Toyota bringing fuel cell vehicle to market in 2015 (pictures)
LAS VEGAS -- Toyota brought its hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle to the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. If it looks familiar, that's because we've already seen this car when it debuted late last year in Tokyo.
Second time's the charm
However, Toyota decided to re-unveil the car in Las Vegas as part of an announcement that it is committed to bringing a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to the marketplace in 2015. Pre-orders should start later this year.
The form of the car serves its function. Massive air intakes are needed to flow large amounts of air over the fuel cell for cooling.
Air in, water out...
The only emission from the tailpipe will be clean water.
The vehicle will store its hydrogen onboard in tanks behind the rear seats. The fuel cell stacks that will generate electricity from that hydrogen will be mounted beneath the front seats.
Total system output is 100KW of electricity, and the tanks hold enough energy for about a week's worth of driving.
You'll see 0 to 60 in 10 seconds and a top speed beyond 100 mph. That's about about average for a consumer car.
Like the Prius that came before it, Toyota's fuel cell vehicle has been built totally in-house.
The blue concept illustrates what the vehicle will look like, but this camouflaged test mule is what Toyota used to test how it will perform.
Toyota says that it has tested the fuel cell vehicle in a wide range of environments and conditions, from freezing cold to blistering hot and from stop-and-go to steeply sloped.
Fueling the FCEV
The car itself, says Toyota, is less important than the infrastructure to fuel it. By the time the fuel cell vehicle reaches the market, the automaker will have built 20 new stations in the markets it will launch in. By 2016, that number will grow by 40.
Doing more with less
That may not sound like a lot of stations when compared to a gasoline station on every corner, but Toyota says that it's not how many stations you build, but where you put them. According to the automaker, if every car in California ran on hydrogen fuel cells, the entire gasoline refueling infrastructure could be replaced with just 15 percent of the former total locations.