Toyota pushing fuel cell while the industry goes electric

Toyota has just announced it will be producing hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses in 2017 in preparation before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The automaker will work with Hino Motors, a subsidiary of Toyota, to build more than 100 examples of the FC Bus. The city bus will be assigned to fixed routes around the city to help “increase the level of understanding by the general public of the utilization of FC buses as a form of public transportation.”

The bus will run on fuel cell technology similar to that found in the Toyota Mirai. A maximum of 303 horsepower and 494 pound-feet of torque will come from two AC synchronous motors powered by a Nickel-metal hydride battery with a maximum external output of nine kW. The 10 on-board fuel takes hold 600 liters, or the equivalent of 235 kWh of power. What’s more, the FC Bus can be used to power emergency shelters in the event of a disaster, so long as the building has a compatible plug-in.

Toyota says it has already been field-testing the FC Bus. Initially, two FC Buses will be assigned a fixed route in downtown Tokyo. More Toyota buses will come online afterward, with at least 100 being planed before 2020. This is only part of Tokyo’s Bureau of Transportation’s plan to have more than 6,000 fuel cell vehicles registered in Tokyo before the big games. Government officials have tapped both Toyota and Honda to help spearhead the initiative.

Continue reading for more information.

Why It Matters

Toyota to Sell Fuel Cell-Powered Bus in 2017 Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Alternative energy is huge these days as the world strives to move away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner, more sustainable means of power. Electric vehicles like those from Tesla have proven their worth, but other automakers are considering other options. Toyota, in particular, sees hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as a clear option since they operate much like a standard internal combustion engine. Users will fill their vehicles up with liquid hydrogen and drive until the tank needs refilling. A quick process similar to a gasoline or diesel fill-up gets the vehicle back on the road with little downtime.

Hydrogen fuel cells work by converting liquid hydrogen into electricity inside the fuel cell system. The only byproducts are heat and pure water. Hydrogen would also better assimilate into cultures used to filling up at gas stations.

Perhaps the future will have a place and need for both pure electric vehicles and those that run hydrogen. The next 20 years will certainly be an interesting couple of decades.

Source: Toyota

Press Release

Toyota City, Japan, October 20, 2016―Toyota Motor Corporation will begin to sell fuel cell buses (FC buses) under the Toyota brand from early 2017. Having already undergone repeated field tests for practical use, the Bureau of Transportation of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to utilize two of these FC buses (model name: Toyota FC Bus) as fixed-route buses.

Toyota plans to introduce over 100 FC buses mainly in the Tokyo area, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In view of this, the FC buses will be sold for the first time in Japan in early 2017, so as to help increase the level of understanding by the general public of the utilization of FC buses as a form of public transportation.

Toyota FC Bus
Toyota FC Bus
Moreover, in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the number of FC buses being introduced will increase steadily going forward. Together with this, Toyota aims to engage continuously in the diligent development targeted at the expansion of the introduction of the new FC buses from 2018 so as to contribute to the realization of a hydrogen-based society.

The Toyota FC Bus was developed by Toyota, based on the company’s experience in developing FC buses together with Hino Motors, Ltd. (Hino). The Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS)1, which was developed for the Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV), has been adopted to provide better energy efficiency in comparison with internal combustion engines, as well as to deliver superior environmental performance with no CO2 emissions or substances of concern (SOCs) when driving.

The bus also uses a high-capacity external power supply system. With a power supply capable of a 9 kW2 maximum output, and a large capacity of electricity supply at 235 kWh3, the FC bus can be used as a power source in the event of disasters, such as at evacuation sites such as in school gymnasiums4 or, its electricity supply can also be harnessed for home electric appliance use.

The Toyota Group considers the use of hydrogen to be a powerful source of energy for the future. Toyota has released the Mirai FCV, while also engaging in the technological and product development of FC buses, fuel cell forklifts, as well as stationary fuel cells for use in homes. Going forward, the group will accelerate developments in a unified manner, so as to contribute to the realization of a hydrogen-based society.

Main specifications of the Toyota FC Bus
Vehicle Length / width / height 10,525 / 2,490 / 3,340 mm
Capacity (seated, standing, and driver) 77 (26+50+1)
FC stack Name Toyota FC stack
Type Solid polymer electrolyte
Maximum output 114 kW × 2 units (155 PS ×2 units)
Motor Type AC synchronous
Maximum output 113 kW × 2 units (154 PS × 2 units)
Maximum torque 335 N-m× 2 (34.2 kgf-m× 2)
High-pressure hydrogen tank Number of tanks 10
Nominal working pressure 70 MPa (approx. 700 bar)
Tank storage density 5.7 wt%
Tank internal volume 600 liters
Drive battery Type Nickel-metal hydride
High-capacity external power supply system Maximum output 9 kW
Power supply amount 235 kWh
1A system combining hybrid technology with fuel cell technology composed of Toyota FC stacks and high pressure hydrogen tanks etc.
2Possible electric power varies depending on the performance of the power supply unit.
3After DC/AC conversion by power supply unit. Power supply capacity varies according to power supply unit conversion efficiency, amount of remaining hydrogen and power consumption.
4Requires wiring work at the facilities.

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