Talk of hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars has been going on for decades without any increase in the number of cars being produced, but several recent announcements indicate alternative fuel technology is in America's future.
This past week, Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada said the automaker is moving forward with its commitment to produce a fuel cell electric sedan for sale in the United States in 2015. He made the comment to reporters after a speech at the Economic Club of Washington D.C., according to the industry publication Automotive News.
It's not just Toyota
General Motors also recently announced it is expanding its collaboration with the U.S. Army to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology. The two will jointly test new hydrogen fuel-cell-related materials and designs before using them to build full-scale fuel cell propulsion systems. In July, GM and Honda announced a partnership to develop a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies by about 2020. General Motors has been working on fuel cell technology since 1964.
The latest push for fuel cell technology is part of a larger plan at the federal level to reduce the nation's dependence on oil and to reduce the environmental impact of emissions from gasoline-powered cars. Some states are putting weight behind similar efforts, particularly to build an infrastructure to refuel these cars. Earlier this week, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that extends programs accelerating the turnover of older cars and invests in the development and deployment of advanced technologies. The bill includes up to a $20 million annual commitment to fund at least 100 hydrogen fuel stations.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter: @SheDrives.