Toyota Explains Why RAV4 EV Is Dead – Declares Hydrogen Is The Future

4 months ago by Eric Loveday 101

Toyota RAV4 EV

Toyota RAV4 EV

Toyota FCEV Concept

Toyota FCEV Concept

Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, discusses why Toyota is abandoning the pure electric Toyota RAV4 EV in favor of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Fans of pure electric vehicles won’t enjoy the comments made by Lentz, but this is Toyota, a non-supporter of pure electric vehicles.

According to Lentz, BEVs are only viable in “a select way, in short-range vehicles that take you that extra mile, from the office to the train, or home to the train, as well as being used on large [corporate] campuses.”

“But for long-range travel primary vehicles, we feel there are better alternatives, such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and tomorrow with fuel cells.”

Lentz adds that the deal with Tesla on 2,600 RAV4 EVs  “was never about open-ended volume.It was time to either continue or stop. My personal feeling was that I would rather invest my dollars in fuel cell development than in another 2,500 EVs.”

However, Lentz admits that it learned from Tesla and suggests that Tesla learned a thing or two from Toyota, too:

“We learned a lot about being a smaller entrepreneurial company in the auto business and being faster to market.  They learned about our quality control. It was more about two types of companies working together than about batteries. We’re not anti-battery. We are a big battery company. We have 6 million hybrids running on batteries.”

As for Toyota’ investment in Tesla, Lentz sarcastically says “It’s done ok.”  Perhaps the biggest understatement ever, considering that Toyota’s $50 million investment in Tesla back in 2010 is now worth 10 times that amount.

“It’s done ok.  It’s an investment and we have to treat it like an investment. If it were my money in my pocket, I would take a little off the table. But it’s a [Toyota] investment, so I don’t control it.”

Source: Automotive News

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105 responses to "Toyota Explains Why RAV4 EV Is Dead – Declares Hydrogen Is The Future"

  1. Phatcat73 says:

    And I’m done supporting and purchasing Toyota/Lexus.

    1. Big Solar says:

      Me too and I used to be a supporter of them.

      1. IDK says:

        +1
        Just curious when Toyota will fix the Prius engine knocking issue? They issued TSBs to try and fix the issue but nothing has worked. Try posting something about it on their FB or Twitter board and they promptly remove it.

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          I too will not own a Toyota vehicle for the foreseeable future.

    2. krona2k says:

      Same here, likely to be a Tesla for me next if they can get the price of the gen III low enough. Toyota should be trailblazing plugins not acting like a petulant teenager.

    3. Spec9 says:

      Yeah, I’m out as well.

    4. no comment says:

      i think that Lentz is right: the future of the BEV is as a special purpose vehicle. the problem with BEVs is that you minimally have to design them with oversized batteries, as in the 86kWH Tesla Model S, so that you can provide enough range for a wide range of environmental conditions, driving styles and driving patterns. but then you are paying a huge price for capacity that you won’t be using most of the time. and when you do use the capacity, there is the issue of recharging the battery, which can take hours or even days.

      to be viable, i think that the EV has to be coupled with a backup means; at present the best means is gasoline but it would be better to move to some other source in the future. but the minimum requirements for such a source is high energy density, and fast replenishment (measured in minutes and not hours).

      in the end, i think that Tesla will make a great contribution to the future of xEV development, but i think that they have no chance of long term viability if they pin their future solely on the BEV.

      1. Mrx says:

        I have to disagree with you, No Comment, I believe Elon Musk is building lovely cars, sure they have a couple of design flaws but overall they seem wonderful to me. If I had the money I would purchase a Tesla in a heartbeat. I think that Lentz has rocks in his head but that is just one mans opinion. I think they should have sold the electric Rav4 in every state in the US and every province in Canada.

  2. Alaa says:

    Hydrogen is the smallest element we know. It is impossible to make a valve for it without knowing that this valve will leak no matter what we do. So if you park your Hydrogen fueled car in a closed garage there is a huge risk that the garage will have enough H2 to ignite then a big bang will happen!

    1. Cavaron says:

      I’m not a big fan of fuel cells – at least not in cars, but your statement seems rather populistic. The amount of hydrogen leaking out off a special designed tank should be much slower than the amount of hydrogen leaking out of your more or less closed garage…

      1. “Populistic”? That’s not a word, is it?

        Anyway, perhaps an exaggeration of the potential for fires, but still, hydrogen storage is a big problem, not to mention the poor energy density, and inefficiency in creating this energy carrier. The science so clearly criticizes hydrogen fuel cells, it’s as if Toyota is being paid by some fossil fuel magnate to ignore facts.

        They’ll come around – buyers are going to be more skeptical of a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle than they are of a BEV … and the cost just won’t be close by any stretch (let’s hope our government doesn’t try to influence the equation too much, otherwise we’re all going to be in trouble).

        1. krona2k says:

          Governments might try to distort the market in favor of hydrogen for a while but I think trying to fight the laws of physics will get old pretty quickly. I hope so anyway.

        2. Cavaron says:

          I looked it up ;)

          Meaning: Appealing to the interests or prejudices of ordinary people.

          I was going for the prejudices, like hydrogen will explode. But it seems to be an old fashionate word in english (not a native speaker, sorry).

    2. Dan Hue says:

      Cavaron is right. Your statement is inflammatory. True, hydrogen will eventually leak from pretty much any storage, but it’s extremely volatile and will not stick around, unlike other heavier gases like LPG.

      1. Alaa says:

        Why take the chance?

      2. Unplugged says:

        “…your statement is inflammatory.” Good one.

      3. Spec9 says:

        “but it’s extremely volatile”

        Well yeah . . . that is the problem.

        But, yes, it is lighter than air so it does disperse well. But it can be VERY dangerous in a building with a domed area where it can collect. Just ask Fukushima.

    3. Chris O says:

      I’m sure hydrogen tanks are very safe, but alas the stuff cannot stay in the tank, it will have to be routed through the system. Time will tell if (older) hydrogen vehicles will start to leak unsafe amounts of hydrogen and maybe do an occasional Hindenburg in someone’s garage. If so I expect stringent and expensive inspection regimes to come in place for HFCV’s

  3. Alaa says:

    If we try and produce Hydrogen from electrolysis the energy we will put in is much more than the energy we will get out of combining the Hydrogen with the Oxygen. Each molecule of water has exactly 2 electron volts. As I said if we try and separate these atoms from each other we will need more than 2 electron volts. I would say at least 10!

  4. Alaa says:

    If we try and produce Hydrogen from fossil fuel then we will not be only back were we started but even more backwards!

    1. Big Solar says:

      The old guard is all about being backwards. They all think “earth” means planet of idiots.

      1. See Through says:

        Sorry Big Solar, you and your Tesla will soon be dead meat :( Hydrogen is here. 100 fueling stations across California can support millions of hydrogen cars. In comparison, EV requires 2 million charging stations for 1 million EV cars : 1 at home, one at work place, one at other places, etc. etc. Just not worth the expense and trouble. My employer, for example, is refusing to maintain existing chargers, or install new ones.

        I suggest you just sell your Model S before it becomes an obsolete piece of technology. In tech world, it takes only couple of years for things to become stale.

        1. TomArt says:

          What planet are you from? 2:1 ratio to support EVs? Troll.

        2. Mint says:

          Hey dumbass, do you see Toyota or Hyundai building out a nationwide refueling network for hydrogen like Tesla is doing with its Superchargers?

          You seem to have forgotten that hydrogen stations cost 100-1,000x as much as each of those those “2 million charging stations” you speak of (L1/L2 chargers).

    2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Not necessarily. If H2 split off of natural gas can be used more efficiently than by burning it in a bunch of cylinders, the overall economy could be worth doing, depending on costs. Plus, emissions are more filterable/controllable using a fixed reformulator rather than combusting in an engine.

      For example, if a fuel cell could get the equivalent of 20kWh out of a gallon of gas equivalent amount of NG, that’d be a huge win, as long as the fuel cell cost no more than $0.10/Watt and the H2 energy-delivered cost was comparable to gasoline.

      I’d rather see solid oxide fuel cells that can take gasoline/diesel/NG directly though, assuming costs are realistic.

      1. Dave R says:

        Hydrogen reforming from natural gas is about 80% efficient, then your fuel cell is about 50% efficient. So you end up with about 40% of the energy from a GGE of natural gas, or about 13.5 kWh.

        This will propel your vehicle around 50 miles.

        1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

          That’s not too bad, though I’d hope some of the exhaust heat could be reclaimed profitably with a turbine. It’d also mitigate smog, particulates, etc.

        2. Nix says:

          Dave — Your math ignores the following items:

          1) Transportation losses for transporting the hydrogen to the hydrogen filling station (presuming you aren’t putting a natural gas refinery/reforming station right up next to suburban neighborhoods like gas stations)

          2) Compression of that hydrogen to 14,000+ PSI, so that it will quickly fill a tank to 10,000 PSI (flow rate is determined by the pressure difference between the filling tank, and the tank being filled).

          3) Energy losses through the battery in the car.

          etc…

          1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

            There’s no loss transporting H2 if you piggyback on natural gas pipelines and reformulate on-site.

            Costs to pump would be factored into the retail price at the nozzle, along with everything else, which is all that matters. If the price can still be competitive, then efficiency gains are a net plus any way you slice it.

            1. Mrx says:

              There is no way ever that a hydrogen pipeline would piggyback onto a natural gas line. I worked in the pipeline industry for a while and they are real touchy on what is even near their lines, never mind piggybacked.

        3. Nick says:

          If you burn the natural gas in a combined cycle turbine (~60% efficient), and use the electricity to charge an EV, I think you’d still be ahead.

      2. Alaa says:

        Why pay any money Doc for even one electron volt, when you can get it for free from the sun?

        1. sven says:

          Where can I get my free solar panels, and who do I call to install them for free?

      3. Right T: Here’s a statement from former energy secretary Chu:

        “Right now, the way we get hydrogen primarily is from reforming gas. That’s not an ideal source of hydrogen…The other problem is, if it’s for transportation, we don’t have a good storage mechanism yet. What else? The fuel cells aren’t there yet, and the distribution infrastructure isn’t there yet. In order to get significant deployment, you need four significant technological breakthroughs. If you need four miracles, that’s unlikely. Saints only need three miracles.”

        Read also this: http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-hydrogen-hoax

        Any rational person with a good grasp of high school science can’t dismiss these concerns. Not sure why Toyota is.

      4. Mikael says:

        So in any scenario it will suck. We are trying to get rid off fossil fuels, not get more dependent on them.

  5. David Murray says:

    No huge loss here. The RAV4 was always a compliance car and most likely always would have been. It was never even available in most states. So wasting money on the fuel cell technology is just as much of a waste as on the RAV4.

    That being said.. I’ll still forgive Toyota if they come out with a better plug-in hybrid. Give the Prius a better EV range and a true EV mode. Then maybe make an Camry or something like that as a PHEV.

    1. Mint says:

      Came to post the same thing. As long as Toyota makes good PHEVs and/or EREVs, then I couldn’t care less about their FCEV silliness.

      But we have yet to see that happen. The Plug in Prius was a joke, and the presence of aftermarket kits with more range for a lower cost is proof (Toyota’s cost should be half of that or less).

      1. Anon says:

        No, the Rav4 was a two year project– very limited in scope and development costs compared to Toyota’s Hydrogen R&D Program…

  6. Priusmaniac says:

    Don’t make me regret my Priusmaniac nickname, I will keep it in memory of the engineers that made the Prius come true, but if you really push me, I could change overnight to Teslamaniac.

    1. kdawg says:

      At least the guy who worked on the Prius battery is working on new dual-carbon batteries. Whether Toyota will ever use them for an EV is still in question.

      1. sven says:

        That’s not all. Apparently, the very engineer who designed the battery pack for Model S is the inventor of the Ryden battery. I don’t know if this is true; a poster named Remnant made the claim on the Teslamotors.com forum. Does anyone know if this is true?

        Remnant’s post making this claim can be found halfway down on the following page:

        http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/power-japan-plus-announced-its-dual-carbon-battery-technology

      2. sven says:

        Ryden battery is the new dual-carbon battery referred to by kdawg.

  7. Lou Grinzo says:

    We need to start a set of betting pools on when each of the car companies that are dragging their feet on EVs will have their grand epiphany. I hope some of the same people making this ridiculous statements today are still in the same jobs in a few years and have to eat crow.

    Honestly, I can’t begin to figure out why Toyota or Honda or Fiat wouldn’t say, “We have an EV and a PHEV in our lineup right now, and we’re continuing to explore and develop other options, like HFCV. We don’t know with sufficient certainty what the cost of batteries will be or how the build-out of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure will develop in the next 5 or 10 years, so we’re keeping our options open. Whatever sustainable transportation options make sense, we’ll be ready.” Even though I’m a strong supporter of EVs, I think that kind of positioning would be perfectly reasonable.

    And wouldn’t that make a lot more sense than bashing the one green automotive technology that’s already selling about, what, 15 thousand?, cars a month worldwide?

    1. Ambulator says:

      If you’re talking about Tesla, I think their near term goal is to reach about 3,000 per month.

  8. Lou says:

    Lou:

    +1 completely! I tend to listen very closely to Elon Musk. And when he describes fuel cells as Fool Cells, I take notice. However, science is filled with people who didn’t listen to the naysayers, who took chances even when all “evidence” suggested they were wrong. People were insisting that it was impossible to make a machine that could fly, and we know how that turned out. However, seems to me that EV technology is on the cusp of major technological breakthroughs in battery development. That could(probably will) put fuel cells to bed.

    Lou

  9. Sold the Lexus. Appears it will be a long time until I drive another one.

  10. pjwood says:

    Innovators Dilemma – “You want better mpg, and it is all about mpg. We are Toyota, ready to serve you” -and what least compels us to act, in opposition to our profits. BTDT.

    I’m soooo not into mindless loyalty.

    There will be more head snapping sticker shock to what CA is doing with FCEV. I’m hopeful it won’t get the chance to bleed into other states, as a result.

  11. Chris O says:

    Toyota may claim that hydrogen is the future but at the same time it is not shy in admitting that future is still at least 15 years out. We’ll see where batteries are by that time and if Toyota has managed to make HFC’s catch up with batteries as a value proposition.

    I’m afraid though that the only way for hydrogen to beat batteries is to take them out of the game somehow. In this game there can be only one.

  12. CSS says:

    yea sure, fool cells may be the future…
    but EV’s are NOW!

    1. Chris says:

      “but EV’s are NOW!”

      80 miles of range while losing money for every EV manufacturer including Tesla?

      Fuel cells are far from being realistic but battery technology still has a long way to go

      1. Mikael says:

        Are you for real? Do you think Nissan isn’t making money on it’s Leaf? Or BMW on the i3? Chevy making their PHEV just for fun? Mitsubishi not getting a profit on the Outlander PHEV?

        Tesla are making plenty of money of their Model S but reinvesting that money instead of having a big profit and a stagnating company would be pretty stupid.

        With todays battery technology EV’s and PHEV’s will take over the world when larger series are produced. With tomorrows batteries they will eliminate all competition.

      2. TomArt says:

        You are building a resume for troll status…

  13. jzj says:

    I have a RAV4 EV. Love it (except for the HVAC interface). But Toyota could not be more wrong about hydrogen over battery electric vehicles.

    I have distilled my thoughts and research on this subject into an article: “Top Ten Reasons Hydrogen Is A Fail And Top Ten Reasons Electric Vehicles Are A Win.” Here’s the link: http://jungreislaw.blogspot.com/2014/05/hydrogen-vehicles-fail-electric.html

    1. See Through says:

      -2.
      Fuel cell cars are closer to reality than you think. Hyundai’s Tucson FCEV is already here in CA. Toyota’s FCEV will be out next year, same time California’s hydrogen fueling stations are ready for worry-free long distance travel within CA. Toyota FCEVs cost about $50K now, should decrease in cost even further in next couple of years.

      “Objects in mirror are closer than you think”.

      1. Mint says:

        Fuel cell cars are *further* from reality than you think.

        There’s an enormous market (at least $1T) for fuel cells at 5x the price that we need for automobiles. They haven’t even come close to economical for that market yet. They’re not even close to cheap enough for that yet.

        The only reason Toyota and Hyundai will sell FCEVs is for PR and to get those 9 CARB ZEV credits each. They’ll lose tens of thousands on each, even when ignoring R&D.

  14. jmac says:

    Who is behind this big push for fuel cells anyway ? Who is lobbying for them ?

    Follow the money. Who stands to gain the most from a hydrogen economy that will surely be based on natural gas ?

    Answer: Basically the same fossil fuel interests that are running things now. Oil company refineries have known how to strip hydrogen from natural gas for decades. This is nothing new for them.

    The Oil and Natural Gas/Refinery interests will welcome the so-called hydrogen economy with open arms.

    So, who’s pushing fuel cells ? The answer seems obvious.

    1. The Future is Now says:

      +100,

      The Koch Brothers and all their right-wing friends in the Fossil Fool industry are pushing this as the “next big thing” in order to undercut Elon Musk and other proponents of battery-based EVs.

      I don’t think its any coincindence that Lentz and Toyota decided to more their NA HQ to Texas–land of BIG OIL!!!

      In any case, Hydrogen is a bait and switch and nothing more since it is horrendously inefficient to make from an energy perspective. If and until it can be made cheaply and cleanly from H2O is is nothing more then a scam, and one that Toyota has bought fully into.

      I know I’ll never consider a Toyota product again.

  15. Nix says:

    Through the end of 2013, Toyota has sold over 6 million hybrid cars, with 24 different hybrid models to choose from in 80 different countries.

    http://corporatenews.pressroom.toyota.com/releases/worldwide+toyota+hybrid+sales+top+6+million.htm

    Despite falling sales numbers in the US, the Prius still out-sells the total number of Volts, Leafs, and Tesla’s in the United States combined.

    Toyota isn’t going to kill that Cash Cow until they’ve milked every last drop of profits out of their hybrids.

    The day that Toyota can no longer make lots of money on their hybrids, will be the day that Toyota announces they wondrously have come out with the best BEV ever, and suddenly have become overnight Believers in BEV’s.

    Until then, expect more fuel cell BS, and more BEV bashing. Why would Toyota want to try and compete head to head with all the other car companies breaking into BEV’s and real PHEV’s, when Toyota can sandbag and sell hybrids in a market where they have clear sector leadership, and very little real competition?

    Too bad that means they will be too little, too late to the BEV and real PHEV market.

  16. Toyota’s 2015 FC technology: 2x the power, 1/2 the size, 1/2 the weight … of their 2012 prototype.

    “Toyota says it is on-track to launch its own fuel-cell vehicle around 2015, powering the FCV (“Fuel Cell Vehicle”) initially, and then showing up in a bus on track for a 2016 debut. The new fuel-cell has the world’s highest power output density, Toyota claims, and can deliver 3 kW/L which is double what the company’s current prototype can deliver. That’s despite being half the size and half the weight of the existing prototype.”
    – 2012.09.24
    http://www.slashgear.com/greener-toyota-21-hybrids-by-2015-and-46k-eq-ev-in-december-24248931/

  17. HVACman says:

    Why is Toyota following hydrogen?

    Because CARB is enamored with them. And why is CARB that way? We don’t know for sure, but is probably isn’t completely honest. Thomas Elias has bee bird dogging the ugly details of the CARB and Cal. Energy Commissions fuel cell grant process. Looks like it was so ugly, Gov. Brown put a stop to the process. Here is a column of his latest findings:

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/opinion/20120529/thomas-d-elias-hydrogen-fueling-station-grants-getting-overhauled

    1. Anon says:

      CARB has been infiltrated and corrupted by those lobbying over hydrogen. Their FCV over EV credits, show their true bias in support of big oil. :(

    2. Mike I says:

      This is the best news I’ve heard this year. I’m glad the Governor put a temporary stop to the CEC grants for hydrogen stations. I really wish they would push more of the burden to the automakers that want to pursue that route to ZEV compliance. Tesla is not using taxpayer money to build out their Supercharger network and I don’t see why Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai should get a free ride.

  18. Thanh Lim says:

    Problem with fuel cells hasn’t been solved and probably won’t get solved for a number of years. And that is that the fuel cells themselves fail so quickly. MTTF is ridiculously small, and it’s cost prohibitive to make a fuel cell due to all the rare earth elements in the cell.

    Toyota is taking a couple huge risks, and they seem to be more like moon shots than anything else where the infrastructure and hardware is needed to get H2 as well as making a fuel cell that will last 10+ years. Good luck to them, but I won’t place my bet on HFC cars anytime soon.

    1. Ambulator says:

      Worse than any rare earths that might be used, fuel cells still use platinum!

  19. Lad says:

    I can’t believe Toyota and Honda are going into the highway bomb business; compress hydrogen to very high pressures, fill up a car cylinder tank with it and what do you have? Automobile bombs waiting for a reason and place to blow up. Perhaps this is their idea of population control. Too bad they use to make good cars, greed, perhaps? who knows?

  20. David says:

    Just curious,
    Was Toyota losing a lot of money on the RAV4 EV? So by cancelling it, they can transfer these losses do developing fuel cells?

    1. Yes, Toyota paid a lot of money for those 2600 Rav4 EV’s (I have two of them).

      $100 million to Tesla (almost $40,000 per car) plus Toyota’s cost for development (including 30 prototypes and crash testing), plus the cost of the actual car (estimate $15,000).

      Right now,the car is sold to the leasing company for about $35,000, and Toyota gets $7500 federal tax credit for each one.

  21. evnow says:

    Look at what he says about EVs. Obviously the guy doesn’t know the most common use cases for EVs. That is a big personal failure on his part (unless he was lying).

    No, most EVs are not used to drive to the train station or on big campuses. Shame on Toyota.

    “a select way, in short-range vehicles that take you that extra mile, from the office to the train, or home to the train, as well as being used on large [corporate] campuses.”

  22. Anton Wahlman says:

    Has anyone considered this possibility? If I were Toyota, and I had something big in store for BEV or PHEV, I would tell people I had given up on BEV/PHEV. I would tell people I’m investing billions of dollars in something completely different. It’s no different than the allied forces landing on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944: Give the others the impressions I’m going somewhere else, such as Calais. Why should Toyota let its competitors know where its true intentions reside? I wouldn’t. I would tell people I have found a magic new diesel-algae, hydrogen, or some such. Make my competitors pour billions into some rathole, all while I prepare something that’s very secret. Are you all this naive?

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      Yes indeed that would be the most desirable case where they try to cover up a new Toyota electric vehicle arrival. An indication of this could be the fact they have a new free piston generator that would make a very good rex for a BMW i3 style Toyota BEVex.

      Here is more details on the free piston generator:
      http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/04/20140422-fpeg.html

  23. Alex says:

    The fuel cell is biggest fail. I cant believe Toyota wants to try it, nobody will buy.

    1. Brandon says:

      *fail cell

      1. kdawg says:

        That’s how they say it in the South ;)

  24. jkw says:

    I’m not sure how Toyota can expect people to use fuel-cell vehicles for long-range travel. You can’t drive very far from the hydrogen fueling stations. And so far only California has been foolish enough to build them. From what I have heard, you won’t even be able to travel long distances within CA because the stations aren’t going to be within the cars’ range of each other. I suspect that they are going to be forced to take a huge loss on the cars to get their ZEV credits, and they may even decide it is cheaper to buy the ZEV credits from other companies than to keep making the fuel cell cars.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Yep. The only advantage fuel cells have over EVs is the ability to refuel fast . . . and that can’t be done when there are no refueling stations.

      (I don’t think they even have range advantages because for the price of a fuel cell car, you can buy an EV with a pretty damn big battery.)

  25. Mark H says:

    Here is what I don’t get: The fuel cell vehicle uses an electric motor an a smallish battery like a hybrid (HEV). If they are serious about handling the infrastructure problem they would build an EREV. Not sure their motives are true.

    1. Mike I says:

      I read a recent analysis that said the 50% improvement in CO2 emissions that executives repeatedly cite from fuel cell vehicles running on hydrogen from reformed natural gas was comparing a 21mpg gasoline car to the proposed Toyota FCEV. A modern 21mpg car is a Porsche Panamera. There is no way you can say a Panamera is equivalent performance to the 2015 Toyota FCEV. So, if that’s true, then a 42mpg hybrid (Prius or Accord Hybrid exceed this) has equivalent CO2 emissions to the FCEV running on reformed natural gas.

      Why are we spending huge sums of taxpayer money building out hydrogen infrastructure when the net GHG emissions are no better than existing technology on the road?

      I’m not even comparing BEV to FCEV, I’m just talking hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

  26. jmac says:

    Is a car that runs on natural gas in your future ?

    In many places around the world (India is a good example) they simply burn natural gas in regular internal combustion engined vehicles.

    It’s cleaner burning than gasoline or diesel and usually cheaper because it most often requires little refining and can basically be used “as is”.

    This coming, so called hydrogen economy proposes to strip the hydrogen out of natural gas, then run it through a fuel cell to make electricity for an electric motor.

    My friends, it’s still a fossil fuel economy, no matter how you dice it.

    As at the beginning I ask you the same question,

    “Is a car that runs on natural gas in your future ?”

    If you believe the oil company propaganda, then the answer is “Yes”.

    And it’s called the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

    And it runs on natural gas.

    1. Mike I says:

      If taxpayer money is going to be spent on refueling infrastructure, I would far prefer it be spent on CNG stations. I like the dual fuel prototypes that have been shown. Run on cheap CNG when it’s convenient, then gasoline when it’s not. Much more transparent and lower cost than all this hydrogen nonsense. I personally prefer BEV and PHEV, but CNG has its place too.

  27. jmac says:

    Electricity can come from many sources to power Battery Electric Vehicles..

    Droovy good and Yipee.

    But, Hydrogen basically comes from a single source, the natural gas that oil and or natural gas companies control.

    That’s why the oil companies love hydrogen fuel cells.

  28. jmac says:

    If you are a fan of hydrogen fuel cells, then you are looking to perpetuate the domination of fossil fuels and fossil fuel companies in the transportation sector.

    The Hydrogen Fuel Cell does not run on electricity from the Sun. It runs on a fossil fuel……

    It runs on Natural Gas.

  29. Spec9 says:

    “But for long-range travel primary vehicles” . . . I don’t buy those. For long-range travel I buy train & plane tickets. I do buy cars though and I’ll stick with electric.

  30. Just_chris says:

    In my opinion and it is just my personal opinion. A lot of the discussion around cars is very emotional and not often tied to the facts.

    Hydrogen is one of the most commonly produced chemicals globally. We already make and transport over 60 million tons of it annually. It can be produced, stored and shipped in both pipes and trailers. It can be made by thermal process’s such as reforming, via electrolysis or via a combination of the two (i.e. reforming that uses waste heat from some where or electrolysis that is carried out at high temperature). It can and is stored either as a metal hydride or as a compressed gas indefinitely. If it is stored as a cooled liquid, as it heats up it will evaporate, this is how they did it for space programs but is not how anyone is seriously considering for cars.

    Fuel cells are expensive per kW and batteries are expensive per kWh. The two technologies are not that radically different in fact a metal hydride battery (like in the Prius) could be thought of as part battery part alkaline fuel cell at least in terms of materials and reactions.

    It is really exciting to live through the revolution of the car industry with so many technology paths opening up; wireless charging, hydrogen, massive 85 kWh batteries, fast charging, high energy density batteries – who knows what technology(s) will come out on top so why not sit back and wait to see what comes out rather than throwing rocks at various different technologies. There is no clear technology winner at this stage.

    1. TomArt says:

      The problem with hydrogen, besides efficiency concerns and expense, is the source. It’s primarily coming from the petroleum industry (natural gas, coal gasification, etc.).

      We can, and should, harvest as much methane from landfills and water treatment plants as possible. It will slow global warming as well as provide a completely renewable energy source, either for combustion and/or hydrogen generation (for applications that cannot rely entirely on the electrical grid).

    2. shawn marshall says:

      good post. This is the reason we have capital enterprises; you pays you money and you takes you ride. The market will eventually select a winner. Toyota can easily pivot to BEV cars if there is a leap in battery technology. Electrolysis at nuclear plants could supply unlimited hydrogen without any carbon involved for all those eco-freaks who shudder about NG. Sheesh.

  31. GRA says:

    What bothers me is that Eric Loveday, despite the fact that he (should) know better, persists in writing statements like “Toyota, a non-supporter of pure electric vehicles.” An FCEV IS a pure electric vehicle, just as a BEV is. The only difference is where and how the electricity is generated, and whether or not it’s stored onboard. Toyota supports pure electric vehicles, but FCEVs rather than BEVs for the reasons stated. Eric can agree or disagree with their logic, but he shouldn’t let his personal antipathy to FCEVs make him mis-characterize the facts.

    1. TomArt says:

      That IS the difference. EVs have come to cover anything where electric propulsion is part of the equation.

      A “pure EV” contains only the electric drivetrain and electrical energy storage – no source (meaning, no on-board electricity generation).

      An FCEV contains a fuel-cell energy source (not storage), in addition to electric energy storage (battery) and the electric powertrain.

      All hybrids and range extender types, etc., contain energy sources (ICE) in addition to storage (batteries) and may have electric drivetrains or ICE/electric hybrid drivetrains.

      1. TomArt says:

        And, no, hydrogen and gasoline are not “storage” in the same sense – they require a source unit to convert. Fuel goes in, byproducts go out, electricity is generated and fed to batteries (storage) and electric motor(s).

        Storage is simply that: storage. No generation, no fuel…nothing goes in but generated electricity, and nothing comes out except electricity fed to the motor(s).

    2. JakeY says:

      “pure electric vehicles” has no ambiguity, it refers to cars powered by electricity and electricity alone (no other fuels like hydrogen or gasoline). At this point only BEVs qualify.

      You are thinking of the “electric vehicle” (or EV) term with no modifiers which has more ambiguity.

      1. GRA says:

        I’d say BEV has no ambiguity, and neither should “pure EV”. Is an electric trolley car, trolley bus or train not a pure electric vehicle? An EV is any vehicle, land, sea or air, which is propelled solely by electric motor(s) (maglevs etc. aside) driving wheels, tracks, propellors etc. Whether that electricity is generated on or off-board and by what means, and whether or not there is onboard stowage and in what form, determines the type of EV it is.

        How is a BEV, which may get its electricity from a coal-fired power plant and then stores and retrieves it in a battery onboard via a chemical reaction a “pure electric vehicle, but an FCEV which may get its H2 from electrolysis from renewables, stores it onboard and then generates its electricity directly via a chemical reaction somehow not a pure EV? Ridiculous.

        Eric could have eliminated any contention whatsoever if he’d written the factual and accurate statement “Toyota, a non-supporter of BEVs for general use”. That’s what Toyota said, and it’s also clearly what they think.

        1. GRA says:

          BTW, in case it’s not obvious, I’m the above post is also in reply to TomArt’s two posts.

          1. GRA says:

            Aaagh, we need an edit button!

  32. jmac says:

    Gentlemen,

    Please stop arguing about what a fuel cell is or isn’t or exactly what is the correct definition of Battery Electric Vehicle, etc.

    There is more than just technology involved in the Battery Electric versus Fuel Cell controversy.

    If pure battery electric vehicles win, then the oil companies are basically out of business.

    If the oil companies can shove the fuel cell down everyone’s throat, then Big Oil will win and we will be locked into decades more fossil fuel use (In the form of Nat Gas)

    Big Money, power and control are all at stake.

    If everyone suddenly started driving a battery electric car, the oil companies would soon go out of business.

    So, you can count on this: Big Oil is not going to let that happen without a Big Fight.

    Despite any technical merits of the fuel cell, I am against them because they will end up mostly benefiting the 150 year old Oil Cartel.

  33. John says:

    I was waiting for them to bring the Rav to market. Thats the EV my wife and I wanted to own. Too bad, instead of giving us something we would have gladly paid $50k for instead now we won’t ever buy anything from them again for taking an anti EV stand.

  34. Ellison says:

    Toyota is pretty stupid. I drove the Tesla RAV 4 in Marin and it was amazing. Prius now is the badge of mediocrity, how embarrassing in this electric age.

    Hydrogen is only valid if it’s renewable and not from fracked gas..and the stations are still $2 Million apiece!

  35. Ellison says:

    Please go and torrent both Gasland films and learn how absolutely devastating gas fracking is.

    They are both on Pirate Bay / Utorrent.

  36. John says:

    Hey guys, I went to the Toyota website and clicked “contact us”. I sent them an email how I have owned many of their products and was waiting for the Rav to come to my market but instead read this. I then told them I will never buy their products again. Everyone who reads this should take out 5 minutes to do the same. Here is the link…

    http://www.toyota.com/support/#!/app/ask

    If we make noise, even only a 100 of us. they will take it seriously. Even though 100 does not sound like much its more then most would complain about something and they will feel the attitude is much more wide spread and take it more seriously. What do you have to loose but 3-5 minutes of your time anyway?

    John

    1. The current Rav4 EV is far too expensive to be sold for anything except regulatory reasons. Even the $51,000 price is far below the actual cost to build.

      Plus, it is a discontinued chassis. The Rav4 EV is dead when the 2600th one is built and earns Toyota 3 CARB-ZEV credits.

      Then, hydrogen cars will do the same for 2015 model year and beyond, for up to 9 credits each.

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