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Why is Toyota pushing Hydrogen powered cars so aggressively


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Having first heard about Toyota looking into hydrogen powered cars, I thought this technology was not viable, due to the safety and the infrastructure. 

I understand they have put a lot of money behind fuel cell technology and the CEO even laughed at Tesla few years ago.

Now they have just launched a second generation Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car. Links here and here.

The Mirai is on the UK Site - here

Why are they not embracing the EV tech as much as the other car manufacturers. 

This I cannot understand, love to hear your comments.

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interesting to see what happens in 10 years and how the grid will manage. Is it easier to have 300 hydrogen fuel stations that 1 million charge points? 

I am not that well clued up yet but i do find it interesting.

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So few questions and answers by Toyota:

Q HOW DO I REFUEL A FUEL CELL CAR?
A You can refuel in approximately three to five minutes at a hydrogen station using a pump – much like a petrol station pump – with no odour or risk of spillage.

Q HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO FILL A FUEL CELL CAR’S TANK?
A. Today the cost is comparable to that of filling a petrol car’s tank. 

Q WHERE CAN I REFUEL?
A Dedicated fuel stations are being built in conjunction with the vehicle roll-out in a combination of standalone and forecourt sites. The stations are being clustered to ensure customers have a good back-up and easy regional access suiting the 300- mile range. The first areas covered are:
London (5 stations), Swindon, Sheffield and Aberdeen. The first Shell station opened at Cobham services with 2 more planned later in 2017.

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39 minutes ago, Slucky said:

Why are they not embracing the EV tech as much as the other car manufacturers. 

This I cannot understand, love to hear your comments.

You kind of answered your question partially. Toyota at the turn of the century chosen to go HCEV and not BEV route, they invested heavily into it and are leading in that sort of the technology. I share Toyota view here and consider BEV fundamentally worse technology, lazy approach. HCEV was a brand new technology, bigger technological challenge, but fundamentally better and more practical technology.

As you know batteries are not up to scratch yet, infrastructure is not up to scratch and it is just not practical - one can take ICE or HCEV car and refuel in under a minute and drive on without altering and planning their root in line with available charging stations and mandatory 45min+ stops. That is why Toyota even mocked Tesla for basically using 19th century ideas which once have failed already. 

However, here is where theory meets reality, as it turns out Hydrogen infrastructure is just as bad as charging infrastructure for EVs. In long term both would require same investment, but as it happened Tesla managed to market their technology better (with outright lies) and were able to ramp it up gradually (not something you can do with Hydrogen). This is something @Steve touched above - cost of 300 hydrogen stations maybe same as 1 million charging points, but with hydrogen you have to pay this cost upfront. With EV you can start by gradually adding charging points and gradually increasing charging capacity.

On top of that Tesla has managed to exploit misconceptions very well - e.g. EVs are considered "green" which is partially true. Performance EVs are "greener" than performance ICEs, but say Tesla is not fundamentally "green" car if you compare it to average vehicle. However, people still looks into Tesla as green car. With such deliberate misconception Tesla was able to advertise themselves as both "sustainability" and performance leader.

Toyota HCEV is fundamentally greener, more sustainable and practical to use car, but that comes at the cost - it is slow. Tesla could generate a lot of hype with 2.9s 0-60 @2.2 miles/kwh, Toyota generates very little hype with 10 miles/KW efficiency + nobody thinks in "miles/kwh" yet. Everyone knows that 100MPG is great, but we don't have such perception with EVs. As such nobody really appreciates the efficiency of HCEV.

Then we have economy of scales issue... Electricity is generated in large quantities and is generally cheap. so Tesla has advantage straight away by using such cheap and "universal" power source. In theory Hydrogen could be mass-produced as well + it could be relatively easily stored and transported, BUT it isn't and as result Hydrogen at the moment is very expensive compared to simple electricity. Obviously, Toyota expected to generate interest in hydrogen production but no such thing happened, old oil producers simply went the easiest way and just bought the share in existing electricity production + clueless governments even subsidised "sustainable" electricity so those same oil producers not only diversified into electricity, but did so in public money.

Finally, why Toyota is not embracing BEV - for one, because it is fundamentally worse technology and secondly because they have wasted a lot of money on HCEV and finally because they are realistically behind the competition now as they focused on HCEV which kind of failed.

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and Japan has a dreadful shortage of electricity generally with it's closed down Nuclear stuff and is reverting, the whole country ( and population of @ 95mn ) to hydrogen fuel vehicles in as short a timeframe as possible ................... using electricity for non vehicular purposes alone ..........  we in the UK might get to that stage too

I did read that with everyone in the UK on meters at some point the Grid will be able to see precise usage and just pull the plug on too much being drained by households at any time .........  so, watch out you electricity guzzling EV owners  :yahoo:

Malc

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5 minutes ago, Malc said:

I did read that with everyone in the UK on meters at some point the Grid will be able to see precise usage and just pull the plug on too much being drained by households at any time .........  so, watch out you electricity guzzling EV owners

This is indeed true. The whole rationale behind smart meters is not to help the public (if you want a brew you're going to put that kettle on whether it's peak time or not) but to help the generation and transmission industries keep costs down.

The EV movement is hampered in three ways at the moment - Battery tech, infrastructure and lack of respect, moral fibre and general decency. The first two will be conquered relatively quickly, the second much longer, but I'm afraid the last one will take a generation or more to correct.

What do I mean? Well, a large percentage of the population live in flats, terraced houses and/or other locations where they can't get the car into a driveway or garage to charge it and will have to rely on 'on-road' charge points. No doubt whatsoever that some scrote will come along and think it a jolly wheeze to disconnect the cars from the chargers, or some drunk will trip over the wire, sue the council and then all charging points will be removed for Elf & Safety reasons and so on.

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27 minutes ago, Malc said:

so, watch out you electricity guzzling EV owners  :yahoo:

That is great way to put it -  current BEVs are effectively "electricity guzzlers", but we not yet think in that way about EVs and that is why they can get away with it.

Maybe for comparison we can think for one second about electrical heaters, and those who pay bills may know that having say 2KW electric heater on overnight will add to the bill quite a bit! Now think about EV cars - we start from 7KW for over 12h or several hours on even 22KW. If such number would ever be on electrical heater most people would say that it is crazy, but somehow when we look at EVs that is somehow "normal". and what about 150KW?! That used to be industrial estate sort of power requirements, not individual household.

4 minutes ago, Herbie said:

a large percentage of the population live in flats, terraced houses and/or other locations where they can't get the car into a driveway or garage to charge it 

My circumstances exactly! For 100 flats we have ~30 parking spaces in the estate. I am happy to have parking space (which was by the way £40k), but obviously there is no way to charge the car there and I am already better of then 70 other residents who don't even have space. Now previously I have considered BMW i8 and I asked management company/freeholder for permission to install it - as surprise to nobody it his was quickly rejected on the technical grounds. I have challenged it and offered to cover the costs not only of the charger, but as well wiring, but it has been rejected again on the grounds of fire safety. Without their approval I cannot apply for planning permission, and without planning permission I cannot have charging point.

This is not issue for ICE, but it is and issue for EV. Obviously even bigger issue is you don't even have space, as now you could rent it or park somewhere on nearby street (like council space or council garage), but for EV that doesn't work.

And this is majority of the population... really only minority has off-street parking on driveways.

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Thanks for the detailed view Linas.

I do understand that FCEV tech is much more eco friendly and as the hydrogen industry grows and production ramps up, FCEV cost will continue to lower.

Only two manufactures are currently heavily invested in FCEV, one being Toyota and the other Hyundai. 

But as you mentioned, its not just the cars, but the whole infrastructure that needs to be taken into account.

The current Mirai specs are not Tesla standards either.

Maximum power output (DIN hp) 154
Maximum power output (kW) 113
Maximum torque (Nm) 335

Maximum speed (mph) 111
0 – 62 mph (secs) 9.6
Cruising range (miles)* up to 342

Number of Hydrogen tanks 2
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 122.4 (front 60.0 / rear 62.4)

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Slucky said:

Thanks for the detailed view Linas.

I do understand that FCEV tech is much more eco friendly and as the hydrogen industry grows and production ramps up, FCEV cost will continue to lower.

Only two manufactures are currently heavily invested in FCEV, one being Toyota and the other Hyundai. 

But as you mentioned, its not just the cars, but the whole infrastructure that needs to be taken into account.

The current Mirai specs are not Tesla standards either.

Maximum power output (DIN hp) 154
Maximum power output (kW) 113
Maximum torque (Nm) 335

Maximum speed (mph) 111
0 – 62 mph (secs) 9.6
Cruising range (miles)* up to 342

Number of Hydrogen tanks 2
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 122.4 (front 60.0 / rear 62.4)

 

 

I would imagine they are not trying to compete with Tesla. Also i would imagine the Battery pack in the mirai are not as meaty, and probably not as big, however constantly being charge by hydrogen. Also 4 mins compared to 20min+

Hyundai, Honda and Nissan are also developing Hydrogen as well

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40 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

Finally, why Toyota is not embracing BEV - for one, because it is fundamentally worse technology and secondly because they have wasted a lot of money on HCEV and finally because they are realistically behind the competition now as they focused on HCEV which kind of failed.

So knowing that Fuel Cell technology was going to take longer to adopt, why are they still pushing these new vehicles in the market and not concentrating on EV tech.
I know they used the UX 300e as a test vehicle, as its not a proper EV platform. And the new EV platform they announced is using a dual drive system. 

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you welcome...

well and Honda as well. 

Regarding the specs that is exactly my point - nobody is hyped about 9.6s and considering current hydrogen stations location 342 miles range somehow sounds even worse than 280 miles of BEVs. Yet everyone are hyped about 2.9s "ludicrous" mode!

1 minute ago, Slucky said:

So knowing that Fuel Cell technology was going to take longer to adopt, why are they still pushing these new vehicles in the market and not concentrating on EV tech.
I know they used the UX 300e as a test vehicle, as its not a proper EV platform. And the new EV platform they announced is using a dual drive system. 

I guess few reasons... One is that they actually working on BEVs now, if I am not mistaken they planning 8 Toyota EVs and 2 Lexus EVs (rumour has it one saloon) by 2022. And two - domestic market. You see in Japan and I assume Korea (both nations without huge oil reserves), and both nations where auto manufacturers have a lot of influence is easier to implement hydrogen infrastructure. On to of that Japan is not even nuclear now, so it is much harder for them to justify increasing electricity consumption to satisfy BEV needs. 

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17 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

That is great way to put it -  current BEVs are effectively "electricity guzzlers", but we not yet think in that way about EVs and that is why they can get away with it.

Maybe for comparison we can think for one second about electrical heaters, and those who pay bills may know that having say 2KW electric heater on overnight will add to the bill quite a bit! Now think about EV cars - we start from 7KW for over 12h or several hours on even 22KW. If such number would ever be on electrical heater most people would say that it is crazy, but somehow when we look at EVs that is somehow "normal". and what about 150KW?! That used to be industrial estate sort of power requirements, not individual household.

Did you read this in yesterday`s Guardian Linas ? It is very long.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/dec/08/the-curse-of-white-oil-electric-vehicles-dirty-secret-lithium

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That is a great article John. 

Lithium mining is causing as much damage to the environment as other fossil fuels, but because they are helping to drive down emissions, the mining companies have EU environmental policy on their side.

 

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20 minutes ago, royoftherovers said:

I haven't read this particular article, but I am sure I will read it now - Thanks!

Environmental damage from large scale lithium production is well known concern. This was already concern back in the days of mobile phones boom, when BEVs came on the horizon this just became much much worse.

Yet I keep seeing a lot of deniers of this problem and BEV apologists - they tend to compare "lifetime" CO2 emissions of BEVs and ICEs and in that metric they always claims (and that is factually correct), that in ~3 years of lifetime average BEVs (Tesla is not average) actually becomes more "environmentally friendly" compared to average ICE in overall 10 years lifetime. 

However, they are considering only the CO2, they always fail to add other types of pollution, like heavy metals, toxic substances etc. which are emitted in process of making lithium batteries. On top of that there isn't even very good method of recycling them either.

For this reason HCEVs again are advantageous, because they need relatively small Battery (in case of Toyota Mirai it isn't even Lithium, but rather "good old and stable" NiCi) and that reduces both need for Lithium and overall size/weight of the Battery.

8 minutes ago, Slucky said:

Lithium mining is causing as much damage to the environment as other fossil fuels, but because they are helping to drive down emissions, the mining companies have EU environmental policy on their side.

Sadly, it is the same case for "renewable energy" as well - solar panels contains large amounts of heavy metals and are not recyclable. Wind turbines are made from composites which are not recyclable etc. As always our governments is looking into sole indicator of pollution like CO2 or NOx... without properly understanding whole picture.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-02-05/wind-turbine-blades-can-t-be-recycled-so-they-re-piling-up-in-landfills

This is very similar to what happened to the diesel in last decade - because it was lower CO2 all countries suddenly incentivised it over petrol... as it turns out despite producing less CO2 it produces much more pollutants overall. And this is the same story across the board when it comes to environmental policies. 

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22 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

I guess few reasons... One is that they actually working on BEVs now, if I am not mistaken they planning 8 Toyota EVs and 2 Lexus EVs (rumour has it one saloon) by 2022. And two - domestic market. You see in Japan and I assume Korea (both nations without huge oil reserves), and both nations where auto manufacturers have a lot of influence is easier to implement hydrogen infrastructure. On to of that Japan is not even nuclear now, so it is much harder for them to justify increasing electricity consumption to satisfy BEV needs. 

Lexus quietly published a video highlighting the electric and hybrid technologies it's developing for the next year/s on YouTube - here 

And the footage reveals a camouflaged vehicle on their test track.

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2 minutes ago, Slucky said:

Lexus quietly published a video highlighting the electric and hybrid technologies it's developing for the next year/s on YouTube - here 

And the footage reveals a camouflaged vehicle on their test track.

Yes I have seen it - it is actually pinned down in this forum as well. Generally interesting technology and it seems that their test "mule" for saloon is ES. Why I didn't like about the video is that is clearly scripted, but the tech itself is interesting/

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This article here from Forbes addresses many points mentioned on this thread.

Namely the big elephant in the room: the fuel source itself. 

To summarize, if you think there aren’t enough charging points for BEVs, try refueling a hydrogen car – particularly in the UK, where there are just 10 refueling spots in the entire country. Whereas Tesla also invested in the infrastructure to support its new energy cars, Toyota is leaving this side to somebody else, which is creating a real chicken-and-egg situation. Which company is going to install hydrogen stations with no cars? And who is going to buy a new Mirai with nowhere to refuel it?

Hydrogen is also very costly, and even though Toyota expects prices to halve in a few years, that would still make fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) more expensive to run than BEVs. Most hydrogen is still made from fossil fuels (“blue” or “grey” hydrogen), and even with carbon capture that means FCEVs fueled from this supply aren’t as green as a BEV powered by renewables. It is possible to make hydrogen by electrolyzing water. But the plants to do this are much more expensive than a charge point, and the electrolysis process is much less efficient – around three times less than a BEV. It’s not very green to waste two thirds of the supplied energy.

 

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That is true, but you see - we already waste ~50% of electricity we produce. This is because electricity cannot be stored. However, it is not too difficult to electrolize the water into hydrogen at the power station and store it. This is especially true with nuclear power - that is what I had in mind saying that hydrogen could be "mass produced".

The renewable energy itself has issue and that is something I have already touched on. But that said it is difficult to find respectable source which is not afraid of pointing those issues out.

When it comes to specifically CO2 I always suggest to look into 2 exemplary nations - France and Germany. France has taken nuclear approach and has one of the cleanest electrical production in the world and one of the cheapest electricity prices, German has taken renewable approach have recently failed to significantly reduce CO2/KWh, yet electricity 3 times more expensive in Germany compared to France.

just for reference:

https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/daviz/co2-emission-intensity-5#tab-googlechartid_chart_11_filters={"rowFilters"%3A{}%3B"columnFilters"%3A{"pre_config_ugeo"%3A["European Union (current composition)"%3B"France"%3B"Germany"%3B"United Kingdom"]}}

I am not nuclear promoter or something, but when it comes to large scale strategic electricity production renewable are just not reliable enough at the moment. AT least that is conclusion I made from example above.  

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23 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

That is true, but you see - we already waste ~50% of electricity we produce. This is because electricity cannot be stored. However, it is not too difficult to electrolize the water into hydrogen at the power station and store it. This is especially true with nuclear power.

The renewable energy itself has issue and that is something I have already touched on. But that said it is difficult to find respectable source which is not afraid of pointing those issues out.

So there seems to be more cons in trying to implement hydrogen cars than pros.

The fuel source is a big issue, the infrastructure is a big question mark on who is going to build it, certainly not Toyota. 

The ROI they have invested in hydrogen will be less than they hoped for.

This is like the high definition disk war between the Blu-ray and HD DVD, only this time it's Electric vs Hydrogen.

 

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2 minutes ago, Slucky said:

So there seems to be more cons in trying to implement hydrogen cars than pros.

I guess - it was about the same when Toyota decided to focus on HCEVs, but it seems to be true at the moment.

This is just kind of sad that as always instead of "better" technology we have chosen the one which was marketed better and more readily available. Yet it could still come back to bite us in the *** when few decades ago we will realise that we made irreversible damage by digging all lithium up.

I am just hoping HCEVs will survive on the customer base in certain countries where hydrogen supply is better. Obviously, Toyota directly funding hydrogen infrastructure would be massive help for keeping it alive.

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7 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

This is just kind of sad that as always instead of "better" technology we have chosen the one which was marketed better and more readily available. Yet it could still come back to bite us in the *** when few decades ago we will realise that we made irreversible damage by digging all lithium up.

Unfortunately we live in a society driven by profits and the now generation. While the world and environment we live in, suffer. 

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I found this video - Model S vs. Mirai - quite interesting and fairly balanced. I'd have expected the Toyota to get a bashing because it's not given the hype a Tesla gets. In this case, not so. I'd give hydrogen a go if I had the means to fill up nearby.

 

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That actually the most informative video I have ever seen from the 3 chaps on top gear. Yet it was just as fun... he nailed the conversation between BEV and HCEV owners and arguments made for both.

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18 minutes ago, matt8 said:

I found this video - Model S vs. Mirai - quite interesting and fairly balanced. I'd have expected the Toyota to get a bashing because it's not given the hype a Tesla gets. In this case, not so. I'd give hydrogen a go if I had the means to fill up nearby.

Thanks for the video link Matt. 

This is a good comparison from "Captain Slow" between the two technologies. 

Personally hydrogen vehicles remind me of LPG vehicles. 

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10 minutes ago, Slucky said:

Thanks for the video link Matt. 

This is a good comparison from "Captain Slow" between the two technologies. 

Personally hydrogen vehicles remind me of LPG vehicles. 

Yeah refuelling looks like future of LPG... similar just much nicer.

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