Toyota Unveils Japan’s Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced in October that it has developed Japan’s 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 world’s 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 FCEV’s 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 FCEV’s 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 emissions.

By combining Toyota’s new fuel cell system with a high-performance hydrogen-absorbing alloy that was developed independently by TMC, the FCEV provides the following advantages:

  1. 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 Toyota’s fuel cell system allows it to be integrated into vehicles the size of the RAV4L V.
  2. 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. Toyota’s revolutionary alloy boasts the highest hydrogen storage capacity in the world, approximately double that of existing hydrogen-absorbing alloys.

The FCEV participated in the 13th International Electric Vehicle Symposium (EV’S-13) in Osaka, Japan, in October.

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