Trying to become a part of the cleaner, greener environment movement, the auto industry has been working on creating viable clean technologies that is complacent with this movement. Toyotabegan their search by partnering up with Tesla, the maker of premium electric vehicles, but Toyota ended the partnership and has a new strategy. It has been investing billions of dollars in creating fuel cell technology that will allow cars to run on hydrogen rather than gas or electricity. The first fleet of fuel celled Toyota’s are expected in 2015.
Toyota might be hoping that these cars will take the same path to success as the Prius. When first introduced, the Prius was considered off and eventually drew enough curiosity that it led to its success.
Advantages of fuel cells over electric batteries are the fueling times decreased. It takes about 5 minute to fill a hydrogen tank while it takes 20 minutes with an electric car. Also, fuel cells are preferred over electric in long distance travel since it is more affordable.
They fuel cell technology is a huge risk. There are many things to consider with this technology. The CEO of Tesla calls the fuel cells, ‘fool cells’ because of the risks that come with it. There are obstacles that Tesla does not even want to consider. Even with just bringing these vehicles to market, one has to think of how the car will be fueled since California is the only state with a limited amount of hydrogen stations. Tesla users can charge their cars wherever there is an outlet. The other thing Toyota has to watch out for is the invention of a better battery. Tesla is going to building a battery factory for Tesla and has made their battery patents available for anyone to use. This can lead to more research and innovation on the battery, encouraging success. Only time will tell whether either product or if both become a lasting technology.
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