Toyota to sell hydrogen-powered car by 2015

November 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota brought hybrid motoring to the masses with its Prius and other car makers are still in the process of catching up. But emission regulations are getting tougher and now, even Toyota is seeking out ways to offer even “greener” cars.

All-electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf are an option for eco conscious buyers. But Toyota is looking further into the future and plans to  launch a new fuel cell model in Europe by 2015.

Many of the major carmakers have dabbled in hydrogen-powered cars building fuel-cell concepts and prototypes. It was Honda that has come closest so far by launching the FCX Clarity in 2008 – but it’s only available for lease for a limited number of customers.

Toyota’s zero-emissions hydrogen car will apparently be sold to customers in four years’ time but in limited numbers. Not surprisingly the research and development on hydrogen power doesn’t come cheap and these cars will come with a high price tag. Continue reading “Toyota to sell hydrogen-powered car by 2015” »

How do fuel cells work?

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ballard Energy explains how hydrogen fuel cells work, from turning the key through to the power hitting the road


Mercedes F-Cell hydrogen car ready for launch

August 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes F-Cell hydrogen s

Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz announced its plans to begin low-level production of a new hydrogen fuel cell-powered automobile called the F-Cell. Now, according to Mercedes, the car is nearly ready to launch, with 200 vehicles ready to be leased in the United States and Europe early next year.

The front-wheel drive F-Cell is based on Mercedes-Benz’ B-Class platform and uses a 100 kW electric motor putting out 214 lb-ft of torque. Apparently this powertrain will have the equivalent performance of a 2.0-litre petrol-powered automobile (0-100kph will take under 11 seconds) while returning 2.72 l/100km economy on the combined cycle.

Under the car’s floor sits a 1.4 kWh lithium ion battery that recaptures energy usually lost to braking. Range is quoted at around 400 kilometers and Mercedes claims a hydrogen recharge time of just three minutes. More details on the car should emerge at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

Toyota to produce hydrogen car by 2015

August 10th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota iQ fq

Toyota boss Akio Toyoda recently announced that his engineers are making serious progress towards building the company’s first hydrogen powered car. If progress for the first hydrogen powered Toyota stays on track it should have its market debut by year 2015. Currently, the only manufacturer to offer a hydrogen powered car is BMW with its 7 Series.

Apart from the hydrogen Toyota model, Akio Toyoda also said the Toyota iQ will be available as a full electric vehicle by year 2012. By that same year, the company will also make available a Plug-in Hybrid version of its success story Toyota Prius.

The future Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and the Toyota iQ electric are set to use Ni-mh batteries, rather than the currently widely spread Li-Ion ones. The Japanese company has been forced into making this change because the current demand for Li-Ion batteries exceeds its overall production capacity.

Mercedes-Benz trainees create retro/futuristic F-Cell Roadster

March 26th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes F-Cell fq

With its bicycle-looking spoked open wheels and roofless cabin, the Mercedes Benz F-Cell Roadster looks brand new and a century old at the same time. Designed by juniors at Mercedes the deliberate combination of old and new symbolises a rebirth of thinking about how to build and power cars.

The F-Cell Roadster is powered by a 1.2kW fuel-cell system. Using drive-by-wire technology and a joystick to control steering, the car is capable of up to 25km/h and has a predicted range of up to 350km. No doubt the car is high-tech, but 25km/h is hardly a usable speed on modern roads.

Aside from the historical design elements, the car includes a set of carbon-fibre bucket seats and a fiberglass front section based on Formula 1 race car bodies.

Altogether, it took over 150 trainees about a year to arrive at the final design of the radical F-Cell Roadster. Every element of the car has been designed from the ground up, including electronics, manufacturing mechanics and even the car’s interior features.

Of course there are no plans to put the car into production, but the technology represents Mercedes’ commitment to backing hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to more conventionally accepted battery electric vehicles.

BMW hydrogen-powered party ends after 6,400km across the U.S

August 27th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

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The BMW Hydrogen 7 – the first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan – has arrived in Los Angeles to finish a more than 6,400km cross-country journey featuring hydrogen-powered cars by the world’s leading automakers in the 2008 Hydrogen Road Tour. The purpose of the tour was to show that leading automakers and energy producers are doing their part to move away from fossil fuels to hydrogen, and showcase the cooperation among forward-thinking lawmakers, NGOs and the industry.

Logging an unprecedented “strictly hydrogen” cruising range of over 320 km, the BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel completed the two-week, 31 city US tour with outstanding reliability, leaving only a trail of potable water vapour in its tracks. The 320km cruising range is equivalent to better than 9.4L/100km. In the BMW Hydrogen 7 bi-fuel vehicle, the cruising range topped 200km. By optimizing the combustion process in the mono-fuel Hydrogen 7, BMW achieved an increase in range of over 60% over the bi-fuel Hydrogen 7.

BMW provided a fleet of four hydrogen-powered cars — two BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles that use only liquid hydrogen and two BMW Hydrogen 7 bi-fuel vehicles that can switch from hydrogen to gasoline. The four BMW vehicles along with the core BMW CleanEnergy team were on the road for the entire two-week tour.

The Hydrogen Road Tour is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association. In addition to BMW, participants included Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and VW. Providing clean, domestically produced hydrogen fuel for this tour were Linde, BMW’s hydrogen fuel partner for the Tour, and Air Products.

“The miles covered on this tour are a highly valuable contribution to the nearly two million miles already logged by our global fleet of 100 BMW Hydrogen 7s. This tour has shown thousands of people that hydrogen is truly the best alternative transportation fuel, and hydrogen vehicles are approaching commercial availability. An internal combustion engine, powered by hydrogen should play an important role in the future of sustainable mobility,” said Tom Baloga, BMW Vice President of Engineering, US.

What was most noteworthy about the Hydrogen Road Tour was the partnership between the world’s leading automakers, key federal departments, influential non-governmental organizations and hydrogen fuel providers to bring the reality of practical, clean energy to our nation’s legislators and the public. The tour visited key members of Congress in their home states to allow them the opportunity to see and drive these vehicles.

BMW Hydrogen 7 was the only vehicle on the tour that stores liquid hydrogen to power an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen is one of the cleanest energy sources available. Essentially the only tailpipe emission is water vapour.

The tour fleet included the mono-fuel version of the BMW Hydrogen 7, equipped with a V12 internal combustion engine (ICE), which has been engineered to run exclusively on hydrogen. It was created to showcase the zero CO2 and low emissions potential and feasibility of a dedicated hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE).

The Hydrogen 7’s V12 mono-fuel ICE produces no CO2 and near-zero emissions, while not sacrificing performance. In fact, the tailpipe emissions are so infinitesimal they pushed the limits of current emission testing technology.

Independent authorities, including the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), have confirmed these results. ANL conducted emission tests on BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles in early March 2008 and found that not only were the emissions infinitesimally small but when running, the vehicle actually cleaned the air.

Recent studies have also confirmed the water emitted by the Hydrogen 7 is potable, i.e., safe to drink.

BMW hydrogen-powered 7-series goes on a road trip

August 14th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

bmw-hydrogen-7-fq

The BMW Hydrogen 7 — the first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan — is hitting the road in an unprecedented cross-country journey in the U.S.

The car, which emits water safe enough to drink, will join other hydrogen-powered cars from the world’s leading automakers in the 2008 Hydrogen Road Tour.

From August 11 — 23, the hydrogen powered convoy will travel from the US cities of Portland, Maine to Santa Monica, California with one goal: to call on congressional leaders to support the creation of a nationwide hydrogen fuelling station infrastructure.
The Hydrogen Road Tour is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association. In addition to BMW, participants include Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and VW. Also part of this broad coalition are hydrogen fuel providers Linde, BMW’s hydrogen fuel partner for the Tour, and Air Products.

What is most unusual about the Hydrogen Road Tour is the partnership between the world’s leading automakers, key federal departments, influential non-governmental organisations and hydrogen fuel providers to bring the reality of practical, clean energy to our nation’s legislators and the public. The tour will visit key members of Congress in their home states to allow them the opportunity to see and drive these cars.

BMW Hydrogen 7 is the only car on the tour that stores liquid hydrogen to power an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen is one of the cleanest energy sources available producing zero emissions. Essentially the only tailpipe emission is water vapour.

The tour fleet will include the mono-fuel version of the BMW Hydrogen 7, equipped with a V12 internal combustion engine which has been engineered to run exclusively on hydrogen. It was created to showcase the zero CO2 and low emissions potential and feasibility of a dedicated hydrogen internal combustion engine.

The Hydrogen 7’s V12 mono-fuel produces no CO2 and near-zero emissions, while not sacrificing performance. In fact, the tailpipe emissions are so infinitesimal they pushed the limits of current emission testing technology.

Independent authorities, including the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), have confirmed these results. ANL conducted emission tests on BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles in early March 2008 and found that not only were the emissions infinitesimally small but when running, the vehicle actually cleaned the air.
Recent studies have also confirmed the water emitted by the Hydrogen 7 is, in fact, safe to drink.

Exhaust from the mono-fuel Hydrogen 7 tested by FGL Environmental was found to be well within the limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for safe drinking water standards. The Maximum Contaminant Limit, abbreviated MCL, is the maximum limit set by the EPA for chemicals found in drinking water. Results showed the MCL from mono-fuel H7 emissions to be in compliance with the health safety standards.

For more than a year, the BMW fleet of bi-fuel Hydrogen 7s has been an important milestone on the road to a hydrogen future, with more than 150 people driving nearly 2 million miles so far. The Pioneer Program, as it is called, has provided the flexibility of being able to gather real-world driving experience driving on hydrogen with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t run out of fuel. In addition to the BMW hydrogen pioneers, hundreds of people from academia, students, media, as well as the general public, have had the opportunity to experience the BMW Hydrogen 7.

Ronn Scorpion hydrogen-petrol sportscar. Supercar performance, supermini fuel consumption

July 28th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

ronn-motor-scorpion-fq

Ronn Motors of Texas has released details on a planned hydrogen-petrol sportscar to be known as the Scorpion.

The Scorpion is set to use a 3.5 litre V6 VTEC from the Honda Accord in turbo guise to produce 450bhp.

Interestingly the Scorpion will feature an ‘on demand’ hydrogen system which draws hydrogen through the intake manifold at a mix of up to 40% with petrol to improve fuel consumption.
Ronn claims fuel economy could be as good as 5.9L/100km. Incredible for a 450bhp sportscar.