On the hydrogen age
At the smiles of others, they are already used at Toyota. Because when the Japanese brought the Prius on the road almost 20 years ago, it has taken no one seriously. But in the meantime are six million hybrids on the road, Toyota is facing the next step: in 2015 comes the fuel cell in series.
The message can be heard for many years, but now it will seem slow actually seriously: "The fuel cell comes ", Katsuhiko Hirose pray down like a mantra. And so it is also believed the top Toyota Experts for alternative drives, the man rolls at every opportunity with a prototype that sedan picture, these should finally bring the breakthrough. For 2015, the promise of the Japanese, started the series production and in selected countries such as America, Japan and Germany will be the future messengers then can buy.
Just like at the time of the first Prius falls and the fuel-cell vehicle by its unconventional design. Even if the production model is a little different from the study, Toyota has unveiled last fall at the Motor Show in Tokyo, but should not further customize the 4.80-meter-long sedan, says Hirose. "We have learned that such a new car needs a new design so that it is accepted by the customer. They want to show how far they go ahead of the others eventually. "
That you can go ahead with the fuel cell, which stands for Hirose beyond doubt. And further ahead than with the pure battery-electric vehicle. Why is that so? "Because the fuel cell, the alltagstauglichere concept ," says the manager. The drive will be transduced with the hydrogen on board the vehicle into electricity for an electric motor is as clean as a pure electric car - because of the exhaust whispers only water vapor. And the performance are at the level of any other Stromers. But where the battery no 200 km cars get stuck, Hirose promises for the Fuel Cell Vehicle ( FCV ) has a radius of at least 500 kilometers. And instead of for many hours in the socket, you must use this car just three minutes at a gas station - because if one finds one with hydrogen column. In Germany, for example, there is sure to this day not even a dozen locations.
© ToyotaDas FCV fuel cell stack The technology for the fuel cell has Toyota just like a number of other manufacturers from Ford to Mercedes for many years, at least in principle under control. For a long time crossing the prototypes criss-crossing the globe in test fleets and test drives. But what is not yet really been successful, this is the step in the industrialization. Too high the cost and complexity of the components, as that someone larger numbers would guess.
But Hirose is confident that his team will take the hurdles. " Who, if not us? ", Ask the Japanese and refer to the experience with the Prius and a whole host of other hybrid models: " We have the capacity for 1.1 million electric motors, hybrid battery and control electronics. All parts as they are needed in the fuel-cell vehicle, "says Hirose's German colleague Dirk Breuer.
No matter what Toyota is not produced in large numbers, which is the fuel cell itself, but at least the Japanese have there ever lowered the cost: "The new stack costs only one-twentieth of what we incorporate into the current test vehicles ," says Breuer thus explaining how Toyota wants hinbekommen a " marketable price " for the production car. "Among 80 000 euros " is the announcement. For a mid-size sedan that is of course even with a top equipment still strong stuff. But if you compare it with the millions of dollars for the current mini-series vehicles, the car is then but almost a bargain, kidding the Japanese. No wonder that Hirose is firmly convinced of the success of the fuel cell. Maybe not the same as 2015 or 2020. But in the long run there is for him no alternative. And if anyone doubts his words, then he refers him to the Prius. " When we presented the, laughed a lot about us ," the eco - expert recalls. However, after more than six million hybrids had many a laugh stuck in the throat. "Why should we not repeat this story with the fuel cell? "