CES 2014: Toyota says fuel-cell car has 310-mile range – USA TODAY

Posted: Monday, January 06, 2014

LAS VEGAS –The hydrogen-powered car is back, and it’s wearing a Toyota badge.

After its initial debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in November, the hydrogen-powered Toyota FCV made its first US appearance at Consumer Electronics Show here. And along with the car, Toyota brought news about the nation’s nascent hydrogen infrastructure.

Even though hydrogen has gained a reputation as a technology that’s been just around the corner for decades, Bob Carter, Toyota’s senior vice president, told the assembled crowd that the FCV is “really going to change our world, sooner rather than later.”

The FCV promises a 310 mile range between fill-ups, room for four passengers, and a refuel time of just three minutes. Unlike a pure electric vehicle, there’s no waiting for a battery to recharge. Promised top speed is over 100 mph, and zero-to60-mile-per-hour times are about 10 seconds.

The FCV’s propulsion system is small enough to fit beneath the seats, and two high-pressure hydrogen tanks save space and lower costs. Many components are shared with Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain.

“We estimate a 95% cost reduction the powertrain and fuel tanks of the vehicle we will launch in 2015 when you compare that to what it cost for us to build the original Highlander Fuel Cell back in 2002,” said Carter.

The fuel-cell converts the hydrogen power to electricity. Toyota is studying whether the car could be used to power a house, since it thinks it will have enough juice to last a week.

That’s with no emissions other than water vapor, the big selling point when it comes hydrogen.

Toyota is among the makers that have suddenly gotten serious about hydrogen fuel cells, a technology that seemed to have gotten lost amid the hoopla about electric power and batteries. Hyundai and Honda also have fuel-cell cars coming.

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