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2015 Toyota May Go Down A Bomb

2015 Toyota May Go Down A Bomb

We hear a lot these days about electric cars and hybrid cars but, coming up on the rails, is the third choice – the hydrogen powered car. On the production front Toyota has indicated that it has cut the cost of the fuel cell system in its next hydrogen-powered car by the equivalent of almost one million dollars. This puts the company on course to launch a mid-sized saloon – which may look something like the experimental vehicle in the image –  in 2015 with a price below £65,000. Whether or not we will see it in the UK remains to be seen as we are way behind on preparing a workable infrastructure for alternative fuels.

The new fuel cell car will first be sold in Japan, the United States and probably Europe, Toyota have said. The news is that the company is set to unveil a concept at the Tokyo auto show in November. This clashes with the Los Angeles Motor Show so maybe it will pop up there too.

The manufacturer says the fuel cell system will cost about 5 million yen (£32,000 approx) compared with prototype costs of more than £650,000. The company’s plans are weighted heavily towards fuel cell cars, which convert hydrogen to electricity, emit only water vapour and have a similar range to conventional cars, as their next-gen alternative fuel vehicle. They have big plans to sell ‘tens of thousands’ fuel cell motors by the 2020’s.

It isn’t widely known but platinum is used in the manufacture of a fuel cell. Toyota have managed to cut the amount needed from an original one hundred grams to as little as thirty grams thus saving even more cash. They believe they can cut it further as the technology is refined. This will bring them in line with the catalytic converters on diesel powered cars which use about twenty grams of the precious metal. Toyota will also use less carbon-fibre in the high-pressure hydrogen tanks and will use cheaper, mass-produced components to cut costs further, they say.

As we are all now well aware, electric cars are range limited and take a long time to refuel. This won’t happen with hydrogen powered vehicles because it takes only minutes to fill the tank and the cars can travel the same sort of distances as cars with combustion engines.

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Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==