Toyota to launch its fuel cell vehicle in Japan before April 2015, priced around $68,700; reveals exterior
|Toyota’s Mitsuhisa Kato briefs the media in Japan on the timing and pricing of the FCV, and outlines the company’s view of the role of fuel cell vehicles. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation revealed the exterior design and Japan pricing of its hydrogen fuel cell sedan, first unveiled as a concept at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. (Earlier post.) The car will launch in Japan before April 2015, and preparations are underway for launches in the US and European markets in the summer of 2015.
In Japan, the fuel cell sedan will go on sale at Toyota and Toyopet dealerships, priced at approximately ¥7 million (US$68,700) (MSRP; excludes consumption tax). Initially, sales will be limited to regions where hydrogen refueling infrastructure is being developed: Saitama Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo Metropolis, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture, Aichi Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture, Hyogo Prefecture, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and Fukuoka Prefecture.
Toyota has yet to decide pricing for the US and Europe. The company will announce more detailed information, such as specifications, exact prices and sales targets, later.
|The Toyota FCV Sedan. Click to enlarge.||Layout of the powertrain components. Click to enlarge.|
In a briefing in Japan, Mitsuhisa Kato, Executive Vice President and Member of the Board, said that Toyota’s commitment to environment-friendly vehicles is based on three basic principles: embracing diverse energy sources; developing efficient, low-emission vehicles; and driving real and positive environmental change by popularizing these vehicles.
|Toyota’s vision of a sustainable society is based on the use of diverse energy sources—including fossil fuels—with electricity and hydrogen infrastructures. Source: Toyota. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota believes hydrogen will be a leading energy source in the future, Kato said. Toyota’s stance is that hydrogen is a particularly promising alternative fuel since it can be produced using a wide variety of primary energy sources, including solar and wind power. When compressed, hydrogen has a higher energy density than batteries and is easier to store and transport. In addition to its potential as a fuel for home and automotive use, hydrogen could be used in a wide range of applications, including large-scale power generation.
|Top: Toyota’s view of primary energy sources, automotive fuels and powertrains. Bottom: Characteristics of alternative automotive fuels. Source: Toyota. Click to enlarge.|
Hybrids are a core technology for Toyota, Kato said, noting that the company has introduced hybrid models in all vehicle categories, and adding that “We really feel that the hybrid car is in the phase of true popularization.” Hybrid technology underpins Toyota’s plug-in hybrids, battery-electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles, Kato said.
|“We want to show how serious we are.”|
Each of those types of electrified drive vehicles have roles to play, he added, with BEVs slotted into roles for short-distance commuting and fleet vehicles, PHEVS as next-generation vehicles with widespread and convenient use, and FCVs ultimately as the solution for medium- to long-distances and for heavier vehicles. Toyota believes that fuel cell vehicles are ideal eco-cars, Kato said.
In addition to zero tailpipe emissions, driving pleasure, and energy diversification, FCVs offer good performance. The FCV going on sale shortly has a range of approximately 700 km (435 miles) on the JC08 cycle; a low (~ 3 minutes) refueling time; and cold-start capability (-30 ˚C). Too, FCVs have emergency power supply capabilities, Kato said; a fully-fueled FCV can supply power to an average household for more than a week
The FCV. Toyota began fuel cell vehicle development in 1992. In 1996, a Toyota FCV took part in a parade in Osaka. In 2002, Toyota began limited sales of the FCHV in the US and Japan. In 2008, Toyota introduced the FCHV-adv with improved range and cold-start capabilities. To date, Toyota has leased more than 100 fuel cell vehicles, which have driven more than 2 million km (1.2 million miles) in the US and Japan.
Toyota’s fuel cell system includes a proprietary fuel cell (FC) stack and high-pressure hydrogen tanks. Toyota has made significant improvements to the fuel cell system since 2002.
The new stack offers twice the output power density (3.0 kW/L) of the FCFV-adv, with output power of more than 100 kW.
The new fuel cell system is smaller and performs better; key system components are placed under seats.
The new stack requires no humidifier, and features enhanced reliability, reduced size, weight and cost. The use of a boost converter enables the use of fewer cells, and a smaller motor.
The hydrogen tank storage density has improved by approximately 20% compared to the FCHV-adv. (5.7 wt%). The number of tanks has been halved to two.
Different materials and manufacturing processes have reduced tank cost, while performance has increased.
|Toyota envisions further reduction of fuel cell system costs. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Group companies are also engaging in other hydrogen-related initiatives, such as developing and testing fuel cells for use in homes, and developing fuel cell forklifts and fuel cell buses.