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Fuel cell cars getting closer

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Posted: 3 am ET

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.

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October 09, 2013 at 7:07 am

So what happens when we run out of hydrogen? How about the emissions? The environmentalists will never let it get through.

October 09, 2013 at 2:02 am

I have a car that runs on happy thoughts.

robert king
October 09, 2013 at 1:47 am

I think they should put solar panels on the roof of the car and run the car off them.

October 09, 2013 at 1:38 am

I think we should go with propane and electric for cars and trucks. we have plenty of nat gas or propane
I have drove a chevy truck on propane it works great this was like 8 years ago some farmer had it hooked in to the carb.

fuel cell fan
October 09, 2013 at 1:14 am

For get the Toyota or the GM. Can I get one of these fuel cells for my house? I don't know the actual numbers, but with the ever rising electric rates, maybe a fuel cell using natural gas running my house instead of being on the grid might be cheaper.

Bruce Madely
October 09, 2013 at 12:34 am

I've been suggesting the use of methanol as an alternate fuel source for years. It has been used in race cars because in the case of a wreck rupturing the fuel tank, there wouldn't be a dense cloud of blinding black smoke except from the lubricating oil. In fact, a substance would have to be added to the methanol as the combustion is colorless. The mileage would be less than that of gasoline but the price less. Somewhere between one and two dollars per gallon. Methane can easily be derived from coal and methanol derived from methane. The exhaust is primarily water vapor.

October 08, 2013 at 11:19 pm

I'm always suspicious when an article like this one doesn't end with a price for the 'new' auto fuel. How will hydrogen compare to gasoline, electricity, etc. Simple chart could/would/show what this choice will cost the average consumer.

October 08, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Congratulations, you have the worst auto website on the Internet, it's a sales site not a consumer information site !!
I like to look up information on automobiles and articles written and comments made by consumers not your selling mortgages and auto insurance, get with it

Mitchie da Kid
October 08, 2013 at 4:15 am

Thanks for update, been very hopeful about this technology for earth. I do not understand why more are not rushing into this and moving toward the complete monitization by now. Same with several other 'green' and 'advanced technology improvements for our world'. Solar should be on every roof by now, eh? And I mean even if a tenant can't afford to do so themselves. Jobs jobs jobs and start-up investments, right?

Bill L
October 07, 2013 at 11:59 am

Now all we need is a cost-effective way to manufacture hydrogen.

This has been "just on the horizon" for a few decades now, with no progress seen yet.