Hydrogen Fuel Stations
Promoting it’s upcoming mass-marketed hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) vehicles, Toyota told the crowd at this year’s Chicago Auto Show about it’s work in California to develop a stronger infrastructure to support these vehicles. At the moment the state only has 9 hydrogen refuelling stations, but the company’s research partnership with the University of California has come up with surprising conclusion. They feel that a network of only 68 hydrogen refuelling stations is enough to support up to 10,000 HFC vehicles across the state, if they are located in strategic locations. Location, location, location…
“Toyota and the University of California collaborated on a model that maps out a specific distribution of refueling stations,” Bob Carter, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. senior vice president of automotive operations told a Chicago Auto Show audience last week. “And we found that in California, where we will initially be going to market our sedan, it will take only about 68 stations to regularly refuel about 10,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”
When questioned on the low figure, Carter responded: “You do not need hydrogen at every corner as we find with gasoline today,” he says.
“Even if every vehicle in California ran on hydrogen, Carter says, “we could serve the refueling logistics with only 15 percent of the nearly 10,000 gas stations currently operating in the state.”
The costs to build hydrogen fuel stations are high. It costs nearly $1 million to add a hydrogen pump to an existing station, and about $2 million to build a new station. The state of California approved plans last year to build up to 100 new hydrogen fueling stations by the year 2024, with 20 arriving by the end of this year and another 40 by the end of 2016.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles work similarly to electric vehicles, however the energy is stored in small fuel cells instead of large, heavy batteries. This allows cars to be lighter, further improving their mileage.
Toyota showed off their FCV-R concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2011, and it has been followed up with the production-ready FCV Concept. It’s about the size of a Camry, and can get about 310 miles out of a full charge. It will be launched in 2015 in four cities in Japan, before making it’s way to North America and Europe.
Both Honda and Hyundai are developing HFC vehicles too. Honda showed off it’s Honda FCEV concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show recently, and Hyundai has announced that their Tucson fuel cell conversion will be available for lease to a limited number of people in Southern California. The Tucson will likely be the first to hit the roads, but Toyota and Honda’s models will be produced in larger numbers.
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca