Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan Makes US Debut Today

JUN 27 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 51

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

It made is Japanese debut on Wednesday and now today Toyota’s fuel cell sedan is already making its US debut:

“Toyota’s first commercial zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCV) is coming to the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival. First unveiled in Japan on Wednesday afternoon, the vehicle will make its North American debut at the annual conference on Friday, June 27.”

The Toyota fuel cell sedan will go on sale in select California markets in Summer 2015.

US pricing is not available at this time, nor are specs on the vehicle  Toyota is not forthcoming with details, aside from stating the following:

“Interior features, along with the vehicle’s name, volume, and full specifications will be released later. Toyota also announced that the FCV will go on sale in the Japan domestic market before April 2015, and then summer 2015 in Europe and the state of California. The sedan will be priced in the Japan domestic market at approximately 7 million yen, or at more than $68,000 based on current exchange rates. Pricing in other markets has not yet been set.”

“This is a zero-emission electric-drive, mid-size four-door sedan” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “It produces sufficient electrical power to spin the electric motor for about 300 miles on a single fill-up which takes three to five minutes.”

Full press release below

Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Will be Shown at 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival
Zero emission vehicle part of demonstration of Toyota’s vision for future mobility

June 25, 2014
TORRANCE, Calif., (June 25, 2014) – Toyota’s first commercial zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCV) is coming to the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival. First unveiled in Japan on Wednesday afternoon, the vehicle will make its North American debut at the annual conference on Friday, June 27.

In a press conference in Japan, company officials revealed the exterior design of the FCV pre-production prototype. Interior features, along with the vehicle’s name, volume, and full specifications will be released later. Toyota also announced that the FCV will go on sale in the Japan domestic market before April 2015, and then summer 2015 in Europe and the state of California. The sedan will be priced in the Japan domestic market at approximately 7 million yen, or at more than $68,000 based on current exchange rates. Pricing in other markets has not yet been set.

“This is a zero-emission electric-drive, mid-size four-door sedan” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “It produces sufficient electrical power to spin the electric motor for about 300 miles on a single fill-up which takes three to five minutes. This is going to be a very special vehicle. And we believe we can bring it in at a very reasonable price for a lot of people.”

Today’s announcement builds on Toyota’s existing efforts to provide customers with access to hydrogen refueling stations when the vehicle arrives in California. In May, the company announced a financial relationship with First Element Fuels to support the long-term operation and maintenance of 19 new hydrogen refueling stations across the state.

“The success of fuel cell technology will depend less on the genius of the car, than on the ownership experience,” said Carter. “Stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen.”

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51 Comments on "Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan Makes US Debut Today"

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Mark H
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Mark H

I see the tag reads FCV not FCEV. Their choice not mine.

Trace
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Trace

Looks like there should be slobber drooling out of those big flaps in front. Like a St. Bernard.

Vin
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No kidding. And the rear end styling is so derivative…

http://postimg.org/image/jf905f6ah/

Taser54
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Taser54

This begs the question: Is there a hydrogen filling station in Aspen?

Mark H
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Mark H

I would 5x rather see these (FCV) on the road than ICEs but I would 10x rather see an EV powered by renewables.
Last year saw roughly 97,000 EVs and 130,000 residential solar installations in the US. I like the similarities in those numbers. CA shows 1-in-3 having both with 85% starting with solar.

You can’t discount that methods of producing,storing, and shipping hydrogen will greatly improve, but it still takes energy to do all three.

Still wanna know if they are serious why they did not start with, or even mention plans to include an extender model while the infrastructure arrives.

Taser54
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Taser54

Japan will have 100 hydrogen filling stations by March 2016. The country is throwing a ton of money toward developing a hydrogen economy. They even have a demonstration hydrogen town. We’ll see how successful it is.

For the US, I would see more success targeting long haul trucking with fixed routes.

JakeY
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JakeY

“Japan will have 100 hydrogen filling stations by March 2016.”
They *promise* to have 100 stations by then. It still remains to be seen if it will happen.

Schwarzenegger promised 150-200 stations by 2010 to form a “hydrogen highway”. We have less than 10 right now that’s publicly accessible (and they are the “cluster” design so long range travel is not possible).

Taser54
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Taser54

Considering that Japan already has 33 operational hydrogen filling stations, I would not conclude that Japan is like California.

HVACman
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HVACman

Yeah, inexpensive hydrogen created by all that natural gas that Japan has pouring out of its bountiful natural gas fields…

From everything I’ve read, Japan is importing all the natural gas via LNG at current cost of a $15/million BTU’s.

In the US, natural gas wholesales price is now $5/million BTU’s.

With US natural-gas-generated H2 costing about $5/kg (about $5/gallon gasoline equivalent), Japan’s H2 cost will be horrendous. As bad as the H2 economics look in the US, it is three times worse in Japan. It will never pencil out.

taser54
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taser54

You are presuming that Japan is committed to using natural gas to produce hydrogen.

Japan is first going to obtain hydrogen which is a byproduct at their oil refineries and chemical plants.

But Japan also has abundent hydroelectric and nuclear power, so they don’t have to import natural gas for the purpose of reforming hydrogen. Japan is pursuing a hydrogen economy on a national scale. We’ll see if it works for them.

SeattleTeslaGuy
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SeattleTeslaGuy

Hydro & nuke electricity to H2 to electricty seems to not be very smart when you can just go directly to the EV.

David
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David

Which is one of the main reasons why FCVs don’t work. Its a gimmick in the short term. Long term future is EV, not FCV. Just can’t get around the cost and energy required to create, transport and store hydrogen.

HVACman
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HVACman

If I recall, most produced H2 at refineries through breaking down the H2S is used in-house to add hydrogen atoms as they “crack” longer hydrocarbon chains to make lighter hydrocarbons. I think most refineries use more hydrogen than they produce.

Re: Japanese nuclear…post-Fukishima, Japan made a national decision to decommission all nuclear power. They are anxiously exploring increasing natural gas imports to fuel new replacement power plants. They will be in a world of hurt for electricity. See George’s posts on the relative efficiencies of using electricity for making H2 vs directly charging an EV. It’s a no-brainer. Japan will not use electricity for making H2 for mass transportation use and they can’t afford to use natural gas to make H2.

krona2k
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krona2k

How many are public? A quick Google search doesn’t find a definitive answer.

See Through
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“Schwarzenegger promised 150-200 stations by 2010 ”
– There was a timing issue. The cars weren’t there. The timing is very important. Cars, fueling stations and consumer demand all need to be there. Also, cost of Hydrigen gen has come down by half since then.

Remember, someone tried an IPAD 20 years ago before Apple. It didn’t take off at that time.

US is now behind in H2 adoption. Japan and Europe will adopt first. US will follow, avoiding the risk, and also learning from them.

GeorgeS
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GeorgeS

@Taser
Perhaps they are looking at H2 as a way to store energy from their renewables.

taser54
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taser54

That is certainly likely.

GeorgeS
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GeorgeS

@ Mark H

I put together a chart that puts this FCV in context. Well to wheels is 40% vs 30% for the regular Prius and 19% for a conventional gasoline powered vehicle….so yes it is better.

However It can not come close to the 85% you get with an EV charged directly from solar panels.

I do think that H2 or Methanol production from renewable sources would be beneficial for storing energy though. Although not quite as efficient as battery storage, it might be more economical than buying batteries for example a wind farm. New Zealand does this now with their excess geothermal.

SeattleTeslaGuy
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SeattleTeslaGuy

Nice chart update. thanks for doing that. What I don’t understand is membrane separation in production now? The original chart from Toyota doesn’t seem to have the dominant H2 generation technology listed (steam reformation).

GeorgeS
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GeorgeS

@ Seattle. Thx for pointing that out my chart should say “reforming with membrane separation” instead if just “membrane separation” just as on the Toyota chart.

Dave R
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Dave R

I think that 59% is a bit optimistic for FC efficiency, no?

And do your Well-Tank numbers include compression losses?

GeorgeS
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GeorgeS

@Dave R

Compression losses are included. Yes the FC eff looks high. The reason the tank to wheels number is higher than the bare fuel cell eff is because of regeneration. I believe the vehicle includes a 2 kwh battery to store the regerative energy. The tank to wheel number is a Toyota number.

Mark H
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Mark H

Very nice George!!

sven
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sven

Thanks for the chart! 😀

Would the “well to wheels” efficiency for EV-Solar PV be less than 85% for EVs charged at night to factor in transmission losses for PV generated electricity going from my house to the grid during the day, and utility generated electricity going from the generating plant to my house. In other words, does efficiency take a hit if I charge my car later at night rather than during the day directly from my Solar PV system?

Mark H
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Mark H

Good question but I am pretty sure George is using the Elon Musk logic. “If there is a penalty for buying then there is a bonus for selling netting zero.” This is how Musk will tout solar superchargers in the future. I personally buy into that logic. I like my relationship with the utility company. It will be up to them to screw it up. If they do, the 5 year future is looking pretty bright for stationery batteries.

GeorgeS
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GeorgeS

@ SVEN
Great question.
I don’t know.
My summer house in the desert pumps in KWH into my APS account and then I can take them out on a one to one basis in the fall when I return.

The best way to look at it is you are pumping in Kwh when the sun is out and it’s a peak load time for A/C so you are doing good.

And you are keeping an idle generator doing something useful at night,

SIvad
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SIvad

Those giant pretend vents covered in ridges have to be hell on aerodynamics. That design is screaming “look at me!” sort of like a desperate rebellious teenager trying to get attention.

Spec9
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Spec9

I can’t help but see Darth Vader.

Surya
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Surya

Isn’t it more like a classic BSG toaster?

Lou Grinzo
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We should start a betting pool on how many of these Toyota sells in the US, say, between now and 12/31/2014. (And no, I’m not suggesting betting for real money, just bragging rights.)

I’m guessing it will be a really small number, perhaps 100. I’m assuming that there won’t be a sudden, huge increase in the number of H2 filling stations, obviously, despite gov’t grants, etc.

jkw
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jkw

You’ll have to pick a later date. They aren’t planning on selling it in the US before summer of 2015. How about a betting pool for the first six months, so that the exact release date doesn’t have to be part of a person’s forecast?

JakeY
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JakeY

I say give it a whole year. 6 months might result in a lot of noise (and seasonal factors).

krona2k
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krona2k

I’ll make a bet that they won’t sell a single one in 2015 anywhere in the world. I think they will only lease.

DaveMart
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DaveMart

Perhaps some of you have not seen the chief designer on the project:

DaveMart
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DaveMart

SeattleTeslaGuy
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SeattleTeslaGuy

I made a similar comment and got a racism lecture. But what ever the origin, it is one fugly car.

davemart
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davemart

Moustouchismm yes, racism, no,

krona2k
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krona2k

Inappropriate.

Chris O
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Chris O

An $68K+taxes (in Japan) Corolla rival…who could resist an offer like that? Of course in the US these will be shoved down consumers throats at what ever (lease)price moves the metal and earns Toyota the real prize: up to $130K worth of ZEV credits.

Another episode in the grotesque subsidy fest that is hydrogen but has yet to deliver something that even remotely rivals plug-ins as a value proposition and won’t for at least another 15 years as freely admitted by Toyota.

Despite the disadvantages for consumers, environment and the no more fossil fuel addiction agenda Toyota seems hell bent on shoving this technology down our throats so this is hardly a happy day for mankind.

JakeY
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JakeY

“up to $130K worth of ZEV credits”
I wish some journalist would verify this. I have looked at the regulation and there is no indication how a vehicle can get 26 credits. So unless there is some “backroom” deal between CARB and Hyundai, I’m still skeptical of this.

However, with the verified 9 credit number, Toyota can still subsidize the FCV by up to $45k (vs. $15k for the RAV4 EV).

Chris O
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Chris O

I read it first on Ward’s Auto and it has been taken over by other outlets. Someone offered that the cars can be leased twice to different consumers in 3 years effectively doubling the credits they generate. I also read somewhere that the number of credits increases the more frequently the vehicles are filled up with hydrogen (some sort of “fast charge” bonus) so the total number of credits has the theoretical capacity to increase over time up to that 26 number.

Spec9
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Spec9

Holy smokes. That better not be true . . . you shouldn’t be able to get 2 sets of credits for one car. That would be like selling a used EV and collecting the $7500 tax-credit again.

It should be one set of credits per VIN (and no switching VINs).

Anon
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Anon

And America said, “Whoa… Don’t care what it runs on, but damn! That’s one fugly car!”

Ryan
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Ryan
The oil companies love this car because it will be their new future. Hydrogen will be subject to price fluctuations and potential shortages(pipeline issue, pump issue, truck didn’t make it, refinery down). I notice it seems the CNG cars spend a lot more time at the gas station then the ICE cars do. I don’t look forward to or envy hanging out at the gas station. That is one nice thing about the battery car; do all the charging at home, in the garage, overnight. And essentially no maintenance. The hydrogen cars are going to be a maintenance nightmare. I don’t see how that fuel cell won’t be. Seals and pressure and fluid combined with extreme temperatures equals leaks. I don’t even feel comfortable with the 3,600psi CNG tanks. Let alone the 10,000 psi hydrogen tanks. I’m not making that number up either(look it up). Yes it’s that high; that’s how they attempt to get enough of it in the tank. And the power output of a fuel cell is WEAK! I’ve never seen one with an impressive power output. Are the streets going to be wet driving these cars around? Will the local area be hot and humid?
sven
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sven

Lot’s of FUD in your post. Are you shorting Toyota? 😉

“Are the streets going to be wet driving these cars around? Will the local area be hot and humid?”

You’re grasping at straws. FYI, all ICE vehicles emit water vapor and yet the streets aren’t wet as a result, and the emitted H2O doesn’t make the local area hot and humid. The H2O emitted from a fuel cell will also be in the form of water vapor as a result of the heat generated from the chemical reaction in the fuel cell.

The FUD you’re spreading about fuel cells is as bad as the FUD spread by anti-EV advocates about EV battery packs catching on fire. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to dislike and oppose fuel cells; you don’t have to make up reasons. 😀

Michael
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Michael

I don’t like hydrogen. This is a try from oil industry to go to hydrogen industry…
I love loading my Leaf with Solar power. With 6000 kWH from my solar Power i can drive 20.000 miles a year!! Thats much enough for a second Leaf 🙂 for my women.

davemart
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davemart

Congratulations.
It is always good to hear from nightworkers using their home solar panels to charge their cars during the day.

SeattleTeslaGuy
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SeattleTeslaGuy

Nice try dave…

Rick Danger
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Rick Danger

WAAAAAAAAAAAA Dave. Give it a rest.

Michael
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Michael

OK, on weekend I can load with solar panels :-). But my wife is mostly at home. And with smart grid vehicles it will be possible to use energy back in house, I love this idea.

jmac
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jmac

Big ploy from Big Oil to set up Big Hydrogen.