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Toyota Expects to Cut Cost of Fuel Cell System to 1/20

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by usbseawolf2000, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    This is truly a breakthrough. Considering it was achieved in 7 years.

    The cost of the fuel cell system of the fuel cell vehicle (FCV) that Toyota Motor Corp plans to release in 2015 is expected to be less than 1/20 that of the FCHV-adv, an FCV that the company launched in 2008.

    Toyota made the following efforts to lower the cost of the fuel cell system. It (1) eliminated a humidifying module, (2) reduced the number of tanks from four to two, (3) employed low-price, mass-produced parts such as a motor for hybrid vehicles, (4) simplified the system structure by reviewing the structures of a fuel cell stack, high-pressure hydrogen tank, etc, (5) reduced the size and improved the performance of the fuel cell stack by improving its output density by more than 100% to 3.0kW/L, (6) reduced the amount of platinum catalyst used in the fuel cell stack by more than 50%, (7) reduced the amount and cost of carbon fiber used for the high-pressure hydrogen tank and (8) improved manufacturing methods (high-speed handling of electrolyte film, automated cell stacking, high-speed fiber winding for the high-pressure tank, etc).

    Toyota Expects to Cut Cost of Fuel Cell System to 1/20 - Nikkei Technology Online

    Fuel Cell Vehicle | TOYOTA GLOBAL SITE
     
    #1 usbseawolf2000, Jul 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Thanks! I've added Nikkei Technology to my bookmark menu. As for the article, congratulations are in order for achieving a 20-fold, price reduction, or 5% of the baseline cost.

    If we're talking about a $1M as the base, fuel cell price, we're talking ~$50,000 which makes it somewhat more affordable for luxury vehicles . . . if $1M were the base price. But I remember lay reports of higher than $1M in the past with lower inflation. I look forward to correction but "high-pressure hydrogen" remains the challenge.

    Hydrogen is wicked stuff because of flamibility and material effects. But high-pressure makes it worse especially when the hydrogen storage and fueling systems are operated and maintained by lay people in public places. Replace "high-pressure hydrogen" with a just-in-time, "low-pressure" hydrogen supply and my concerns are significantly reduced.

    The remaining advances have merit and reflect the brilliance and cleverness we've come to expect from Toyota. Platinum remains a challenge somewhat mitigated by the absence of a catalytic converter.

    Bob Wilson
     
    #2 bwilson4web, Jul 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  3. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    $Fifty thousand
     
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  4. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    It is an impressive achievement, but where the starting point was is an important factor on whether it is ready for prime time.

    The metal hydride hydrogen storage still in R&D would only require low pressure hydrogen for refueling in addition to the potential of plate swapping.
     
  5. drash

    drash Senior Member

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    Allow me to become the “Devil’s Advocate” for Toyota’s Fuel Cell Vehicles and become the primary punching bag for any further debate.

    We all know through many, many, many posts on this and other forums, well lets face it, Gas and Diesel sucks for generation of electricity, particularly local generation such as automobiles or even generators. And all automobiles need electricity to run either as a primary source or to power the ever increasing electrical systems. So do you put the self generation of electricity on the inside of the vehicle or the outside? For the foreseeable future FCVs will be the primary method of electrification of the automotive fleet for millions of people. Why? Two strong reasons:

    1. A large segment of the population live in, what I call, plug-less domiciles. In other words these people have no access nor do they hope to have access to easily accessible electricity that can be delivered in a short amount of time. The reasons are many, such as they live in apartments, no safe outlets on the outside, no garage, or the garage has been converted into living space, etc.. So they can’t just plug an EV in anytime they want unless they go to a charging station which takes longer than 15 minutes, depending on the make much longer. Probably the reason behind Lexus’ advertisements. So now you make a product that can reach millions of more people than those with plugs. In the minds of manufacturers this has greater potential for reaching more people.

    2. This creates a closed loop system for Toyota and other manufacturers. Its simple enough for most people. You put in a product in one end in about 5 minutes, it generates power for electronics and motive force, and it produces an exhaust byproduct that can be either good or bad. Now we all know, by far, the FCV is better at producing electricity than any gas or diesel engine produced now or even on the planning board. And it does it by producing water. So there are no expensive emission controls to warranty and lubrication and cooling is down to one fluid. No oil and antifreeze change requirements for disposal. All the benefits of the BEV with none of the drawbacks of gas or diesel ICE machines.

    Come on people, this baby is a rolling 100kW electric station, it can provide backup for a week. So even if you have a garage, you might want one because it can second as a backup generator. Toyota would be foolish to not offer this option in the US. Even I have considered the weird possibility of using this to recharge my PiP to string out my fuel consumption in case of emergency as well as act as a backup generator for my house. Oh and did I forget, the backup generation is quiet and can be done indoors and it produces 2 things that may be in short supply in a disaster, water and heat. READ MY LIPS Toyota, without the backup generator as an option you have 0% chance of selling this to me.

    Also imagine the FCV as an SUV that can go anywhere for a week and supply most of your basic needs in the middle of nowhere, either by accident or on purpose. Right now the future looks GOOD for FCVs.

    Yes even I would admit paying $68K for a rolling generator (and it looks like a slow one at that) is a stretch and you can get these items for far less money. But where can get all those items that can go large distances and provide backup in one package? Even I can admit, the price will not be that high for future generations of FCVs, much like they will not be that high for future BEVs.

    And yes I already have my reasons for wanting a BEV instead of FCV but that can come at a later time.
     
  6. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Ok, I'll play.:)

    Which is why we'll see regenerative braking on more and more straight ICE. You can already have it on a non-luxury brand in the Mazda6
    Yes, this segment will be poorly served by a BEV. A fuel cell could be the answer. The big hurdle is the refueling infrastructure. I don't doubt that the fuel cell system cost could come down further, but who pays for all the infrastructure to serve these plug-less people? The auto manufacturers really haven't step up on this front. Should we waste tax dollars putting in a refueling structure that might become obsolete when current fuel cell R&D commercializes? I think the billions a high pressure hydrogen infrastructure would be better spent expanding charging means to these plug-less domiciles. Even though more efficient than a car ICE, a car fuel cell will be less efficient at electric production compared to large stationary power generating sites. Even if less efficient, renewable electrical sources are better than converting natural gas to hydrogen. By the time FCEVs can reach the masses, they will be plug-ins for that reason. Improvements in ICES and alternate fuels for them can fill the gap until then, plug-in, hybrid, or straight.
    There is antifreeze in these cars. I guess they could be designed without it, but air cooled invertors and other systems tend to be less efficient. But, yes less fluids. There is just the maintenance issues of the fuel cells and high pressure fuel tanks. Which have been more costly on a fuel cell bus than a diesel one.
    How often is there power outages of a week or more for the majority of the population? The only big one I recall pre-Sandy was the one in NYC due to a grid failure. I know weather has caused others, but were they repeat events for locations? Remote areas might benefit from a FCEV back up generator, but thet'll be the last to get hydrogen stations.

    A good invertor on even a straight ICE won't eat much fuel to keep the essentials running. They both have the issue of what to do if you have to take the car somewhere during that time, but the invertor path is cheaper and more flexible for the rare emergency.
    Except a FCEV will only have the range of a long range BEV. You also can't simply carry spare fuel in extra containers.
     
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  7. drash

    drash Senior Member

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    Yeah I've been reading up on all the differing systems to get regenerative braking on more and more cars. The industry might just get their 48V systems they've been screaming for since the '90s. On the Mazda 6 though that has the disadvantages of full hybrids (high cost, since its only available on their top of line touring model as an extra package) with none of the advantages (no 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on hybrid parts).

    You and I have the advantage of watching the infrastructure build-up unfold with all the gobs of money pouring into California. The problem with California is 2-fold: 1) they need lots of water if they want to use renewables to electrolyze water into hydrogen and 2) they need lots of water to steam reformulate NG into hydrogen. They don't have it: Colorado River Basin Water Losses Mainly From Underground Sources - Science News - redOrbit. The endpoint may be a great lessons learned or I told you so. I'm kind of glad its not my money. Interestingly if they do get a critical mass of FCVs, we on the East coast should thank them for the lower pollution drifting our ways.

    Much like the Prius, I don't believe Toyota would produce a system that requires more maintenance than their other cars. I remember there were a bunch of naysayers that said the system was too costly and complicated to ever work reliably or be affordable.

    Actually many localized disasters, floods, tornadoes, brown outs, blackouts and general weather related events cause power outages that can last for a few days. I know, we've lived through a couple of them even though our house had no more damage than a couple of tree limbs down. But yeah you are right, rural areas that might benefit the most may never see a local hydrogen filling station. I think you'd see more of a problem with people draining their fuel cells below the point where they can't get to a refueling station.

    Yep but you still have the problem of exposure to the elements so your car can run outside and thieves (generator theft was a big problem in aftermaths of Hurricane Irene and Sandy) and running cords from the outside to the inside.

    I'm sure it'll be that way for a long time. But in the end I think some entrepreneur will think of a way.
     
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  8. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    However the decision was made, the traction battery was deemed part of emissions control, or we might never have gotten such warranties on hybrids. You have raised a question, are the regenerative brake systems of a hybrid covered by the warranty? I suspect they aren't

    My understanding was that we don't have 48V systems now because all the extra accessories getting stuffed onto cars starting in the '90s became more efficient. Now, such system can allow the use of electric A/C compressors on all cars. Continental has a 48V mild hybrid system that I believe will the one on the their upcoming minivan. Then there is a VW/Audi prototype that has a 48V regen system that powers an electric supercharger until the standard turbo one catches up.

    We could just watch the experiments in Japan and Germany though.
    Won't help us. California has a problem because the junk isn't getting blown over the mountains. Limiting smoke stack height in Ohio would help us more.
     
  9. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    This is a mythical 95% reduction in costs. Toyota has now said they were behind in 2008, and claim to have leap frogged. Honda clarity cost honda more than $1M but they leased it for $600/month ($665/month adjusted for inflation). It was amazingly similar to toyota's future fcv. If we guess Toyota will lease for $499/month to match hyundai, then the cost to the consumer is about 25% less.

    We can slice and dice this a different way too. toyota may have spent $1M variable for each fchv-adv that was hand built and incomplete. Toyota in Japan will sell the car for 5 million yen and the government will give them 2 million for each one sold, so if they are selling them at variable cost then its around $70K or $50K when you include the money the japanese government is kicking in, but toyota did not include subsidies in the fchv-adv. Even back in 2008 honda could have substancially cut the cost of each clarity if they had made 1000 of them. The toyota/honda/hyundai cost reductions are mainly from volume. Still back in 2008 california and Japan weren't about to tax its citizens to build enough hydrogen stations to make those cars sell. They maybe now
    2009 Honda FCX Clarity - First Drive Review - Car Reviews - Car and Driver

    Its therefore hard to tell what toyota's real costs are if they produce 50,000 (the real price break on volume of fuel cells) of the beasts. It would definitely be less than today. For reference the leaf has sold more than 100,000, the volt more than 70,000 already (3.5 years). To get 50,000 over say 4 years should not be that hard for a desirable car, but i would not expect a fuel cell car to be there until 2020 at the earliest.

    platinum is probably the least of the worries. Its a small part of the cost. Working the platinum in low volumes, plus needing the volume in the car for the expensive carbon fiber hydrogen tanks, make the whole cost problem difficult.
     
    #9 austingreen, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  10. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    High pressure H2 is used quite extensively in industry (eg; refining gasoline and diesel) so H2 does have some safety issues but in the end it is a flammable gas like methane. Admittedly the H2 fuel cells they are talking really high pressures. But there is nothing about H2 handling that makes me think that is impossible to safely design an FCV assuming proper engineering and risk assessment.

    If its anything like CNG we are talking about on another thread, a lot of the high cost has to do with special stoarge tanks (overseas you can do a CNG conversion for <$1000 but in the USA it costs more like $7000+ due to the special CNG tanks mandated here).
     
  11. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    The true question is "Do we need to go to zero?" If government demands "zero", and defines "zero" as its ok to reform natural gas or coal locally at a station but not have carbon dioxide come out of your tailpipe then yes hydrogen fuel cells may have a place.

    If we don't need to go to "zero", or if "zero" means prius or lower tailpipe emissions or smoke stack emissions in the city, then hydrogen today is simply too expensive for the US.

    Indeed for most of the US it would be less expensive to put up cameras to prevent theft, and install 110V outlets and L2 and L3 chargers for appartment dwellers than to pay for hydrogen infrastructure. What was it? UCS said that about 42% of american drivers had suitable drives for a plug-in (PHEV or BEV) that being a short enough drive, access to a plug, no need for towing or hauling (towing should be satisfied next year with tesla x and outlander phev). If you get many of those plugging in, it would be good enough for most americans if the rest had efficient cars and trucks, and if hybrids made a larger proportion of them.

    Now california wants 16% "zero" as in the first definition. At the price performance of fcv, very few of them will be in california in the next decade. Most appartment dwellers do not have $499/mo to spend on a cute ute or a 4 or 5 seat car that they can't drive out of state.

    Japan is a different case, where more affluent people live in appartments, and post fukashima there may not be surplus electricity to plug in.

    We need to apply ocams razor when it comes to lexus anti plug-in advertising. Lexus is losing market share to Tesla. Lexus/Toyota are actively asking for more hydrogen subsidies. It is not to reach new people.
     
  12. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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  13. dbcassidy

    dbcassidy Toyota Hybrid Nation, 8 Million Strong

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  14. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    I will be in the market in 2015. I am currently considering the Tesla 3, Toyota's FCV, maybe the Volt, I will consider the Leaf! The idea is no buying gas!
    Lets keep the price within reason for us average Joe's huh boys!
     
  15. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Thank you!

    Then I saw:
    • 100VAC, 1.5 kW inverter for the Plug-In and . . . <gerrrrrrrr>
    • Accident avoidance and . . . <geRRRRRRRR>
    My first modification to our 2003 Prius was a 1 kW, 12V-to-110VAC, modified sine wave inverter. I installed a 1.5 kW, sine wave inverter in the 2010 Prius. The 2003 Prius also has a beeping, LED back-up light on the passenger side . . . putting the beep where it can do some good!

    Bob Wilson
     
    #15 bwilson4web, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  16. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    ...based on that, I am thinking that you are getting a Volt next...do so before green sticker expiration if that's a factor
     
  17. Troy Heagy

    Troy Heagy Member

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    The fuel cell car I drove had not one, but TWO radiators, both of which required regular maintenance of the antifreeze (and disposal). Plus it ran off hydrogen which is a dirty fuel (produced from natural gas). So almost all the benefits of the BEV with some of the drawbacks of gas/diesel machines.
     
  18. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    WAyyyyy too simplistic.

    How about if the BEV ran off coal ?
    or off wind ?
    or off NG ?

    ... ...
     
  19. Troy Heagy

    Troy Heagy Member

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    An EV gives you the *option* to decide what fuel you want to use (coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, solar)..... the fuel cell does not. And the MAIN point was to refute Drash's claim the FCVs don't have antifreeze. They do. They need to be cooled just an an engine needs to be cooled.
     
  20. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    That is not what you said, but you are also wrong in thinking that fuel cells must run on NG. Any hydrocarbon can be reformed to hydrogen, or electricity can be used to make hydrogen from water.

    I personally think hydrogen cars are stupid, but you should get your facts straight.