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Toyota Highlander FCHV-adv and Mercedes-Benz F-Cell

Daimler began developing fuel-cell vehicles way back in 1994. To date, the company has spent $1.23 billion on fuel cell technology. Toyota entered into the hydrogen realm even earlier by kicking off development back in 1992. With decades of combined experience, both companies have become front runners in fuel-cell technology. Toyota and Honda became the first automakers to put commercial hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles on the roads back in 2002. Toyota recently teamed up with Tesla for development of electric vehicles at NUMMI and now a new report suggests that the company may join with Daimler (which also holds stake in Tesla) to develop affordable hydrogen-powered vehicles.

According to the Financial Times Deutschland, which of course sites undisclosed sources, Toyota and Daimler plan "extensive cooperation in the field of fuel cells for electric cars." Financial Times also suggests that the collaborative work could take the form of a joint venture. The newspaper contacted both companies for official confirmation, but Toyota denied knowledge of any such deal and Daimler was not available for comment.

Last year, some of the major players in fuel cell technology agreed to work together to promote the adoption of the hydrogen-powered vehicle. Within that group, we saw names like Daimler, Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai. With so many companies pledging to combine their might on fuel-cell vehicle development, we assumed that some sort of joint venture would emerge. Tim Urquhart, an analyst at IHS Global Insight suggests that a Toyota-Daimler joint venture would benefit both companies. As Urquhart said:
The high development costs associated with trying to bring fuel-cell powertrain technology to production means that it is a highly logical step for Daimler and Toyota to try and share the costs and their extensive knowledge in fuel-cell technology.
At this point, it may just be wishful thinking, but we'd love to see a joint venture between the two companies. It would surely help out the hydrogen vehicle programs of each respective company and a joint venture might even bring more jobs back to NUMMI.

[Source: Reuters]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lets give an optomistic possibility. Tesla gets a good deal on a factory for the S and other models. Perhaps including say electric versions of the Smart and the Yaris and Toyota and Daimler get drive train tecnology for not only those models but serial hybrids using Tesla drive trains and range extenders using either gas, diesel, or small fuel cell systems. All sorts of interesting posibilties.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota and Daimler both have stakes in Tesla, hang on......

      THAT WAS OUR E.V COMPANY...YOU MANIACS, YOU BLEW IT UP...DAMN YOU... DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tesla was never anything but an expensive joke.

        Good POTA reference though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There is no "OUR" and "THEIRS" anymore - that's history. The fu@#!ng corporates all over the world work together screwing every single one of us incl. the corrupt governments (GM, BP, WoMD/Irak, etc.). I couldn't care less who says and does what. They all lie anyway. You are as important or not as the guy in China who works his bum of for $0.40 per hour - believe me!
        They only have to sell it to you that you won't get upset and won't know why it just happened to you...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Doug
        Glad someones awake
        • 4 Years Ago
        xyz totally ignored the awesome Planet of the Apes reference...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota's old method: Be King of the world.

      Toyota's new method: Divide and conquer.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That "letter of understanding" rears its head again.

        • 4 Years Ago
        not ignore... be afraid, be very afraid. /s

        "“In order to ensure a successful market introduction of fuel cell vehicles, this market introduction has to be aligned with the build-up of the necessary hydrogen infrastructure. Therefore a hydrogen infrastructure network with sufficient density is required by 2015.”"

        http://www.h2carblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Letter-of-Understanding.pdf

        -----------

        I'm not actually bothered by it...

        The letter is only telling oil companies that the ball is in the their court. That automakers are ready to begin when oil companies start building the infrastructure.

        Looks like plans are in the works... but it still seems that oil companies want the governments to pay the bill instead.

        It doesn't specify exactly how much H2 fueling capacity is needed to warrant the full scale production of FCVs by automakers.

        So it is possible that 2015 will come... the oil companies will only have built enough capacity for a few thousand FCVs... and the automakers will say that "sufficient density" was not reached.

        Germany might make it... but I don't know about the US.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Because when highly visible and respected multi-national corporations get together and agree to do something, we should just ignore them. They're just kidding around, having a laugh...


        /s
      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's a great idea, but they just keep crashing into the laws of physics. Tesla was never going to produce cars for the common wage earner, so that's no great loss. The end game apparently is the elite will be driving around HFCVs while the proletariat stays home on the commune, where the elite can keep a close eye on them.
        harlanx6
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        The energy required to produce hydrogen from water is more than it stores, and that is the flaw in your argument. As energy storage technology advances, EVs will always be superior to HFCVs. If you are one of the hydrogen stakeholders, use it to produce electricity and turn it into the grid where we can all use it. Don't try to shove it down the throats of car owners. It's a square peg in a round hole.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Oh dear. Someone's been reading 1984 by George Orwell lately.

        I see it as like any other new technology. I sure as hell didn't have a flat screen tv or laptop in my house 10 years ago, but now you can pick up a laptop and TV on an unemployment check :P

        The ICE was the same. It was Ford that brought motoring to the masses at 1/4th the cost of a Mercedes Benz or other brand, by using efficient mass production techniques and producing a cheap car. EV's are just starting to become mass produced and we will see them under $30k in a matter of years.

        It'll happen with hydrogen too, but it'll take a lot longer. Meanwhile i am still trying to figure out why we need hydrogen, exactly. Seems like a science faire solution to a problem that's already been solved.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        @neptronix

        The reason for wanting H2 is simple: the (all numbers rough) specific energy of batteries is 100 Wh/kg and energy density is 150 Wh/l while for H2 (700 bar tank), the specific energy is 1400 Wh/kg and energy density is 900 Wh/l. Unless batteries experience a revolutionary increase, H2 will always be better.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        "It'll happen with hydrogen too, but it'll take a lot longer"

        It may never happen. The only reason ICE's dominated for so long was not because EV's are inherently poorer technology (they are actually better), but because ICE's beat them to the mas production and development race. This kept EV's in the shadows for a hundred years. The same will happen to FCV's as a result of EV', except that FCV's aren't as good as EV's so I predict FCV's will never hit mainstream adoption for passenger cars.

        harlanx6
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        It's like HFCV advocates are trying to sell refrigerators to Eskimos. They know they don't need them, but they think if they spin it the right way, they will still get that commission!
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        That "1400 Wh/Kg and 900 Wh/l" becomes somewhat less impressive when you add in the weight and space requirements for the fuel cell. Moreover, the fuel cell is less efficient than a battery, so a H2FCV must store more energy to get the same range. There is a reason why the FCX Clarity only gets 270 miles per tank, not much more than the Tesla Roadsters 240 miles per charge, and less than the 300 mile range of the Model S with extra-range batteries.

        There are batteries already on the market that exceed 100 Wh/Kg, Tesla is using 170 Wh/Kg cells, their entire battery pack, including the weight of the case and battery monitors still gets about 130 Wh/Kg. Even higher energy densities are possible, experimental Li/Air batteries have already achieved 1,000 Wh/Kg, and could go even higher. Once perfected and on the market, it could power EVs to a greater range than any H2FCV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        "Tesla was never going to produce cars for the common wage earner"

        Maybe the chances of them reaching this is low given the Leaf, but the CEO always said the goal was toward a mass market EV $30k or under (way before the Leaf was even unveiled).
        harlanx6
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        I think you are right. Sub $30K will be necessary to make inroads against the army of new and much more efficient ICE cars coming. After all, this is going to be a competition between the ICE vehicles with their low initial costs, but higher operating costs, and EVs with a higher initial cost and lower operating costs. There is no doubt that Nissan in committed to the EV business, and so far they are winning.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        @jeffwishart
        Your dancing around is why people get so fed up with HFCV advocates. If you want to talk energy density, gasoline is a sky-high 12,700 Wh/kg ( http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/ArthurGolnik.shtml ). So advocates change the subject again and talk about zero tailpipe emissions. But well-to-wheel batteries do way better on emissions. So they change the subject again and talk about fast refueling. (To be equally critical, now the BEV advocates change the subject and point out recharging at home takes a minute to plug in and walk away).

        But since most trips are local, you get less pollution overall by having a decent-sized battery for plug in and a range extender. The case for HFCV as a better range extender than fossil fuel ICE is *really* hard to make. Plug-in HFCV loses on cost, convenience, range, and availability; its only wins are less pollution on long drives (which studies show most drivers rarely make) and a long, long-term solution for reducing oil use even more than PHEVs.

        So much dancing around, it gets tiring.

        I almost feel sorry for oil companies. In 2015 there will be lots of places to cheaply recharge your car (plus billions of trickle charge "wall sockets") and relatively few H2 stations. Selling a hydrogen car that can't plug in will be very challenging. But if HFCVs can plug in, the gasoline companies' wet dream of continuing to sell fuel in vast quantities gets flaccid; they'll be reduced to city H2 stations for apartment dwellers without a plug and highway refuel stations.
        harlanx6
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        HFCVs don't make much sense to people that understand how much energy it takes to produce hydrogen from water. You should just use that energy to drive your EV and get rid of the extra step. If you produce H2 from nat gas, why bother? You should just use the nat gas as fuel in your ICE. Why all the hype for HFCVs? You have to follow the money. Who exactly are the stakeholders in hydrogen technologies? I suspect the oil companies with their huge lobbying efforts are behind the push to overcome the resistance the people have to this obviously extremely expensive and impractical technology, with government complicity. The oil companies are perfectly positioned to provide the necessary hydrogen. If we had a hydrogen economy, and the government controlled the allocation of hydrogen, It would be much easier to keep the people on the plantation, where they can watch them.
        The direction I think about is using free sunshine to make myself energy independent of the government, public utilities (controlled by the government) and the corruption of the oil companies. Only then can we be free.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I immediately though of the Tesla connection reading the headline. However, I think it is just a rumor reading the details. I see no reason to keep it under wraps if they really were working together.

      Right now on the plug-in front, we don't really see much cooperation (beyond needed standards) between the big manufacturers (although we see deals with between big makes and smaller startups). I think the reason is companies want to protect their technology so the competition doesn't get an edge in a completely new market. They can also form a patent pool that can force other makes to license their technology (like Toyota did with the Prius).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nissan / Renault is a general alliance (which they have been in since 1999), I see it more of like the Daimler / Chrysler relationship, not really two independent companies coming together to work on EVs.

        The Ford / Toyota licensing kind of illustrates my point. They aren't really collaborating in terms of development or sharing technology, but rather working out licensing deals. Ford emphasized that their systems were independently developed and that the licensing was just to avoid legal troubles.

        The two-mode hybrid, I would give it to you that I forgot that (mainly because it hadn't really been in the news given the slow sales). That is truly genuine collaboration.

        My main point on plug-ins is the key technology like battery packs, inverters, motors, etc. are mainly being built in house (or in joint ventures with companies that already make those parts). I don't think we have seen any of the big companies work together in developing these parts. They would rather independently develop it (or find smaller companies to help them develop it) and then license/sell it to others (like Nissan is planning to do with their batteries).

        Similarly, I don't think these companies will work together on developing fuel cell stacks or storage tanks. They might buy from the same supplier, but I find it unlikely they will share the technology. Unlike in the two mode, they have been doing it independently for so long already. If they wanted to collaborate, they would have (and should have) done it a long time ago.

        They have common goals, but they all want to be first to market and have it mostly to themselves (like the Prius).
        • 4 Years Ago
        We have seen lots of cooperation with hybrids:

        Ford / Toyota have a cross-licensing deal. BMW / GM / DaimlerChrysler worked on two-mode hybrids. Nissan / Renault is a more recent collaboration.

        The common denominator for FCVs is in the stack - specifically the catalysts (everyone wants to replace platinum) and in storage tanks (although QTWW pretty much supplies everyone GM-Toyota-Mercedes etc). If they refine the basic stacks, there's still plenty of room for differentiation in the management systems and drivelines. Economy of scale could be a serious factor in an early link up.

        I agree this is still in the rumor/speculation category, but I could understand why these two FCV makers would want to join forces - the Japanese and German governments are both much more proactive in creating hydrogen economies, where President Obama (among others) appears content to let GM's lead whither on the vine...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Was it 2002 or 2003 that the same headline ran with "GM" instead of "Diamler"? That didn't amount to much more than a headline in the end.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How many billions was it that the Middle East invested in Daimler?
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