• Jul 20, 2009
How low is "shockingly" low?

According to an article in Ward's Auto (subs req'd), when Toyota puts its first production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle up for sale in 2015, the price will be so low it will "shock" the U.S. auto industry. Justin Ward, advanced powertrain program manager-Toyota Technical Center, said that economies of scale will be in place to drop the price down to something that is surprisingly low. Ward didn't name the shocking price, but did say that Toyota is pleased where its fuel cell technology is today. The automaker fully expects the next iterations of the fuel cell technology – currently used in the FCHV – to be ready to meet all customer demands of range and operating temperature, and it will bring the cars to market whether the refueling infrastructure is in place or not. Toyota is currenlty testing customer behavior with hydrogen cars by seeing how people adapt from a standard Prius to a plug-in Prius to a fuel-cell prototype vehicle.

Right now, customers can lease a Honda FCX Clarity in Southern California for $600 a month. How low will the 2015 price have to be to shock you?

[Source: Ward's Auto (subs req'd)]


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  • 88 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its funny that Hydrogen Power cells have been in use since before the Apollo space program and yet
      forty years later,there are deniers,but by self professed green People no less.
      yes,right now the most cost effective way to glean Hydrogen is still by using Natural Gas that is owned by the Petro Chemical Corporations.
      But,it can also be made right in Your garage with the proper equipment,which You may buy to operate not only Your Hydrogen car but other devices as well,inside and outside the home.
      The price of Hydrogen per Kg is $5.00,the Honda FCX Clarity gets 68 MKg for a range of about
      270 miles per tank at four Kg.
      Here is a test drive of the Honda at Jay Leno's Garage:
      http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/video_player.shtml?vid=205246

      Yes,experimental vehicles are expensive,but We all know what happens when product goes into mass production.
      The FCX uses exotic materials in its Fuel Cell Stack but that does not mean that it is necessary to do so,Nickel and Silver once catalyzed in the proper process works too and there are others,just not as efficient.
      Hydrogen Fueling Stations are few and far between now,but look out if Toyota does make an
      affordable H2 car and it goes over well.

      Now,I'm not a fan of Ol' T. Boone,in fact,I'd go so far as to say that He is a self-serving @ssh*le(buying up water rights in TX and OK,just go to show),but using CNG to make Hydrogen for the Car and Home is a first step till Electrolysis is perfected.
      In the mean time the US is sitting on untold trillions of Sq.ft. of Natural Gas and thus Our money won't be going to Middle Eastern Terrorist Countries.

      I would like to see a return to the days of Dirigibles as a means of efficient Tourism and Heavy
      trans Oceanic Hauling.
      One use could possibly be a suspended platform well over the clouds for logistical,tactical or
      as use as a Solar Collector.
      I would like to think of such a platform as a jumping off place for entry into space,bringing Us full circle.
      Wouldn't that be something?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "ts funny that Hydrogen Power cells have been in use since before the Apollo space program and yet
        forty years later,there are deniers"

        No one is denying that hydrogen fuel exists, or that it works. It just isn't a viable, practical, affordable way to power our cars.

        As for us using natural gas to produce hydrogen, that process produced CO2, and electrolysis is made with electricity, mostly from coal, just like electric cars, however the efficiency is less than a third of the efficiency of batteries.

        I can't really get to everything else you're saying because your sentances are not well formed, but suspended platform in the sky as a "jumping off place" to enter space? What are you on about?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ha, ha. Nuclear power was developed int he 40's, but no one is running their car on it.

        Electric motors were and batteries were developed in the 19th century, and people are driving on that technology right now.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks for the replies.
        Just call me over optimistic,but its a wonderful time to be alive and a little scary too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lifesaver eh? More like a fast way to bankrupt you. Not only you'd need an
      elektrolizer, you'd need hydrogen compressor, expensive tank and pump too...
      (and an extra place to put all that equipment)
      Then much more electricity than it'd take to charge a battery. So in an effect
      it could take to "fill up" a hydrogen car longer than charing batteries, and
      for much higher cost.

      How it's attractive (even remotely)?
      Unless of course someone want to use FCEV just for sake of it. Then right -
      for a privilege of being able to "fill up" lets pay a small fortune.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This looks like an act of desperation. Toyota knows that many battery electrics are coming in two years, and that it's very likely that they will catch on. Their only hope of keeping the hydrogen program alive is to spread FUD. "Please don't buy a BEV, our FCHV will be so muc better, and cheaper, and wonderful! You just have to wait a while longer!" That was exactly the pitch that worked so effectively in California in 2002 when CARB killed the EV mandate, but it won't keep working forever.

      It is interesting that people here think that consumers love going to the gas station so much that they will want to keep doing it. No, once you stop going to the gas station you don't miss it at all. Instead you cringe at the thought. The only exception might be smokers.

      Plugging in at night and unplugging in the morning is 100 times more convenient. Imagine if you had to go to a gas station every time your cell phone needed recharging. What a royal PITA that would be! So why do we think that it's so great for cars?
      • 5 Years Ago
      $15k for a 2010 prius equivalent one. I will be shocked if its below this price.

      Till that i wont be shocked because its only electric motor, fuel cell stack,ultracapacotor , hydrogen storage/helper systems and a CPU.




        • 5 Years Ago
        Yep.

        "Justin Ward, advanced powertrain program manager-Toyota Technical Center, said that economies of scale will be in place to drop the price down to something that is surprisingly low."

        Really? Because thats the exact opposite of what Toyota says about EVs. They delayed the plug-in Prius specifically until other automakers started their own EV production and industry wide demand lowered the cost to manufacture the batteries....yet now they're saying they can achieve "economies of scale" instantaneously out the door on a brand new tech with maybe half-a-dozen possible fuel stations in the entire country? Are they planning on selling 500K their first year out? With near-zero infastructure to fuel them?.....at a time when EVs (which should be on the streets in the hundreds of thousands by then) will have gone down significantly in price??

        Lets say they pull a miracle off and have one for $89K....in what world is that a viable strategy for a car company to pursuing when by then they could be selling EVs with battery packs that will be significantly cheaper than anything out today? A large cheap battery pack makes fuel cells completely WORTHLESS...and they are guaranteed to get cheaper and have longer range...so why waste the money. How much stock do those oil companies own in Toyota?
      • 5 Years Ago
      A planet with 7 Billion People, and China and India rapidly Industrializing, means Hydrogen is DEAD.

      I thought Toyota management would have been smart enough to comprehend this.

      The only way Toyota could be stupid enough to continue building this is if it's getting a Briefcase full of $1000's, every month from Exxon. There's No Conspiracy like Business Conspiracy.

      • 5 Years Ago
      so how do you explain that a prius hybrid recieves an average 51 mpg?
      It's marketed to recieve much more than that
      the battery range only holds up if you drive slower than you could walk
      lithium ion batteries have very little improvements that can be made to them without making them bigger
      Then you still have the problem with a cold start - an EV can't perform one at all.

      If hydrogen economies were deficient then so many countries wouldnt actively be making strides to prove that very idea deficient
      Just because most of america sees electric vehicles as the future it doesn't make it so
      Toyota, Hyundai, GM and Honda are all working towards hydrogen powerful vehicles to be released in 2015, how many electric ones with a comparable range, running cost are?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fuel cells can run from a cold start firstly
        and more companies may be researching electric vehicles, maybe
        but the companies researching fuel cells are the bigger companies, which can afford to make more than 100 cars at a time (Toyota,GM,Honda,Mercedes and i think the last is Hyundai)
        These 5 alone will have a massive influence, Hyundai/Kia alone could sell millions just in china and Japan
        Europe is already building the infrastructure so even if the argument carries on for years over which is better to power cars hydrogen has government funding running into billions (Toyota alone has spent billions on it since 1992)
        It is likely hydrogen will be used through more than half the world either way since the infrastructure and cars are already being built
        Europe would lie to everyone with fake scientists either way just to avoid admitting they might be wrong

        Either way i cant see electric cars in huge numbers in 2015
        • 5 Years Ago
        As someone who has been driving a Prius since '03, I can tell you that the battery is there to optimize efficiency, and it can run on "electricity only at speeds quite a bit higher than "walking speed" - unless you can walk at 35 mph! The NiMh battery it uses has about 3x the energy density of lead acid, and current LiIon batteries has about 4x to 7x the energy density of lead acid. But that is nowhere near the theoretical maximum, and experimental lithium batteries have been demonstrated that could have 5x to 20x the energy density of current LiIon batteries! When those come on the market, we could have battery EVs with over 500 mile range using battery packs smaller than current EVs!

        Batteries can indeed work in cold weather, after all, batteries are used to start all of our existing gassers! But fuel cells cannot work when they are below freezing temperatures, so all the H2FC cars use batteries to run the car until the fuel cells can be warmed up enough to start working. If it ever gets "too cold" for EVs to start, then nothing else will start, either, as all cars, including H2FC cars, rely on batteries for starting!

        Yes, several nations and several car companies are researching H2 fuel cell vehicles - but all of those nations and even more car companies are researching and planning battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which are coming onto the market years before any planned H2 vehicles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Chris M" - "but all of those nations and even more car companies are researching and planning battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which are coming onto the market years before any planned H2 vehicles."

      Any sources?
      The bigger car companies are releasing hydrogen vehicles before 2015, Mercedes is releasing them on lease now and sale in 2010 and the series 7 in 2012
      The EVs are only lease until 2015 and theres still no models announced to be mass produced then so nobody will buy them because of the cost.
      Plus GM won't say how much the Volt costs, it has been estimated at 35-40 k to just about be profitable.

      You may have a prius but you still didn't deny that its range is nowhere near the 300 they claim, it's 51.
      I don't know if someone pays you to spout these "facts" but get sources in future and do some resarch first.
      stumpy
      • 5 Years Ago
      under $40K would be shocking
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't hate the players, hate the game.
      • 5 Years Ago
      For people driving hydrogen cars places that have no hydrogen stations... one possibility is to make your own H2 gas from water and electricity. This advanced technology was first demonstrated in 1789.

      While this is an expensive way to make hydrogen, it might be a lifesaver until there is hydrogen infrastructure. That way you can drive anywhere you have access to electricity and water. I can imagine people getting to their hotel, plugging in their car, and then lugging 5 gallon water jugs to their car, so it can fill itself up.

      I wouldn't be surprised if the fuel cell FCX cost the same as a 2010 Prius-- $20k for one that's stripped down. I think the marketer is figuring the shock will be versus the price of the Volt-- around $40k.
      • 5 Years Ago
      $60k would shock me. I'm betting that they will drastically reduce cost so that it costs between $200k and $100k by 2015.

      The following information is taken from the European FUEL CELL FORUM: http://www.efcf.com/reports/E04.pdf

      "30% losses for water make-up and electrolysis: factor 0.70
      10% losses for compression of hydrogen: factor 0.90
      10% losses for distribution of gaseous hydrogen: factor 0.90
      3% losses for hydrogen transfer: factor 0.97
      50% for conversion to electricity in fuel cells: factor 0.50
      10% parasitic losses for the hydrogen fuel cell system: factor 0.90
      10% electric losses in the drive-train between battery and wheels: factor 0.90

      The "power-plant-to-wheel" efficiency of a fuel cell vehicle operated on compressed
      gaseous hydrogen will be in the vicinity of 22%."

      Thats 22% compared to 90% for a BEV (same 10% lossas last step in FCV), so what is the advantage of hydrogen? You don't need a large battery. The battery in the Tesla Roadster weighs half a ton and costs $25,000 with a range of aproximatly 200 miles.

      So are you willing to drop from 90% to 22% and pay a half million dollars for a fuel cell + tanks in order to save several hundred pounds of weight and increase range from 200 to 400 miles? Obviously no one is willing to pay a half million dollars for that, but fuel cell prices will come down. So if fuel cells come down in price by 2 orders of magnitude then they will cost the same amount as batteries an weigh much less ... right?

      Thats assuming that batteries don't have any improvements in the same period of time. Hydrogen fuel cells will never be able to compete with batteries. They are fundamentally inferior, but they make up for it by costing more.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Remember that you are thinking about this mathematically. The average consumer will not. The average consumer wants to stop and fill up, and they will pay thousands extra for the security of knowing that if they are low on juice, that there is gonna be somewhere to quickly fill up. There is a reason why EV's are not popular now and there was no demand for them in the 90's and it was not JUST because of low gas prices, but people are stuck in their ways... they want to be able to fill their car up in less then 10 minutes. The only people who hate hydrogen are people in the know, such as you and me, the average consumer just sees another car which can be filled up at any station giving hydrogen and be good for the environment while doing it.

        Hydrogen also offers more potential in BIG vehicles such as Buses, Semi's and Tractors. There are electric semi's out there but all have low speed and range and are limited to small areas like sea ports.

        Hydrogen is at a disadvantage in the technology, but it has a HUGE advantage in the fact that it is the same old thing... you stop and fill up and leave.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yep, Sean, that's from an expert in the field, and while the H2 Hypers don't like it, they really can't dispute it. BEVs really are more efficient.

        ShaunneyCakes, it is more likely that customers would choose to Not pay thousands extra and just use existing gassers and hybrids, which have a lot more filling stations available. Customers are concerned with price, and in both vehicle price and "fuel" costs, BEVs hold a distinct advantage over H2FCVs.

        As for fillup speed, a 10 minute H2 refill doesn't hold a candle to an under 2 minute battery swap (and please don't hold a candle near the H2 station!) Of course, BEVs have a huge advantage over H2FCVs - you can recharge every night at home, and you don't have to go out of your way to stop and fill up every week or so at the station.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sean ,
        I think you have hit the nail on the head , 22% efficiency is
        about the US fleet average on the present gasoline , adopting H2
        would keep the status quo about where the majority of car
        manufacturers would like to keep it .

        What a lot of people forget is that fuel cell cars have a large battery
        under the floor anyway to enable regen-braking and also to allow
        a lot smaller fuel cell to be used .

        At the moment Fuel cells are darned expensive , the type used in the
        clarity ,which is about as small as you would want go in a medium
        sized family car costs around $200,000 dollars , this is due in part to
        amount of precious metals used in its construction ,( and believe me
        I do not think the price of platinum is going to get cheaper in the next
        few years ) , and also due to the complexity .

        Several customers who leased the older Honda fuel-cell cars reported
        that when a malfunctioning car was taken in for repair, the car often
        disappeared and was replaced with a new one , which would indicate
        that the problem was to large to repair on a dealer level .
        If the failure with the car is actually the fuel cell( which at this present
        time seems to have a life span of some 50,000 miles ) who is going
        to pay for it when it goes wrong ! the dealer ? , the manufacturer ?
        certainly the customer will not be able to afford it , and what sort of
        dealer is going to be able to afford to put a couple of these items
        on his spares shelves ?

        There are so many problems with H2 as a road fuel I think in the
        long run it will be overtaken by BEV . As the price of large format
        Lithium cells drops dramatically and battery swapping becomes
        the norm these fuel-cell cars will make there way back to their
        respective company museums , to be marveled at by the next
        generation !
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ShaunneyCakes
        "The average consumer wants to stop and fill up, and they will pay thousands extra for the security of knowing that if they are low on juice, that there is gonna be somewhere to quickly fill up."

        YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION!!

        There ISN'T somewhere to quickly fill up and there NEVER WILL BE! It doesn't matter if they are capable of filling up quickly because the infrastructure will never be there!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think the shock will be that the price is low on a scale of what we want to pay, ie, $15k, or so. No, I think the low price is in terms of relative competitors' prices, so it will be less than $800 a month to lease. That might be low, but it could also still be too expensive for most. If it was under $30K I'd be surprised, under $25k and I'd be shocked.
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