Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles
Toyota is one of the primary manufacturers of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCV) for the United States, with one model currently in production for consumer use–the Mirai. The 2021 Mirai has a starting MSRP of $49.500 and achieves an estimated 67 MPGe on the highway. Not only can owners drive about 400 miles on a tank of fuel, but Toyota is also promoting complimentary fuel for up to six years ($15,000 value).
Toyota has been a firm believer in hydrogen fuel as the solution for clean energy in transportation. The company has been developing FCVs since the early 1990s. Yet in 2020, FCVs accounted for only .2% of global passenger car sales, and in the United States, Californians own almost all 8,000 consumer FCVs on the road. To make FCV’s more accessible and mainstream, they are actively working on overcoming several challenges:
- Production limitations. For now, each Mirai is hand-built in Toyota City, Japan, by 13 technicians. This team churns out an impressive 6.5 cars per day, yet is far below the 13,400 vehicles per day Toyota builds using a combination of robotics and human intervention. Toyota is working quickly to expand its manufacturing facilities, which will decrease the production costs of each fuel stack from $11,000 to about $8,000.
- Materials cost. Toyota knows it will need to alter the type of materials used for each fuel stack to lower the price. Currently, fuel stacks are constructed with platinum, titanium, and carbon fiber. Engineers have already figured out how to decrease the amount of platinum required by 10% while maintaining the same performance levels. Further development is expected to lower the cost of the unit by another $300.
- Consumer demand. Lastly, for consumers to seek out more FCVs like the Mirai, hydrogen fuel must be accessible. Toyota has partnered with FuelCell Energy to build a hydrogen production facility in the Port of Long Beach to supply hydrogen fuel for heavy-duty vehicles, forklifts, and other machinery at the port using hydrogen energy. This plant will also help supply fuel to an expanding network of gas stations in California that are either already providing hydrogen fuel to commercial fleets and consumer vehicles or will be taking part in expanded grants from the California Energy Commission.
What this means for you.
Especially for gas stations and convenience store owners in California, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are becoming more popular, and the demand for hydrogen fuel is increasing. As of December 2020, 45 retail hydrogen fueling stations were in operation, with another 134 in development. California’s goal is to reach 200 by 2025. If you’re not providing hydrogen fuel, you’re at risk of losing business in the next few years.
PowerTap Hydrogen makes providing hydrogen fuel easy and affordable for gas station owners. Our technology allows owners to produce fuel on-site eliminating the need for fuel orders and storage. The only requirements include about 1,000 square feet of space and access to electricity, natural gas, and the city water supply. Fuel is generated on-demand, so you’ll never have too much or too little to meet consumers’ needs.