Toyota Hypes Hydrogen +VIDEO
While the technology is there, the lack of a refueling infrastructure will hold back hydrogen’s potential.
DETROIT - April 18, 2016; USA Today reported that despite “all the hoopla” over more long-range electric cars coming to market, Toyota is making the case for hydrogen as a better alternative.
The news source writes that Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada believes hydrogen fuel cell cars have the greatest long-term potential for reducing energy usage and auto emissions. Toyota introduced its Toyota Mirai, the world’s first mainstream hydrogen fuel cell car, in November 2015 in California and has sold about 100 units this year. Last week Uchiyamada delivered a keynote speech at SAE World Congress at Cobo Center in Detroit touting hydrogen-powered vehicles, noting that the lack of an adequate refueling infrastructure is holding back hydrogen’s potential as a viable alternative fuel source.
"Toyota firmly believes the benefits of a hydrogen society are enormous for a healthy global environment," Uchiyamada said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks provided to the Free Press. "That is why we are playing a leading role in bringing together automakers, energy companies, government agencies and others to help build the required refueling infrastructure."
USA Today notes that last year Toyota announced it is freely sharing more than 5,600 patents related to fuel cell technology to encourage development. The Mirai has a range of 300 miles, can be refueled in three minutes and produces zero emissions. "We want to encourage others to participate in creating the hydrogen society," Uchiyamada said. "By engaging our collective brain power, these possibilities can become reality."
Although the technology is there, the refueling infrastructure is lagging. “The big problem is ... [there are] not enough hydrogen refueling stations," Uchiyamada said. "If we want fuel cell vehicles to become popular, we have to build infrastructure from the ground up. And that is no easy task."
The February 15 NACS Convenience Matters podcast, featuring Robert Wimmer of Toyota Motor North America Inc. and Joe Gagliano of the California Fuel Cell Partnership, discusses a number of high-level initiatives that are seeking to make hydrogen-fueled vehicles a reality. Listen to the podcast to learn more.