While the hydrogen fuel cell isn’t exactly new, it’s never been more efficient.
It’s still ridiculously expensive and infrastructure is still largely in the wind, but Toyota, the first and most-successful hybrid electric vehicle manufacturer, could make a go of it in 2015 with a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Toyota had plenty of skeptics eating their share of humble pie after the Toyota Prius hybrid electric vehicle gained and maintained popularity. Toyota recently reached a milestone of five million hybrid sales globally.
At the North American Auto Show, Toyota showed off the FCV-R which, according to the press release, “by 2015 we’ll have launched a zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell, four-door, midsize sedan.” Toyota proved the skeptics wrong before, so will it be the same this time? Toyota admits “refueling infrastructure remains a distinct challenge, but certainly not one that will stand in the way of such an important technology.”
The famous line states, “Build it, and they will come,” so is Toyota having a pipe dream or can they pull it off again? The jury’s out on that one, but if Toyota can build and mass-produce a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, even breaking even on a mid-size sedan “in the neighborhood of $50,000,” it might encourage the development of cheaper and cleaner hydrogen sources, cheaper fuel cell technology, and more abundant refueling infrastructure. Like Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk and the first successful electric vehicle, someone is going to have to bite the bullet and put hydrogen vehicles on the road.
Of course, the hype and the reality are two very different things. Some prognosticators had expected millions of fuel cell vehicles would be on the road in the 2010s, but we’re already four years in and there could be just hundreds in the whole of the US.
This will pretty much sink any of the unworkable schemes like battery cars.
Europe has already built its hydrogen highway and is taking delivery of Hyundai FCVs.
The US has been held back for four years by illiterate naysayers and buffoons.
JohnBailo getting rid of the carbon footprint, both for hydrogen and for battery cars, has to be a big priority. It’s nice that hydrogen cars refuel in just a few minutes, but what’s the big deal if the source of the hydrogen generates carbon dioxide? Still, moving forward, I’m sure someone will come up with a solution that is economical and clean 🙂
bnjroo JohnBailo Hydrogen is not just a fuel…it’s an energy protocol. There are many ways to generate it, there are many ways to use it. I liken Hydrogen to tcp/ip on the Internet. You can make hydrogen from dams, from solar, from wind as well as from coal, oil and natural gas. Even if you make hydrogen from a carbon-based fuel, the benefit is that its done in a centralized location where you can easily capture the CO2 and sequester it (unlike burning the fuel in each and every automobile). So, just making the “burning process” one step removed to a centralized location can help enormously! You take the CO2 and pollutants away from dense populations, schools and sequester it. Eventually, they will productionize what are called “artificial leaves”. These are solar cells that use the chemistry of photosynthesis to directly generate hydrogen (leaving out the electrolysis step).
So a hydrogen infrastructure is one that can proceed in steps, without waiting for the overall perfect solution, as each part of it gives us an incremental improvement…a bit like evolution!
JohnBailo bnjroo You’re absolutely right! Many researchers are working toward this common goal. Looking forward to when it happens. 🙂