Toyota to launch a fuel cell vehicle in 2015
Come 2015, Toyota will begin selling its first fuel cell vehicle in select markets internationally. Toyota has been a world leader in alternate propulsion technology for vehicles. The Japanese automaker’s Prius Hybrid car is the world’s largest selling hybrid car and the brand will aim to replicate the success of the Prius, with their fuel cell car. Also, Toyota is a world leader in fuel cell technology, with even the likes of German luxury car brand, BMW, partnering the Japanese automaker to share its fuel cell technology for future products in exchange of turbo diesel engines that the German automaker will provide Toyota with.
Toyota’s biggest challenge will be pricing the fuel cell car competitively, to position it as an alternate to the electric cars. Other car makers though insist that it will take another decade for fuel cell cars to be priced close to the electric cars, as the prices of fuel cell technology still remains quite high. However, Japanese auto maker Honda has sold a few hundred FCX fuel cell electric cars in the United States, with California being the major market as this state does have some infrastructure to dispense hydrogen in place. Fuel cell cars work by the fuel cell converting hydrogen into electricity to power the electric motor of the car, while water is produced as a by product of hydrogen reacting to produce electricity.
However, the main source of fuel, hydrogen, needs to be stored in the car, just like petrol or diesel. The big infrastructure required to dispense hydrogen from fuel stations, just like petrol or diesel is something that simply doesn’t exist currently. So, the infrastructure needs to first develop before fuel cell cars can take off in a big way and this is something that is currently the big limiting factor even if a car maker like Toyota comes up with a way to build and price a fuel cell car as competitively as an electric car.
This, as large scale infrastructure like establishing hydrogen fuel stations across countries is something that takes a while to achieve. All said, if hydrogen become available on a wide scale like petrol and diesel, the fuel will be much more cost effective as well as non polluting while having all the potential to change the face of modern day transportation. For now, all eyes will be on Toyota first fuel cell car, which will debut in 2015.