Toyota Reveals $70,000 Fuel Cell Sedan – Sales in Japan Start April 2015, Shortly After In Europe & US (w/videos)


Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota just announced the Fuel Cell Sedan, revealing exterior design of the production version and setting a sales date in Japan and the price. The concept version was first shown at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show.

The car, which still doesn’t have name, is scheduled for launch in Japan before April 2015. A few months afterwards, sales should begin in Europe and North America, but will be limited by hydrogen refuelling infrastructure availability, so there won’t be nationwide sales.

“The four-door saloon will be introduced first in Japan, before next April. Preparations are in hand for launches in the US and European markets in the summer of 2015.”

In Japan, sales initially will be limited to: Saitama Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo Metropolis, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture, Aichi Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture, Hyogo Prefecture, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and Fukuoka Prefecture.

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

The price in Japan is set for around seven million yen (MSRP; excludes consumption tax), which will be approximately $70,000. The Japanese manufacturer for now didn’t offer comment on the expected price for  Europe and North America.

“In Japan the Fuel Cell Sedan will be sold at Toyota and Toyopet dealerships, priced at approximately seven million yen (about £40,450). Initially sales will be limited to those parts of the country where a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is under development. Prices for Europe and the USA have not yet been decided. Detailed information such as final prices, specifications and sales expectations will also be announced later.”

The range with a full tank is expected to about 700 km or 435 miles at JC08 test cycle (under which Nissan LEAF has range of 228 km or 142 miles).

“The fuel cell sedan Toyota revealed today, for example, features performance similar to a gasoline engine vehicle, with a cruising range2 of approximately 700 km (according to Toyota measurements taken under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s JC08 test cycle)

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota has been developing fuel cells and fuel cell cars for more than 20 years.  The Japanese carmaker certainly would love to finally commercialize this technology, highlighting the advantages like three minutes refueling. Let’s see what Toyota has to say:

“Toyota’s commitment to developing vehicles that are kinder to the environment is based on three principles: embracing diverse energy sources; securing low vehicle emissions; and driving positive environmental change by making these vehicles popular with customers.”

“Hydrogen has great potential as an alternative fuel. It can be produced from a wide variety of primary energy sources, including solar and wind power; it is easy to store and transport; and when compressed, it has a higher energy density than batteries. It could also be used in a much wider range of applications beyond automotive and domestic use, including large-scale power generation.”

“Toyota has been developing fuel cell vehicles in-house for more than 20 years. Its system includes a proprietary FC Stack, which generates electricity from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The technology was featured in the Toyota FCHV (fuel cell hybrid vehicle), an SUV which was leased to customers on a limited basis in Japan and the USA from 2002.”

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

“Since then, Toyota has significantly improved its FC system. The Fuel Cell Sedan revealed today, for example, delivers performance and a cruising range similar to that of a petrol-engined vehicle, and refuelling takes roughly three minutes. When driven, the car’s only tailpipe emission is water vapour, produced by the chemical reaction between the hydrogen and oxygen.”

“Fuel cell vehicles contribute to the diversification of vehicle fuels. They emit no carbon dioxide or substances harmful to the environment when driven, but offer the convenience associated with petrol-powered vehicles. Toyota believes the technology has great potential in the development of vehicles that are kinder to the environment and ideal for helping deliver sustainable mobility.”

“Toyota companies are also engaging in other hydrogen-related initiatives, such as developing and testing fuel cells for use in homes, and designing fuel cell forklifts and buses.”

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Karl Schlicht, Executive Vice President Toyota Motor Europe, stated:

“We are very excited by the arrival of fuel cell technology. Of course there are many challenges ahead, such as the availability of fuelling infrastructure and customer awareness. But our history with hybrid gives us all the experience we need to bring a new technology to the market.”

“In Europe we will be taking it step by step, gradually introducing the car in selected markets. But we are confident that hydrogen will become increasingly popular as a way of powering vehicles.”

Here are teasers and video from the presentation:

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Category: Toyota

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125 responses to "Toyota Reveals $70,000 Fuel Cell Sedan – Sales in Japan Start April 2015, Shortly After In Europe & US (w/videos)"
  1. ClarksonCote says:

    I can’t stand fuel cells. I don’t know why Toyota is so in love with them.

    1. Brian says:

      Fuel cells look good on paper; Toyota’s marketing department must love that they can claim long range and quick refueling! As always, the devil’s in the details. I’m sure that Toyota’s engineers are aware of that.

      1. krona2k says:

        The problem has never been with the engineers, it’s the sales and marketing people that are they problem. They have a fundamental problem with plug-in cars (I’m amazed they produced the plug-in Prius to be honest!), but technology is moving on from the point when they decided to put their eggs in the hydrogen basket and they really should rethink their position.

        The market is ripe for a really good plugin hybrid, like the BMW i3 but with better styling and lower cost. Maybe a slightly bigger fuel tank and engine. Keep the performance though so as to differentiate from the Volt.

    2. offib says:

      For one, it’s more profitable than making a limited production electric car, they receive more ZEV credits. They can justify the early years with that.

      The problem there is in the word, “limited”. They do not have the capacity to make 20,000 cars a year or double their sales eyar-on-year. For quite some time, FCEVs have only been leased and who knows if owners will be allowed to continue the lease after 3 years. It also doesn’t help the fact that Toyota is replacing the RAV4 EV with this and also didn’t let owners renew their leases after 3 years.

  2. germinrath says:

    When will the fuel cell BS finally go away??

    Seems Toyota is getting scared with all EV’s and PHEV’s coming up strong. Just when it started to hybridize the whole portfolio, all of a sudden the hybrid is yesterday’s technology and has little future….

    Their answer: let’s create a few years of marketing confusion by digging up the good old hydrogen BS, and try to create doubt amongst EV buyers.

    sad story, Toyota has totally lost its innovators mentality

  3. TimE says:

    Replace the Fuel Cell stack and tank with a good battery and I might consider Toyota again in the future… Drop the Hydrogen BS Toyota!

  4. Anon says:

    CARB needs to stop promoting greenwashed technology that still uses fossil fuels to create hydrogen…

    There is no other reason to promote hydrogen, than to make the petrochemical industry happy. Somebody’s taken’ Oil Lobby Money inside CARB. 🙁

    As for a name for this vehicle (besides ugly), it might be “Dog Whistle”, or possibly “Red Herring”?

    1. Taser54 says:

      Hydrogen can be reclaimed from Trash using Plasma arc gassification. Take that immense island of garbage in the Pacific, for example, and produce something useful out of it while cleaning up the environment.

      1. Aaron says:

        …all while consuming tremendous amounts of energy to power the plasma. Energy that, when put into an EV, would drive the car much farther.

        1. Taser54 says:

          Nope, once the plant has started up, it is self-sustaining, operating on a portion of the very syngas it produces.

          1. Brian says:

            What portion? And how much electricity could that plant generate if use instead as a waste-to-electricity plant instead of waste-to-hydrogen?

            1. taser54 says:

              The key here is that if you want to produce electricity, you’ll have to burn the syngas via ICE or turbines. If you want to produce hydrogen you simply need a membrane or a catalyst. The fuel cells then do what they do. A country like Japan, and Major US cities could easily have a readily available hydrogen supply by taking care of it’s massive amounts of household waste and hazardous waste using Plasma Arc Gasification.

      2. Mint says:

        The reality is that industry won’t do that for a long time, because it’s far more expensive than just using natural gas. If arc gasification was an economical source of energy, it would be used already.

        Best case for clean hydrogen in the next 10 years is electrolysis from clean energy, which is also expensive, but could get down to $5-6/kg of H2. That’s roughly equal in cost to gasoline powering a 40mpg car.

        1. taser54 says:

          It is used already.

          1. Mint says:

            In extremely limited application, because it’s not an economical source of energy. It’s only used in areas where trash disposal is very expensive, so they get paid to reduce the volume of trash.

  5. Brian says:

    $70K? LOL!

    So an LA resident can buy a FCV for $70k, which they cannot currently drive out of the region (due to current infrastructure) and then hope and pray that the infrastructure expands to one day travel to San Francisco.


    They could spend the same money on a Tesla Model S, and not only drive to San Francisco, but all the way to New York, TODAY!

    I’m sorry – what was hydrogen’s advantage again?

    1. Big Solar says:

      all the way to New York with no hydrogen bill.

    2. offib says:

      And to think, people were laughing at the ELR with it’s price tag in the $70,000, but even that’s cheaper to run on Hydrogen (that is if the fuel is bought for its actual price and not incentivised or completely free)!

    3. Steve says:

      Yep. I agree with you. I expect the FCV to be a flop. I guess we’ll see.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        I would rather recycle the technology into an hydrogen fuelled electric Bell 609. That would at least allow something really interesting.

        What would be the potential for a rocket? Lots of hydrogen and oxygen producing lots of electricity that can be used to electrically boost the standard exhaust of another part of the Hydrogen and Oxygen burning normally in the rocket. There remain to fine tune the electromagnetic boosting system to increase the ISP of the rocket.

        It is also a great for cheap electricity storage on the moon because it must have about the lowest mass to the moon requirement for a 100 KW output. It could store plenty of energy in stationary hydrogen and oxygen tanks. Since lowest mass to the Moon is more important there then energy efficiency, it has some future there. Indeed the unit is light, the empty tanks are light and water can be found on the spot. We would need more solar power, thus more solar power panels mass, to account for the lower yield of the global energy storage system, but overall that would still be less mass to the moon for a same night time energy supply.

    4. Mint says:

      It’s obvious that Toyota is losing money, too, because the fuel stack alone – if it really is 100kW – would be worth more than that if they turned it into a peaker power plant.

      Even better is to sell it as a backup power unit. Lots of off-grid people that don’t want gasoline/diesel, and it can be placed indoors.

      1. See Through says:

        Toyota won’t be losing money on this; else they won’t sell to so many prefectures in Japan. Toyota engineers estimate cost of the car around $50K. Toyota doesn’t make cars just because they can make something. It is not Tesla.

        I’m glad to see coverage of Fuel cell cars on This is also an EV, and a new green technology. This might grow much faster than we think. It is almost like a gas car , except for the lack of fueling stations and it being green.

        1. JakeY says:

          “Toyota won’t be losing money on this; else they won’t sell to so many prefectures in Japan.”
          Says right in the article that it’s in limited prefectures. If they aren’t losing money they would sell nationwide (the Leaf launched in all 47 prefectures).

          “Toyota engineers estimate cost of the car around $50K.”
          No, they don’t. They *hope* to hit that in 2020. The current target for this car is a *price* between $50k-$100k, but there is not mention of actual cost of production.

          The fuel cell system alone already costs $50k, so there’s no way this car costs Toyota $50k to make:

          “Toyota doesn’t make cars just because they can make something.”
          Actually they do. See the LFA. They also get ZEV credits for this car (many times more than they do for per RAV4 EV).

  6. Taser54 says:

    I am amazed that people appear so angry with Toyota over this breakthrough vehicle. It should be lauded. The bottom line is that you can admire the vehicle while realizing that hydrogen infrastructure faces huge challenges in the US. In Japan,however, the country appears to be backing hydrogen infrastructure at a level that might just work for them. Why not applaud this EV and wait to see what happens?

    1. Brian says:

      Conspiracy theories aside, I think hydrogen is a bad idea. Can it work? Probably. Should we pursue it? I would argue no. Hydrogen is made either from hydrocarbon fuels (typically natural gas – methane) or via hydrolysis from water. The problem is that either of these processes are highly inefficient compared to either burning the natural gas for energy, or using the electricity to charge an electric car.

      The appeal of the hydrogen car is that it looks good on paper – long range and quick refuel time. But in practice, you lose the biggest advantages of EVs – simple at-home charging, and control of your energy source (rather than being dependent on a fuel supplier network). The overall convenience of an EV trumps that of a FCV because >90% of the time you charge while doing something other than waiting (sleeping, working, shopping, etc). The handful of times one waits at a supercharger are more than compensated for by that majority.

      1. Joshua Burstyn says:

        That’s the point for me – why spend the electrical potential or crack the natural gas when they’d be better put to use directly.

        Cynically I think Toyota wants to have the fuel cell market to themselves and (based purely on the value of the credits) they’re also keenly aware that California is a large market for their vehicles.

        I can’t see this technology being practical at this point. In my area (Toronto, Canada) there is not a single hydrogen fuelling station. There sure are a lot of electrical outlets though…

      2. Phatcat73 says:

        Let’s see… If,I was big oil, which fueling technology would I embrace to replace gas pumps? 1) ELectric – where refueling is decentralized, and available from renewables or
        2) hydrogen – fueling that is centralized and available only from 3rd party sources…like gas stations, with plenty of middle men and markup.

      3. MikeM says:

        I wouldn’t put the conspiracy notion completely aside just yet. That is – if you consider the following study organized by the US dept. of energy a conspiracy:

        HDTT (Hydrogen delivery tech. team) roadmap:

        Conspirators include: The major US auto companies (including Tesla BTW) and, more tellingly: BP, Phillips, Chevron, Exxon and Shell.

        The latter oil-stained cast of shady characters includes the nation’s present major H2 suppliers (both industry-wide and for their own internal processes) made by reforming natural gas, of course.
        These folks are looking forward to the time where they get to be your energy suppliers/gatekeepers after the gasoline has started to dry up.
        Your H2 will be available at your friendly neighborhood gas, er Hydrogen, station at a price mpge equivalent to or better than, gasoline (at first, anyway).
        Check out the road map if you don’t believe me. It’s a very good, informative read!

      4. See Through says:

        Hydrigen can also be made from methane captured in sewage plants. Some sewage plants in LA is already doing this. But I don’t know if that’s in good volume.

        1. JakeY says:

          That plant makes enough hydrogen to fuel about 25 cars a day. Almost worthless in terms of volume.

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          Indeed gold can be extracted from seawater, the problem is that it just isn’t so because of cost and/or low yield.

    2. HVACman says:

      Yes, hydrogen makes perfect sense for Japan, with their huge reserves of inexpensive natural gas to extract it from.

      1. krona2k says:

        LOL + 1

      2. Spec9 says:

        Yeah, I just cannot make sense out of Japan’s move toward H2 vehicles. Maybe they looked at the shale gas boom and figured that would power them in the USA?

    3. krona2k says:

      I’d applaud them if they also produced a decent EV and a decent plug-in hybrid, but they don’t. They should be leading the field with all their experience but instead they drag their feet and whine on and on about batteries whilst at the same time presenting fuel cells as a panacea.

      Now can you see why we’re so annoyed with them?

  7. germinrath says:

    @Taser54, We should not laude hydrogen because as Anon states correctly hydrogen is constantly used by the perto industry and legacy car industry to confuse the market and create a slowdown in EV uptake.

    The facts are:
    -in the ultimate best case hydrogen is always at least 50% less effcient compared to electricity
    -hydrogen production is very inffecient
    -hydrogen cars are always fundamentally more expensive than an EV

    The BS is going on for 30+ years now, because it helps the existing (big) forces to slow down a real system-level change

    1. GeorgeS says:

      I think I’m with Taer on this. It depends on what the source of the hydrogen is. All these low efficiency numbers that get quoted assume that the waste heat is thrown away. If the waste heat is utilized then the efficiency is acceptable. Also if you can take waste bio and convert it or for example use excess wind power to make it it is OK.

      Personally though I think PV to EV is still the best alternative….and I agree this is something that the oil companies want.

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        Even if the source from hydrogen is 100% clean, it still takes energy to compress it, and tons of resources and infrastructure to distribute it. Even if you create it locally, the energy to create and compress it is better spent charging a battery. It’s just more efficient that way.

        Toyota states above they’ve spent 20 years working on fuel cells. How about we work 20 years on battery tech before claiming fuel cells are the future?

        1. BraveLilToaster says:

          More like, even if the source of the hydrogen is clean, the source of the electricity isn’t. Or if it is clean, then you still have to spend twice as much to generate it to make the fuel, as you would to just use it directly in charging a car.

          Let’s put it this way. EVs are being criticized as being “not as clean as you think” because of the electricity they use, and the method of generating that electricity. Now multiply that by 2, and then look at how clean your fuel is. So even if you’re getting your hydrogen from water electrolysis (which is about 4 or 5 times more expensive than natural gas reforming), you’re still going to see the same “coal powered car” argument, except that it’s twice as bad.

          So, Toyota’s trying to sell a car that’s just as expensive as a Tesla, gets the same range (minus the nationwide network of superchargers), has the same operating expenses as a regular gas car, and pollutes at least as much as one too. All for the privilege of… I don’t see an upside there at all.

  8. MDEV says:

    “The range with a full tank is expected to about 700 km or 435 miles at JC08 test cycle (under which Nissan LEAF has range of 228 km or 142 miles)”

    How this test is done pushing the car the last 200 miles?

  9. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

    I’ll say it – that is one ugly, weird looking car. The LEAF looks positively sexy by comparison. I suppose they tried to make it look distinctive but instead hit the UGLY bullseye.

    @Taser54, I agree that the engineering is something to be praised but their approach to green is just plain wrong-headed and taking large chunks of the industry down a dead end path.

    Toyota Green just isn’t clean

    1. Rick says:

      I have to disagree, STG. The LEAF is way more uglier than this car.

  10. Lou Grinzo says:

    I think a lot of the hate for fuel cells and Toyota comes from the technical and infrastructure issues of hydrogen, as many people here and across the ‘net have pointed out repeatedly for year, plus the fact that Toyota is running those insane anti-EV ads (I hear them daily on the app I use to stream radio stations).

    This is why so many people, including me, say that the best way to deal with climate change, transportation, dwindling fossil fuel use, etc., is to stop the BS with all these special rules and exemptions, and put an across-the-board carbon tax in place, with a 100% per capita refund. That would seriously tilt the competitive landscape away from carbon and toward solar, wind, etc., and EVs.

    But as long as the political system here in the US is an open bazaar (and a bizarre one, at that), such a “radical” plan will never be enacted.

    Eventually the market will squeeze out absurdities like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, but only after we’ve wasted far too much time and money on dead end non-solutions. And this is a very big problem because in our current climate and resource situation, time is most definitely not on our side.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      Yes Lou. The oil companies will need a source of income to pay for the law suits that are coming. Eventually , when the warming gets bad enough, big oil, just like big tobacco, will have to cough up some big money to help solve the problems that they knowingly caused.

      1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

        I think you meant to say that we will all have to pay the price for the problems we caused by burning fossil fuels.

        And, there is no “cleaning it up” but rather having to adapt.

        1. GeorgeS says:

          I don’t know. I can see a panicked homo sapiens in 2100 AD desperatley trying to get the excess CO2 back out of the atmosphere.

          1. pjwood says:

            +1 I heard the “we’re just 3%” of global release argument at an EPA hearing, from a coal rep. We’re a small part of a much larger cycle. It doesn’t mean it isn’t stacking up, but by 2100 we are apt to find many more ways to lever the natural capture of CO2.

            Maybe we’ll turn the ocean into an acid bath?

            1. Nick says:

              > Maybe we’ll turn the ocean into an acid bath?

              We already are.

    2. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

      Well, I take a different point of view on this. Toyota will waste billions of dollars and be so far behind when it collapses that they will be a distance echo of the car company they used to be. Meanwhile, those that focused on EVs will grow to dominate the market.

      Those ads may have some effect but they can’t fight gravity. All the do is push back the tipping point a little.

      1. germinrath says:

        agree, this is exaclty what they are doing here: push back the tipping point a little.

        They know EV is the future and funny enough from tech standpoint they are perfectly positioned to build an EV. they have most experience in the whole industry with electric motors, batteries, etc.

        BUT the internal product portfolio goes like this:
        Enthousiast product manager: Why don’t we make a Prius EV?
        Senior manager: Are you crazy??, we would invest into a product which eats up our own sales and declares hybrids (=whole portfolio) a dead-end-street
        All: hmmm, so what should we do?
        senior management: Let’s take the fuel cells and create some “new insights” with policy makers and the public so we can prolong the life of hybrids and do a very slow phase in of PHEV/EV so we can recoup our investments made over the years before we switch to EV’s

        I have been in automotive for 10 years.this is the way these discussions go. Trust me

        Anyway I hope Toyota will start showing some real leadership by actually taking the step to eat it’s own sales for the sake of innovation and the planet.
        Great companies do that. Mediocre companies act like Toyota does now

        1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

          In the high tech world, the whole canabalize or be eaten effect is well understood. The disk drive industry has been through something like 5 generations of technology, each driven by a different set of companies because the previous ones failed to canabalize themselves. Smart companies accept this as a matter of course, stupid ones go out of business.

          1. Brian says:

            Seriously. It’s better that you cannibalize yourself than just watch someone else eat your lunch. Either way, the technology is going to progress. The one with the new tech will win regardless of who had the last gen.

            1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

              It’s funny. In the disk drive cases, each company with an entrenched technology went through the same process. The customers wanted faster or higher capacity. The new but cheaper technology was slower or lower capacity so they spurned it. But the companies pushing the new tech found a niche and then proceeded to improve speed and capacity to the point where it pushed the older technology (and companies) aside. Costly lesson that gets relearned every few years.

            2. pjwood says:

              To Toyota’s board room, this is simply a number. At ‘X’ market share erosion, or ratio of PHEV/hybrid, they change their tune.

              In that same room ~2 years ago, the anti-cannibals appear to have made the winning argument against R&D, as batteries failed to meet many estimates of penetration. “can’t plug-in” will support the hybrid market for many years yet.

    3. See Through says:

      “but only after we’ve wasted far too much time and money on dead end non-solutions.”

      What? US didn’t pay Toyota a penny in 20 years for their fuel cell research. They did this with their own money, in their home country.

  11. M says:

    It is interesting if there will be not expensive, compact and effective solar(electric) to hydrogen home refueling station and fc will be with this instead of platinum!

    1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

      Two things pop out of this: a) it presumes all electricity is derived from natural gas and b) it presumes a fairly efficient H2 production process.

      For those locations that have significant hydro, wind, solar or nuclear electricity generation, the charts would show a different story (not even sure there is a “well to wheels” comparison that makes sense). Of course, coal production would penalize the EV “well to wheels” efficiency.

    2. Mark H says:

      All but the not expensive part.

  12. Aaron says:

    Hydrogen aside… did the designer of the Pontiac Aztek work on this vehicle? If you remove the gaping maw on the front and the extra, tacked-on brake lights on the back, it looks much better. (Done quick ‘n dirty in Gimp.)

    1. John Hansen says:

      Incredibly, some Aztecs actually looked better than this abomination.

      What the heck is happening over at Toyota?

  13. scottf200 says:

    Can they use this tech in 18 wheelers? Main highways, designated stops, electric torque for big loads would be good, etc, etc.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      exactly scott. One must guard against making a blanket statement that all FC tech is bad.

    2. Brian says:

      This is probably the best reasoned response here! Rather than look at it as a win/lose proposition, you came with a different perspective, well played.

      I actually agree with you. This seems like it would be well suited for 18 wheelers (better so that batteries). The problem is that nobody is building those trucks. Instead we get small cars that are supposed to imply that all personal transportation should use hydrogen.

      As I discussed above, the tradeoffs strongly favor EVs for personal transport. However, with the huge batteries an 18 wheeler would require, and the need for frequency long-distance hauling seems like it would tip the scale in favor of hydrogen.

      1. See Through says:

        – Yes, H2 trucks will be nice for US. But right now, the refueling stations is an issue. Only California has initiatives in place to develop some fueling stations. The, the 18 wheelers won’t be able to go from LA to NY with their payload. Unless these is some national level cooperation, the 18 wheeler H2 trucks can’t be deployed.
        Besides, the ZEV credits also play a big role in what companies make and what consumers buy.

    3. Jesse Gurr says:

      There is a company doing that right now. They already have trucks at some big shipping ports in CA and TX.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        That is interesting, those trucks should already be all over the country. at least there hydrogen make some sense.

  14. David Murray says:

    So for the price of this homely looking car, I could buy a Tesla Model-S, or two Chevy Volts. I’m just not seeing it.

    I really don’t have a problem with hydrogen fuel cells. I mean, it is still an electric car. But I’m just not seeing a commercial potential for the technology.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing an electric car with a hydrogen range-extender…

  15. GeorgeS says:

    Just to be fair here is toyota’s well to wheel efficiency numbers.

    Pick it apart any way you choose:

    1. Lindsay Patten says:

      That chart looks good for FC if you accept the premise that you are going to power your EV with electricity generated by burning natural gas. But if you get your electricity from hydro, solar, wind, etc. then 85% efficiency for the EV looks a lot better than 40% for the FC.

      It would be interesting to have included burning the NG in an NG-ICE vehicle.

      1. GeorgeS says:

        Yes Lindsay. I need to issue my own version of the chart that has better EV numbers for sure.

        The numbers that Toyota is showing for EV nat gas electrical generating are closer to a plain gas turbine than a CCNG plant (made by GE in the USA) is more like 58%.

        Also of course need to add another EV catagory of PV to EV and this one will take the prize.

        Oh one more….nuclear to EV. It will win over even PV to EV.

    2. Mint says:


      CCGT is 50%+ including transmission. And socket to wheels, EVs are 110 MPGe. Toyota is 60 MPGe.

      And H2 production and distribution via SMR is nowhere near that efficient:

      Assuming 53kgCO2/MMbtu for natural gas, that’s 200MJ for just SMR alone, i.e. 60% efficient. Throw in distribution and compression, and you’re down to 40%.

      1. GeorgeS says:

        I agree Mint on the CCNG efficiency.

        1. pjwood says:

          I see you, and raise to near 60% at some plants.

          CCGT adds almost a third to the output of a normal combustion gas turbine. Recent refinement has been impressive, never mind how NG prices have also fallen.

    3. krona2k says:

      I think they’ve done their absolute best to show the fuel cell being better than the EV by cherry picking the numbers. The opposite could easily be done and would be much more honest IMO.

    4. liberty says:

      The problem with that chart other than it being old and wrong and misleading isn’t much. It assumes that what we will build all new hydrogen reformers at every station (not the trucking we do now), while we won’t use ccgt and renewable (what we are building now) to power bevs. Lets get an epa mile per kg on toyota’s fuel cell car. Right now if you use the leaf or tesla S, not even the i3, they are much more efficient than the 60 mpge clarity.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        And what is worse, it implicitly tells that the hydrogen will be fossil made and not at all renewable.

  16. Suprise Cat says:

    This is the death nail for Tesla in Japan.

    1. Big Solar says:

      If I was Tesla I would be more concerned with China than japan. Plus there’s the rest of Asia too.

    2. See Through says:

      Good point. Minor correction.

      death knell or death bell
      1. something that heralds death or destruction
      2. (Music, other) a bell rung to announce a death

      Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
      Thesaurus Legend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
      Noun 1. death knell – an omen of death or destruction
      omen, portent, prognostic, prognostication, presage, prodigy – a sign of something about to happen; “he looked for an omen before going into battle”
      2. death knell – a bell rung to announce a death
      death bell

  17. davemart says:

    Denmark will be the first country in the world with full national coverage of hydrogen stations:

    Not by coincidence they also have about the most aggressive renewables program in the world.

    All battery cars would be fine for folk like me, who advocate a massive nuclear build out.

    Those who advocate a very high proportion of renewables should face the fact that the only way of making that work is to use hydrogen storage.

    Support of lots of renewables but opposition to fuel cells and hydrogen is to will the end but not the means.

    For that reason the comparisons of the efficiency of battery cars and fuel cell ones are fallacious.

    Renewables need storage, and anywhere outside of the tropics in quantities way beyond the capability of batteries.

    1. offib says:

      Hydrogen storage? What on earth is that and how does it work? How does it compare to static battery storage?

      1. DaveMart says:

        The difference is that it is more lossy to convert back and forth, but can store truly vast quantities of energy, enough to cover seasonal variation in solar power, for instance, in places outside the tropics, which is an utter impossibility using batteries, which can cover day/night cycles, but that is about it.

        1. davemart says:

          I should have added that it can be stored using the natural gas pipe network, and drawn off for storage in salt caverns.

          ‘Siemens estimates that generating 85 percent of Germany’s electricity using renewables will require 30,000 gigawatt-hours of storage. The hydrogen needed to supply that much electricity could be stored in a quarter of the space available in underground caverns. The hydrogen could be distributed initially through existing natural gas pipelines, and eventually through dedicated pipelines. ‘

          The efficiency figures quoted there assume the process heat is just thrown away.

          It won’t be, but will instead be used in Germany’s excellent district heating systems, as Audi are trialling.

          That knocks the efficiency of conversion including utilised process heat up to something like 80%.

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          Actually the water pump storage has been working very well for the past century at 75 % yield compared to a bare 50% for Hydrogen cycle at best, so if more storage is needed make more water storage.
          Beside Steve Garvey of Nottingham University has demonstrated Wind energy storage in the form of undersea compressed air that is very good as well to store large quantities of energy.
          So the mass energy storage is a fiction problem rather than a real problem invented by those that oppose renewable energies since there is almost nothing else left to oppose them compared to fossils.

      2. Mint says:

        Hydrogen storage means electrolysis -> tank -> fuel cell.

        It has poor round trip efficiency (best case 60%, currently below 50%), but is very cheap per kWh.

        Grid applications are actually a far more valuable use of fuel cells than in cars. Toyota is selling a whole FCV for $70k, and it’s a ripoff.

        The 100kW fuel cell alone with a matching inverter and cheap stationary tanks could sell for well over $100k as an on-site power source. Bloom Energy sold 100kW solid-oxide fuel cells for >$700k, and a 100kW cogeneration plant would cost $300k. On top of that, paired with a good electrolysis unit and solar/wind, you could go 100% off grid.

        1. davemart says:

          If renewable energy were always available, that’s fine.

          Assuming that you want to go the renewables route and not nuclear it makes zero sense to compare the efficiency of battery cars with no storage of electricity with hydrogen and fuel cells which deal with the storage issue.

          Very fast progress is also being made in direct solar to hydrogen, at least as fast as improvements in battery density and cost.

          Assuming that all the progress will occur in the technology you fancy, batteries, and storage of renewables is somehow magically solved without efficiency losses whilst the whole production chain of hydrogen and fuel cells are frozen in time is not a realistic way to compare the technologies.

          The DOE have done a good and very thorough analysis of the pros and cons of batteries and fuel cells, which is readily available.

          They reckon we will be using both, and in spite of the pontificating of umpteen bloggers, that seems the most likely course.

          1. Davemart > Very fast progress is also being made in direct solar to hydrogen, at least as fast as improvements in battery density and cost.

            This seems a bit disingenuous. There are over 200,000 EVs on the road today. One model has not only a 265 mile range, but a substantial fast charge network to support it. These are real solutions today.

            What solar to hydrogen solutions are on the market, in widespread deployment today?

            One of the most promising solar to hydrogen start-ups, MIT professor Daniel Nocera’s Sun Catalytix, abandoned their pursuit of solar water splitting and went into the battery business.

            What does Daniel Nocera, one of the pioneers in the field, know that hydrogen promoters don’t?

    2. Mikael says:

      As long as it is made from 100% renewables and that Denmark gets rid of it’s coal (and fossil gas) power fast it is very positive.

    3. krona2k says:

      There are plenty of cheaper and more efficient ways to store excess energy from renewables than hydrogen.

    4. liberty says:

      Hydrogen storage of power, is quite different than hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

      Hydrogen buffers -> electrolysis of excess then use in a ccgt or fuel cell for stationary power is fairly sound. Hydrogen does not need to be liquified and trucked and dispensed as needed for transportation.

      battery buffers are more effective (less loss) and could be available in plug-in cars. I don’t see how the paths cross, until the cost of hydrogen gets much lower.

  18. pjwood says:

    Toyota will be Toyota. It’s the policy chess game that is insidious. People aren’t represented. Government too often assumes that as long as two normally opposing sides agree, a solution is at hand. They look no further. They neglect cost.

    The small window of the energy density argument , or true ZEV qualities of FCEV plus battery are environmental and convenience arguments I get. But when Toyota stalls PHEV, and when they and others push increadibly higher FCEV costs off on the public, it gets offensive.

    1. davemart says:

      You do know that Toyota are selling very large numbers of PHEVs?

      The are and always have been a leader in alternative vehicle technology.

      Your disagreement with the 500 Toyota engineers who think that they can make fuel cell cars economic as they already have for hybrids and PHEVs does not give you grounds to cast aspersions.

      They may even understand automative engineering better than you do.

      1. krona2k says:

        Are the Toyota engineers in charge of costing when it comes to production of the fuel and the refuelling infrastructure? Management is the problem here, not engineers.

        Where we have the real problem with fuel cells and Toyota is the presentation of them as being far superior to EVs and plug-in hybrids, if we will just wait, and wait and wait.

        In the meantime other more innovative companies are moving forward and *they* can always revisit fuel cells if Toyota turn out to be right (probably not).

        1. davemart says:

          The same management and many of the same engineers who brought us the Prius, when many said it would never work.

          Some seem to find it incredibly difficult to accept that numerous highly qualified and skilled people think that fuel cells are a great option.

          What the mix will be between fuel cells and BEVs sensible people, such as the DOE and Toyota, don’t know, as that depends on the inherently unpredictable rate of progress of the two technologies.

          So they are developing both.

          Certainty about future technology is the provenance of fortune tellers, not rational people.

          1. liberty says:

            That is true. Most of the guys that brought out the prius and now are 20 years older have been working on hydrogen for …. 20 years.

            I don’t think most would consider that cutting edge management. The big two in toyota pushing this are near retirement age. They seem to be pushing fuel cells at the expense of developing plug-ins. The PR is definitely anti-plug-in. Lexus had to apologize for false and misleading advertising.

            1. See Through says:

              This is non-sense. Toyota is the leader in hybrid tech ( that includes battery), much more difficult than pure EV. Just check out Chinese market. Every tiny car maker (like Kandi) has EV car, as it is real easy to make. If there is any new battery tech, any car maker can take those battery and put it in their car.
              What’s the technology behind Tesla? Electric cars existed from 1900.

              Fuel cell is at least new. It didn’t exist 20 years back. But you can keep clinging to your 100 year old technology.

              1. JakeY says:

                Here we go with the “100 year old technology” again. Go find me a 100 year old lithium-ion battery.

                The golf-cart/quadricycles (which is what Toyota envisions the EV “future” to be) may be using 100 year old lead acid technology, but every modern electric car is using technology that is at most 25 years old (the first commercial lithium-ion cell was in 1991).

                “Fuel cell is at least new. It didn’t exist 20 years back. But you can keep clinging to your 100 year old technology.”
                BS. The first commercial PEM fuel cell (same type as in FCVs) was used in the Gemini missions in 1966. That’s almost 50 years old, twice as old as lithium-ion batteries!

              2. liberty says:

                Toyota PR on this announcement says they have been working on it for 20 years. Just because someone was good in 1995 and helped push the prius, does not mean they will be brillant with fuel cell ideas in 2014. Its old thinking, that people want to go fill up at the service station instead of charge at home. The only way I think fuel cells will make it is as range extenders. That will require a lot less infrastructure.

              3. Priusmaniac says:

                The problem is not so much that Toyota makes a fuel cell vehicle, but rather that they decide to do only that and not an EV as well, especially when they have all in hand to make a damn good one with the direct free piston generator as a i3 type Rex generator. A fair race between both vehicles would then be way more acceptable.

          2. pjwood says:

            “What the mix will be between fuel cells and BEVs sensible people, such as the DOE and Toyota, don’t know”

            Yes, they do know. People at places like EIA and DOE track price. They know because they witness what happens to energy values down the chain. As much respect as I have for engineers, their hard work only matters so much. My post pits enviro (UCS) on engineer (Toyota) and has them both happy, yet neglectful.


            Take natural gas, and some conversions. After today’s common $4-5/mmbtu wellhead price ($4.59 now, on Bloomberg/NYMEX), it almost doubles by the time it gets to the Residential Price. Therms are about 1/10th of an mmbtu, yet still tend to cost over $1 on heating bills. You can look at automotive CNG filling station maps on Google, etc, and see lots of places will supply you that fuel for $2.50 GGE (GGE~Therm, about same volume).

            Dave, How did the price go up ~500%? My answer is that policy is its own form of “engineering”. If you are looking at marginal efficiencies in FCEV, without an eye to whom they will accrue, you miss the forest for the trees. There is enormous fuel-price competition in electricity, and hydrogen will never reach the distribution of the electrical outlet.

      2. Lindsay Patten says:

        It’s quite possible that not all 500 engineers have examined the economics of hydrogen as a solution for light passenger vehicles. They may be specialist engineers accepting a paycheck to work on a given technological issue.

        It’s also possible that Toyota is investing in fuel cell technology based on applications other than light passenger vehicles. There are several applications that may be more promising.

        It also seems possible that hydrogen infrastructure might be more economical in the Japanese context with it’s smaller geography and denser population concentration.

        My mind isn’t closed to the possibility that hydrogen could be economical but I don’t find the 500 engineers argument very compelling.

        Living in the great cold north I find the argument that the waste heat from electolysis doesn’t necessarily have to be wasted intriguing. If the waste heat heats my home then the inefficiency arguement is significantly blunted.

  19. Chris says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t hydrogen flammable? So if you have a highly compressed hydrogen fuel cell tank and couple that with an accident. If the tank ruptures, you will have a potential explosion right?

    1. David Murray says:

      Not much different from compressed natural gas, or even gasoline for that matter.

      1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

        There is a big difference between petroleum and hydrogen burning. Hydrogen being lighter than air tends to rise while burning. A broken tank would vent upwards. Petroleum flows on the ground and spreads. It also tends to adhere to what ever it touches, like people. Both are hazardous but I believe petroleum is more dangerous.

    2. Big Solar says:

      Very flammable and very dangerous when burning in daylight as you cant see it.

    3. Priusmaniac says:

      Yes indeed, 700 bars is not really something to put in everybody hands, the more when considering that cars also rust and burn from time to time. I Wonder what is the result of a 700 bar tank that happen to be in a burning garage?

  20. Unless the H2 Fuel is cost-competitive with electricity by 2030, it’s hard to see H2 cars selling well. In 17 years, batteries will be cheap. (At -8% per year, today’s $10,000 battery will cost $2,634 by 2030).

    Energy density will also be relentless driven up (by consumer electronics, if not Tesla). At 8% improvement per year, today’s 200Wh/kg battery will be 685Wh/kg at the cell level, 291Wh/kg at the pack level. A 2030 battery will be 30% of the size and weight of the Tesla Model S pack for similar performance (>265 mile range, the car will be smaller and lighter).

    The fast charge infrastructure will almost certainly be widespread enough to travel wherever you want to go, except maybe for the wilds of Nevada or Montana (you might have a 340kWh battery in your electric Hummer for that). Tesla has already built over 100 fast charge stations in the US, and is on track to add another 100 just in the next year. There are over 500 DC Quick Charge stations in service in the US today. The rate of DC Quick Charge deployment will only increase as Nissan and BMW sell more QC capable cars.

    Electrical costs will continue to fall with the continuing decline of solar costs and the addition of stationary storage.

    Who will pay substantially more for H2 fuel if it’s above the <$1 gge electricity that people will be able to get at home, work and commercial charge networks?

    1. Big Solar says:

      not me, I buy pv panels at 75 cents per watt and add them to the grid as fast as I can.

  21. Alex says:

    I can charge the battery of my Leaf with my one solar panels,but i can’t do that with fuel cell. So its not interesting me. Also quick Charge is no argument. Only some “adventure” Tripps i must do that,no Problem.

  22. krona2k says:

    I think I’ll save my pennies for a Tesla 3.

    Good luck Toyota!

  23. Andrew says:

    I do believe that this particular press release will mark the turning point in Toyota’s gentle slide away from being the #1 automaker. Time Magazine should save it for the midpoint on their graphic representation in 2020’s June edition.

  24. Brandon says:

    70K for a Toyota? NO THANKS

  25. Anon says:

    Expect more anti-hydrogen quips by Tesla / Elon Musk, as the Japanese continue to Jump The Shark on BEVs.

  26. Brandon says:

    and its ugly smh

  27. jmac says:

    People hate hydrogen because:

    1. Basically, it’s just a fossil fuel in drag..

    2. The oil companies will be selling it to you.

    3. And of course, the oil companies will demand that the taxpayer foot the bill for the hydrogen build-out.

    1. Big Solar says:

      You got those 3 right! I will never give another cent directly to big oil or power companies. Nor the airline industry, oh yeah and verizon oh yeah and GE and so on a so forth LOL

      1. jmac says:

        @ Big Solar

        While you are laughing out loud about how we will never be able tp get away from, Verizon, the electric utility, etc.,

        The fact is that you can charge your EV with solar power.

        All the big oil companies and centralized electric utilities just can’t wait for you to get completely off the grid and run your electric car with solar power.

        Most electric utilities are regulated as PUDs and their charges and profits are subject to review. The same is NOT true of oil companies.

        So, if it’s just a choice of one megopoly over another, I’ll still take the electric utilities over Big Oil. The oil companies are completely unregulated and can charge whatever they want as evidenced by the endless gasoline price spikes and see-sawing pump prices..

        There are dozens of ways to make electricity, some of them are actually renewable.

        On the other hand, there is basically just one economical way to make hydrogen, and that is from fossil fuels, either through coal gasification or by steam reforming natural gas.

        1. Big Solar says:

          I agree with all that. I am not off the grid but dont pay any electric, they actually pay me…….

  28. jmac says:

    The executives and engineers at Toyota who are behind this HFCV, need to seriously consider reviving the ancient Japanese rite of Sepuku.

  29. Just_chris says:

    For people who have lived through the constant bashing of EV’s, you are pretty small minded.

    “you’ll never get the cost down”, “you’ll never get the range up”, “they explode in balls of fire”, “they take more energy to make than a regular car”, “the electrical power comes from coal” “there’s no charging infrastructure”, this was all I read 3 years ago.

    Yes, there are serious issues with FCV’s, that’s why they are not currently dominating the market but IMO they have a place in the market and they will offer a choice to the consumer, we are not all the same and I think that a FCV, by it’s nature will, suit some more than others.

    It’s very exciting for me to see this car on the deck and it will be really exciting to see what comes out next year.

    1. Chris, why would anyone buy this car, which is limited to travel in LA metro area, and pay between $4-$12 per kg of H2?

      For bragging rights that they drive a hydrogen car? How are they going to feel when someone points out that is has a worse carbon footprint (well to wheels) than an ordinary hybrid?

      What problem are they trying to solve?

      1. Just_chris says:

        The same could be said for someone driving a Nissan Leaf in Victoria, Australia with the majority of power coming from Brown coal fired power stations the well to wheel emissions are probably horrible and you’d probably be much better off buying a Prius-C for less money.

        It’s not the Nissan leaf that is the problem it is the way we generate the power. IMO we should get the leaf(s) on the road AND fix the power stations not sit around waiting for the power stations to be fixed.

        Batteries and fuel cells really aren’t that different. The main difference with fuel cells and batteries is one stores/generates the fuel within the device and the other separates this process into 3 distinct devices: fuel generator, fuel storage and power generator. As with batteries the fuel generator can use electricity from wind power but, unlike batteries, it can also make fuel via thermal processes such as coal gaisification or steam reforming. Is it possible to make hydrogen in an environmentally friendly way? yes of course it is. In fact electrolysis has been used for decades to sop up excess power from renewables (such as hydro) to use in industrial processes (ammonia production typically). In the same way it is being trialled in Germany to try and balance their grid which is increasingly dependent on renewables. Ironically since there is no market for distributed hydrogen they are turning it into natural gas and putting it back into the NG grid.

        So what problem are we trying to solve with a FCV? Ironically, IMO, cost. If we need to put an 85 kWh battery in every single car in the world we are going to have a major cost blowout on our hands and a small number of nations controlling the resources required to build the batteries (sound familiar). An 85 kWh fuel tank storing hydrogen in every car (or every car that needs to drive more than 200 miles) is, IMO, a more attractive alternative. Toyota appear to agree with me Elon Musk doesn’t.

        There are strengths and weaknesses to both arguments. The massive elephant in the room is that fans of either technology always avoid talking about is neither solution is perfect and there will have to be some big ground breaking developments before either get off the ground in a major (80% of the market) way. I don’t mind which technology ends up with the biggest market share (which I think is the reality, I don’t think one will trump the other) just as long as we keep moving in the right direction with the 2 technologies being so close the breakthroughs in one will feed the other anyway.

  30. GoBlue88 says:

    Man, that FCV is one ugly car.

  31. SIvad says:

    “features performance similar to a gasoline engine vehicle”

    That clears things up. So it has a performance similar to a Tata Nano? Or a Bugatti Veyron?

  32. Francis L says:

    Ok so compare to an ICE car :
    -it costs twice as much
    -has less range
    -takes as long to refill,
    -refuelling stations are nearly impossible to find
    -costs probably as much to refill
    -I’m not even sure that it is greener.

    Why would I buy that?