Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced in
October that it has developed Japans first next-generation fuel cell
electric vehicle (FCEV). This new EV, based on the RAV4L V (five-door),
is powered by a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen within the
fuel cells rather than through the combustion of fossil fuels.
Toyota began EV research in 1971 out of its
concern for the environment. In line with its many technological achievements
since then, TMC recently began marketing the RAV4L EV, the worlds
first commercialized EV powered by nickel-metal hydride batteries.
Originally developed to power space craft, fuel
cells now hold the promise of wider applications. The FCEVs newly
developed fuel cell system creates energy through the reaction of hydrogen
and oxygen when they are combined to create water. The energy conversion
efficiency of the FCEVs fuel cell system is over 60%, two to three
times that of gasoline engines. Additionally, its only by-product is clean
water vapor, completely eliminating HC, CO, NOx, and CO2
By combining Toyotas new fuel cell system
with a high-performance hydrogen-absorbing alloy that was developed independently
by TMC, the FCEV provides the following advantages:
Toyota Unveils Japans Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle
The FCEV participated in the 13th International
Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS-13) in Osaka, Japan, in October.
- Compact, high-performance fuel cell system. Until now, the large size
of conventional fuel cell units has made it difficult to adapt them to
powering EVs. The compactness of Toyotas fuel cell system allows
it to be integrated into vehicles the size of the RAV4L V.
- Alloy with doubled hydrogen storage capacity. The new hydrogen-absorbing
alloy makes possible the difficult task of compactly and stably storing
large amounts of hydrogen at ordinary temperature and pressure. Toyotas
revolutionary alloy boasts the highest hydrogen storage capacity in the
world, approximately double that of existing hydrogen-absorbing alloys.
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