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Toyota to unveil new fuel cell vehicle concept; focus on distributed generation as well as transportation

With its fuel cell Mirai already on sale, Toyota Motor is continuing to push the fuel cell envelope with the introduction of a new fuel cell concept at the upcoming Tokyo Moto Show at the end of this month. The new Toyota FCV Plus is a fuel cell concept that embodies Toyota’s vision of a hydrogen-based society. Toyota is also introducing the all-new Prius and the Toyota C-HR Concept, a compact hybrid crossover.

Toyota envisages a sustainable society in which hydrogen energy is in widespread use—a society it says is embodied by the new FCV Plus concept vehicle, which functions as a distributed power generation system as well as a vehicle.

TOYOTA_FCV_PLUS_001_s
Toyota FCV Plus. Click to enlarge.

Clean generation of hydrogen from a wide range of primary energy sources will make local, self-sufficient power generation a global reality, and fuel cell vehicles will take on a new role as power sources within their communities, Toyota proposes. Toyota’s aim is to add an all-new sense of purpose to the automobile by turning fuel cell vehicles from eco-cars into energy-cars.

In addition to the vehicle’s own hydrogen tank, the car can also generate electricity directly from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle. The vehicle can thus be transformed into a stable source of electric power for use at home or away. When the car is not being used as a means of transport, it shares its power generation capabilities with communities as part of the local infrastructure.

The car’s fuel cell stack can be reused as an electricity generating device, transcending the traditional functions of cars. Put to versatile uses around the world, these stacks could contribute significantly to local communities, Toyota suggests.

The fuel cell stack is mounted between the front tires, and the hydrogen tank behind the rear seat. Together with the adoption of independent in-wheel motors in all four wheels, this allows for a spacious cabin despite the vehicle’s compact vehicle body. By concentrating functional parts at the front and the rear of the vehicle, this next-generation fuel cell vehicle package creates an optimal weight balance and a wide field of vision.

The exterior adopts a distinctive, sleek shape, while the frame structure of the interior ensures rigidity despite the light weight of the car. Altogether, the design conveys the vehicle’s advanced technology and outstanding environmental performance.

Comments

Davemart

Pretty radical stuff.

I am not sure that it would not be more optimal to put fuel cells in houses for power generation, as there is some load when the vehicle won't be about.

Toyota will likely be producing its next generation of FCEV in around 2017 to take over from the Mirai, which was always intended as a very limited hand built production run.

I would hope to see them match the Honda in getting everything bar the hydrogen tanks under the bonnet, although in this design under the floor might be just as good.

It would also be exciting, concerns about unsprung weight aside, if the in wheel motors make the cut into production.

yoatmon

From the overall efficiency point of view, the FC would be an acceptable solution for home heating and power generation. However, the price of a FC is an inevitable obstacle to implementation for just about any application.
The free piston design of a linear generator (FKLG) as designed from DLR would cost a mere €1,900.00 at a production qty. of 200,000 pc's. p/a. A FC will never be able to compete with a FKLG in aspects of price and life expectancy.
http://www.dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10084/161_read-8869/year-all/161_page-3/

Davemart

yoatman:

The DOE gives the price of fuel cells at a production level of 500,000 as less than $40 kw

The price you quote seems to be from the developer.

I have no idea how you come to the conclusion that fuel cells will never have good life expectancy.

It is improving rapidly, and they are also very efficient and pollution free at point of use.

Trees

I think Toyota understands the future of this technology. Didn't they drop the battery R&D and pivot to fuel cell some years back. The fuel cell has been rated the optimum CHP solution to home energy needs. The heat vs power generation in line or balanced with typical house hold needs. Batteries will have their place for ultra light vehicle propulsion and light duty household back up power, but the fuel cell will step in for the heavy duty stuff. Also, very promising R&D per improved catalyst for efficient hydrolysis process. Most think wind energy will not become effective unless they can power such a energy storage process. I understand the new tech for hydrogen pipelines has extremely low leak rate and comparable to natural gas for distribution.

Bob Wallace

Hydrogen is our least efficient way to store electricity. A total economic fail.

Reforming methane for H2 simply can't be done on a large scale if we wish to avoid cooking the planet. Same goes for pulling methane hydrates from the ocean.

Toyota keeps this up and they're going to get lumped with oil and coal companies as enemies of our grandchildren.

Davemart

Emily:

Toyota have never dropped battery research, they just think that present batteries don't cut it cost effectively.

Their research program for especially solid state batteries remains one of the very largest in the world.

There is also no contradiction between batteries and fuel cells, as all fuel cell cars are hybrids in Toyota's case even using the same battery pack as in the Prius, and there is no reason at all why fuel cells cannot be combined with a larger pack to make a PHEV to take advantage of lower electricity prices for everyday running around, as Audi have demonstrated.

Batteries perhaps charged from solar, and hydrogen also from solar for longer runs, what's not to like?

T2

the car can also generate electricity directly from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle.

You know, when I see a hydrogen storage tank being installed by my neighbour, the next thing that will go up is a "my home is for sale" sign. Most around here will not even take the time to prune their trees and now they are going to be entrusted with hydrogen tanks on their property ? Heck I am not even allowed to store my BBQ propane tank indoors.

Trees

Oh, batteries will have their place, but they will not compete with fuel cell for power, convenience, and energy storage. All modern vehicles will exploit the battery and capacitor devices to bump up efficiency, but those cars that rely solely upon this power will have high limitation and inconvenience. Probably a niche market for ultra light metro commuter car within the 2rd car status, yes, probably recharged by fuel cell power. Also, fuel cell has wide berth of power, even for ships and trains. It's a version of chemical energy storage as the battery, but the fuel cell is charged quickly, more powerful, and energy dense. All three attributes needed within transportation sector.
I see no reason why hydrogen would be more dangerous to store than propane. They both have unique engineering constraints and criteria for safety. It may be piped in like natural gas under low pressure, as well.

Bobcom52

Nothing currently suggests that fuel cells will make economic sense for private vehicle owners post fossil fuel use. Perhaps using hydrogen from water to make methanol from CO2 in the air will be useful as a renewable liquid fuel for PHEV range extender motors?
Toyota has provided me with some good cars over the years but this activity leaves me puzzled... doesn't make sense.

Davemart

Bob said:

'Nothing currently suggests that fuel cells will make economic sense for private vehicle owners post fossil fuel use.'

Absolutely nothing, if you ignore all the data showing that they will.

Try reading the relevant articles on this site, for a start.

SJC

Fuel cells have range, it is hard to get someone to buy an EV for more money when it does LESS.

HarveyD

Clean H2 (produced from water and REs) can be stored as safely (and more so) than BBQ gas tanks. Secondly, it can be piped in to everybody's house as safely as NG.

One of the family FCEV could serve as a very appropriate emergency generator for days or as long (many months) as the H2 supply last.

The price of FCs (and H2 and storage units) will drop drastically in the next 5 to 10 years, as expensive materials are replaced with much lower cost common materials, and mass produced in automated mega factories.

HarveyD

Clean H2 (produced from water and REs) can be stored as safely (and more so) than BBQ gas tanks. Secondly, it can be piped in to everybody's house as safely as NG.

One of the family FCEV could serve as a very appropriate emergency generator for days or as long (many months) as the H2 supply last.

The price of FCs (and H2 and storage units) will drop drastically in the next 5 to 10 years, as expensive materials are replaced with much lower cost common materials, and mass produced in automated mega factories.

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