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BMW, Toyota Confirm Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Technology Deals

 
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2011 Toyota FCV-R Concept

2011 Toyota FCV-R Concept

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BMW and Toyota have finalized a deal for the future of each automaker's hydrogen fuel cell technology.

The agreement will mean BMW licenses future fuel cell technology from Toyota, and marks the latest point in the two automakers' recent cooperations.

BMW will begin developing a prototype fuel cell vehicle in 2015, for the potential market release of a production car in 2020, says the Nikkei (via Automotive News).

The German luxury automaker has previously experimented with hydrogen in internal combustion engines, but is set to expand its portfolio with a fuel-cell vehicle--the likes of which Toyota has been continually developing for several years now.

Most recently, Toyota revealed the FCV-R concept. A midsize vehicle with a Prius-like silhouette (but typical concept car detailing), the FCV-R is touted for production some time in 2015. Range is said to be around 435 miles, and it would cost in the region of $50,000.

BMW's hydrogen vehicle will sit among a range of increasingly innovative efficient vehicles--including a three-cylinder turbocharged engine set to feature in the MINI and some smaller BMWs, the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, and the i3 electric car--which BMW recently confirmed will get a motorcycle engine-based range-extended option.

The fuel cell plan isn't the first time BMW and Toyota have signed a technology-sharing agreement. Previous deals include the sharing of diesel engine technology, and batteries with lithium-air technology, now confirmed by both manufacturers.

The deal will also include a sports car, likely to form the basis of the next Celica or Supra model, and next BMW Z4. The current agreement has finalized plans put in place after the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in June last year.

As the world's biggest automaker works with the world's biggest luxury automaker, it could be exactly the push fuel cells need to become a realistic option--what cars would you like to see come from the deal? Leave your thoughts below.

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Comments (23)
  1. In a world were practical BEV and E-REVs are now a reality, why are fuel cell vehicles still going forward? Last I heard fuel cell vehicles are dramatically less efficient and have the whole hydrogen infrastructure issue to overcome. What am I missing?
     
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  2. "New fuel cell sewage gas station in Orange County, CA may be world's first"
    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=8310315

    "It is here today and it is deployable today," said Tom Mutchler of Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a sponsor and developer of the project.

    The advantages fuel-cell vehicles have over cars like the Leaf and Volt are shorter refueling times and greater range.
    The Nissan Leaf, for example, runs for only 73 miles and takes seven hours to charge on a home-charging station.
    In contrast fuel-cell cars can be driven for hundreds of miles before needing to be refueled, and it takes only a few minutes to fill a tank with hydrogen."
     
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  3. Potential market release of 2020 hardly sounds like "deploy-able today"
     
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  4. I have been in an FCX Clarity and can see its advantages (as you mentioned. But in many ways, it seems less efficient than simply buying a Prius.
     
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  5. Well, 20% better than the MPG bench mark is a pretty good improvement. I agree that cost of that improvement might be signficant...
     
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  6. Not this again, I wish they'd stop tinkering with hydrogen. I don't want to ride around with a tank of compressed hydrogen onboard.
     
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  7. I agree completely...
     
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  8. Obviously, they have forgotten the Hindenburg disaster of the 1930's. FCV's may give you longer ranges and shorter fill ups if you can find a station to fill up in.
     
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  9. I am very impressed with Fuel Cell Technology and its benefits! Good article. I found a few links that show Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants that are paired with Fuel Cells which produce Electricity, Hydrogen, and Heat! All from a human waste! Impressive.


    "New fuel cell sewage gas station in Orange County, CA may be world's first"
    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=8310315

    "It is here today and it is deployable today," said Tom Mutchler of Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a sponsor and developer of the project.


    Microsoft Backs Away From Grid
    http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/11/20/microsoft-backs-away-slowly-from-the-grid/


    2.8MW fuel cell using biogas now operating; Largest PPA of its kind in N
     
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  10. Again, 2020 is not deploy-able today. Battery tech will be leaps and bounds from where it is now by then.
     
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  11. What you are missing, is the fact that a H2 based technology leaves the consumer market far more dependent on the manufacturers than a e. g. BEV technology. The consumers are the cash cows for industry and the higher the offered infrastructural complexity is, the more likely it is that dependencies remain as they are. Too much independence for the cash cows is bad for industriy.
     
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  12. Yep, Hydrogen leaves the consumer at the mercy of Energy companies, as they are today with ICEs. Energy companies don't want to give up customers so they are backing anything that retains them going forward.
     
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  13. Good point. I missed that.
     
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  14. You are going to be equally at the mercy of the electric companies, so what is the difference? The laws of supply and demand will apply there as well. Converting all cars to battery technology will drive up electric demand and production. Price increases to electric utility rates will soon follow.
     
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  15. It is spelled SOLAR off grid.
     
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  16. Should we consider fuel cell vehicles as "EVs" too?
    They are driven by electric motors. Their "source" of energy is from a "chemcial reaction" just like batteries...
     
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  17. Both are definitely EVs. However, it is relatively simple and easy to employ solar energy for generating and storing electricity. It's not that easy to generate and store hydrogen. This process can be controlled to a great degree from respective businesses. The owner of a BEV, can in contrast, literally enjoy complete independence.
     
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  18. I honestly think its for the best that we are pursuing many diffrent forms to power the car of the future. If we make the same mistake they did at the turn of the century where we rely heavily on only one power source we are bound to have the same problems we are facing today. If you ask me we should have a broad spectrum of systems running the cars of the future so as not to strain one specific resourse and/or system.
     
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  19. I agree. If I am reading this article right, hydrogen fuel is being pursued in two different ways: conversion to electricity (which I already knew of) and combustion, which BMW seems to be pursuing, unless they are talking about a hybrid of fuel cell and gas? I think the combustion angle has potential. However, instead of storing pure hydrogen, store it in some combined form and then separate it prior to injection into the combustion chamber. The problem with that, of course, lies in finding an efficient way to unlock the hydrogen.
     
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  20. Sorry to disagree but the H2 combustion angle has no future at all. BMW had pursued this direction but also dumped it. An ICE fueled with H2 is clean but has even less efficiency than a gasoline engine. A FC is far more efficient than an ICE. The two highest deterrents for FCs are the extreme high price and the infrastructure complexity. Battery prices are rapidly coming down; perhaps there will be a similar move for FCs. I'd prefer a good battery in my car and sunshine on my roof top.
     
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  21. FCV's are still being pursued, because BEV's (other than the $90K Tesla Model S) do not have sufficient range and rapid refill capability to meet the utility threshold that many consumers perceive that they need. The first FCV's will definitely be cheaper, yet have the same range and rapid refill capability, compared to the $90K Tesla Model S.
     
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  22. how about an electric /hydrogen X5 that has all the same characteristics with even more finesse due to the lighter weight...
     
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  23. These fuel cells should just burn natural gas. Much cheaper, and about as clean.
     
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