Toyota Expands Fuel Cell Production
Toyota is planning an expansion of sales areas for fuel cell electric vehicles planned in Japan and overseas for cars like the Mirai slated to come to Canada.
Toyota predicts global sales of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) to significantly increase after 2020 to at least 30,000 per year from today’s 3,000.
To prepare for this growth, the company recently unveiled plans for two major new facilities including a brand-new building for expanding fuel cell stack (FC stack) mass production at Toyota’s Honsha Plant in Japan and a new line in an existing plant to manufacture high-pressure hydrogen tanks in Japan.
The fuel cell stack is what generates the on-board electricity from a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.
The generation of high-pressure hydrogen tanks will be handled by a new, dedicated line to be added inside the nearby Shimoyama Plant (No. 3) in Miyoshi City (Aichi Prefecture).
Toyota’s hydrogen tanks are made of extra-thick carbon fibre and are built to withstand major impacts.
Construction of the new hydrogen tank line at Shimoyama is starting now. The exterior for the new fuel cell stack producing facility is already finished and work will now begin on the interior.
Details of the respective facilities will be announced at a later time with an aim to start operations around 2020.
As a technology, fuel cells are mature and ready to be scaled up. Toyota took the lead in bringing the first mass-produced fuel cell sedan, the Mirai, to market in December, 2014.
Annual output and sales-have increased steadily, going from about 700 units in 2015 to around 2,000 units in 2016 and 3,000 units in 2017.
In order to encourage more widespread use of hydrogen-powered zero-emission vehicles, popularization needs to start by the 2020s.
Toyota is aiming for annual sales of 30,000 units FCEVs to top globally by that time.
At present, Mirai is sold in 11 countries, Japan, the United States, and nine countries in Europe.
Its imminent arrival in Canada was announced in January 2018.
Demonstration tests of Mirai are currently under way in Australia, Canada, China, and the UAE, and Toyota is studying the demand for FCEVs while continuing to help with initiatives to promote hydrogen infrastructure development.
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