Toyota to assist hydrogen network planning in California
Speaking at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota Motor Sales USA, said the technology was due sooner than most people expected, and in large numbers. But, he said, the company is working to help get the market moving.
Initial sales will be focused on California, and Toyota has formed a partnership with the University of California, Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Programme, mapping a hydrogen refuelling network based on hybrid and electric vehicle ownership, traffic flows and population.
According to this data, a network of 68 stations across the region would be capable of serving 10,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, based on the assumption that drivers will want to reach a station within six minutes.
California has traditionally been a region which favours the latest alternative fuel technology, and $200m (£122m) funding has been provided to establish a network of 100 refuelling stations over the next ten years. By the end of 2015, 20 will be in place.
The vehicle technology is also advancing rapidly. Toyota’s latest fuel cell drivetrain offers a range of 300 miles from a five-minute refuel, reaches 60mph in 10 seconds from rest and can generate enough electricity to power a house for a week during an electrical blackout. By the 2015 launch, production will be 95% cheaper than the first test vehicles of 2002.
‘For years, the use of hydrogen gas to power an electric vehicle has been seen by many smart people as a foolish quest,’ Carter said. ‘Yes, there are significant challenges. The first is building the vehicle at a reasonable price for many people. The second is doing what we can to help kick-start the construction of convenient hydrogen refueling infrastructure. We're doing a good job with both and we will launch in 2015.’