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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 6:48 pm

It was several years ago where they developed hydrogen fuel coming from water. One quart of water gave a gange of about 300 miles. Suddenly there wasn't another word. There was a rumor that the major oil companies bought the concept and burried the need. What bothers me is who's going to supply the hydrogen? Nowhere did I see the use of water.
It's all about Mo$ey for someone... not us, we're paying.

October 09, 2013 at 6:12 pm

We need to stop wasting time with total EV's propulsion. Yes hydrogen fuel cells are great. But they should power a compressor and use hydraulic motors like Citroen is doing now as a form of propulsion UPS already has a hybrid hydraulic propulsion system on the road. Lets stop the EV propulsion system we are not building jets. But I am sure it GE that's behind the drive for EV. Hydraulic propulsion is cheaper more dependable let moving parts and it performs better. Plus all EV propulsion system are going to have to generate some sort of noise under federal law to protect the blind and public safety. Like baseball cards on your bicycle spokes as kids. But it will turn into ringtone under free speech.

October 09, 2013 at 5:51 pm

And gasoline is not explosive? Explosions push piston.

Gary Gaydosh
October 09, 2013 at 4:28 pm

We already have a gasoline-free car. It's the Nissan Leaf.

Jason Reager
October 09, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Hydrogen is an explosive element. However, the Hindenburg was one of the Nazi's biggest failures. Had Helium been use, those perished people would have been here to tell us their travels.

Hydrogen in cars? Nope, use H2O. Simple to break down and use the Hydrogen and Oxygen to fuel our vehicles.

BUT, will our Gestapo government permit it?

October 09, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Google Hindenburg...It's an explosive read! LOL! "Republican" might come up too when you do the search...

Kenneth Ebeling
October 09, 2013 at 2:55 pm

It is what should have been done earlier. Now they need to use ground source heat pumps with solar. We would have a zero carbon foot print.

Frank H.
October 09, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Personally I think it's about time hydrogen started being used more main-stream, it doesn't have to be just new cars either. Once it finally happens and oil runs out or just gets too expensive, any car, lawn mower, or anything at all with an engine can be adapted to run on hydrogen. We won't have to just throw away hundreds of millions of gas-burning cars, just remove the gas tank, install a fuel-cell and do some other minor mods to the fuel/intake systems and voila! That would mean that we could keep our V8's, antique cars, muscle cars, etc. all on the road but just running on hydrogen instead of dino oil.

John Worth
October 09, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Hindenburg? Really? A fuel cell does not mean the cars will be giant bladders full of hydrogen. And of course, relative risks between the fuel cell and the explosive power of driving around with 20 gallons of gasoline makes the issue moot.

October 09, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Does the name Hindenburg mean anything to anyone?