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Hydrogen-powered Corolla and other Toyota plans


Luke717
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I've been paying attention to developments with hydrogen fuel cells in cars, eg, the Toyota Mirai that's available now in the UK and many other markets. Probably the biggest drawback right now is lack of fueling infrastructure.

But even as Toyota wobbles about EVs, and currently remains committed to petrol-hybrids, it is serious in its intent for alt fuels like hydrogen. Reading an interesting report in Forbes about the forthcoming launch of Corolla (and Prius) models powered by hydrogen in the US market in 2022/23.

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Toyota has indicated their future plans to launch a hydrogen-powered Corolla by 2023, after having competed in Japan’s only all-day race ‘The Fuji 24-hours’ using a Corolla powered by hydrogen. This will not be a fuel-cell car like the Mirai but use hydrogen to power its engine. The reasons for this switch are twofold: to achieve its goal of carbon neutral by 2050, and to improve fuel efficiency across the range.

I would think that inevitably these cars will come to Europe. The big appeal may well lie in rangeability: I read a UK review of the 2nd-generation Mirai recently (can't find it otherwise I'd include a link) that spoke of a range of 400 miles with filling up the hydrogen tank taking about the same time as filling a tank of petrol. Add in the environmental benefits and I can see that appeal. But big drawback as I mentioned - no infrastructure yet.

Thoughts? Is this in our automotive future?

Here's the Forbes story - https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterlyon/2021/08/29/toyota-to-launch-hydrogen-powered-prius-and-corolla-in-2023/?sh=2ea29be12fa1

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32 minutes ago, Luke717 said:

But even as Toyota wobbles about EVs, and currently remains committed to petrol-hybrids, it is serious in its intent for alt fuels like hydrogen. Reading an interesting report in Forbes about the forthcoming launch of Corolla (and Prius) models powered by hydrogen in the US market in 2022/23.

Toyota's first electric vehicle is due this year but not yet for UK release. Things will move quickly from thereon.

https://www.toyota.co.uk/world-of-toyota/Toyota-bZ

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Hydrogen passenger cars will rely on a hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and chicken and egg like, that requires lots of people owning and fuelling hydrogen cars to make it viable. Toyota's decisions only have a small impact on this, it depends on other vehicle manufacturers also offering hydrogen models and selling in volume to build the market making the infrastructure viable.

At the moment it looks like most manufacturers are focusing on EVs, making big multi billion investments in Battery manufacturing capacity, new EV models and the infrastructure is being rolled out. Currently it looks like the future of the passenger car industry is EVs.

If there is an opportunity for hydrogen passenger vehicles, it may come from piggybacking on hydrogen for heavy goods vehicles and trucks, if we see these shift to hydrogen with infrastructure to support these. Or later, if the gas networks shift to hydrogen reducing the infrastructure issue.

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Whilst true that Hydrogen fuel infrastructure is in its infancy at the moment, the electric vehicle charging infrastructure is nowhere near where we need it to be. How practical is it to add charging points at every residence? Not everyone has off road parking available. Huge investment is also needed to provide additional power stations to generate the vast quantity of power needed to charge EV's. Also current Battery technology is not suited to large vehicles which is where hydrogen would be more suitable. I think hydrogen is the future, not just for vehicles but for household gas boiler replacement and other applications.

I

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Can’t wait for the next generation Prius self charging hybrid, would it be completely redesigned body or just some facelift yet to see. 👍

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40 minutes ago, Redwards said:

Whilst true that Hydrogen fuel infrastructure is in its infancy at the moment, the electric vehicle charging infrastructure is nowhere near where we need it to be. How practical is it to add charging points at every residence? Not everyone has off road parking available. Huge investment is also needed to provide additional power stations to generate the vast quantity of power needed to charge EV's. 

EV public charging infrastructure still has a long way to go, but it's here now and growing, if you look at Zap Map of all the points across the country, there is now a basic provision in most areas, this will only grow because there's now many operators building out their networks. London and Coventry are rolling out on street charging using lamp post mounted chargers, which is establishing itself as a solution. There's momentum building, vehicle sales driving infrastructure provision, driving more vehicle sales.

Studies into the infrastructure issues find that with use of smart charging its manageable, because the electricity system has spare capacity overnight which is underutilized, so while some investment is needed, with the right tariffs and controls to encourage over night charging it isn't a major problem.

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You wouldn't need a hydrogen station on every corner to make it worth it.  Get some in all the major cities, especially the ones salesmen and consultants drive between and you'd get the uptake ball rolling.

 

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9 minutes ago, Yugguy1970 said:

You wouldn't need a hydrogen station on every corner to make it worth it.  Get some in all the major cities, especially the ones salesmen and consultants drive between and you'd get the uptake ball rolling.

 

Just put them alongside existing petrol pumps at petrol stations?

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Yep that's the ideal but there's no funding for it.  So what's needed is a smaller set of stations and someone to fund them.

Right now I think my nearest is in Birmingham which makes it not worth it but just one station in Coventry would.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Catlover said:

Toyota's first electric vehicle is due this year but not yet for UK release. Things will move quickly from thereon.

https://www.toyota.co.uk/world-of-toyota/Toyota-bZ

If 'quickly' means 2025, that's a feasible start in Europe https://europe.autonews.com/automakers/toyota-europe-ceo-outlines-sales-ambitions-bz4x-electric-suv

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5 hours ago, AJones said:

At the moment it looks like most manufacturers are focusing on EVs, making big multi billion investments in battery manufacturing capacity, new EV models and the infrastructure is being rolled out. Currently it looks like the future of the passenger car industry is EVs.

Agree, that's the current focus although as @FROSTYBALLSnoted, many other automakers also have plans for hydrogen, so the indicators are there for the second half of the decade.

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3 hours ago, AJones said:

EV public charging infrastructure still has a long way to go, but it's here now and growing, if you look at Zap Map of all the points across the country, there is now a basic provision in most areas, this will only grow because there's now many operators building out their networks. London and Coventry are rolling out on street charging using lamp post mounted chargers, which is establishing itself as a solution. There's momentum building, vehicle sales driving infrastructure provision, driving more vehicle sales.

Studies into the infrastructure issues find that with use of smart charging its manageable, because the electricity system has spare capacity overnight which is underutilized, so while some investment is needed, with the right tariffs and controls to encourage over night charging it isn't a major problem.

Good assessment, Andy. I think self-charging hybrids are the here and now with pure electric the next stage. As Battery tech improves and as the charging infrastructure picks up pace, as manufacturers like Tesla and the Japanese, South Korean and German brands (in particular) innovate ever more with their vehicles offering greater ranges and performance, all combined with governments everywhere on the attack on traditional fossil-fueled vehicles, the outlook looks good for mass market reach for EVs. I also think hydrogen's day will come later this decade; whether it then becomes the next big thing is hard to tell.

 

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From that report you posted short while ago, Neville, it quotes Toyota as saying Zero-emission sales in Europe by 2030 to be 50% of euro sales.  Interesting to think what the other 50% will be.

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6 minutes ago, Catlover said:

From that report you posted short while ago, Neville, it quotes Toyota as saying Zero-emission sales in Europe by 2030 to be 50% of euro sales.  Interesting to think what the other 50% will be.

It surely must be EVs, Joe, in spite of the anti-EV stance from the Toyota CEO earlier this year:

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Considering Toyota’s history, and its undisputed technological mastery, it’s very puzzling that the automaker has become the industry’s strongest voice opposing the transition to electric vehicles. In January, CEO Akio Toyoda made the company’s position clear with an anti-EV tirade in which he denounced the Japanese government’s recent proposal to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles.

https://insideevs.com/features/524481/toyota-hybrid-pioneer-delaying-evs/

A lot of politics there, gov and industry.

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Neville, when I quoted Toyota in that article I initially put - Toyota said EV sales in Europe by 2030 to be 50% of Europe sales.  But then I read the article again and it was - Toyota said zero emission sales in Europe by 2030 to ne 50% of Euro sales.

 

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44 minutes ago, Luke717 said:

I think self-charging hybrids are the here and now with pure electric the next stage.

I'd thought there would be a middle step with more PHEVs being launched.

The bit which surprises me about Toyota's strategy is that it had the early lead with hybrid technology, so as Battery costs fell and PHEVs became viable, it seemed the natural next step to build on that and offer a range of PHEVs. It's got the Prius and RAV4 PHEVs but its surprising there's not a Corolla PHEV, or other PHEV models. Compare it to VW group, which came from nowhere and now offers both the Golf and Leon in PHEV versions and Passat, Superb, Octavia.

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I'm not a fan of hydrogen - It has all the downsides of fossil fuels and all the downsides of EVs rolled into one.

Extracting hydrogen either wastes an enormous amount of fossil fuel feedstock that could be used to power ICE vehicles, or enormous amounts of electricity that could go to charging an EV Battery - So you're already starting at a loss - Then to power a car, the hydrogen fuel cell cycle is something like 40-60% efficient at best, so about the same as a good diesel or hybrid petrol, but gets much much worse the more load you put on it (Ironically opposite of diesel and petrol, which get more efficient under load! At least to a point...).

You also have to store it under extremely high pressure to hold a useful amount of it, and that means the 'pump' also has to be able to deliver such high pressures or you'd never be able to store more than a partial tank, so you still have to go out of your way to a dedicated fuelling facility. At least it's faster than public charging, but how well will these precision clamping hoses stand up to the average idiot just jamming it in without reading the instructions?

Even then, you can't hold all that much of it, so you have a lot of weight and not a lot of energy, so the vehicle is still heavy and shortranged - That 400 mile range on the Mirai is the best-case figure; Throw in some hills or give it the beans and you'd be lucky to get half of that due to the huge efficiency losses it gets under load.

Straight EVs are the only thing that makes sense to me - The only real problem is we need some alternatives or major breakthroughs in electricity storage or generation technology.

The thing is I think Toyota understood all this which is why they are trying to sandbag EV deployment - Their road map was increasing hybridisation while Battery research catches up to what we need, then we'd start seeing some decent EVs and not the massive short-ranged land barges everyone is currently pumping out right now. I think the sudden knee-***** shift to EVs caught them out a bit which is why they're taking this seemingly weird stance opposing the 2030 EVpolcalypse that seems backwards to their previous direction - They need more time because their EV roadmap was planned out already and that cutoff date will hamstring them or force them to put out products before they're ready and up to their standards of long-term reliability.

Personally I'm just gutted the two things I really wanted to happen from Back to the Future 2 (Hoverboards and Mr Fusion) are now over 6 years late... These would both solve a lot of our energy and transport problems! :laugh: 

 

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We can of course generate the energy needed to extract the hydrogen by renewables.

I agree with the point about efficiency but then so were ice engines when they first came on the scene.

I still cannot see ev working in a block of flats or a row of terraces.

 

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28 minutes ago, AJones said:

Compare it to VW group, which came from nowhere and now offers both the Golf and Leon in PHEV versions and Passat, Superb, Octavia.

VW had to try to meet fleetwide emissions regulations with the consequences being massive fines. https://europe.autonews.com/automakers/vw-faces-eu-fine-missing-2020-emissions-targets Not to mention https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/08/eu-fines-vw-and-bmw-750m-for-colluding-with-daimler-on-fumes

Toyota were already  much closer to target ... https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/average-co2-emissions-from-motor-vehicles-1/assessment

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Interesting chart that... I wonder, does the rise in CO2 coincide with when diesel started being demonized?

@Yugguy1970 - Even with renewables, you're using so much electricity to make the hydrogen, it doesn't make sense if looking at it from an efficiency point of view; To make enough hydrogen to power one car, you waste enough electricity to power 5 BEVs!

The only way I could see it working is if that electricity was going to go to waste anyway, e.g. if we had a hurricane at night so all these wind turbines were generating shedloads of electricity but everyone was asleep and it wasn't being used - Then it could be dumped into hydrogen generation instead of being wasted, but it's rare for the grid to have so much waste energy.

I agree with the thing about flats tho' - Right now EV proponents are friggin' idiots and just don't get it: Most people do not have garages or even drive ways they can install a charge point! And having these dedicated charger places where you have to go out of your way and waste hours of your life waiting for a charge, assuming the charger even works, is just really idiotic. I resent having to goto a petrol pump for 5-10 minutes because I feel it's wasting my time, nevermind over an hour for an EV! Worse yet is they go on about these new ultra super fast chargers as if that is a solution, trying to compete with the 'speed' of a petrol pump.

There is just no need, but these people have such a blinkered view they don't understand how dumb such a system is! There is no need to have dedicated charging places; That is a con, not a pro, and super rapid chargers are stupid - Every time you fast-charge, you kill your Battery faster. Everyone that has played with RC cars/planes/boats knows this. Doing that regularly will just mean a failed Battery pack. Even Tesla block you from rapid charging if you do it too much because they were loosing money on batteries loosing capacity unexpectedly early, and their superchargers will limit charge speed if they detect you've done it too much just to prolong the life of the Battery.

No, what we really need is for *every* car park bay to have 7-22kW charging, so you can *gently* charge your car while shopping or whatever; Esp things like big shopping centres like Lakeside, Bluewater, Westfield, and major event areas like the NEC, Legoland, Alton Towers etc., but even hospitals, doctors, work, factories, distribution centres, etc.

Basically any place where people are likely to park their car for a significant amount of time has to have working reliable chargers. That solves the majority of the problems with charging - We won't have to go out of our way to charge, we won't be wasting our short lives just WAITING, but instead actually doing *something*, we won't need to rip up more green space for land for charging space as we can just use the existing bays - Anywhere you go, you can just plug in and charge while you do whatever you went there to do. That's what needs to happen. It just makes so much sense!

You can still have dedicated fast-charges for emergencies or if you really need to fill up to 100% for a long road trip, but most of the time you want to keep the Battery around 50% and doing it this way just seems like a much better idea to me.

 

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7 minutes ago, Cyker said:

Most people do not have garages or even drive ways they can install a charge point!

 

In the UK it is reckoned to be ~40% of households overall would not be able to install/have a dedicated charger - higher % in towns/cities & less % in rural.

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Huh, I thought it'd be higher - The vast majority of houses I've seen don't have driveways or garages, but as you say might be a city thing, but more people live in cities so I figured it'd be skewed higher!

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2 hours ago, Cyker said:

I'm not a fan of hydrogen - It has all the downsides of fossil fuels and all the downsides of EVs rolled into one.

Extracting hydrogen either wastes an enormous amount of fossil fuel feedstock that could be used to power ICE vehicles, or enormous amounts of electricity that could go to charging an EV battery - So you're already starting at a loss - Then to power a car, the hydrogen fuel cell cycle is something like 40-60% efficient at best, so about the same as a good diesel or hybrid petrol, but gets much much worse the more load you put on it (Ironically opposite of diesel and petrol, which get more efficient under load! At least to a point...).

You also have to store it under extremely high pressure to hold a useful amount of it, and that means the 'pump' also has to be able to deliver such high pressures or you'd never be able to store more than a partial tank, so you still have to go out of your way to a dedicated fuelling facility. At least it's faster than public charging, but how well will these precision clamping hoses stand up to the average idiot just jamming it in without reading the instructions?

Even then, you can't hold all that much of it, so you have a lot of weight and not a lot of energy, so the vehicle is still heavy and shortranged - That 400 mile range on the Mirai is the best-case figure; Throw in some hills or give it the beans and you'd be lucky to get half of that due to the huge efficiency losses it gets under load.

Straight EVs are the only thing that makes sense to me - The only real problem is we need some alternatives or major breakthroughs in electricity storage or generation technology.

The thing is I think Toyota understood all this which is why they are trying to sandbag EV deployment - Their road map was increasing hybridisation while battery research catches up to what we need, then we'd start seeing some decent EVs and not the massive short-ranged land barges everyone is currently pumping out right now. I think the sudden knee-***** shift to EVs caught them out a bit which is why they're taking this seemingly weird stance opposing the 2030 EVpolcalypse that seems backwards to their previous direction - They need more time because their EV roadmap was planned out already and that cutoff date will hamstring them or force them to put out products before they're ready and up to their standards of long-term reliability.

Personally I'm just gutted the two things I really wanted to happen from Back to the Future 2 (Hoverboards and Mr Fusion) are now over 6 years late... These would both solve a lot of our energy and transport problems! :laugh: 

 

Well thought out argument, Cyker. It's a good point re  sustainability, something I see mentioned a lot in any reporting or narratives about hydrogen fuels especially compared to Battery power. Here's a good assessment that outlines pros and cons - https://youmatter.world/en/hydrogen-electric-cars-sustainability-28156/

In my view, it's too early to say with certainty how bad or good any of these alternatives to fossil fuels actually are in practice. And that's current practice - likely to be a different picture in 3-5 years. Hopefully, a better picture.

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