Honda, Hyundai and Toyota showcase vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel-cell technology

By on November 21, 2013, 11:15 AM

A number of automakers recently announced plans to produce vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel-cell technology as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fossil-fueled vehicles. Honda, Toyota and Hyundai have thrown their name into the hat with the latter automaker expected to launch a fuel-cell version of the Tucson SUV in the spring of 2014.

Honda, meanwhile, said they plan to roll out a commercial fuel-cell vehicle in Japan and the US in 2015 followed by a European launch at a later date. It’ll be based on Honda’s FCEV concept car unveiled in Los Angeles on Wednesday with a range of more than 300 miles per full tank.

Toyota on Wednesday also revealed the FVC concept car in Tokyo with a large grill and other openings to allow cooling air and oxygen inside. Hydrogen fuel-cell cards generate electricity used to power the vehicle by combining hydrogen with the oxygen in the atmosphere. The only byproduct of such vehicles is water which comes out of the tailpipe. Toyota said their fuel-cell automobile will also go on sale sometime around 2015.

It’s still unclear at this point which environmentally friendly technology will ultimately stick with consumers. Companies like Tesla are betting the bank that pure electricity will power vehicles of the future while other automakers like those listed here seem to think hydrogen fuel-cell technology is the way to go. Others still are content with hybrid gas / electric vehicles that offer the best of both worlds.




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3 people like this | Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

In my mind, fuel cell cars are the only way forward. You simply can't take people, who are used to replenishing their cars' energy in two minutes time, and give them cars that take 45 minutes to replenish. That's a case of an innovative regression. We see this all of the time with processor technology. Once there is a new "fast", the old "fast" is now slow. Try going back to your previous smartphone. It used to be so amazingly quick. Now, it's dog slow. Reality didn't change, but your perceptions and expectations did. People expect to fill up more quickly and less often.

IAMTHESTIG said:

Not only that... but the energy storage potential for batteries just isn't good enough yet, and possibly never will be. Although I think it will happen, it will be many, many years before we are able to have batteries with 10x more juice than todays best batteries.

Hydrogen fuel-cell tech is a viable, livable option right now.

Guest said:

My only question for large scale usage is hydrogen availability on the scale needed.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Yeah. I agree with both of you. Hydrogen fuel-cell cars also seems a lot more practical and convenient.

MilwaukeeMike said:

In my mind, fuel cell cars are the only way forward. You simply can't take people, who are used to replenishing their cars' energy in two minutes time, and give them cars that take 45 minutes to replenish. That's a case of an innovative regression. We see this all of the time with processor technology. Once there is a new "fast", the old "fast" is now slow. Try going back to your previous smartphone. It used to be so amazingly quick. Now, it's dog slow. Reality didn't change, but your perceptions and expectations did. People expect to fill up more quickly and less often.

Actually, your phone is dog slow because you were forced to install iOS 7 and it slowed down your old phone as a part of 'planned obsolescence'.

You're right that EVs have a long charge time, but that's not usually relevant. Normal day to day use has you only travelling 40 miles or so (a 'high mileage lease is for 40 miles/day). A gasoline car will require filling every 400 miles, while an EV will require no stop at the station at all because your gas station is now your garage and you start off every day with a full tank. And none of this considers the holy grail of recharges, which is a battery swapping station... we'll be back to the days of 'filling up' without getting out of our car.

I would say it's hard to tell what the future of cars will bring. The presence of technology is not enough. We need affordable technology. The US is currently the biggest producer of oil in the world (yes, that's actually true) and gas is down under $3. The govt is getting raked over the coals on gas tax as people are buying more Civics and fewer Suburbans. We may soon see the tax rebate get smaller and smaller for alternative fuel cars and that'll make it much harder for them to compete. The world is racing to make a better battery, as it will be useful in gadgets and cars. The race to improve Fuel Cell tech isn't as profitable.

Remember Solyndra? The solar panel making company in CA that lost $500 mil of govt money? Their business plan was to make solar panels that didn't require the expensive materials that regular solar panels needed. They went under because all of a sudden those expensive materials weren't expensive anymore and Solyndra's panels were pointless. What if battery tech takes a big step forward and EVs become thousands cheaper? Fuel Cell cars will be the next Volt. Cool, but not worth the money.

JC713 JC713 said:

We need more fuel cell research since it is quite expensive now. We need breakthroughs! For example, reducing the need for platinum in these cells is a great step forward!

Guest said:

Graphene will make batteries last twice as long and take 15 minutes to full charge.

Now an electric car with a fuel cell onboard range extender is a winner.

Guest said:

Great, we stop burning fossil fuels and use up all the oxygen in the atmosphere instead.

Great. The whales will be fine I guess. Maybe cockroaches too.

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