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Toyota Joins Clean Energy Partnership to Support Introduction of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles in Europe; Five FCHV-adv Vehicles to Be Introduced in Germany by 2011

Fchvadv
The FCHV-adv hydrogen fuel cell hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Toyota has become a new international auto partner for the Germany-based Clean Energy Partnership (CEP). Founded in 2002, Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) is an international cooperation that includes BMW Group; Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe BVG; Daimler; Ford; GM/Opel; Hamburger Hochbahn; Linde; Shell; StatoilHydro; TOTAL; Vattenfall Europe; and Volkswagen. Its goal is to provide evidence that it is possible for normal customers to use hydrogen for road transportation.

CEP’s activities are supported by the German Government, which is investing around €2 billion (US$2.7 billion) to support the development of hydrogen fuel cell and electric vehicle technologies. Toyota will contribute five of its zero-emissions FCHV-adv hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (earlier post) to the program in Germany by 2011.

We firmly believe that fuel cell hybrid vehicles will play a major role in reducing emissions and achieving sustainable mobility, alongside petrol and plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles. These various applications of full hybrid technology will each play their role and co-exist in the future.

Toyota aims at the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles around 2015. To achieve this goal a hydrogen charging infrastructure is necessary, so close tie-ups between car manufacturers and infrastructure companies are of vital importance.

—Tadashi Arashima, President and CEO Toyota Motor Europe

CEP partner TOTAL is building a “CO2-free” filling station at Berlin-Brandenburg Airport and Linde, Statoil and TOTAL are opening a hydrogen filling station on Holzmarktstrasse in the spring. Other filling stations in Berlin, Hamburg and along the A24 autobahn are in planning. The declared objective of the Clean Energy Partnership is to increase the proportion of hydrogen produced using renewable energy to 50%. It is currently in talks with the German states of Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia in order to set up and integrate additional hydrogen centers to guarantee refuelling opportunities nationwide.

Toyota is showcasing its EV (electric vehicle), plug-in hybrid vehicles, battery design and hydrogen fuel cell hybrid technologies at the Geneva motor show. In addition to the FCHV-adv, the presentation includes the FT-EV II concept (earlier post), the precursor of a production small commuter EV model that Toyota plans to market in the USA in 2012.

With 600 Prius Plug-in-Hybrids (earlier post) already on the road in a worldwide leasing project, some 200 are in Europe. Toyota will analyse the way the cars, charging patterns and user feedback with a view to verifying the car’s overall environmental and technological performance before it is put on general sale.

Toyota is also advancing battery technology, through its own research department established in 2008, and a jointly funded partnership with Panasonic EV Energy (PEVE) which will see three facilities in Japan manufacturing more than one million battery packs a year by September.

Comments

Bruce A. McHenry

There being no competitive hydrogen production system, the effort to deploy hydrogen powered vehicles seems premature at best.

It is not hard to make a back-of-the-envelope calculation showing that is less expensive to power the roads (using a reasonable cost of such electrification such as $1 million per lane mile) than to continue to put fuel storage systems and power plants on board cars.

Powering the roads and equipping vehicles then to use grid power directly for the long distance, higher speed segments of journeys is a goal that should put both biofuels and hydrogen out to pasture.

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