• Jul 20th 2009 at 7:56PM
  • 88
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)]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 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:

      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?
        • 6 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?
        • 6 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.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Thanks for the replies.
        Just call me over optimistic,but its a wonderful time to be alive and a little scary too.
      • 6 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.
      • 6 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?
      • 6 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.

        • 6 Years Ago

        "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?
      • 6 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.

      • 6 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?
        • 6 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.
        • 6 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
      • 6 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.
      • 6 Years Ago
      under $40K would be shocking
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't hate the players, hate the game.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Boxman quoted me:
      David Martin said: "It seems a bit strange to me that people are prepared to dismiss Toyota's efforts so readily."

      Then commented:
      'No David, what's even more strange is that people are willing to dismiss physics, economics, and common sense so readily...'

      Yeah, why should I take any notice of Toyota, after all, what do they know about building cars, or engineering, economics or physics, when I can go with the opinions of a couple of guys on a blog? :-0

      What I find extraordinary is the assumption that Toyota are not aware that they will need, for instance, to greatly reduce the use of precious metals in fuel cell vehicles to achieve their goals, and that the other difficulties raised have never occurred to them either.

      They might not be successful, but I am prepared to bet heavily that they have a game-plan laid out of how they intend to reach their targets.

      Since we don't even know whether they intend to use a PEM or a solid oxide fuel cell, or perhaps use on board reformers, it is far too sweeping to conclude that there is no possible approach that will work.

      It is simply not the case that the objections raised here have never been thought of by advocates of fuel cells, or that they are not aware of the need to address them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't know whether Toyota's and Honda's ideas will work. But I am pretty sure that two companies who have introduced so many innovations have a game plan in mind, and to assume otherwise seems somewhat disrespectful to two teams of fine engineers.

        Personally I favour lithium air batteries, or possibly zinc air, but none of us know how things will pan out or if the improvements we hope for in any particular branch of technology will happen.

        Perhaps it is no more a stretch to think that the heat issues, of, for instance, solid oxide fuel cells may be overcome than to assume that the limitations of present day batteries will.

        In order to properly evaluate one would have to know the full details of all the work being done in both fields, and have access to data which is likely to be confidential to the research groups concerned.

        Whilst I might have greater concerns and reservations regarding some technologies than others, it seems pretty premature and unwise to dismiss all variants of, for example, fuel cell technology.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, if they use onboard reforming, that means it will be fueled with existing hydrocarbon fuels and won't need H2 - but it also means additional cost and weight for the reformer.

        If they use solid oxide fuel cells, that means they could use existing hydrocarbon fuels, without a reformer - but the high temperature operation pose problems for automotive use.

        Maybe they have solved the H2 cost problems - or maybe, they are bluffing and "whistling in the dark" and hoping for a miracle to happen soon.
      • 6 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.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "and it will bring the cars to market whether the refueling infrastructure is in place or not."

      And people talk about refueling infrastructure with ev's being a problem? At least if you run out of juice in an ev, there are plugs every block, and you can wait a bit to recharge. If you're out of juice and not within range of a hydrogen equipped station, your car NEEDS to get towed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ok, lets be honest, both Hydrogen and Electric (in mass numbers) are years away but obviously EV will be here first. Hydrogen has more potential then Electric to be adopted by America as the next fuel since the refill process is relatively quick and works the same way.

        Right now, both are too expensive, of course hydrogen is WAY too expensive, but if they can get hydrogen to the point where EV and Hydrogen are actually competing with each other, then we will make the switch faster. Both EV's and Hydrogen vehicles have problems to them, but if they are competing with each other, we may someday see a Hydrogen car under 30,000 and an AFFORDABLE highway speed EV with a range of more then 100 miles in cold weather.

        This is why I support the development of Hydrogen, and anyone who cares about the future of automotive technology should as well. I prefer EV, but recharge time is still WAY too long, and not everyone will be able to shell out another 3,000 to get a rapid charger installed.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X