Hydrogen-powered cars by 2015? Impossible, you say! Well, Toyota begs to differ.
Actually, the Japanese automaker is simply following up to its 2008 announcement to sell fuel-cell cars by 2015. Toyota’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BMW to develop a fuel cell system gives added weight to the car maker’s latest pronouncement on the technology.
But can Toyota pull it off? Rival automakers, who watch the world’s largest automaker like a hawk, continue to say mass production of fuel cell cars and vehicles is still around ten years down the alternative powertrain mode. Says Oliver Schmidt, VW’s gm of engineering, “We see it (fuel cell cars) in the 2020 timeframe.”
Note the issue is not the technology itself, which has been proven by hydrogen-fueled vehicles like the Honda FCX Clarity. No, the issues involve mass production of fuel-cell cars and fueling stations to fuel them. Points out Joe Bakaj, VP of powertrain engineering for Ford, “Within 10 years I think they will be affordable as full battery vehicles and the fuel cell will have a big advantage in range. We think it will happen in the next ten years.”
Automotive.com’s take: Does Toyota have a crystal ball no one knows about?
Source: Detroit Free Press