Fuel cell technology – the inevitable way forward?

Posted on Jan 13, 2015 by

If people were asked that very question, ten, fifteen, or even twenty years ago, their answers would probably have been very different to what they are today. With confirming the Mirai (a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that is powered by combining oxygen and hydrogen) to be commercially available later this year in a few markets, and making all 5,680 patents related to fuel cell technology available, royalty-free, it’s the inevitable way forward.

Bob Carter - Toyota USA

Bob Carter, a senior VP with Toyota’s US office said, “We believe that hydrogen electric will be the primary fuel for the next 100 years. By eliminating the traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the metabolism of everyone’s research and move into a future of mobility quicker, more effectively, and more economically.”

Keeping in mind that Tesla also gave away its patents last year, Toyota’s reasoning for following the same path is rather simple. With sharing patents, the Japanese manufacturer hopes that new fuel cell components and systems can be refined and improved to increase performance, reduce costs and attract a broader market of buyers.

Toyota Mirai - hydrogen fuel cell

The Mirai, which unfortunately isn’t as pretty as it sounds, will first be sold in California later this year for approximately AED 211,000 and later in the New England area. With the only emission being water, it’s impressive and even more so with its 480 km range, 0 – 100 km/h time of 9 seconds, and hydrogen refill time of just five minutes.

However, it isn’t as clear-cut as it may sound. Without refuelling stations, the day-to-day experience of a hydrogen society will seriously be hindered and that’s why state support is essential. Government agencies in California have already donated a handsome sum of $47 million in grants last year to build 28 stations, however, Toyota plans to raise that number significantly by the year 2020.

Source: GeekWire

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