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Toyota’s Fuel Cell Prototype Could Create Zero-Emission Vehicles [CES 2014]

Hydrogen power could be a more effective fuel source than electric within the next few years.

Ross Brooks
Ross Brooks on January 7, 2014. @greenidealism

Hydrogen power is an elusive technology that has been on the brink for decades, but Toyota’s Senior Vice President, Bob Carter, claims it will “change our world, sooner rather than later.” That statement went hand-in-hand with new details about the company’s upcoming hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle that were announced at CES 2014 in Las Vegas on Monday.

The Toyota FCV, which was initially debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in November last year, promises a 310 mile range between hydrogen fill-ups, room for four passengers, and a refuel time of just three minutes. Its propulsion system is small enough to fit beneath the seats, and two high-pressure hydrogen tanks save space and lower costs.

The final cost of the car is still just an estimate, which ranges from $50,000 to $100,000 for the production model. For those who are unsure how a hydrogen-powered car could compete with electric, Carter said that cost reductions will put the car on the road “in greater numbers” that people might expect.

toyota-hydrogen-fuel-cell-vehicle-fcv-2

As proof of its commitment, Toyota has been been road-testing a vehicle fitted with the fuel cell system in North America – the same one it brought along to this year’s CES. The test vehicle has all the signs of a car that has logged thousands of miles, including cold-weather starts in northern Canada.

The only other issue the company has to tackle is a solid refuelling infrastructure. Toyota seems confident though, and said there will be 20 hydrogen fuelling stations in the US by 2015, increasing to 40 by 2016. Most of these will be in Southern California, where the FCV will make its debut.

Electric, hybrid, and hydrogen vehicles are all a huge boon to the environment, so regardless of which one makes the most progress over the next few years, the benefits can only be positive.

Toyota

Source: USA Today

Images: David Dewhurst/Toyota

TOPICS: Automotive, Environmental / Green
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Ross is a freelance writer who specializes in topics about the environment, architecture, art, design and creative tech. He is passionate about making a difference with his writing, whether that’s to encourage social change, promote a great idea, or just share a little bit of beauty with the world. You can also find his work on Inhabitat and Techly.com.au.

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