Toyota had previously announced its plans to develop hydrogen-powered cars and now the company has released more details of hydrogen vehicles at the CES 2014.
The Japanese carmaker displayed a Radiant Blue colored Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) concept at its press conference in Las Vegas. Toyota defines FCV as the next nearest thing yet to an "ultimate eco-car" that offers solution to energy and emissions issues. A FCV combines pure hydrogen with air to produce water, a reaction that also produces electricity to power the car's on-board electric motor.
A FCV is basically an electric car, with the advantage that hydrogen tanks take comparatively less time to fill than for a battery to recharge. Toyota claims that its FCV concept uses two tanks storing hydrogen at 10,000 psi. The FCV concept can go over 300 miles and takes just about three minutes to refill with hydrogen.
"Hydrogen works beautifully with oxygen to create water and electricity and nothing more," said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. Inc., at the opening of the CES. "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. We're doing a good job with both and we will launch in 2015."
Carter also points out that the technology is already in development and consumers may see the car running on the roads earlier than expected.
"Fuel cell electric vehicles will be in our future sooner than many people believe, and in much greater numbers than anyone expected," Carter said.
Toyota announced that it has partnered with the University of California Irvine's Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) to map out potential locations for new hydrogen fueling stations. Toyota is also planning to launch the first hydrogen-powered cars in California. The automaker also suggests that the FCV concept can reach 0 to 60 miles in around 10 seconds and will emit only water vapor as its waste products.
The APEP model suggests that initially only 68 fueling stations are required in the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. The 68 filling sites are expected to manage about an estimated 10,000 vehicles.
California has already approved more than $200 million in funding to build around 20 new stations by 2015, 40 by 2016 and about 100 by 2024.
The company plans to put an FCV concept in production near to 2015.