At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, Toyota put its Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) concept on full display. Fuel-cell vehicles are powered by hydrogen, which reacts with air to produce electricity and emit only water vapor from its tailpipe.
Toyota announced that it has bumped up its plans for a production model fuel-cell and plans to have one on the market in 2015—a year earlier than promised just a few months ago.
What’s so great about a hydrogen-powered car? Well, fuel-cell cars are essentially electric cars. The major difference, however, is they use hydrogen to create the needed electricity as opposed to storing it onboard in a battery.
This has two big advantages. One, fuel-cell cars have a much longer ranger than the average electric car. Toyota says its FCV has a range of over 300 miles. The second advantage is refueling time. Electric cars take hours upon hours to fully recharge, whereas refilling a hydrogen tank is much like refilling a gas tank—it only takes a few minutes.
With these advantages, however, there are a few drawbacks. The biggest issue is the lack of infrastructure—refueling stations. But Bob Carter, senior vice president of operations for Toyota, says, “This infrastructure thing is going to happen.”
Toyota also said it is aiming for a price point close to $50,000, which is actually about 95 percent less than the first fuel-cell prototype cost.
We are lucky enough to live in the target release area of Southern California. Will you be jumping at the chance to drive a Toyota fuel-cell car next year?