Toyota is not bullish on EVs. That comes from the company's North American CEO, Jim Lentz, who said the company will focus not on electrification, but on continued hybridization with a long-term focus on hydrogen fuel cells.

Lentz questioned the long-range ability of EVs, saying that Toyota feels "there are better alternatives, such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and tomorrow with fuel cells." Lentz spoke about Toyota's focus on hydrogen following Forbes Brainstorm Green conference and barely a week after a battery deal between Tesla and Toyota ended, according to Automotive News.

That deal provided for 2,500 battery packs for the Rav4 EV. While valuable to Toyota, the deal "was never about open-ended volume," Lentz said. "It was time to either continue or stop. My personal feeling was that I would rather invest my dollars in fuel cell development than in another 2,500 EVs."

Freed of its venture with Tesla, hydrogen now appears to be in Toyota's focus. According to AN, Toyota is starting in California, offering a $7-million loan to a company called FirstElement Fuel to develop hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the Golden State. Automotive News cites a study by Toyota that claims 68 refueling stations located across the state would provide for 10,000 HFC owners. California is already planning on having 50 stations by the end of 2016.

"My hope is that other automakers will see our investment and will invest as well, so hopefully we can accelerate to 70 [stations] before 2018," Lentz said. "Unlike hybrids when we were on our own, all the major players will be out there with us in fuel cells."


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  • 98 Comments
      Weapon
      • 6 Months Ago
      Fuel Cells are a dead on arrival technology. Toyota is making a gamble here that faster horses will beat the horseless carriage. At end of the day Fuel Cells (for cars) are inferior to EVs in almost every single way. And who is going to pay for the trillions needed for a Fuel Cell infrastructure? California?
        cantera.developments
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Weapon
        @ Weapon...in your opinion. Fuels cells are the most viable technology, especially when battery production is so toxic to the environment. In the case of EV's or Hybrids, batteries will still need to be used to recover and store regenerative energy...it is just in the case of Hybrids not so many of them. Recovered regereated ENERGY density will be stored in batteries, while POWER density will be stored in either flywheel/supercapacitor devices. A combination of both will be used. The most abundant and easiest route to Hydrogen for fuel cells is Natural Gas. The path to a reduction in green house gases will be LNG Turbine- - - >H2 Turbine- - ->H2 Fuel cell
          Weapon
          • 6 Months Ago
          @cantera.developments
          Battery production is modern lithium ion battery plants is fairly clean process. The battery pant that makes Tesla's batteries for example has an A for environmental rating. I assure you that the creation of fuel cells is actually far less cleaner process. (Simply because the battery creation process has been much more perfected) And your talking nonsense, use of NG for hydrogen is actually worse in greenhouse gas than a gasoline car.
          Weapon
          • 6 Months Ago
          @cantera.developments
          @cantera.developments - I have been following developments and doing research for YEARS. And am fully aware what I am talking about. The suspension does not need to be "beefed up". The weight of the battery is not that significant overall and having a low center of gravity with 50/50 distribution lessens the load. Hydrogen has good energy density by weight but not so good energy density by volume. Hence why it needs to be compressed so much to get any decent range. That said, batteries are superior. Fuel Cell cars can't even run like normal cars without batteries acting as powercells.
          cantera.developments
          • 6 Months Ago
          @cantera.developments
          @ Weapon....what do they say, a little bit of knowledge is dangerous....and from what I have read you are holding a teaspoonful, yet talking like you have a steam bucket full. Your pronouncements as fact are worrisome and in truth dangerously illiterate on the subject. I really don't believe that you grasp the whole picture as you are so wrapped up in your ideological belief that dragging around a heavy load of batteries to get the range/performance that is acceptable is the way (in your not so humble opinion) is the way to go - so carrying a bunch of batteries means that all the suspension, tires, running gear etc has to be beefed up. Also wear and tear on roadways, etc. Conversely with a lightweight fuel cell and Hydrogen the lightest element so far discovered with the highest energy value - renders you pronouncements of fact insignificant to say the least.
      pmindemann
      • 6 Months Ago
      Yeah, Toyota has got this right... people always forget that electricity still has to be created (by burning coal, in many parts if the country), and that batteries are incredibly environment-unfriendly to create (not to mention dispose of). Hydrogen is everywhere, and burning it only produces water as a byproduct. We just need to learn how to harness it safely.
        Weapon
        • 6 Months Ago
        @pmindemann
        Your talking nonsense. First of all, the creation of batteries is not that environmentally damaging in modern battery plants, not much different then microprocessors. AV batteries are reused as grid storage and 98% of automotive batteries are recycled anyways. Even if some are disposed of, lithium ion batteries are non-toxic and pose no hazard risks. As far as the grid goes, most places are moving towards a cleaner grid. Hydrogen is everywhere, the problem is it is not in elemental form but in compound form. Hydrogen bonds are some of the strongest bonds in the universe. The cheapest way to get hydrogen is sequestration of Natural Gas aka going back to fossil fuels. At end of the day EVs are far superior to Fuel Cells for car applications in almost every single way.
          E85 450HP Forester
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          you lost me after Your and Then.
          Weapon
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          @SquareFour - The mining of the elements is not that environmentally damaging, most of the elements are common elements as there are no rare earth metals in lithium ion batteries. In comparison, modern fuel cells need platinum. And yes I am well aware what recycling of the batteries entails. And as I mentioned grid storage applications once spent and the fact that they are landfill safe. But most will be recycled.
          SquareFour
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          It's not necessarily the manufacturing of batteries that's "environmentally damaging," it's the mining of the elements and the disposal of spent batteries. I like how people simply say, "they're recycled", as if that makes it all better, without actually checking into what it entails. Also, you should have said "BATTERIES are far superior..." (even though we don't know that for sure) because an EV can either use batteries (or capacitors) or a fuel cell.
          Weapon
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          @SquareFour - When something is referred to as toxic they are talking about IN-USE or disposal. So my statement is correct, that Lithium Ion batteries are non-toxic and pose no hazards being disposed. If you reread my statement I made it very clear I was talking about DISPOSAL. The government also officially classifies lithium ion batteries as non-toxic. If your talking about production, EVERYTHING is toxic. Even your food is toxic and poses a hazard risk. So stop making things up.
          SquareFour
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          Typo: "...never said NiMH were or weren't used..." Also, quit voting yourself up after posting...it's weird.
          SquareFour
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          Man, I'm not advocating fuel cells over batteries or vice versa, but I am refuting your assertion that batteries are hazard-free and the only way to go. The facts are that batteries do come with some serious negatives, and for all your pontificating, we don't know which one is better. Also, graphite is the most cost-effective material over the others you cited in battery production and that is a major part of what keeps the overall cost of batteries down. Graphite mining is messy business all the way around. Graphite mining, beneficiation, and milling: Graphite is mined by both open pit and underground methods. Graphite usually needs beneficiation. This may be carried out by hand-picking the pieces of gangue (rock) and hand-screening the product or by crushing the rock and floating out the graphite. Beneficiation by flotation encounters the difficulty that graphite is very soft and "marks" (coats) the particles of gangue. This makes the "marked" gangue particles float off with the graphite, yielding impure concentrate. There are two ways of obtaining a commercial concentrate or product: repeated regrinding and floating (up to seven times) to purify the concentrate, or by acid leaching (dissolving) the gangue with hydrofluoric acid (for a silicate gangue) or hydrochloric acid (for a carbonate gangue). In milling, the incoming graphite products and concentrates can be ground before being classified (sized or screened), with the coarser flake size fractions (below 8 mesh, 8–20 mesh, 20–50 mesh) carefully preserved, and then the carbon contents are determined. Some standard blends can be prepared from the different fractions, each with a certain flake size distribution and carbon content. Custom blends can also be made for individual customers who want a certain flake size distribution and carbon content. If flake size is unimportant, the concentrate can be ground more freely. Typical end products include a fine powder for use as a slurry in oil drilling and coatings for foundry molds, carbon raiser in the steel industry (Synthetic graphite powder and powdered petroleum coke can also be used as carbon raiser). Environmental impacts from graphite mills consist of air pollution including fine particulate exposure of workers and also soil contamination from powder spillages leading to heavy metals contaminations of soil. I chose graphite as one example, but the mining of all the elements needed for battery production, including nickel–metal hydride, is environmentally hazardous. Sorry, but to assert the environmental risks of battery production are minimal is ridiculous.
          SquareFour
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          "@SquareFour - Again you have no clue what you are talking about! Nickel Metal Hydride or aka NiMH batteries are not used in PHEVs and not in BEVs but in hybrids. EVs use Lithium Ion batteries which have no nickel metal hydride." Jesus, man, I never said NiMH were used in hybrids. Quit deflecting. You said, "...lithium ion batteries are non-toxic and pose no hazard risks." And then you brought NiMH into it. My point stands. All batteries are toxic and do pose hazard risks. To assert otherwise is silly.
        Nucking Futs
        • 6 Months Ago
        @pmindemann
        You do realize that FCVs do not burn hydrogen? They're actually EVs dude. The hydrogen is converted by the fuel cell into electricity which is used to power an electric motor. Since hydrogen is never found in nature by itself it must be extracted (typically from natural gas), in a rather energy intensive process.
      ocnblu
      • 6 Months Ago
      I agree with Sergio and Jim... EVs SUCK! Battery range hasn't taken a huge leap in nearly 50 years since GM built the ElectroVair battery-powered Corvair, and an electric Chevy Van.
        Weapon
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ocnblu
        I made a mistake, the 160k was in 1966 dollars. Today with inflation it would be equivalent to $1,170,725.93. Make the Tesla Model S 12x cheaper.
          Weapon
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          I am not the president of Exxon Mobil, if I were the president of Exxon Mobil I would be pro Fuel Cells. Why? because it would tie people down to being reliant on Exxon Mobil to supply the NG. In comparison an EV with solar panels on the roof is not very good for business.
          cantera.developments
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          Who are you ? The President of Exxon Mobil with your simplistic opinions ?
      kontroll
      • 6 Months Ago
      all these so called "experts" on this blog promoting Toyota's fuel cell approach don't realize that basically Toyota is replacing one fossil fuel (gasoline) with another (NG). The Volt already operates on the premise of generating electricity form gasoline in order to power electric motors. Toyota will generate electricity with fuel cell from hydrogen which derives from Natural Gas in order to power electric motors. From one fossil fuel to another. As usual Toyota is offering NOTHING new!!
      Alexander
      • 6 Months Ago
      Toyota is wrong. Fuel cells make hydrogen from Natural Gas. This keeps the oil industry in business.
      JaredN
      • 6 Months Ago
      I just don't see why he thinks fuel cells are the future. It takes a great deal of energy to extract hydrogen. Hydrogen is difficult to store and transport. The energy density is poor. It is just not a good fuel for vehicles.
      William
      • 6 Months Ago
      LOL...It'll take the EV religious a while to understand.
        Nucking Futs
        • 6 Months Ago
        @William
        Well it didn't take you long to screw it up. You idiot, they're talking about powering EVs with a fuel-cell instead of a battery.
      Taipei Racer
      • 6 Months Ago
      Reason Toyota won't go electric is because they can't make an electric car go. The challenges they cite have already been overcome by Tesla. Another reason they prefer hybrid is because hybrid cars still require regular maintenance, where as an electric car does not.
        Dave
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Taipei Racer
        Tesla has already overcome the high cost? Do tell.
      HV
      • 6 Months Ago
      Electricity is cheaper than gasoline or hydrogen. In an accident you become the Hindenburg all over again. Emergency Management will need to start mass evacuations also. 2,500 feet in all directions. Will these vehicles carry a placard denoting they are carrying hazardous gas??? Mandatory!!!
        ScottT
        • 6 Months Ago
        @HV
        FWIW, despite carrying several million cubic feet of hydrogen; most people actually survived the Hindenburg disaster. Of the 98 people aboard, 62 of them actually survived. So I don't think it anywhere near as hazardous as you make it out to be.
        Darien Williamson
        • 6 Months Ago
        @HV
        Electricity is often subsidized often to be cheaper than gasoline. Solar and wind isnt free energy, or worthwhile in places like Sacramento Valley for one and Seattle for another. Looking into energy portfolios of various regions of the United States paints a very diverse picture where the one size fits all electricity doesnt fit all.
          Aaron
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Darien Williamson
          Gasoline is subsidized to the tune of over $4 billion a year. Electricity is not subsidized. You are correct there is no "one size fits all" for electricity generation, however solar and wind ARE free energy.
      Mike
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm still waiting for my flying car.
      Nucking Futs
      • 6 Months Ago
      For the uninformed, a fuel-cell vehicle IS an EV that is identical to every other EV except it doesn't use a battery to store and produce the electricity used by its motor. It uses an all electric drive (typically a 3-phase AC inductively coupled motor and controller), just like Tesla, Leaf, etc... I see a lot of comments hear condemning EVs in favor of fuel-cell technology as if they were somehow different. The fuel-cell simply replaces the battery in an EV that is in all other ways identical. The hydrogen in a fuel-cell is used to produce electricity for the electric motor. Fuel-cell vehicles ARE NOT hydrogen burning internal combustion engines, they're electrics.
        SquareFour
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Nucking Futs
        I know right? Gotta love the ignorant loudmouth know-it-alls who can't even be bothered with reading up on a subject before acting like an expert.
        Jim energy
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Nucking Futs
        And I'm not sure you realize that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles recharge a small battery that powers the electric motor. The battery can drive the car for a few miles in the absence of hydrogen in the tank. Just not nearly as far as an all battery electric car. Do you even know this? It doesn't sound like you do.
      D210
      • 6 Months Ago
      Toyota, leading the industry! Setting a path towards the future!
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