Toyota is working to completely change the way conventional alternatives to gas powered engines are structured. Forget about the all-electric vehicle, says Toyota in their latest mission, the real answer is hydrogen fuel cell cars. Several car makers, including Toyota expressed their plans to utilize hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and where they believe they’ll stand in the marketplace rolling into the future. The only exhaust that would be expelled from these vehicles is a water vapor.
Toyota though was aggressive in noting that the hydrogen fuel cell system will be placed in a four-door, passenger sedan called the Mirai, and it will begin selling in December. The move is aggressive because while the technology is incredibly forward thinking, and positive in relation to emissions, it still is very expensive technology. In fact, the midsized car that Toyota is working to release in December will have a stick price of $57,000. The vehicle though is impressive enough. It will go 0-60 mph in roughly 9 seconds, and the car can jump from 25-40 mph to make a pass in just 3 seconds. Other automakers, like Honda, have delayed production until 2016.
The really important factor to the success of these vehicles, as Hyundai learned when they released their equivalent SUV that would use this technology, is adoption and refueling stations. While Tesla has worked to ensure that they have fueling stations around the country – their methods are contrary to what these companies, like Toyota, are working toward. The US government estimates that the cost of hydrogen fuel would be roughly $1 per gallon, which is significantly cheaper than a gallon of gas. However, the vehicles still remain at significantly higher cost – and the availability of refueling stations is going to be 100% crucial if this is something that will ever become completely mainstream. At that point, it would be likely that the cost associated with these vehicles should start to come down as well.
There is a significant infrastructure involved with regards to making this a completely mainstream process. It’s something that will take time to make happen, and slowly, over time the solution should be reached, but it’s not something that will become mainstream overnight.
Moves like what Toyota are making will do a lot to push the technology forward.