,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai.

    Currently, Toyota hand builds the Mirai at a plant in Toyota City. Everyday, about 6.5 cars roll out of the plant. This is due to the detailed inspections that partially assembled models go through. The parts comprising the Mirai are quite expensive as well. According to analysis done by Strategic Analysis Inc., it costs Toyota about $11,000 to produce each of the fuel cell stacks. Blame the use of the platinum, titanium, and carbon fiber for the stacks.

    Toyota has been building up production capacity as it expects sales of FCVs to increase from about 3,000 to over 20,000 after 2020. This will help reduce the cost of each fuel cell stack to $8,000.

    “It will be difficult for Toyota to lower FCV production costs if it only produces the Mirai,” said a source,

    That's where an expansion of FCVs come in. Toyota is planning a "phased introduction' of other FCVs, including SUVs and commercial trucks starting around 2025. Toyota declined to talk about future products, but did reveal that it has built prototypes of small delivery vehicles and transport trucks with fuel cell powertrains.

    “We’re going to use as many parts from existing passenger cars and other models as possible in fuel cell trucks. Otherwise, we won’t see the benefits of mass production,” said Ikuo Ota, manager of new business planning for fuel cell projects at Toyota.

    Why is Toyota doubling down on fuel cells? Sources say that Toyota believes demand will increase as more countries, including China "warm to fuel cell technology". The company also sees FCVs as a hedge against battery materials such as cobalt becoming scarce.

    But there is still one issue that Toyota, and other automakers build FCVs still need to solve; infrastructure. There aren't many hydrogen refueling stations around. For example, the majority of hydrogen stations in the U.S. are in California. Not helping is a current shortage of hydrogen at refueling stations in California. Green Car Reports says this issue is due to various problems with supplier Air Products. The company said that it hopes to restore hydrogen supplies sometime in early August.

    Source: Reuters, Green Car Reports

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    I totally get the green side of emission on a Hydrogen auto. Yet I still see this as a big negative also since it takes way more energy to produce the Hydrogen fuel. So one must question the long term nature of Hydrogen auto's.

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    Fuel cells make great sense for city dwellers, small delivery vehicles, taxis, and other livery.   You can have a hydrogen generator in your garage and hydrogen can be generated from renewable sources, so its efficiency is less of a concern. 

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    11 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Fuel cells make great sense for city dwellers, small delivery vehicles, taxis, and other livery.   You can have a hydrogen generator in your garage and hydrogen can be generated from renewable sources, so its efficiency is less of a concern. 

    I get the renewable source for energy, having a small hydrogen generator in the garage is a challenge coming from a person who sold home CNG fueling equipment. RIght now your looking at an overnight fueling refill of a compressed hydrogen tank with high cost for the equipment up front. I am skeptical of a person wanting to pay 6 to 10K for a home fueling system without big rebates from the gov.

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    36 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    I get the renewable source for energy, having a small hydrogen generator in the garage is a challenge coming from a person who sold home CNG fueling equipment. RIght now your looking at an overnight fueling refill of a compressed hydrogen tank with high cost for the equipment up front. I am skeptical of a person wanting to pay 6 to 10K for a home fueling system without big rebates from the gov.

    You took garage the wrong way.  I'm thinking more like a taxi garage or a mid-size plumbing firm that maybe has 5 or 6 Sienna Commercial Vans.

    If you told the business owner that he/she could erase their fuel costs for the next 10 - 15 years with an upfront check of $10k (assuming the vehicle purchases would be a wash) that should be a fairly easy check to write.

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    It's way out there but I think hydrogen is the way of the future... They're way behind on current technology but it'll come along one day. 

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    32 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    You took garage the wrong way.  I'm thinking more like a taxi garage or a mid-size plumbing firm that maybe has 5 or 6 Sienna Commercial Vans.

    If you told the business owner that he/she could erase their fuel costs for the next 10 - 15 years with an upfront check of $10k (assuming the vehicle purchases would be a wash) that should be a fairly easy check to write.

    Got it, totally zoned on the business garage and that makes even more sense.

    I wonder what ever happened to Honda and their Home Garage fueling station that was all the rage in 2007.

    http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/index.php/home-hydrogen-fueling-stations/

    honda-home-h2-filling-station.jpg

    Now I will say I like this company's products:

    http://www.hydrogenhouseproject.org/index.html

    They have a Solar Hydrogen Fuel Cell electric lawn mower, Solar Hydrogen Fuel Cell Off-road EV, the cool part is the portable Joule box that can be used to keep your house fully in the power. Check it out.

    Sadly, while there was allot of concepts for home Hydrogen fueling, it has all died out due to EVs. I could only find the company above that seems to be building a unit that could be used for home fueling.

    16 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    It's way out there but I think hydrogen is the way of the future... They're way behind on current technology but it'll come along one day. 

    Questionable if in my lifetime. :P All the rage in 2007 to 2012 and now dead compared to EV. So it will be interesting to see how Toyota gets this jump started as it is going to cost companies that go this route some big dollars to have hydrogen fueling equipment in places that their fleet can access and use it.

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    55 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    There is such a thing as a 'Sienna Commercial van'? 

    I made it up. But you got the idea of what I am trying to say while keeping it Toyota. 

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    31 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    I made it up. But you got the idea of what I am trying to say while keeping it Toyota. 

    Yes...given how huge Toyota is, I'm surprised they haven't gotten into the commercial van space in the US like Nissan has done w/ the NVs...

    A US market version of the Hiace would be cool.  And imagine how badazz one of these would look w/ the Lexus predator grille, sharp angles, squinty lights, and 22 inch wheels..(though the JDM Alphard van looks pretty Lexus-ish these days..)

    hiace-front-view.png

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    58 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    There is such a thing as a 'Sienna Commercial van'? 

    Makes total sense with Toyota expanding their Hydrogen options that they would have a commercial van running on hydrogen even though it is a floating idea that Drew through out there.

    Toyota should pay Drew for the idea of a hydrogen commercial van. :P 

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