The fuel cell initiative announced by President Bush in his State of the Union address will expedite the development of fuel cell technologies and supporting infrastructure, a Toyota executive said today in a ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.
Bringing together the global leaders in automotive fuel cell technology will help speed development and harmonize issues such as fuels and infrastructure," said Jim Press, executive vice president and COO of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "This is an important step on the long road to bringing fuel cell vehicles to mass market."
Press reviewed Toyota's fuel cell hybrid vehicle (FCHV) with President Bush today --- giving him a glimpse into the future generation of automobiles. Press also thanked the President for acknowledging the role of international automakers in the development of this important technology.
Toyota has been working on its own 100-percent proprietary fuel cell program since 1992. Last December it delivered two market-ready Toyota FCHV hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, one each to the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), in an initiative designed to establish a fuel cell "community" partnering government, business and higher education to help develop products and infrastructure and consumer acceptance. Toyota is also a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership.
"A common infrastructure support system is important for fuel cell technology to reach its fruition," Press said. "Toyota is committed to working with other members of the global auto industry to reach this goal."
Part of the program with UC Irvine and UC Davis includes the development of six hydrogen re-fueling stations. In addition to the schools, Toyota is working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and South Coast Air Quality Management Board (SCAQMD), along with corporations such as Stuart Energy and Air Products, to have the stations up-and-running by mid-2003. One hydrogen station is already in place at Toyota's national headquarters in Torrance, Calif.
The Toyota FCHV is based on the popular Toyota Highlander, a five-passenger, mid-size sport utility vehicle. The fuel cell stack was developed and built in-house solely by Toyota.
The FCHV's fuel cell system features four 5,000-psi hydrogen fuel tanks. The hydrogen gas is fed into the fuel cell stack where it is combined with oxygen. The electricity produced by the chemical reaction is used to power the 109-hp electric motor and to charge the vehicle's nickel-metal hydride, which feeds power-on-demand to the electric motor. It has a range of up to 180 miles and a top speed of 96 miles per hour. The only by-product is water vapor and the FCHV has been certified as a zero emissions vehicle by CARB.