• May 27, 2010

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 the propulsion 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.

As you are likely aware, Toyota has teamed up with Tesla for development of electric vehicles at NUMMI. Now, a new report suggests that the company may join forces with Daimler (which also holds stake in Tesla) to develop affordable hydrogen-powered vehicles.

According to the Financial Times Deutschland (as reported in Reuters), Toyota and Daimler plan "extensive cooperation in the field of fuel cells for electric cars." The 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 could 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
  • 13 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      At this point hydrogen is a waste of time. It is not energy dense, will be sourced from fossil fuels (to start), and has no infrastructure at all. Electric motored vehicles should have a benign energy source. The best would seem to be some tech that improves upon capacitors for storage, as batteries are quite heavy, and the more advanced batteries rely on scarce material not readily available from US sources. And with electrical energy as the source, '0'-cost (per unit) things like wind and solar power can be utilized.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're so all-over the place I don't even know your argument.

        "EVs are great, but they suck, but they're great, but they suck, so we should all have them." is what I got out of that.

        Why I'm tired of fuelefficiency fanboys and their chearleading and condemning of various propulsion choices: You do realize that running out of gas is not the problem with the ICE. The problem is that the ICE is the only readily available propulsion system. Switching to any other sole form of propulsion will not help (yeah, even if it's electric). I actually think switching to all EV would be the worst option.

        Everybody switches to EVs. Guess what, now energy companies have you by the balls as much as the middle east did, and not only do they now control how much you can travel, but how much you can afford to be at home. The answer is not in any 1 source, but diversity of sources.

        If Hydrogen, ICE, Electric, and hybrids are all available, no one has control. 1 energy company is not only competing with other energy companies, but other fuel sources. This is what prevents monopolies and the manipulation and abuse of the masses.

        Not only this, but imagine how much more likely the oil companies would be to jump on board if instead of saying "hey, we're going to take away your source of revenue", we said "hey, instead of just selling gas, we'll provide you a means to sell batteries, electricity, hydrogen, gas, natural gas, and biodiesel. Think of all the money you'll make"
      • 4 Years Ago
      There seems to be too much consolidation within the industry. Companies working together is not necessarily the best thing for consumers... many of times you will get more innovation when companies compete with each other instead of cooperate.

      I also have little hope in fuel-cell cars. The future is batteries, not hydrogen.

      With so many recently partnerships taking place is there is a single company that isn't partnered up with someone else? You could probably link every car company with every other car company through only 1 or 2 degrees of separation... not unlike that game 7 degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So now your Toyota can blow up instead of running away?

      I kid I kid. I'm actually really excited to see if they join on this. If they do, it could be a major push forward in the hydrogen car field, obviously, which is the direction I would hope vehicles go in, versus electric.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Umm... Unless you're talking about a Hy ICE, then a Hy car IS an electric car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        alright, essende, you go set up your $250k solar electricity system and the rest of us just make do with how we deem is most convenient to us. kthanx.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I can't see hydrogen cells ever being successful.

        Hydrogen is just too dangerous (explosive as vapor, dangerously cold as a liquid, must be highly compressed to even match a fraction of gasoline's energy density), fuel cells are currently too temperamental (who wants a car that won't start at 30F?) and expensive, and the production of hydrogen gas isn't even environmentally friendly! (Electrolysis is inefficient, splitting hydrocarbons is basically the same thing as burning coal).

        Battery tech is where it's at.

        If they wanted a small, lightweight, dangerous, efficient source of electricity, they need to get working on a nuclear car. Pebble Bed Reactors anyone? ;)
        • 4 Years Ago
        This definitely could be cool – the more choices consumers have toward the propulsion systems/fuels in their cars, the better (and cheaper) it'll be for us in the long run.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ummm, where did you get the $250K system from??? I recently installed on one side of my roof solar panels for $40K (minus $7K government tax credit so it closer to $33K) with a 25 year warranty and it is more than enough to power/heat up my house. Sure $33K may be a lot of money but when you think about it and spread it along with a 30 year house loan it really is not that expensive. Plus I actually make a bit of the money back when I overproduce electricity and send it back to the grid. And just like every tech, solar panels will come down in price (actually they are a lot more cheaper than they were 2-3 years ago).

        And hydrogen doesn't magically appear out of thin air, it needs outside energy source to be produced, so even if you'll have a hydrogen powered car, chances are you still will be dependent on electricity (or other form of energy). So... yeah, do whatever is convenient for you without actually knowing what is happening around you...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, but problem with hydrogen powered cars is that you need other forms of energy to PRODUCE hydrogen where if you have solar panels on the roof of your house and an electric car, everyone can kiss your ass as you are energy independent. Basically hydrogen requires other forms of energy in order to be produced where electricity IS the form of energy. So I don't share your enthusiasm when it comes to hydrogen cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        you're right, it's been a couple years since I've looked into it at all, and I wasn't shopping, I'm sure I saw it in a PopSci article. I'd love some more info on the set-up you have or similar setups.

        Last I saw, you'd have to have a several motorized, pivoting panels. Fixed panels could barely keep up in the peak 1-2 hours of the day.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Both Toyota and Honda have operational fuel cell cars but not their mass production. By forming a cooperative arrangement with Mercedes, Toyota would benefit not only from eclectic technology but also critical mass marketing. A united and broad presentation of fuel cell cars would dispell fear as well as encourage wider adoption of this cleaner technology.
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