Toyota Highlander FCV - Click above for a high-res image gallery

Toyota has one of the most advanced hydrogen fuel cell programs in the world and has publicly demonstrated its efficiency and durability by driving it from Alaska to Vancouver British Columbia in the fall of 2007. Since that time, Toyota has indicated that it would start series production of fuel cell vehicles by 2015. Now, it appears that zero emissions vehicle standards in California and other states may prompt the automaker to pull ahead fuel cell production to 2014.

Apparently, the California rules give more ZEV credits for fuel cell vehicles than for plug-in hybrids, which Toyota plans to introduce in 2011. Toyota's plans are evidently not being affected by the elimination of federal government funding for fuel cell vehicles. It will be interesting to see if Toyota migrates its fuel cell vehicles to more of a range-extended EV approach where a battery provides primary propulsion power with the fuel cell operating at constant output to maintain the battery charge level.

[Source: New York Times]

Share This Photo X