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Toyota, Honda and Hyundai: Are Fuel Cells the Future of Sustainable Cars?

beck, christopher, homeinsurance.comIf these giants of the automotive industry are to be believed, the future for cars is definitely electric.

Toyota recently announced their intention to scale-up production of their fuel-cell powered cars to commercial levels by the beginning of 2015 and Honda and Hyundai have also announced similar intentions.

Future plans

Toyota chose the Tokyo Motor Show as the platform for launching a new concept car which is based on fuel-cell technology and called the FCV.

The car manufacturer is claiming that the FCV can be re-fueled in a matter of minutes and will be capable of covering a distance of about 300 miles (500km) on a full tank. Hyundai also confirmed recently that they have made plans to start mass production of a fuel-cell powered version of its SUV vehicle the Tuscon, in the US market initially.

The challenge ahead

Eco-friendly cars are the number one topic of conversation in the automotive industry and fuel-cell powered vehicles are winning the battle to be the technology that features in future models that roll off the production lines.

The challenge ahead for all carmakers is to successfully take their concept cars from the flashy motor show surroundings and then bring them from car showrooms around the country and onto the drives and into the garages of the motoring public.

There are certainly concerns being voiced about the lack of hydrogen filling stations currently available and it will also be a stiff challenge to make the cars cheap enough to be considered an attractive buying alternative to a traditional petrol car.

Toyota has indicated that their new FCV model will probably cost somewhere between £31,000 and £62,000, which will price some motorists out of this developing market for the time being, despite a desire to embrace the new technology.

Divided opinion

It is the infrastructure problems such as the lack of hydrogen filling stations that is dividing opinion amongst car manufacturers and Nissan has already publicly stated that infrastructure worries were a key reason why they were putting some of their own plans on hold until they can see how the market develops.

The technology used to generate the electricity to power the engine has a lot offer for future car making plans, particularly when you consider that it offers emission-free motoring. This is because hydrogen is used to generate the electricity that powers the engine and the only waste products it produces are heat and water.

Fuel-cells also charge much faster and allow you to travel a greater distance in comparison with battery-operated cars, so despite the divided opinion as to when the technology will actually be a viable commercial success, it appears that it is going to be the way forward for electric cars.

Christopher Beck is an environmental impact consultant for UNITS.  He graduated with a degree from the University of South Carolina, and is now trying to make the world a cleaner, better place.

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15 thoughts on “Toyota, Honda and Hyundai: Are Fuel Cells the Future of Sustainable Cars?

  1. FCV’s make real good sense. You would want one for the love of the Earth, unless you are one of those people whom they’ve brainwashed into believing that caring about the environment is communist treason.

  2. FCVs need hydrogen to run.
    California to the rescue:
    CA is set to install some 4,000 Hydrogen dispensers, costing estimated $4,000,000 each. Inefficiently burning methane, wasting all energy from the carbon atom, to then compress the much less energetic Hydrogen to 4,000 psi. All electrical energy used to compress is WASTED also.
    Sure glad the public gets roped into these idiot schemes.
    Oh, be sure to ask who gets the no-bid contract to build these energy monsters.
    Solyndra all over again.
    Can’t wait for Dougie the Troll to chew on this one.

  3. If Dougie the Troll was all knowing, as he pretends, he’d know that the methane (CH4) is not “burned” but partly burned (limited O2, so that some H is separated from the CH4, thus, all energy from the C atom is wasted (i.e. not used for propulsion purposes), because the fuel cell can only use Hydrogen, not Carbon. So, at least 50% of potential CH4 energy is WASTED!!!!
    Yes, the amazing amount of electrical energy to compress the resulting H2 to 4,000 psi is completely WASTED also.
    Having to ship oil from OPEC is also INSANE. That ship also has to return with water in it, so that it does not capsize. So, 2 trips of polution, for one load of OPEC oil. But, that is your fearless leader’s idea, isn’t it?
    Hey Dougie Troll, how about those environmental whackos looking for Global Warming, who got stranded on the ice? Even an ice breaker couldn’t get there. Ha ha. They didn’t get out much either. Like you Dougie Troll.
    Global Warming is only a TAX SCHEME that King George would be proud of.

  4. Drilling for oil in the Middle East and shipping large quantities of it to the U.S. has been the norm for decades and decades now. It is not the new idea of any “fearless leader”; rather, it is simply business as usual. Business that supports the entrenched fossil fuel industry. Business that contributes much of the anthropogenic GHG that is leading to global warming and climate change.
    Biofuel alternatives are one set of ways to mitigate this ongoing damage. And CO2good the troll continues to rail against such mitigating measures, both here and elsewhere. CO2good is clearly among the group of deniers who choose to pretend that global warming doesn’t exist, and that any alternative to the fossil-fuel-conglomerate-dictated business-as-usual model should be opposed with all his (illogical) arguments and castigated with his ongoing lies.
    Pretending, as CO2good does, that a ship stuck in ice while cruising near the pole somehow represents evidence against global warming; represents more ignorance and illogical argumentation. Pack ice often forms near the pole; and cruising there often represents a risk. Nothing about this situation represents any argument for or against global warming – period. But CO2good doesn’t get out much, and he clearly just doesn’t get this concept.
    “Global Warming is only a TAX SCHEME that King George would be proud of.” Global warming is not a tax scheme; it is a scientific summary of decades and decades of observation, of prediction and confirmation, of climate modeling and refinement; and it is the conclusion of 98% of top climatologists from all over the world. Regardless of the rantings of CO2good. CO2good is not a scientist – he clearly has no scientific training, and just as clearly he understands little about science or the scientific method. Somehow, he has convinced himself that despite his shortcomings, his own unproven and unsupported opinions should take precedence over the trained and supported conclusions of the best cadre of climatologists that the entire world has produced. 98%: that is a remarkable showing of scientific agreement, and it is backed up here: http://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.full.

  5. In 1999, Al Gore said that the polar ice caps would disappear by 2014. It’s 2014 and the ice caps are still there. Where’s Al’s apology?

  6. Global warming is not a commercial product, complete with a spokesperson. It is not defined by what Al Gore or any other celebrity or talking news head may say. I don’t know whether you quoted Gore correctly or not – but it doesn’t matter anyway.
    As noted above, global warming is a scientific summary of decades and decades of observation, of prediction and confirmation, of climate modeling and refinement; and it is the conclusion of 98% of top climatologists from all over the world.

  7. Soon to be deleted by EL editor, AGAIN!
    Here Dougie, are Carbon TAX LAWS, AGAIN. LAWS that are TAXES, based upon Carbon emissions. Get it?
    California AB32 (effective 1/1/2012)
    2020: reduce to 1990 levels
    2050: reduce to 80% below 1990 levels

    Lieberman – McCain Bill S. 280
    2012: reduce to 2004 levels
    2020: reduce to 1990 levels
    2050: reduce to 60% below 1990 levels

    Low Carbon Economy Act of 2007 S. 1766 (targets decline in each calendar year):
    2012: 6,652 MtCO2e
    2020: 6,188 MtCO2e (approximately 2006 emissions levels)
    2030: 4,819 MtCO2e (equal to 1990 emissions levels)
    2050: 2,475 MtCO2e (60% below 2006 emissions levels, if president approves)

    Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 S.2192
    2030: ~$0.53 increase in the price of gasoline
    2050: ~$1.40 increase in the price of gasoline

    The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009 S. 1733 &
    American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 – H.R. 2454
    2050: 83% below 2005

    Cap and Trade bill (if passed, is expected to)
    2020: reduce to 17 percent below 2005 levels

    E.P.A. (CO2 added as “pollutant”)
    2016: 35.5 mpg corporate fleet average fuel economy (light duty trucks to be included)
    2025: 54.5 mpg corporate fleet average fuel economy

  8. OK, CO2good, let’s go through your sad little list one item at a time:
    CA AB32: This is not a “carbon tax” law. This is a California voter-sponsored and voter-approved law to control CO2 emissions. There is no “carbon tax” mandated by this initiative. Instead, the CA emissions board (CARB) set up a carbon cap&trade market. Under this scheme, GHG-emitting companies receive free emissions credits – they do nothing and spend no money to receive these. If their yearly emissions exceed these freebie limits, then they have their choice of several different strategies available to them in order to achieve CA AB32 compliance. None of those choices is a “carbon tax”.
    Lieberman – McCain Bill S. 280: This 2007 bill died the same day it was introduced, and is not a U.S. law.
    Low Carbon Economy Act of 2007 S. 1766: This 2007 bill also died the same day it was introduced, and is not a U.S. law.
    Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 S.2192: This 2008 bill likewise died the same day it was introduced, and is not a U.S. law.
    The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009 S. 1733 & American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 – H.R. 2454: These bills (one in the Senate and one in the House) likewise died, and are not U.S. laws.
    Cap and Trade bill: No Cap and Trade bill was ever passed by either the House or the Senate. In fact, to my recollection, no Cap and Trade bill was ever even introduced to either chamber.
    E.P.A. (CO2 added as “pollutant”): This is not a legislative bill and therefore cannot represent a tax of any kind.
    So as can be seen, this little list so lovingly drawn up by CO2good is mostly a list of bills that have long since died (or in one case was never even introduced for consideration or debate); and one item is not a legislative bill at all and therefore does not represent a tax of any kind. The one and only item on his list that exists today is the voter-approved California emissions limit law that utilizes a Cap&Trade market to control emissions; and likewise is not a “carbon tax” law.
    CO2good, I’m sure that ExxonMobil and others really appreciate your ongoing efforts – but really, can’t you do any better than this?

  9. So the first point to make is that you have lied once again (big surprise) – by posting this list and claiming that all these items represent “Carbon TAX LAWS, AGAIN. LAWS that are TAXES, based upon Carbon emissions.” When in fact, nearly all of them are not laws at all. CO2good the liar at work once again. The apparent fixation that you have to cry about and to bemoan a “carbon tax” is nothing more than your own hysterical table-thumping – an issue you invent out of thin air to justify some fairly ridiculous postings.

  10. And don’t forget the 98% of top climatologists from all over the world – they have also accepted the landslide of scientific data that support AGW. Right? You weren’t trying to ignore them, were you?

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