Toyota showed off on Monday at the 2014 International CES show its fuel cellvehicle (FCV) electric concept car, which combines hydrogen with air to power the vehicle.
The four-door mid-size sedan has no emissions, with the exception of water vapor, and is essentially an electric car without the need to be plugged in. The combination of hydrogen and air creates both water and electricity, which is then used to power the car. The vehicle is expected to go on sale in 2015.
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“Hydrogen works beautifully with oxygen to create water and electricity and nothing more,” a company spokesperson said. “For years, the use of hydrogen gas to power an electric vehicle has been seen by many smart people as a foolish quest. Yes, there are significant challenges. The first is building the vehicle at a reasonable price for many people. The second is doing what we can to help kick-start the construction of convenient hydrogen refueling infrastructure.”
The vehicle can run 310 miles before a refill is necessary. However, a major challenge for fuel cell cars is that fueling stations are hard to come by at present.
The manufacturer is partnering with the University of California Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) to map out locations for hydrogen fueling stations, with an ultimate goal of a refueling station within six minutes of wherever you are in the state. California has approved more than $200 million in funding to build about 20 new stations by 2015 and increase that number to 40 by 2016.
Toyota has been investing in fuel cell technology for two decades. Toyota estimates a 95% cost reduction in the powertrain and fuel tanks of the vehicle it will launch in 2015, compared to what it cost to build its original prototype in 2002.