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Toyota continues to prepare the market for fuel cell vehicle in 2015

Toyota Motor continues to lay the foundation for the introduction of its production fuel cell hybrid vehicle in 2015; the company began work on fuel cell technology in 1992. Showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in January in Las Vegas (earlier post), the FCV Concept, which presages the introduction of the series-production vehicle, made its European debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

Re-emphasizing the general technology points that have emerged over the past few months at different events while adding a bit more detail, Yoshikazu Tanaka, Product General Manager of the Product Planning Group, said at the Geneva show that Toyota’s current fuel cell (FC) system features an output power density of 3.0 kW/L—twice as high as that of its previous FCV, the Toyota FCHV-adv (earlier post). The output power is more than 100kW, despite significant unit downsizing.

Toyota’s view of hydrogen
“Toyota believes that environmentally friendly vehicles can only truly have a positive impact if they are widely used. From the perspective of mobility zones based on travel distance, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles can match the everyday usability of a current gasoline car, and become mainstream environmentally friendly vehicles. An electric vehicle is suitable for short-distance commuting, because of its short cruising distance and long charging time.”
“We regard fuel cell vehicles as promising environmentally friendly vehicles of the future, with high total energy (Well-to-Wheel) efficiency. … On the other hand, fuel cell vehicles are extremely versatile, with a long cruising range and a short fueling time. However, the hydrogen infrastructure needs to be developed. At the moment, each environmentally friendly vehicle has its own shortcomings, and it is up to our customers to decide which vehicle is best for them.”
“In order to give these customers what they want within an appropriate timescale, we are committed to developing a broad range of technologies—including plug-in hybrid, electric vehicle and FCV, corresponding to the simultaneous diversification of energy sources.”
—Yoshikazu Tanaka

Tanaka joined Toyota in 1987 and was first assigned to the development of automatic transmissions such as the 4-speed AT for the first-generation Yaris. From March 2006 he was engaged in Plug-in Hybrid vehicle planning and development, and, in 2007, became planning and development leader for the Prius Plug-in project. Since January 2012, he has been in charge of planning and development for fuel cell vehicles.

With its proprietary, small, light-weight FC Stack and two 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks placed beneath the specially designed body, the Toyota FCV Concept can accommodate up to four occupants.

Tanaka said that Toyota designed a new fuel cell stack that allows water to recirculate within, from cathode to anode, humidifying internally and maintaining the proper moisture balance. Eliminating the need for a humidifier allowed Toyota to simplify the structure of the fuel cell system, making it lighter, smaller and more cost-effective.

For a full-scale market launch in 2015, the cost of the fuel cell system will be 95% lower than that of the 2008 Toyota FCHV-adv, Tanaka said. (A cost target also affirmed by Matt McClory, a Manager with Toyota’s Powertrain System Control group in Torrance, California, in his presentation at the SAE 2014 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium.) For a full-scale market launch of an FCV, the most important issue is the reduction of the fuel cell system cost and, hence, the retail price, Tanaka said. Accordingly, Toyota has worked on making FC systems more competitive; higher-powered, smaller, lighter and cheaper.

Toyota is also considering integrating a boost converter on the stack itself, McClory said at the SAE conference. Although specs are still to be released, McClory suggested for illustration that you could consider the stack itself being at a lower voltage (perhaps 200 V) with the traction motor at 600V. The battery would still be a conventional system as used in hybrids today.

The FCV Concept also uses the current hybrid system’s electric motor, power control unit and other parts and components to improve reliability and minimize cost, Tanaka said.

Powertrain elements, including the two hydrogen storage tanks. Click to enlarge.

Tanaka said that Toyota is in the final stages of development for the 2015 fuel cell vehicle, conducting all kinds of tests, on ordinary roads and in cold climates and extremely hot climates, for example. The company is considering using the Toyota FCV Concept packaging. The Concept exterior design does take a commercial launch into consideration, although there are design elements that are show model-specific only. As such, the production FCV will not be launched just as the FCV Concept appears in Geneva.

To prepare for full-scale FCV popularization after 2020, Tanaka said, the company is placing a high priority on the research and development of fuel cell vehicles to enable sales of several tens of thousands of vehicles per year.

Toyota Group companies will also be conducting research and development into fuel-cell buses (Hino Motors, Ltd.), stationary fuel cell cogeneration systems for residential use (Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd.), and fuel-cell forklifts and other industrial vehicles (Toyota Industries Corporation).

A new FC bus jointly developed by Toyota and Hino Motors will be launched in 2016. Toyota Group companies utilize jointly the technology and know-how which each individual company has cultivated.


Bob Wallace

From your link...

Eleven month capacity 2011 88.5%

Eleven month capacity 2012 86.7%

From the EIA 12 month report -

2011 nuclear nameplate capacity was 107,001 MW. On a 24/365 hour basis that would have produced 937,328,760 MWh. Actual production was 790,204,000 MWh. 84.3%.

2012 nuclear nameplate was 107,938 MW. Potential productions would have been 945,537 MWh. Actual production was 769,331 MWh for 81.4%

Why the EIA has differing sets of numbers I can't explain. Might it be that December is a month in which reactors are commonly shut down for servicing? I would think spring more likely.

85.7 - 84.3 = 1.4 pct difference. Not much.

88.5 - 81.4 = 7.1 pct difference. Significant.

This site seems to be indicating that outages were climbing at the end of 2012.

Always appreciate your gentlemanly like behavior, Mr. Poet.


The 2012 nuclear generator count in your table was 104, which had to include Crystal River (shut down for refurbishment since 2009 but not officially decommissioned until 2012) and both San Onofre units (shut down most of the year but not decommissioned until 2013).  San Onofre would have been operated at 70% capacity, except for an NRC decision to require hearings before any operation was allowed at all.  That meant years of delay with many large expenses to keep the plant qualified for operation, so the owner opted to decommission it.  That was a multi-billion dollar asset and about 1.8 GW of carbon-free generating capacity destroyed by bureaucratic fiat.

Reactors are typically refueled in the spring and fall, which is why you see the dips in generation around April and October.


Hydrogen fc is extradinary but I would like that these car manufacturers would take charge of the hydrogen infrastructure themselves instead of doing like they do with gasoline where they don't take care of it so we end-up paying 4x the normal price.

Please put a water electrolyzer inside the fc car so we will make hydrogen gas inside the car with a 110 volt plug.


The CF of the CANDUs-6 operating in Ontario, Canada for the last 18 years is between 67.1% and 93.26% for an average of 80.5%.

Since about 5.5% of the energy produced was used internally to keep the CANDU-6 in operation the NET average CF for the last 18 years was (80.5 - 5.5 = 75%).

This is not that bad but a far cry from the claimed 95% for the average Nuke power plant.

The best CF for on-shore Wind power plants is about 52% and many are as low as 18%. It's all a question of Good Location, Quality winds, Tower Height, Turbine size and design.

Labrador, Ungava and Hudson Bay shores have very good quality winds. Large (6+ Mega-Watt) turbines on very high towers could have CF of 50+%. Over 40,000 such turbines could be installed on those 4,000 Km long shores if stacked in two or three rows. Total average production could be over 100,000 Mega-Watts.

All that clean energy, coupled with the 50,000 Mega-Watts of installed Hydro as back up, could produce enough for 38.5 BEV each or about 27 FCEVs each, with 2014 total population.

As it would be way too much clean energy, those wind farms could be installed progressively over the next 100+ years (at a rate of ONLY 400 units a year), starting in 2025 because we already have a surplus of clean e-energy for the next 10 years or so.

On top of all that, another 40,000 Mega-Watts of Hydro power could be installed, if required.

We will NOT run out of clean Hydro + Wind power soon?


The USA ran out of sites for hydro long ago, and the existing ones are suffering from both siltation and drought.

Many environmental organizations want to remove existing hydro dams to restore river flows and fish migration paths.  I can't blame them.

Bob Wallace

When reactors are offline for repair as was the case with Crystal River and SONGS their generation is still counted in CF calculations. It's not until the decision has been made to permanently retire them that their capacity is removed from the total.

Fort Calhoun was offline for over a year then came back on line.

The US has some existing dams that are candidates for power production.

A 2012 study of some of the 77,500 existing dams which are not currently power producers found potential to add up to 12 GW (12,000 megawatts or MW) of new renewable capacity — a potential equivalent to increasing the size of the existing conventional hydropower by 15%.

Based on a number of government and private resource assessment the National Hydropower Association estimates run of river potential to be as high as 60 GW.

We'll see more hydro coming on line.


Since energy production can easily be varied, Hydro is a perfect partner for Wind and Solar power plants, specially when hydro plants are over equipped to meet higher short peak demands periods.

In the ideal case, Wind and Solar energies supply base line energy (to use 100% of their production capabilities) and variable hydro is used as gap filler for (peak demands + low Wind & Solar production periods). No extra energy storage (batteries or FCs) are really required. Hydro large water reservoirs are used as energy storage.

Bob Wallace

Archer and Jacobson found that if wind farms over a modest area are connected a sizable portion of their overall output (35%) is available 85% of the time.

We accept generation (coal and nuclear) as "baseload" with 85% run times. We don't demand 100% always on. We fill in when thermal plants are down.

Build some wind farms in good wind resource areas. Connect them to the grid. You've got baseload.

You'd need to build about 3x your annual minimum, but some of that is going to get used when demand exceeds baseload/minimum and the rest can be stored.

Archer and Jacobson found that if wind farms over a modest area are connected a sizable portion of their overall output (35%) is available 85% of the time.

Tell me, would you accept an electrical grid that can deliver 35% of your peak demand 85% of the time?

We accept generation (coal and nuclear) as "baseload" with 85% run times. We don't demand 100% always on. We fill in when thermal plants are down.

We don't accept coal plants that go down when the one next door goes down.

Build some wind farms in good wind resource areas. Connect them to the grid. You've got baseload.

No you don't.  Even the "good wind resource areas" have capacity factors of perhaps 40%.  Base load is 85%, and you still need spinning reserve.

Would that you'd apply proper skepticism to "Green" claims.  Sadly, you don't, and won't.

Bob Wallace

You misunderstand the 35%/85% findings.

Wind farms can produce "baseload" electricity 85% of the time. That is similar to large thermal plants.

Not all the output from wind farms is reliable enough to be "baseload", but 35% of the output is.

With both wind farms and large thermal farms we would need some way to fill in the "other 15%".

You need more spinning reserve for thermal plants because they can go offline abruptly without notice.

Wind and solar are highly predictable hours in advance which makes it easy to ramp up reserve as the wind dies or Sun sets. The reserve plants can sit idle for many hours at a time, saving fuel.

Wind's capacity factor is not a measure of how many hours per year the wind blows.

Nuclear capacity factor is a fair measurement of now many hours per year the reactor operates as most reactors operate either full on or stopped.

You misunderstand the 35%/85% findings.

You misrepresent your figures.

Wind farms can produce "baseload" electricity 85% of the time. That is similar to large thermal plants.

Fallacy of ambiguity.  You mean "wind FARMS", plural.  The system of thermal powerplants used by system operators produces baseload within a fraction of a percent of 100% of the time.

With both wind farms and large thermal farms we would need some way to fill in the "other 15%".

With thermal plants, there's near-certainty that the scheduled amount of generation will be available.  Thermal plants provide spinning reserve.  Wind farms provide neither.

Wind and solar are highly predictable hours in advance

And even the predictable variations are major headaches for system operators.

Wind's capacity factor is not a measure of how many hours per year the wind blows.

What you're denying is pretty much what it is, and all your bloviating cannot change that.


A reality check would demonstrate that:

1. With few exceptions, the percentage of e-energy produced by CPPs and NPPs is progressively going down in most industrial nations.

2. In most nations, the percentage of e-energy produced from clean renewable sources such as Hydro, Wind, Solar is progressively going up.

3. In most industrial nations, a very high percentage of the e-energy required for electrified vehicles could be obtained from energy conservation programs, Wind farms and Solar farms. No new CPPs or NPPs would be required.

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