Toyota is once again set to raise the bar in automotive technology as they set to top its former crowning glory, the Prius and match Honda’s hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity. The Japanese auto giant is set to launch its fuel-cell car, the 2015 FC, by next year.
While the race to build a “green car” is pretty even right now with most carmakers coming out with battery electric cars, Toyota’s 2015 FC will use a stack of “fuel cells” that combines hydrogen with oxygen to create electricity that would power the car. Emitting only water vapor and running five times longer than the normal battery electric cars, the 2015 FC is targeting environmental-friendly drivers who want “zero emission” automobiles. While the ups of a fuel-cell car is seen on its effects to the environment, one downside of such is the current lack of infrastructure in countries to support hydrogen-powered vehicles. Gas stations can be found everywhere but hydrogen fuel stations are very limited. Despite the fact that it is very quick to fill a car tank, hydrogen’s high flammability poses a major concern.
Putting all these into consideration, major carmakers are now taking sides on whether to jump into the battery electric car bandwagon or fuel-cell makers. Daimler AG, Hyundai Motor Co and Honda are all betting in fuel cells while Nissan Motor Co., Tesla Motors Inc., General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are all sticking with electric batteries. Of course, the car power debate is not complete without a company trashing another one’s technology. Last year, Tesla chief Elon Musk said, “Fuel-cell is so bullshit. Hydrogen is a quite dangerous gas. It’s suitable for the upper stage rocket, but not for cars.” But carmakers which are developing fuel-cell automobiles are setting realistic expectations. Toyota is only looking at selling tens of thousands of its FC car in a decade as it waits for infrastructure to keep up with its technology.