Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
5 Jul 2014
10:00 am

Toyota take hydrogen vehicle to market

Citizen Reporter

Toyota has revealed the exterior design and Japanese market guide pricing of its hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Sedan, following the car's appearance in concept form at last year's Tokyo Motor Show.

The four-door saloon will be introduced first in Japan, before next April. Preparations are in hand for launches in the US and Europe in 2015.

In Japan, the Fuel Cell Sedan will be sold at Toyota and Toyopet dealerships, priced at approximately seven million yen (about R700 000). Initially sales will be limited to those parts of the country where a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is under development. Prices for Europe and the US have not yet been decided. Detailed information such as final prices, specifications and sales expectations will also be announced later.

Toyota’s commitment to developing vehicles that are kinder to the environment is based on three principles: embracing diverse energy sources; securing low vehicle emissions; and driving positive environmental change.

Hydrogen has great potential as an alternative fuel. It can be produced from a wide variety of primary energy sources, including solar and wind power; it’s easy to store and transport; and, when compressed, it has a higher energy density than batteries. It could also be used in a much wider range of applications beyond automotive and domestic use, including large-scale power generation.

Toyota has been developing fuel cell vehicles in-house for more than 20 years. Its system includes a proprietary FC Stack, which generates electricity from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The technology was featured in the Toyota FCHV (fuel cell hybrid vehicle), an SUV which was leased to customers on a limited basis in Japan and the USA from 2002. (Toyota companies are also engaging in other hydrogen-related initiatives, such as developing and testing fuel cells for use in homes, and designing fuel cell forklifts and buses.)

Since then, Toyota has significantly improved its FC system. The Fuel Cell Sedan revealed today, for example, delivers performance and a cruising range similar to that of a petrol-engined vehicle, and refuelling takes three minutes. When driven, the only tailpipe emission is water vapour, produced by the chemical reaction between the hydrogen and oxygen.