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Toyota-GM Partnership on Fuel Cells Imminent

11 July 2005

AP. Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe said Monday that a partnership with GM on fuel-cell vehicles is in its final stages, and that it was just a matter of time before the final details were hammered out.

GM and Toyota have areas of long-standing cooperation. In 1984, they together established the NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.) plant in California. Currently, the NUMMI plant makes, among other vehicles, the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Tacoma and Pontiac Vibe. It also produces a right-hand drive crossover, the Voltz, exported to Japan.

The cooperation on fuel cells makes a great deal of sense for Toyota, for a number of reasons.

  • It reduces the cost and the financial risk of the long-term development of fuel cell technology—an R&D process in which both automakers are already participating.

  • It establishes an important additional tie between GM and Toyota—on a technology that is clearly strategic for GM, reducing the chances of some sort of anti-Toyota backlash from policymakers if GM and Ford sales continue to falter.

  • It leaves Toyota unencumbered to compete aggressively using its hybrids—an area in which it is trouncing everyone else.

It’s hard to see a downside from Toyota’s point of view.

Toyota plans to capture 15% percent of the world’s market following 2010. Watanabe sees increasing hybrid production as key to expanding those global sales.

Toyota is considering making a hybrid pickup truck, and the ideal would be an entire lineup of models in hybrids, he said.

July 11, 2005 in Fuel Cells, Hydrogen | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

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I cannot see this agreement to invest in fuel cell as a positive sign. Furthermore, "policymakers" pushing hydrogen, republicans and democrats,(Hillary Clinton), need to hear more about the fuel cell's insurmountable technical problems, and hear more about the potential of the Plug-in Hybrid.

I agree, why not use the research and work that the folks at Calcars has already done:

http://www.calcars.org/

and market/sell it? I know for running around town these would be the perfect car.

Zinc and aluminum fuel cells do not have the fuel storage problems of hydrogen and are just as efficient at transfering energy from its primary source. The auto companies wouldn't be looking at hydrogen if the US government wasn't paying for it. The government wouldn't be paying for it if the oil companies weren't the primary source of hydrogen.

What do you expect? Hydrogen is perfect for the military its also one of the substances oil companies and fertilizer makers use a ton of so there already exists a ton of doodads for its storage and use. Its currently not that spendy to make and already various methods to store it already exist including a new method using of all things treated ice as a storage method...

We dont have to worry about climate change wiping out our ability to grow it nor do we have to wonderat its transportation costs as it can be made in all 50 states. Any state that cant make cheap plentyful biofuels will prolly need hydrogen and thats most states.

Fuel cells are getting to the point they are good enough AND cheap enough. Yes a fuel cell TEST car is 1-10 million guess what so is a normal concept car.

Fuel cells dont have that much farther to go before they are ready for prime time they alresdy are winding up in scooters today and will be in cars in a few years.

Insurmountable ... no .

Every aspect of fuel cells and the hydrogen economy require fundamental breakthroughs before they could be even laughingly considered as commercially viable.

Most hydrogen used today (9 million tons annually in the U.S.) is produced from natural gas; that's fine as long as you remain at these relatively small levels of production. Now try shifting all transportation energy use to hydrogen, this will SWAMP natural gas supplies because there simply aren't enough. Period. Breakthrough #1 needed: viable means of production (and don't even get me started on nuclear-powered electrolysis or other such nonsense).

Breakthrough # 2: viable means of storage onboard your vehicle, meaning a fuel tank that costs less than $50,000 that you will still feel safe getting into ten years down the road. You want a cheap 10000 psi tank under YOUR tail?

Breakthrough #3: Viable means of transport of hydrogen if you're going to produce it anywhere but the location of use, i.e., anything other than electrolysis at the refueling station, fuggedaboutit. Liquefying hydrogen takes about 30% of its energy content and must be maintained at about minus 423 degrees F (and you haven't moved it one inch down the road yet). I suppose we could fill balloons with it and float them to their destination. Hmmm

Breakthrough #4: Fuel cells still require platinum or other such valuable catalysts. Despite the hype you might hear, we don't have a solution for this yet. And we won't next week either.

Breakthrough #5: The cells are nowhere near durable enough for the kind of life we demand out of our vehicles. Try to find a vehicle that's even achieved, say, 10000 miles on the odo. Life in a vehicle is hard.

Additional problems exist (like the nonexistent refueling infrastructure) but I think you get the picture. It's not like these can be commercialized when one or two of these breakthroughs is achieved; ALL of them must be achieved before it can go anywhere.

The issue we have to face is, the crisis is going to hit long before these vehicles are available. We need solutions now. We've looked seriously at this technology, and it's a dud for the foreseeable future. It's time to move on. Plug in hybrids are essentially here now. Bring 'em on.

Good to see posts that show not everyone is fooled by hydrogen fuel cell hype. The Plug-in Hybrid is a threat to automakers and corporate energy industry. With the potential to recharge the Plug-in Hybrid's extra-large battery packs, fuel/energy costs are kept to a minimum; extra energy can be sold to local utility; households gain a reliable, emergency power supply. Power to the People!

When, by battery power alone, average daily driving must be kept to a minimum, the longevity of the car increases. Car companies won't produce cars that last longer. The Hybrid drive-train has safety measures far beyond anything achievable with hydrogen fuel cell. Car companies oppose that for the same reason; the safer car lasts longer. Die, General Motors MoFos! Die!

For many other equally nefarious reasons, corporate America opposes Hybrids and hypes Hydrogen fuel cell. Hybrids don't fit well into their globalization scheme. When you must drive less, you invest in local, rather than global economies. When you build a local economy, walking and bicyling become an option, and mass transit functions better too.

Ooops. Correction: With the ability to recharge the Plug-in Hybrid's extra battery packs, (via photovoltiac rooftop solar panels and/or via the utility grid), fuel/energy costs are kept to a minimum.

We'll never see Hydrogen generated at household level, folks, though the hype suggests otherwise.

None of those problems is fundamental its just process improvements. The tech is here all thats needed is money and time to spiff it up.

The tanks get cheaper and better and safer. Already some hydrogen storage tanks are safer then gas tanks.

Hydrogen is NOT to replace batteries they extend them. Instead of having to figure out a way to dump 15 kwh into a battery in 30 seconds they can dump x lb of hydrogen into a tank and then have the fuel cell make that 15 kwh over the course of 3 hours.

Instead of transmitting those 15 kwh all in big icky spurts to the recharge stations they can transmit a steady amount to hydrogen generator.. oh and guess what recharging a battery isnt 100% eff either;/

Instead of tranmitting the power during the day they can generate a days worth of hydrogen fuel at night OR whenever excess energy is in the system say from a ton of solar and wind and wave plants.. say soo many that most times you have TOO MUCH power... Oh I guess you didnt think of that did you? The way to a sustainable future energy system is by finding ways to deal NOT with a lack of power but with too much power comming in from variable sources. They more you can deal with.. say by converting it into hydrogen.. the larger a percentage of total energy you can make such sources.

Transport... pipes work well already are used in fact. Same issues as natural gas realy.

Fuel cell costs... they are getting em down just as they did for catalytic converters and blah blah blah its just a process techgrinding away at it making it cheaper by degrees. All very boring and very normal.

Durablity again a process tech grind and they make progess at a steady pace.

And finaly the big enchilada. Why did they go hydrogen instead of hybrid. Simple realy because they could swap tech of course. This for that.

Hydrogen is vital to japan for bloody obvious reasosn so it was a good idea to work on it and let japan work on hybrid tech.. the result is the best of both worlds. The hydrogen work was paid for by military funds more then anything as they REALY want it and for VERY good reasons. And now they have both hybrid tech and hydrogen tech and all is well with the world.

Even if a fuel cell never works fuel cell research was valuable more for every other part of the car it was built with... an essentialy electric car...

So what do the car makers have to loose?

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