Η Toyota έφερε στο φετινό Consumer Electronics Show ένα καμουφλαρισμένο πρωτότυπο του επερχόμενου αυτοκινήτου κυψελών καυσίμου που η Ιαπωνική εταιρία επιμένει πως θα λανσαριστεί το 2015.
Το καμουφλαρισμένο αυτό πρωτότυπο, εκτίθεται δίπλα στο FCV concept που μας έχει παρουσιάσει η Toyota εδώ και κάποιον καιρό ως πρόγευση για την έκδοση παραγωγής. Αν τελικά τηρηθεί το χρονοδιάγραμμα, ο κατασκευαστής θα είναι ο πρώτος που θα λανσάρει μοντέλο παραγωγής που θα εφοδιάζεται με κυψέλες καυσίμου και πολλοί λένε πως θα είναι η αρχή μίας νέας εποχής.
Σύμφωνα με την Toyota, κατά τη διάρκεια των δοκιμών, το αυτοκίνητο κατάφερνε συστηματικά αυτονομία της τάξης των 480-500 χιλιομέτρων ενώ ο ανεφοδιασμός των δεξαμενών υδρογόνου διαρκούσε 3 με 5 λεπτά. Ούτε στον τομέα των επιδόσεων τα πήγαινε άσχημα με τα 100km/h να έρχονται από στάση σε περίπου 10 δευτερόλεπτα.
Επιπλέον πληροφορίες θα δημοσιευθούν στους μήνες που έρχονται μαζί με το όνομα του αυτοκινήτου, τα specs του και τις επιδόσεις.
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TOYOTA FCV SHINES LIGHT ON HOW TO BEAT THE BLACKOUTS
“We aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel; just everything necessary to make them turn,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. Inc., at the opening of CES, the world’s largest trade show. “Fuel cell electric vehicles will be in our future sooner than many people believe, and in much greater numbers than anyone expected.”
Two vehicles shared the stage at the Toyota press conference: The FCV concept, showing what the four-door mid-size sedan will look like in Radiant Blue; and the camouflage-taped engineering prototype used for extensive and extreme on-road testing in North America for more than a year. The prototype has consistently delivered a driving range of about 300 miles, zero-to-sixty acceleration of about 10 seconds, with no emissions, other than water vapor. Refueling of its hydrogen tanks takes three to five minutes.
“Hydrogen works beautifully with oxygen to create water and electricity and nothing more,” said Carter. “For years, the use of hydrogen gas to power an electric vehicle has been seen by many smart people as a foolish quest. Yes, there are significant challenges. The first is building the vehicle at a reasonable price for many people. The second is doing what WE can to help kick-start the construction of convenient hydrogen refueling infrastructure. We’re doing a good job with both and we will launch in 2015.”
For the last 20 years, Toyota’s investment in fuel cell R&D has been massive. Since 2002, Toyota has been testing and developing a series of prototypes in North America. In those 11 years – and more than a million miles – it has dramatically reduced the cost of building a fuel cell powertrain. In fact, Toyota estimates a 95-percent cost reduction in the powertrain and fuel tanks of the vehicle it will launch in 2015, compared to what it cost to build the original prototype in 2002.
The FCV represents a major engineering achievement, where the size and weight of its powertrain system was significantly reduced while maintaining an impressive total power output of more than 100kW. A fully-fueled vehicle will be capable of supplying enough energy to power a house for a week in an emergency. Engineers are currently looking to develop an external power supply device that could be used in this manner.
“There’s no doubt, that the success of this technology will depend less on the genius of the car, than on the ownership experience,” said Carter. “Cost is one thing, but convenience is another.”
Focusing on California, where the vehicle will be launched initially, Toyota has partnered with the University of California Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) to help map out potential locations for new hydrogen fueling stations.
The APEP spatial model considers a variety of data including R.L. Polk ownership of hybrid and electric vehicles, traffic patterns, population density, and so on. The model is based on the assumption that owners want to reach a refueling station within 6-minutes.
What the model produced was an initial cluster map that requires only 68 station sites in the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley, as well as Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. If implemented, the mapped system could handle a fuel cell population conservatively estimated by APEP at about 10,000 vehicles.
Already, California has approved more than $200 million in funding to build about 20 new stations by 2015, a total of 40 by 2016, and as many as 100 by 2024. To help guide the construction of new stations, the APEP model is being used by:
- the California Energy Commission,
- the Governor’s Zero Emission Vehicle Initiative,
- the California Air Resources Board,
- the U.S. Department of Energy
- and the California Fuel Cell Partnership.
“Stay tuned,” added Carter, “because this infrastructure thing is going to happen.”
While specific sales volumes will be announced closer to launch, Carter said that Toyota has revised initial market plans and requested additional vehicles. More information will be announced in the weeks and months ahead, including U.S. sales volume targets, the name of the vehicle and comprehensive specifications and performance data. Consumers interested in learning more about the Toyota Car of the Future can visit www.toyota.com/fuelcell.
A new hydrogen-powered Toyota could be the answer to keeping the lights on when power cuts strike. Instead of fumbling for the candles when the electricity supply fails, owners of the new Toyota FCV could simply reach for their car keys to keep their homes warm and bright.
The FCV, due to make its world sales debut next year, is demonstrating its potential as a back-up domestic energy supplier at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
The four-door saloon’s electric motor can produce more than 100kW and, with a full tank of hydrogen fuel, could generate enough energy to power a regular home for a week. Engineers are now researching an external power supply device that could be used with the car to provide a safe and simple domestic connection.
The FCV’s potential as an emergency power supply is of course secondary to its principal role as a practical, zero-emissions vehicle. Benefitting from Toyota’s extensive hydrogen fuel cell research and development, it has a range of at least 300 miles on a full tank, and can be refilled just as quickly and safely as a conventional petrol or diesel model. When driven, the car’s only tailpipe emission is water, the by-product of the fuel cell system’s electricity generation process.
Toyota has made its hybrid vehicles central to its research into developing low-carbon homes, integrating the rechargeable Prius Plug-in into its “smart grid” housing developments in Toyota City and in a pilot project which ran last year in the Indianapolis region in the USA. Unofficially, Toyota hybrids have already proved their worth as mobile power stations, notably with Prius models being drafted in as emergency energy sources in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011.