Toyota’s approach to the future of transportation, the Toyota FCV, is definitely electric, but not battery-powered.
Instead, Toyota believes hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be the future of transportation. In a recent presentation of the Toyota FCV, Toyota says of the technology: “ You can watch the whole presentation here (over an hour), starting with some history of the automobile, from the first Benz Patent Motorwagen to the “next hundred years” of automobile progress that Toyota expects the Toyota FCV to foment:
The Toyota FCV had been estimated to start around $98,700 (¥10 million) but development and refining of the process has led to the semi-official pricing to be announced, $69,100 (¥7 million), which actually ends up being cheaper than the base-model Tesla Model S 60 kWh, which starts at $66,570. The Toyota FCV has a range of 370 miles, compared to the Tesla Model S 60 kWh’s 265-mile range, after which it would take just minutes to recharge. Given that a Tesla Model S, even the Tesla Supercharger, still needs at least half an hour to recharge, the advantage is clear.
Of course, while the Toyota FCV specification and emissions advantages are clear, what about production of hydrogen fuel itself? Some have estimated that individual hydrogen refueling stations might cost over a million dollars, which presents a cost challenge to infrastructure. On the emissions side, however, hydrogen fuel has a sketchy dark side, which relies, mostly, on natural gas reformation. Natural gas, of course, is its own worst emissions-nightmare. Solar-powered hydrogen fuel production, on the other hand, could be the emissions and cost solution that the Toyota FCV needs for its clean transportation society.
Image © Toyota