Motor Trend gives us a test drive of the 2015 Toyota Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (with video). After driving a few laps around a parking lot the author is able to inform us that the car will have a range of over 300 miles and it takes only 3 to 5 minutes to refill the two on-board tanks.

As a guy who spends a lot of time in our long-term Tesla Model S — by far the best battery-electric car ever built — these are astonishing numbers for a car also propelled by electricity….It was a bit of a cat-and-mouse game pinning Toyota down on pricing, but roughly speaking, the HFCV might sell for as little as $50,000. Or maybe much more, but it’s guaranteed to be a money-losing proposition (for Toyota) regardless.

From The Philippine Star we learn Hyundai is going to be selling a hydrogen-powered SUV next year. Hyundai will be rolling out a Tucson SUV powered by a hydrogen fuel cell in the US.  This will be the first mass-market vehicle of its type to be sold or leased in that country. The company plans to announce details of the new Tucson this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Also at the Los Angeles show, Honda Motor Co. is scheduled to show off a fuel-cell concept vehicle, which it says hints at the aerodynamic design of its next generation fuel-cell vehicle to be launched in 2015.

Hydrogen Fuel News says hydrogen fuel cells are gaining more popularity. Market research firm Markets and Markets has released a new report on the global trends affecting the fuel cell industry over the next five years.. The report finds fuel cells are becoming widely commercialized through various industries because of their flexibility and their ability to be used in a multitude of applications. Transportation has been the major focus as automakers around the world are making a strong push to make hydrogen the new standardized fuel for vehicles and have been investing heavily in the infrastructure required to make this goal possible. Fuel cells convert chemical energy into electrical energy through an electromechanical reaction, like a battery. The difference is that the fuel is supplied from outside, thereby making the fuel cell feel like an engine converting fuel into electricity without burning it. A variety of fuels cab be used such as hydrogen, methanol, biogas, natural gas, and hydrocarbons. However,, hydrogen is the prized input because with it the fuel cell generates water as an outcome and gives electricity with zero emission. The global fuel cell market revenue is estimated to reach $2.5 billion by 2018. The primary obstacles to its rapid growth of this technology are the high cost of catalyst, commercialization of fuel cells and the establishment of fuel cell infrastructure such as refueling networks for trucks, buses and automobiles.

International Science Times reports 1 million hydrogen phone chargers are headed To Africa. With the growth of cell phones vastly outnumbering electrical outlets in this region of the world, portable hydrogen phone chargers are viewed as a possible cure.  Intelligent Energy is rolling them out 1 million of them in the next two months in South Africa and Nigeria. (See photo below)  The device will retail for $200, which is very expensive for this part of the world, so the company many offer a monthly payment plan or provide it free with a cellphone contract.

UPP Phone charger

Hydrogen Fuel News says the demand for hydrogen fuel infrastructure is on the rise but its success is not assured.  A new report from Navigant Research finds the demand for fuel cells in the transportation sector will continue to grow but if global infrastructure is not capable of meeting this demand, these energy systems may be met with failure rather than success. In transportation, a comprehensive hydrogen fuel infrastructure is needed for fuel cell motor vehicles to be attractive to consumers. Without government help in creating the conditions for a vast infrastructure roll-out, a hydrogen vehicle future will stall.

The global auto industry has become heavily invested in hydrogen fuel in recent years and has been working to help countries around the world establish a reliable hydrogen fuel infrastructure, but these efforts have been sluggish due to the lack of support coming from some governments around the world.

The same source discusses the efforts by the US state of California to encourage the development of hydrogen fuel infrastructure. The state recently approved a plan to construct 100 new hydrogen fuel stations throughout California by 2024. These stations will enlarge the state’s hydrogen fuel infrastructure, thereby improving the attractiveness of hydrogen-powered vehicles for consumers.  Auto companies are set to start introducing hydrogen fuel vehicles next year. The expensive hydrogen stations ($2 million each) will be paid for by state motorists through such fees as a $3 vehicle registration fee and an $8 smog abatement fee for new vehicles. It is expected these fees will raise $180 million to cover the cost of the hydrogen infrastructure expansion.

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