Tag: toyota fuel cell

Toyota is Considering Natural Gas Fuel Cells

April 25, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

By now most people have heard of hydrogen fuel cells being used in vehicles like the Toyota Mirai to move them around the road without utilizing fossil fuels to do the job. This technology is pretty cool, and it works surprisingly well, but so far it isn’t’ all that practical on a wide-scale. That’s because hydrogen isn’t widely available just yet, and it could be quite a while before there are enough hydrogen refueling facilities to keep cars running all over the world. That’s one of the reasons that Toyota has been toying with the idea of a natural gas fuel cell instead.

Natural Gas Fuel Cell

A Natural Gas Fuel Cell

Just like the hydrogen fuel cell, a natural gas fuel cell would be used to generate electricity to drive a vehicle down the road. The main difference is that it will use natural gas rather than pure hydrogen. The natural gas would be split into hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and both substances would be used to generate electricity for the vehicle. The fuel cell stack on its own will generate electricity at around 53 percent efficiency, but by putting a heat reclaimer in the system Toyota is able to reach efficiency levels around 65 percent, which is better than its current hydrogen fuel cell.

Not as Helpful to Climate change

One of the major criticisms of this new technology is that burning natural gas is not as good for the environment as hydrogen fuel could be if it was produced using renewable resources, and that’s absolutely true. AT the moment hydrogen isn’t being produced with renewable resources though, and it’s being created with fossil fuels. In other words, relying on a natural gas fuel cell over a hydrogen fuel cell could actually be better for the environment currently. That’s because natural gas contributes less to climate change than gas or diesel fuel does. Making the switch to another fossil fuel might not seem like the right move to help mitigate climate change, but at the moment it’s a step that actually makes quite a bit of sense.

Maybe Not for Vehicle Use

While Toyota is experimenting with this new technology, at the moment it only seems like it’s destined for businesses and residential use to generate power for local energy needs. It isn’t being tested for vehicle use just yet, and it’s possible that the tech will never be used in vehicles. Even still, it’s interesting to look at different technologies and ways of doing things.

The Affordable Toyota Fuel Cell Bus

March 8, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

In another effort to improve the planet and expand on its brand-new technology, Toyota just launched a fuel-cell bus. That’s right, the automaker put out a full-sized city bus that’s travelling around Tokyo picking people up and dropping them off. The bus is built out of components that are the same as the Mirai, it just relies on more of them to do the job. This is an exciting step for Toyota and for the planet. By getting hydrogen buses out there the company reduces fossil fuel emissions, proves that the technology is durable and reliable, and helps people become more familiar with hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Toyota fuel cell bus

Easy to Refuel

In order to demonstrate just how simple the bus is to refuel, Yuriko Koike, the Governor, showed up to put fuel into the bus. She had no issues doing so and it was ready to go after being fueled up.

Affordable to Ride

While you would have to pay around $57,000 to get your hands on the Mirai, you can get some experience with hydrogen fuel cell technology for just two Japanese dollars with this bus. That’s the fare to go for a ride on it, and you’ll get to experience one of the great future driving technologies.

Two of Everything

In order to make this beast of a machine move, Toyota had to install two of all the components into the bus, and the automaker put them into its ceiling. The fuel cell stacks, batteries and fuel tank are all mounted in the roof of the bus, leaving space down below for passengers to ride close to the ground. The two systems power two 113 kW electric motors that deliver about 310 HP together and get the bus moving around.

Already in Demand

Even though the bus was just released, there are already 100 orders pending for the buses to be used just in Tokyo. There are 60 additional orders for buses in other areas of Japan as well. That just shows the interest in hydrogen technology and it bodes well for the future of the tech as well.

Future Improvements

The current bus is more expensive than a standard diesel bus, and it won’t last as long either. It’s expected to last about six years before requiring replacement parts which is quite a bit worse than the expected 20 years of most buses in use today. That’s something that Toyota is working on, and the automaker expects to get the cost and longevity in line with a standard diesel hybrid bus that’s in use today eventually.

There aren’t any orders from other parts of the world just yet, but Toyota looks forward to the day when it can expand hydrogen buses to other areas of the world and bring the technology to even more cities. It certainly won’t hurt the air quality efforts in other areas of the world.

California Residents Can Reserve their Very Own Hydrogen Car in Less than a Week

July 14, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

If you haven’t heard of the Toyota Mirai yet it’s a revolutionary vehicle that uses hydrogen as its fuel and emits only water vapor in the end. The car sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, but it will be available to California residents starting on July 20th. That means in less than a week California residents can order their very own Mirai and secure ownership of one of the most technologically advanced vehicles sold today.

toyota mirai

About the Car

The Mirai gets a pretty impressive range of over 300 miles on a single fill up. It’s estimated to travel around 312 miles before you have to add more hydrogen. That gives this vehicle a MPG equivalent of 67 MPG, more than what you can expect from most hybrid vehicles today. It drives smoothly and nearly soundlessly because it relies on the same electric motors that modern full-electric vehicles rely on today. It provides smooth acceleration, and the driving mechanics that you’d expect from a modern car. It’s jam-packed with exciting tech features, an excellent media system and finished to nearly luxury vehicle standards.

The Perks of Ownership

Becoming one of the first owners of the Toyota Mirai isn’t just for bragging rights. Every owner gets to enjoy fuel cost savings and will get a fuel card designed to cover up to three years of fuel purchases. The vehicle comes with 24/7 customer service and support and an eight year warranty that covers up to 100,000 miles of driving.

Securing Your Mirai

Get in touch with Toyota Santa Monica to request a Mirai on July 20th, but make sure you act fast because the limited supply of vehicles isn’t likely to last long. Toyota is releasing a small number of models during the first year of production, and the vehicles will likely be a high demand product until production is ramped up.

 

Learn More About the Revolutionary Toyota Mirai at this SBC Event

June 24, 2015 lacarguy Sustainable Business Council Tags: , , , ,

The Toyota Mirai is arguably an even more revolutionary technology than the Prius was when it was first released all those years ago. If you’re at all curious about the new technology and you want to see the vehicle first hand now’s your opportunity! This SBC Member Mentor session is all about introducing the Toyota Mirai and learning what it can do for the environment. It’s an exciting new piece of technology and could be a major turning point for the automotive industry. Not only is the session good to learn about the new technology, but it will serve as a valuable networking opportunity to get you in touch with other members of the SBC as well.

Manager of the Environment at LAcarGUY
Manager of the Environment at LAcarGUY

Where and When

The event is scheduled to take place on Thursday July 23rd. It will start at 12:00PM and conclude at 1:30PM. It’s going to be located at Lexus Santa Monica at 1501 Santa Monica Blvd.

Get To Know New Professionals

If you’re interested in getting to know other sustainable business owners and associates in your area the presentation is a good opportunity to do some serious networking. The first 15 minutes of the event will be spent networking with the other members attending. This gives you a chance to meet up with new people and ask any questions that you have. Expand your current network and get in touch with other professionals who can help your business grow and develop.

Get an Introduction to the Mirai

A quick 20 minute presentation from Alisha Auringer, the Manager of the Environment at LAcarGUY will help you understand more about the Toyota Mirai and how it works. You’ll get a look at the tech that drives this unique vehicle and soon you’ll have a much better understanding of how a car can drive around with nothing but hydrogen in the tank.

Build Your Understanding

After you learn all the new information abut the Mira you’re likely to have some questions. That’s why there is another 20 minute sessions for questions and comments after the initial presentation. You can ask more about the car, or learn more from the questions that other people ask.

Get Your First Look at the Mirai

If you’ve been waiting to get an up-close look at the new Mirai now’s your chance. The last half hour of the Mentor session will be spent taking a closer look at an actual Mirai and possibly giving out test drives as well. Get a look at the technology that is powering this revolutionary new vehicle and you can start to develop some new ideas around introducing this vehicle to customers.

RSVP Now

If you’re interested in attending this mentoring event you can easily RSVP for it here. The event is scheduled to take place on Thursday, July 23rd. Sign up now to make sure you have a spot.

If you are considering attending the event and you aren’t a SBC (Sustainable Business Council of Los Angeles) member yet, you can learn more about it and join up here. It’s a great opportunity and will give you a chance to connect with other like-minded business owners in the area.

A Look at Toyota’s Fuel Cell Car the Mirai

November 23, 2014 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

Toyota recently unveiled their Hydrogen car, the Mirai, and it’s been greeted with mixed feelings. Some love the car, others hate it, but overall it was received pretty positively. Many critics and reviewers had a chance to drive around in the new hydrogen car, and many were pleasantly surprised by its performance. Read on to find out more about the first hydrogen fuel cell car available for purchase and how it’s pretty different from the Prius.

toyota mirai

Unexpectedly Swift Performance

At 4078 lbs. most people aren’t expecting the Mirai to be light on its feet, but it feels surprisingly good while driving. It comes equipped with a single 153 HP electric motor, that provides nearly instantaneous torque and powers the car from 0 to 60 in around 9 seconds. While it’s not a sports car, it doesn’t feel sluggish either.

One major benefit of all the hydrogen equipment installed in the vehicle is that it gives it a low center of gravity providing a sporty feel. The car can take corners quickly without suffering from body roll and it just feels good banking around corners.

Comfortable Interior

The Mirai is quiet and quite comfortable to ride around in. You’ll register a slight whirr from the electric motor and the regenerative brakes, but other than that you won’t hear much sound while traveling down the road in this car. Both the front and rear seats are heated, and they feature an ergonomic design that makes them a pleasure to ride around in. Unfortunately for those families of five, the Mirai only seats four people, but that does mean that each passenger gets a bit more space to enjoy.

Luxury Features

With a starting price of around $57,000 it’s important that the Mirai feels like a luxury vehicle within, and thankfully it does. It comes with a premium JBL sound system. It offers plush heated seats and an advanced media system run through a mid-sized touchscreen display. There’s another screen to handle climate control settings and to display vehicle information. The Mirai relies on quality materials, but you won’t find leathers or fancy wood trims within. Toyota used quality materials to build a safe and appealing interior, that won’t really jump out at you.

The system comes with a couple nice perks that you won’t find on many other vehicles. It features regenerative braking, similar to what is found on the Prius, to recoup braking power into more useful electricity. It also comes with a generator system, designed to let you power the essentials of your home for up to a week using your vehicle. This is in case of emergencies and could help you stay comfortable in case of a natural disaster.

Affordable Fuel

New Mirai owners won’t have to worry about paying for their fuel because Toyota is footing the bill for the Hydrogen for the first few years. That being said, it’s still pretty valuable to know what to expect once fuel stops being free and you actually have to pay for it. Currently Hydrogen costs about $10 per kilo to produce, which transfers to around a $4 or $5 per gallon equivalent. This could go down in the future if manufacturing technology improves, but that’s what you should expect right now. During testing the Mirai managed fuel efficiency levels of around an equivalent to 50 MPG, making it a pretty low-cost solution as far as fuel is concerned, but nothing that’s going to save you a fortune in the near future.

Overall there are still mixed feelings about the Mirai. Some people love it, most agree that it handles very well and is a pleasure to drive, but others are hesitant about the new technology. The fueling stations have a long way to go before they will become widespread, and the Mirai has a long road ahead of it as new adopters accept the technology. It starts at $57,000 but with government and state incentives it could be purchased for as little as $45,000 making it pretty affordable for such cutting edge technology.

Toyota Announces More Specifics about their Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

July 2, 2014 lacarguy Green Auto Technology, Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Toyota has finally announced more information about their eagerly awaited hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. In Tokyo City less than a week ago they showed off what the exterior of the new sedan will look like and also gave a price and an expected release date for the vehicle. The only catch, all of this information only pertains to the Japanese model of the car. Toyota spoke briefly about a tentative release date of a similar vehicle in Europe and the United States, but it’s not as firm as the Japanese model.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgRO-V43Sjs]

The Details

Hydrogen fuel cell is one of the newest and most exciting ways to power a vehicle, and now the people of Japan have a deadline for when they can start buying Toyota’s first commercially-available hydrogen-powered vehicle. They expect to release the car before April of 2015, and it is expected to be priced at 7 million Yen, that’s approximately $69,000 by today’s exchange rates.

A Long Time Coming

Even though many people have only heard of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in the last few years Toyota has been working on the concept heavily for the past 20 years, trying to develop the vehicle that they will be releasing soon. All of the time and effort put into this research put the automotive giant ahead of most automakers with this technology, allowing them to pioneer it much the same way that the Prius did for hybrid cars.

Improvements and Performance Expectations

Initially the fuel cell technology Toyota was relying on was not advanced enough to offer performance levels similar to a gasoline powered vehicle. Today Toyota says that’s not the case. Their current vehicle can travel up to 700 km (435 miles) on a single set of cells. Not only that but the refueling time for this vehicle is a mere three minutes, which is very comparable to gasoline vehicles as well. Now the only real hurdles left to overcome are getting up all of the necessary refueling stations to make travel with this vehicle convenient, and figuring out how to make these vehicles even more affordable. As long as fuel cell technology takes off as well as many people expect it to, these other issues will sort themselves out with time.

The Benefits of Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are much more environmentally friendly than gasoline is because they don’t emit any pollutants during operation, and can be made using clean energy sources such as wind and solar power. They are also expected to be more sustainable than fossil-fuel-reliant gasoline is making them a great source of power for future generations. If you live in Europe or the US you’ll have to wait until sometime in the summer before getting a chance to own one of these beauties, and pricing information hasn’t been made available yet.