2019’s sure been a year. For South Africa, that means extreme highs and depressing lows, but one things for sure, the country didn’t stop…
Most recent advancements in automotive engineering has been biased, favouring either electric or rechargeable petrol and diesel units. Toyota however, wishes to differentiate slightly. The Japanese company has finally unveiled their new production-ready FCV sedan, powered solely by hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Initially showcased as a concept car at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the vehicle has been given some futuristic clothing — very similar to the new Aygo city hatch — and a Japanese price. If you happen to live in the Land of the Rising Sun, you can get one for around 7-million Yen (US$70 000). Although the car will ship to western markets shortly after the April 2015 Japanese launch, a price has not been confirmed yet.
Hydrogen is an interesting prospect as an alterntive fuel, but it is by no means a common choice. Manufacturer’s reluctance to produce hydrogen vehicles stems from the gas’ volatility, lack of general infrastructure and limited availability on the mass market.
The liquified gas does have equally massive advantages though. It can be produced through solar and wind power while possessing a much higher energy density than batteries. Engines could theoretically run both petrol and hydrogen too, as demonstrated by BMW’s 750hl.
The FCV will likely be a hydrogen-only vehicle though, spitting out nothing but water vapour when the engine is running. Additionally, it will boast a range of 700km and will take just three minutes to refuel. Although no technical info is available for the new motor, the system has previous had previously been rated at 134-horsepower which is plenty for a family sedan.
As the Toyota Prius pioneered the way for hybrid vehicles’ popularity, the FCV will likely do the same for hydrogen-power.