Vijay Pattni30 August 2013

Toyota plans £70k hydrogen car

Is this the future? Japanese giant reckons so, plans to launch hydrogen car in 2015…

A mid-sized four-door saloon with a range of more than 350 miles, zero emissions and a price tag of around £70,000: this is Toyota's grand ambition for a production hydrogen car, coming your way in 2015.

Before then, though, we get to look at this, the FCV-R concept headed for the Frankfurt Motor Show. It has, Toyota boldly claims, overcome "some of the historic barriers to developing a marketable fuel cell vehicle".

Underneath the FCV-R's skin a fuel cell stack that producing around 4bhp per litre - apparently ‘the world's highest power output density' for such a thing - in place of a petrol engine, together with high-pressure hydrogen tanks replacing the fuel tank. There's a 21kW battery to store energy recovered from braking.

This hydrogen gubbins sits beneath the floor, on a car sized just 35mm longer than an Avensis saloon. We're told the fuel cell stack's efficiency means only two fuel tanks are required, as opposed to the four originally planned. The fuel cell stack is also twice as powerful as the one seen in Toyota's 2008 FCHV. Progress, eh?

So what does this all mean for you? Zero tailpipe emissions - no CO2 nor NOx nor any particulate matter emissions. The only by-product of the hydrogen fuel cell is water vapour. Of course, the energy required and emissions made in producing the hydrogen also need to be taken into account, but that's another, much longer story.

Toyota reckons hydrogen cars will be everywhere by the 2020s, but for the 2015 launch, is hoping to scale that £70k starting price down even further. Of course, this needs to go hand in hand with more hydrogen filling stations, otherwise, well, it'll be an expensive experiment.

But still...

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