The electric automotive industry has become more popular in the motor world as electric vehicle technology constantly improves. Despite that, the well-known automaker Toyota announced that it would rather focus on developing hydrogen infrastructure to stay ahead of the competition in deploying cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells.
Recently, a group of French scientists discovered a sizable field of green hydrogen, which would surely aid in adhering to the Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII), which mandates that by 2030, nearly half of the hydrogen utilized in European industry originates from sustainable sources.
In light of this, Toyota has decided to promote this whole concept in their industry, where they are now working on manufacturing lighter cars and preparing the third generation of hydrogen batteries.
The Hydrogen Factory Europe
To guarantee a coordinated approach to the commercialization of hydrogen technology and systems, spanning everything from development and production to sales and after-sales, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) will establish a local business operation called the Hydrogen Factory Europe.
The Hydrogen Factory will be in charge of manufacturing a growing number of fuel cell systems and assisting a broader range of business alliances, in line with the company’s plan to become carbon neutral in Europe by 2040.
As various uses for power generation and mobility continue to accelerate steadily, Toyota believes that by 2030, Europe will have one of the biggest markets for hydrogen fuel cells worldwide due to the growing investment and regulatory measures that encourage market growth.
Some of the known investments include a €45 billion investment from the Green Deal of the European Commission, as well as €284 million for the EU’s transport infrastructure fund to develop the installation of hydrogen refueling stations.
According to the Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII), by 2030, 42% of the hydrogen used by industry in Europe must come from sustainable sources. Europe is putting itself at the forefront of hydrogen technology, with plans to construct hydrogen filling stations at least 200 kilometers apart along the TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Network) corridors.
Thiebault Paquet, TME Vice President and Head of Fuel Cell Business, claimed that Toyota shares Europe’s long-term faith in hydrogen. Therefore, the automaker will keep working on fuel-cell passenger cars and other light-duty vehicles, but at the same time, it will expand its focus to include heavy-duty transportation. In addition, Toyota is looking forward to further partnering with others who share their approach to help develop a viable worldwide hydrogen infrastructure.
A growing spectrum of mobility applications
Toyota made history in 2015 when it unveiled the Mirai, the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell sedan. This year, the company reaffirmed its commitment to hydrogen-powered passenger vehicles by introducing second-generation fuel cell technology in the all-new Toyota Crown, which will be launched in 2020.
Toyota is expanding its research into light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) based on the principle that FCEVs have a long driving range and fast refilling. The first hydrogen-fueled Hilux FCEV prototype pickup truck was presented earlier this year.
The next generation
Toyota is creating next-generation hydrogen fuel cell technology based on its extensive experience, which is anticipated to provide industry-leading performance through longer lifecycles and lower costs. The new fuel cell technology will have a higher power density and will go on sale in 2026.
While technological advancements and larger production quantities are expected to help lower costs by more than a third, the new fuel cell system is expected to offer a 20% boost in driving range.
Furthermore, new research is also looking at the potential of scalable fuel cell stacks with different power outputs and fuel tanks designed with intricate forms that work with a range of car sizes.