Toyota still plans on making "tens of thousands" of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) annually by the 2020s, Bloomberg News reports, citing Didier Leroy, the automaker's chief of European operations.

Didier, speaking at the Geneva Motor Show last week, said Toyota is cutting the production costs associated with FCEVs, according to the wire service. The Japanese automaker is also counting on a broader network of hydrogen fueling stations, which currently number fewer than 60 in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Toyota, which plans to start selling FCEVs in the U.S. in 2015, said late last year that the production cost of a fuel-cell vehicle would be about $140,000 if it went on sale now, but that the cost should drop to about $50,000 three years from now.

In late January, Toyota started putting its FCHV-adv fuel-cell vehicles into service at Japan's Narita International Airport, and was hoping that testing of such vehicles would verify the current estimated range of 431 miles.

Automakers are looking at fuel-cell vehicles as a possible solution to environmental concerns because FCEVs can provide a similar single-tank range as a conventional vehicle without the emissions, but FCEV development has been cost prohibitive. Green-technology research firm Pike Research estimated last fall that cumulative FCEV sales will surpass 1 million units and will generate $16.9 billion in annual revenue by the end of the decade. That's down from Pike's prior forecast of $28.9 billion in sales on 2.8 million units.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      Greg
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder what they're smoking. Fuel cell cars currently cost around $300k to build. I don't see them bringing that down by an order of magnitude in ten years. Also, hydrogen itself is a bit of a problem. Sure, you can refill your car faster with it than electricity, but if we ever get supercapacitors in cars instead of batteries, that may be a moot point. The biggest flaw of hydrogen is that you have to extract it to use it, and that requires so much energy, it's just throwing money away. E.g., if you obtain hydrogen from electrolysis of water, you need to first have a certain amount of electricity. If you simply used that electricity in your car instead of getting the hydrogen, you'd be able to drive ~2x as far.
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Greg
        Maybe you should read the article, Greg: "Toyota, which plans to start selling FCEVs in the U.S. in 2015, said late last year that the production cost of a fuel-cell vehicle would be about $140,000 if it went on sale now, but that the cost should drop to about $50,000 three years from now."
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          http://green.autoblog.com/2011/11/09/toyotas-2015-hydrogen-vehicle-still-estimated-to-cost-50-000/
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Greg
        Toyota has already stated that their current prototype FCV costs around $125,000. Halving that in a couple years with volume production seems fairly reasonable.
        Ele Truk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Greg
        Actually it's more like 3-4 times as far. Hydrogen is extremely wasteful if you are getting it from renewable energy. It's actually more efficient to use steam reforming of natural gas.
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Interesting statement from Toyota. The continuing investment in Hydrogen technology is heartening. FCV's are definitely worth pursuing, as are all alternate fuel technologies. I invested in EV technology because the technology is relatively simple. Back in the early nineties, I was seeking a profitable, environmentally based solution to specialist transport needs in ecologically sensitive areas. Technically, EV's presented a practical, easily adapted solution. If the vehicles were not commercially available, I always could build my own! (and did) I have always believed that improvements to EV energy storage would develop rapidly. This is proving to be correct, and EV technology is rapidly becoming mainstream. But, FCV's may also prove a practical and important part of the solution to oil depletion. The real difference is that Hydrogen infrastructure and engineering technology is far more complex and requires large scale engineering investment. There's no role for small players. It's equally natural that the giant Oil/Agri- companies would become increasingly involved in bio-genetic R&D to create a viable bio-fuel feedstock. Such a breakthrough suits their business model, and can utilise existing infrastructure. Despite my substantial investment and commitment to EV development, the long term goal of finding replacement fuels for Oil and Coal is more important . It's not important which technology succeeds, or if it takes a combination of technologies to achieve that goal. Personally, what's most important, is that my grandchildren will be able to enjoy the same, or better, planet (and economy) that I experienced, during my lifetime. No technology should be rejected, even Nuclear.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        "BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer says the German automaker is interested in expanding its partnership with Toyota (TM), the Nikkei reports, citing comments made at the Geneva Motor Show. The executive says the company is also in talks with General Motors (GM) on joint development of fuel cell technology." (From the Japanese paper Nikkei)
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Perhaps Toyota is throwing FUD out there to keep people away from electric cars. Translation: Don't buy electric cars . . . buy our hybrids in the meantime and eventually we'll ship fuel cell cars. Really. We will. Ignore all those previous broken promises.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Its somewhat amusing that those who are most opposed to introducing fuel cell cars at all moan the most when they are delayed. One would have thought that a very good thing from their POV. Unfortunately to cast a shadow over their whinge-fest, fuel cell vehicles are now entering production in the low hundreds, so they should be overjoyed at this progress.
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          " It took about three minutes to fill up the tank, the receipt showed that we had filled the 3.18 kg hydrogen and we paid £ 238.50 on the card machine. " Thanks for the reference, LTAW. That price, if correct, comes to £ 75 per Kg, a price well above the price of gasoline in England. Even if that was supposed to be Euros or Kroner, the price is still extravagantly high. and represents a rather high per-mile fuel cost as well. Perhaps competition might drive down the cost of hydrogen fuel - proponents of hydrogen better hope so, because at those prices, it's going to be a very hard sell, and is nowhere near competitive with the cost of electricity.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Spec apparently didn't see the recent Mercedes article about the F-Cell commercial... As DaveMart pointed out, FCVs have been introduced to consumers in limited numbers (hundreds of FCVs, thousands of drivers, millions of miles driven) and they've been received very enthusiastically. "To the north of Lillehammer, began the trip computer to reduce the range estimate more than km we drove. Previously, it had been reversed. It snowed a little light and Road 255 at Gausdal was ice and snølagt. The road winds its way steadily up the valley. When you arrive at the destination computer showed that we had hydrogen for 315 km left in the tank and that we had driven 230 km. The temperature was – 6 degrees. The temperature in the car we had was about 20 degrees all the way. The car was out all night. The next morning the thermometer showed -13.7 C on departure. The car started without any delays and was ready for the trip back. The car uses about 10-20 seconds to start up and I did not notice any delay when starting from cold. It was very smooth on the way to Lillehammer. The car only has two-wheel drive was well on the way. Also on the private road where quite a few have run off the road in the winter it worked just fine. As we passed through Gardermoen, we could conclude that we would be able to set a new record if we drove a little longer than planned. So we drove past the hydrogen station, the wholesaler, passed the new hydrogen station at Gaustad and ran a trip to Hovik, back to Lillestrøm before we drove back to the station, the wholesaler. The trip meter showed 504.2 km and the trip computer told us that there were hydrogen 22 km left in the tank, the hybrid battery was charged up to 60%. It took about three minutes to fill up the tank, the receipt showed that we had filled the 3.18 kg hydrogen and we paid £ 238.50 on the card machine. However, this may not be used as the exact basis for calculating the consumer when the pressure in the tank at the “full tank” may vary. The car can run free on the toll roads, and as I write this I came that you can also run in the collective field which we completely forgotten despite the fact that we were driving in rush hour traffic and could have made use of it. The conclusion is that this is a car that is suitable for Norwegian conditions. It can be used to drive to the cabin in the mountains and back or from the house in the countryside to the city. The car looks and behaves normally and you forget that there is something special. It has a spacious cargo capacity and ground clearance OK. On the smooth roads of Gausdal it worked very well. What is special is that you can drive far without polluting and it is fantastic. Lilja said the car gave a feeling of gliding across the road and closer to the environment due to less noise."
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Yeah . . . they need to ship them. They need to put up or shut up. The constant delaying of them casts a cloud of fear, uncertainty, and doubt on all other technologies since there is always this "Just wait until FCVs hit the market". They need to offer something for sale and let people have a chance to judge them instead of endlessly promising and never delivering. If you can't deliver then stop making promises you can't keep.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Both Daimler and Hyundai are deploying test fleets in the low hundreds. Even if progress has been slower than some had hoped, there is no question at all that the size, durability, and the cost of fuel stacks has substantially improved. When Nissan tell us that their fuel cell stack is ready to go, I have no reason to doubt them, and it seems to me to be a bad case of confirmation bias that some accept every word from Nissan on their battery tech but apply 100% discount to their statements on fuel cells.
      JakeY
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's history. Bush changed his stance at the end of his office (signing off on loans/grants that at least in part provide funding to plug-ins). Obama reversed that stance completely (giving huge backing to plug-ins and BEVs). At this point, I don't think plug-ins and BEVs can be put back in the box anymore. But I'm giving fuel cell cars a chance; if they make that 2015 deadline for sales, then they deserve a try in the market. But I take any promises of volume as empty until then. As for the oil companies, they don't have much to worry about right now given the high oil prices. Some have been trying to diversify in the face of countries planning to move away from oil. And I think their enthusiasm will be lower for hydrogen in the time being given the currently low natural gas prices.
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      My position has always been that it is not either/or for fuel cells and batteries. There are situations where the superior energy density of using a fuel cell is absolutely necessary, in everything from heavy trucking to aviation as well as perhaps in larger cars, and perhaps when you need a long range. In many circumstances it makes sense though to use batteries where they work OK. Recent projected increases in battery capacity and reductions in cost have persuaded me that perhaps for most private cars batteries may do the job to a much greater extent than I had thought. Its pretty nice not having a fixed position actually, simply a willingness to adopt what comes along as and when it becomes available! Either a BEV with a range of around 400km or a fuel cell battery hybrid with around 30 miles of EV range and the rest on the fuel cell RE would suit me nicely.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here's a range test that was done a few years back: "The maximum range of the FCHV‐adv vehicles was calculated to be 431 miles under these driving conditions. This distance was calculated from the actual range of 331.5 miles during over 11 hours driving, plus 99.5 miles of additional range calculated from the average fuel economy from the day times the remaining usable hydrogen. Driving range results were independently calculated for each vehicle, and these results averaged together to achieve the final 431‐mile range estimate. The uncertainty on these results is relatively low due to eight independent measurements of distance and six separate measurements of hydrogen usage, with a resulting uncertainty of ± 7 miles (± 1.7%) based on spread between the low and high values from all of the multiple measurements. The average fuel economy resulting from the day’s driving was 68.3 miles/kg and the total hydrogen stored on‐board at 70 MPa was calculated to be 6.31 kg. The speed profiles were analyzed and compared to standard driving cycles, and were determined to be of moderate aggressiveness. The city segments of the route had average speeds slightly greater than the UDDS cycle and the highway segments were close to the HWFET & US06 cycles. The average acceleration for the highway driving was very close to the HWFET cycle, and the city portions had average accelerations lower than the UDDS and US06 cycles. We feel that the route accurately reflects realistic driving behaviors in southern California on a typical weekday, and is an appropriate benchmark to use in the verification of a fuel cell vehicle’s range." http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/pdfs/toyota_fchv-adv_range_verification.pdf ...and here's the current fuel cell system price estimates, with figures for production ranges from dozens to hundreds of thousands (page 41 for relevant transportation fc system cost): $219/kW in single-digit production, $82/kW in ten thousand-unit production, $49/kW in 500,000 units. http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/program_plan2011.pdf
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      Virtually all commercially available hydrogen comes from natural gas. In the process of converting natural gas to hydrogen CO2 is released to the atmosphere. Furthermore, methane leakage rates are probably higher than previously thought. Methane is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Methane is actually 74 time more potent of a greenhouse gas than CO2 but methane breaks down over time. The 20X factor includes the fact that methane breaks down over time. If the leakage rate is above 2% natural gas is worse than coal. The latest evidence reveals a leakage rate of about 4%. In my opinion, fuel cells = hydrogen from natural gas = NOT THE RIGHT SOLUTION. It took decades for environmentalist to come to the conclusion that ethanol was oversold. We don't have the luxury of waiting decades to realize that natural gas is NOT a green fuel source.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        'Hyundai says its own fuelling stations in Korea (it hopes to have 13 on stream by the end of this year) are using hydrogen produced from a chemical process — and supplies can service about six vehicles a day. However, Kim says the practical supply for hydrogen is from renewable energy sources. By using by-product hydrogen, he says such supplies could easily sustain 500,000 FCEVs a year. "Developing the infrastructure is not that challenging in Korea," he says.' http://www.driving.ca/Preview+Hyundai+Tucson+Fuel+Cell+Electric+Vehicle/5615508/story.html
      JakeY
      • 3 Years Ago
      Volume promises like this are a dime a dozen. A couple of choice quotes from this piece that summarized the previous 2010 "mass production" promise. http://www.fuelcells.org/info/charts/AutoCompaniesonFuelCells.pdf GM: "GM is predicting that hundreds of thousands of vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells will be on the road by 2010." 7/30/02 Ford: "By 2010 Ford believes it will be making at least 50,000 fuel cell vehicles per year, many times the number the company will produce in 2004, when it is expected to make the first sales." 4/8/02 Chrysler: "DaimlerChysler officials in the late 1990’s made some remarks that it was planning on building from 50,000 to 100,000 fuel cell vehicles between 2005 and 2010." Japan: "Japan has the ambitious goal of laying the groundwork by 2005 for FCV commercialization, with the aim of having 50,000 fuel cell vehicles by 2010 and five million by 2020 (one out of every 14 cars), according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI)" I'll still hold them to a hydrogen car sold for $50k by 2015. Until then all this is fluff.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JakeY
        Yeah, the energy companies pushed FCV vehicles hard even though they didn't make sense. From the oil company perspective, fuel cells allow them to: -Sell lots of their natural gas to create hydrogen -Use their existing gas station infrastructure to sell hydrogen in the future -Use their refinery infrastructure to convert natural gas into hydrogen -Etc. They were not keen on electricity . . . EVs completely cut oil/gas companies out of the loop except for natural gas going to power companies. Their crude oil, refineries, gas stations . . . all cut out of the loop. The know they could not stop EVs, but they were able to use their political clout to push FCVs instead of EVs. And that is why you saw oil man George W. Bush pushing FCVs.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Oh, I agree that research should continue on FCVs. And it would be cool if some companies can put out FCVs that cost less than $50K. I hope it happens. I'm pretty skeptical though. But I really loathe the idea of oil companies directing alt-energy programs at things they produce just because they are throwing their money around. The alt-energy systems that work best should be supported the most.
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JakeY
        There has been a long history of overly optimistic predictions by hydrogen fuel promoters that have failed, there is no reason to suspect this optimistic prediction will be any different. There are several factors that could derail it, including lack of fueling infrastructure, high costs, or competition from cheaper plug-in vehicles. If a major breakthrough happens in either batteries or in fuel cells running on cheaper and easier to store fuels, then it's all over for the hydrogen hype
      russellbgeister
      • 3 Years Ago
      clowns unless they can figure out a way to get hydrogen from water cheaply and efficently this is stupid its like the cart before the horse staments like this prove that toyota don't beleve in the electic car and there hybrids are as far as they are willing to go lets see whos right
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @russellbgeister
        Yep, you or the engineering departments of Daimler, Hyundai, Toyota Nissan et al. Close call for knowledge, ain't it?
          russellbgeister
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          ah yes but dave they certainly can make the fuel cell work thats proven its the fuel thats the problem
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Hydrogen has been produced, stored, and transported safely in industrial quantities for decades.
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hope not. That means more carbon pollution, added carbon means higher global warming temperatures. Today, it's 68 degrees in Pennsylvania, on March 12! Because we all know Hydrogen will come from Natural Gas, and not some renewable non-carbon resource. It's a step backward. Is the Oil Industry funding this Dead End?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Hydrogen is more than just an oil company play - the air-gas companies are big players, as are the major electric utilities. The electric utilities especially see hydrogen tech as a way to balance their intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar. "Last October, in an area 120 kilometers north of Berlin, Enertrag AG began operating one of the country’s first hybrid plants to generate wind power and convert it into hydrogen, with the help of its partners, Vattenfall, Total and Deutsche Bahn. Their investment has been spurred by EU targets for member states to source 35% of their electricity mixes to renewables by 2020, and 80% by 2050. “My personal wish is that we help create the energy turning point and that wind power-to-hydrogen will take on a leading role. The politicians are very interested in what we are doing here,” said Werner Diwald, an Enertrag board member. Enertrag plans to build 10MW of hydrogen conversion capacity from 2015 onwards. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan a year ago, Germany closed eight nuclear reactor blocks in one fell swoop, leaving power grids vulnerable to gaps in output from more variable wind and solar power."
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