Fuel Cell Vehicles: Three OEM groups to reduce development costs

Toyota and Honda to launch their independently developed FCVs in 2015



The FCV-R Concept
The FCV-R Concept by Toyota.
The FCV slated for launch in 2015 is
said to be designed after this Concept.

 Below is a summary of development and launch plans of fuel cell vehicles (FCV) among three Japanese automakers and other companies in the world. Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (Honda) each plan to launch their independently developed production FCVs in 2015 with a retail price slashed substantially from that of the existing models to around JPY 5 million.

 Developing FCVs requires a huge amount of investment. Three corporate groups have been formed to reduce the investment burden and production cost per company. Toyota teamed up with BMW, Nissan with Daimler and Ford, and Honda with GM. These three groups will promote joint development of FCV technologies. The Nissan-Daimler-Ford group may launch their FCVs as early as 2017, and Toyota-BMW and Honda-GM groups respectively plan to launch their FCVs in 2020.  The installation of hydrogen fueling stations is essential to the popularization of FCVs. In Japan, installation of the refueling stations is planned at a hundred locations in 2015, and a thousand locations by 2025.

Related Reports:
Honda introduces three types of HV; Mitsubishi shows EV-derived PHV (Oct. 2013)
Toyota aggressively adds all-new models to HV lineup (Oct. 2013)

Schedules for production FCV launch and installation of hydrogen fueling stations

 Toyota and Honda respectively plan to launch production FCVs in Japan, the United States and Europe in 2015 with a retail price reduced substantially from that of the existing models. Toyota plans to launch a sedan type FCV based on the FCV-R concept that was unveiled some time ago, and an FCV bus will follow in 2016. Honda has plans to launch the successor of the FCX Clarity although details are yet to be announced.

 In pace with the market introduction of FCVs, efforts are underway in Japan to install hydrogen fueling stations. In January 2011, a joint statement was announced by three automakers and ten hydrogen fuel suppliers in which they declared the installation of 100 hydrogen fueling stations in 2015 and requested cooperation from the central and local governments.

New fuel cell vehicles (FCVs): Schedule for market launch of FCVs and construction of hydrogen infrastructure

FCV launch plan Scenario for installing hydrogen fueling stations in Japan
2015 * Toyota and Honda to launch production FCVs with a price of about JPY 5 million. (Note 1)
* Hyundai Motor to produce and sell FCV for general public after 2015.
Hydrogen fueling stations to be installed at 100 locations in four major cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka and along expressways connecting those (less than 20 locations at present). (Notes 3-5)
2016 Toyota to launch the FCHV-bus. (Note 2) (The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT) considers it particularly critical to rapidly increase the number of hydorgen fueling stations  between 2016-2024 as the stations are essential to support diffusion of FCVs.)
2017 Nissan-Daimler-Ford group to launch FCVs based on jointly-developed technology (as early as 2017 at the earliest).
2020 New FCVs to be launched by Toyota-BMW group and by Honda-GM group.
2025 Hydrogen fueling stations to be installed at 1,000 locations
2030 Nationwide hydrogen network to be established
Source: Announcement from each OEM, The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT)
(Notes) 1. Nissan had announced it was "planning to launch production FCVs after 2015" in a statement published at the end of February 2013. The statement did not say whether Nissan might launch its own "production FCV" prior to the launch of the FCV based on technology co-developed with Daimler and Ford.
2. According to Toyota, FCV is ideal for medium- to long-distance driving and the company is considering an FCV version of heavy-duty trucks and small delivery trucks in addition to buses.
3. The scenario for the installation of hydrogen fueling stations assumes 2 million FCVs in the market and 1,000 hydrogen fueling stations installed as of 2025. Two thousand FCVs per station (similar ratio of gasoline-fueled vehicles to gasoline station at present) is the break-even point. Once this level is achieved, the scenario assumes that the number of hydrogen fueling stations will increase on a commercial base in pace with the increase in the number of FCVs in the market.
4. JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation installed a parallel hydrogen fueling station consisting of a gasoline metering gauge and hydrogen fueling equipment for fuel cell vehicles in Ebina City, Kanagawa Prefecture in April 2013, and in Midori Ward, Nagoya City in May 2013. This marks the first attempt of parallel installment between hydrogen fueling and gasoline fueling equipment in Japan, which was made possible after the relaxation of regulations.
5. A hydrogen fueling takes only around three minutes to refill the tank whereas an EV charging requires about thirty minutes for a full charge. An EV charging station earns only several hundred yen per vehicle while a hydrogen fueling station can earn as much as several thousand yen per vehicle, which is the same level as a gasoline filling station earns.


A joint statement by three automakers and ten hydrogen suppliers (announced in January 2011)

 In January 2011, a joint statement was announced by three automakers (Toyota, Nissan and Honda) and ten hydrogen suppliers including JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation. The statement announces the launch of FCVs in the Japanese market in 2015 and the development of hydrogen supply infrastructure for successful popularization of the vehicles.
  1) Automakers are challenging substantial cost reduction of their fuel cell systems. They continue development efforts to launch FCVs for general customers initially in four major markets in Japan in 2015.
  2) To create an initial market for FCVs, hydrogen fuel suppliers are aiming to install 100 hydrogen stations primarily in four major cities and along major expressways prior to the launch of FCVs in 2015. They have requested local governments of the four major cities for cooperation to achieve that goal.
  3) The automakers and hydrogen fuel suppliers request governments and other concerned parties for their support to popularize FCVs and to increase their social acceptability. Constructing a hydrogen fueling station is said to cost JPY 500 to 600 million. The companies have requested the government to revise the existing safety standards and other related regulations to reduce the construction cost (A gasoline filling station is said to cost only several tens of million to 100 million yen).

Source; Joint press release by three OEMs and ten hydrogen suppliers (January 2011)



Seeking joint development to reduce development costs

 Toyota and Honda aim to launch their FCVs in 2015 carrying a price tag of around JPY 5 million. Toyota has managed to reduce the cost of its fuel cell system to about one tenth that of the FCHV-adv that was launched in 2008.  This enabled the company to lower the price of its FCV to JPY 10 million. But the company admits that the price further needs to be halved to achieve the retail price of JPY 5 million.

 It is said that Honda's trial calculation indicates that the company must achieve an annual production of 50,000 FCVs in order to benefit from the economies of scale. The company also realizes it will experience deficits for several years even after its production FCV is launched in 2015, and that the break-even point will not come until about 2025.

 The development of FCVs seems to be consolidated into three global automaker groups: the Toyota-BMW alliance, the Nissan-Daimler-Ford alliance, and the Honda-GM alliance. These automakers aim to reduce the huge financial burden of development as well as benefiting from the economies of scale of production.
 A government-private sector joint study group was formed in Japan in June 2013. The members are formulating purchase subsidy and tax incentives so that purchasers need to pay only about JPY 3 million to own an FCV.

 These moves seem to suggest that there will be a fierce competition among automakers such as joint development of FCV, introduction of new types of FCV, and cost reduction, even after the production FCVs are introduced in 2015.



Toyota, Nissan and Honda exhibit FCVs at Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo

 Toyota, Nissan and Honda exhibited their then-latest FCVs at the 9th International Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo held in Tokyo in February-March 2013. Toyota will launch a sedan type FCV in 2015 based on the FCV-R (R standing for Reality) that was exhibited at the Expo. Nissan and Honda each will launch their FCVs that will be different from those they exhibited at the Expo in or after 2015. FCVs developed by Toyota, Nissan and Honda are already in use at major airports in Japan in the form of limousine buses and taxis.


A cutaway model of the X-Trail FCV
A cutaway model of the X-Trail FCV exhibited by Nissan.
The motor room of the FCX Clarity
The motor room of the FCX Clarity exhibited by Honda
The portable inverter
The portable inverter installed in the trunk room of the Honda FCX Clarity (more details at the end of the report).


Toyota, Nissan and Honda exhibit their latest FCVs at International Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo

Toyota FCV-R  Toyota will launch its FCV in 2015 based on the FCV-R (R standing for Reality & Revolution) concept exhibited at 2011 Tokyo Motor Show as well. The car will have a body conventionally used on a gasoline-fueled car fitted with a 2500 to 3000cc engine. The production model will feature a 70MPa hydrogen tank.
FCHV-BUS  The fuel cell hybrid bus jointly developed by Toyota and Hino Motors has seven 35MPa hydrogen tanks stored in the ceiling. It also has regenerative nickel hydride battery (21kW x 4) and two Toyota fuel cell stacks along with two 80kW motors.
Nissan X-TRAIL FCV  A cutaway model of the X-TRAIL FCV. The FCV is fitted with a 70MPa hydrogen tank, regenerative lithium-ion battery, fuel cell stack and motor. According to Nissan, the cutaway model does not represent the production model to be launched in or after 2015.
Honda FCX Clarity  The vehicle measures length: 4,845mm width: 1,845mm, and height: 1,470mm. It is fitted with a V Flow FC stack, a 35MPa and 171-liter hydrogen tank, and regenerative lithium-ion battery. The vehicle has a 10-15 mode driving range of 620km.
 The exhibit does not suggest the model to be launched in 2015. However, since FCVs are fitted with a hydrogen tank and FC stack, the model to be launched in 2015 will likely be of the similar size as the FCX Clarity.

Source: Materials distributed at FC EXPO 2013 held from February 27 to March 1, 2013


Use of fuel-cell buses at airports

Three airports in Japan "FCHV-BUS" co-developed
by Toyota and
Hino Motors
 The fuel cell hybrid bus is being used at Haneda Airport (as limousine buses), at Kansai International Airport (shuttle buses serving terminals, and at Chubu International Airport (buses for passenger boarding from a terminal to an aircraft). The bus accommodates 63 passengers.
Used as taxis
Narita International Airport "FCHV-adv"
by Toyota,
"FCX Clarity"
by Honda
 Two types of fuel cell vehicles are used for airport taxi fleet at the request of The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT).  Toyota’s Highlander-based FCHV-adv (Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle-adv) is in use since January 2011, and Honda’s FCX Clarity since September 2011. Both have been used for international travelers flying All Nippon Airways.
Haneda Airport "X-TRAIL FCV"
by Nissan
 Used primarily as pickup taxis for All Nippon Airways employees. Also available for general customers' use on reservations.

(Note) The usage of FCVs at the airports mentioned above is in a series of demonstration tests before the commencement of public use of fuel cell vehicles in 2015. The tests are being conducted jointly by The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT) and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).



Toyota: Launching a sedan FCV in 2015, commencing joint development with BMW

 Toyota has been chalking up a track record in the development of fuel cell vehicles. In 2002, Toyota became the first automaker in the world to launch a fuel cell hybrid vehicle, the FCHV, for limited sales in Japan and the United States.

 One of the challenges regarding fuel cell vehicles is the driving range per hydrogen fueling. The Toyota FCHV-adv launched in 2008 for limited users marked a significant progress in increasing the range from 330 to approximately 830km. The vehicle also can run without problems in cold areas at minus 30 degrees Centigrade. It thus has achieved the necessary driving performances practically under all conditions.

 Toyota has tackled other challenges such as cost reduction, size and weight reduction, and higher durability of the fuel cell stack. As for cost reduction, Toyota has already managed to reduce the manufacturing cost of the system, including FC stacks and hydrogen tanks, to about one tenth that of the Toyota FCHV-adv. The company is making development efforts with an eye on halving that cost, to at least one twentieth of the FCHV-adv.Toyota is said to have advantages over others since it can share a motor and certain other components with its hybrid vehicles.

 In 2015 Toyota will launch a sedan based on the FCV-R Concept in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. The company plans to make the vehicle “affordable” for general consumers as well as for fleet users. Additionally, Toyota is currently developing a fuel cell powered bus jointly with Hino Motor Company. It is slated for market launch in 2016 at the earliest with the 200 to 300km driving range per hydrogen fueling.

 In January 2013, an official agreement was concluded between Toyota and BMW pursuing a broad-range collaboration including joint development of FCV technologies. It is said the two companies may invite other automakers to join the alliance to benefit from the economies of scale.

Size and other data of Toyota FCV-R

Model FCV-R
length × Width × Height (mm) 4,745 × 1,790 × 1,510
Wheelbase (mm) 2,700
Riding capacity (persons) 4
Range (JC08-mode) Over 700km (tested in-house)


Toyota: Agreement reached with BMW regarding joint development of fuel cell technologies

 In December 2011, an agreement was signed between Toyota and BMW regarding broad-range cooperation in joint development of green vehicles. Then, the two companies announced in June 2012 that they had formed partnership in four areas: fuel cell vehicles, sports vehicles, electrification and lightweight technology. In January 2013, Toyota and BMW concluded an official agreement regarding the joint development in the four areas.
 The following collaboration applies to the fuel cell vehicles:
1) Toyota is to grant to BMW the latest technology being developed toward the market launch in 2015. BMW is to grant to Toyota the carbon reinforcement technology for use in the hydrogen tank material.
2) Sharing technologies for joint development of the next-generation fuel cell stack and system, hydrogen tank, motor, battery and other fundamental components of an FCV. They plan to complete these by 2020.
3) Collaboration in joint development of codes and standards for the hydrogen fueling infrastructure necessary for the popularization of FCVs.



Nissan: Jointly developing FCV technologies with Daimler and Ford

 The Renault-Nissan alliance and Daimler announced broad-range strategic collaboration in April 2010. Since then, the companies have been jointly developing FCVs. In January 2013, Ford Motor Company joined the group and the three companies announced to commence joint development of FCVs. They are likely to launch the jointly-developed FCVs under their respective brands as early as 2017.

 The companies see this joint development will enable significant cost reduction and allow them to launch the world's first, affordably-priced, mass-production FCV in the world.

Nissan: Jointly developing fuel cell technology with Daimler and Ford aiming for market launch as early as 2017

 In January 2013, Renault-Nissan Alliance, Daimler and Ford announced plans to jointly develop a common fuel cell system and launch the world's first, affordably-priced, mass-produced fuel cell vehicles as early as 2017. They will achieve substantial reduction in investment costs and realize an affordable price by jointly developing common fuel cell stack and fuel cell system. The FCVs will have designs differentiated according to their respective brands.
 Each company will invest equally towards the project. Nissan will lead the fuel cell stack development. Daimler will be responsible for the development of a fuel cell system including a fuel cell stack . It is said that Ford’s involvement in the project is limited. The companies will consider joint development of other components as well.
 The agreement will send a clear message to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage further development of infrastructure including the installation of hydrogen fueling stations which is essential for mass production of FCVs.

(Note) Daimler has produced 200 FCVs with a driving range of 400km and maximum speed of 170km/h, based on the previous B-Class model. They were released for leasing in Germany and the United States in December 2010 and 70 of them are in use in California in the U.S. Daimler has plans to launch a new FCV in 2014 based the current B-Class model.

 Nissan exhibited the TeRRA SUV concept at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The concept featured an FCV system fused with what had been announced as EV-related concept. According to Nissan, it represents the company's challenge to clearly presenting the FCV as a new proposal to the zero-emission society to come.


Nissan's TeRRA concept, a fusion between FCV and EV
 The fuel cell vehicle TeRRA concept is a “zero-emission SUV” based on SUV for urban use. The driver’s seat is located almost center realizing a driver’s better visibility. The rear seat is located in a unique diagonal layout that enables rear passengers to see over the shoulder of those in front, not from directly behind. This unique layout allows all passengers to enjoy the vision up ahead.
 The front wheels of the all-wheel drive vehicle are powered by the same system used on the Nissan Leaf EV while the rear wheels are driven by in-wheel electric motors. Since the rear wheels do not require a driveshaft, the cabin and the underbody are entirely free of projections and create a completely flat deck.
 The fuel cell stack is of the latest 2011 model that has achieved world-leading power density of 2.5kW per liter. The stack costs one-sixth of the 2005 model as the use of precious metal has been reduced to one-fourth of the previous model.



Honda: Launching next FCX Clarity in 2015, commencing collaboration with GM

 In 2002, Honda  started lease sales of its fuel cell vehicle, the FCX, in Japan and the United States. Then, the company launched the FCX Clarity in 2008. Honda sold a total of 85 FCVs, both models combined, in Japan and the United States as of July 2013, and has been collecting their driving data. The vehicles had been sold to general customers as well in the United States. The company is launching an all-new fuel cell vehicle, the successor of the FCX Clarity, in 2015 in Japan, the United States and Europe.

 In July 2013, Honda and General Motors announced collaboration on developing the next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies aiming for the 2020 timeframe. As leaders in fuel cell technology, Honda and GM have filed a large number of patents many of which are highly complementary. Honda plans to use GM's patented technology in developing the Honda-branded FCV to be launched 2015.

 Honda could have opted to develop FCVs alone without collaborating with others but it would take one to two years if it was to outsmart other patents. It is reported that Honda decided to collaborate with GM as a way to mutually benefiting from their patents and reduce the lead time of development.

Honda and GM to collaborate on developing next-generation fuel cell system technologies

 In July 2013, Honda and GM concluded a long-term agreement regarding joint development of the next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies aiming for the 2020 timeframe. Their ultimate goal is the further popularization of fuel cell electric vehicles.
 By sharing their expertise in fuel cell technologies, they will be in a better position to develop compact, lightweight, high-performance and low-cost fuel cell systems and hydrogen storage systems. They also expect further cost reduction through the economies of scale.
 The two companies filed 1,200 fuel cell patents in total between 2002 and 2012 in the United States. This puts them to No.1 and No.2 in rank in terms of the number of patents. GM is acknowledged worldwide for its insights into chemical reactions of cells. As such, GM succeeded in reducing the amount of costly platinum used in catalysts from 80 to only 30 grams. Honda intends to apply GM's technologies in the all-new FCV being launched in 2015 so long as time allows.
GM's production plan to be announced at a later date
 GM will announce at a later date its production plan of the GM-branded FCVs incorporating outcome of collaboration with Honda. It is said that GM aims to achieve a USD 50,000-60,000 price range.
 GM has accumulated data on nearly 3 million miles of real-world driving with a fleet of 119 FCVs under the "Project Driveway" demonstration testing program launched in 2007. It had been reported that GM was to incorporate field study results in the production FCVs based on the Chevrolet Equinox slated for market launch in 2015.



Hyundai Motor: Delivering FCV to Denmark and Sweden in 2013

 Hyundai Motor began its FCV development in 2000. The company has developed and produced pilot FCVs since 2009 based on the ix35 SUV.

 In February 2013, production of Hyundai's ix35 Fuel Cell began at its Ulsan plant in Korea. According to Hyundai, this makes the company the world-first automaker to launch mass production of FCVs.

Hyundai Motor: Producing 1,000 FCVs from 2013 to 2015

 Hyundai announced plans to build 1,000 ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles between 2013 and 2015. The first production model rolled off the assembly line in Ulsan plant in February 2013. The ix35 is a C-segment SUV marketed under the model name of Tucson in certain countries and areas.
 The 1,000 FCVs are to be leased to the fleet customers in Europe where hydrogen fueling stations are being constructed under EU's initiative. Initially, 15 FCVs will be delivered to the City of Copenhagen, Denmark, and 2 to the City of Skane, Sweden. The company plans to launch the FCV in Korea and the United States as well.
  Hyundai will begin manufacturing FCVs for consumer retail sales after 2015, when vehicle manufacturing costs is expected to be lower and more hydrogen infrastructure will be available. The company has set a goal of manufacturing 10,000 vehicles a year after 2015.
 Hyundai Motor's fuel cell vehicle was developed at its fuel cell R&D center in Mabul, Korea, as the result of 14 years and several hundred million euros of research. The vehicle has logged more than 2 million miles of road tests in Korea, Europe and the United States. The Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell was exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show and the Seoul Motor Show held in March 2013.

(Note) According to Automotive News dated April 15, 2013, Hyundai Motor's ix35 Fuel Cell production plan for 2013 is limited to 200 units and the shipment as of the end of March is limited to 17 destined to Northern Europe as reported above.


The ix35 Fuel Cell Specification
Length × Width × Height 4,410 × 1,820 × 1,655mm
Driving range on one fill-up 594km
Top speed 160km/h (100mph)
Acceleration, 0 to 100km/h 12.5 seconds
Fuel cell output power 100kW
Energy storage system Lithium-ion battery, 24kW
Fuel Hydrogen (700 bar, 5.6kg)
Exhaust gas Water Vapor


Toyota, Honda: Vehicle-to-home (V2H) power feeding systems

 A fuel cell vehicle has a far greater power feeding capacity than electric vehicles. Toyota and Honda have developed a power feeding system from an FCV to homes. Among them, Toyota has announced its power feeding system from the fuel cell bus that has especially high power feeding capacity.

 Honda aggressively tries to develop power feeding systems with the view that fuel cell is an ultimate clean power source in the future. The company also expects that developing diversified use of fuel cell will help popularization of FCVs.


Toyota, Honda: Power feeding systems from FCV to homes

Toyota Feeding from
fuel cell bus
 Toyota has developed an external power feeding system from the fuel cell on a fuel cell bus to home appliances (announced in August 2012). The system has two electrical outlets inside the FCHV-Bus supplying alternating current (100VAC, 1.5kW) and can supply 3kW electric energy maximum for more than 100 hours.
 Additionally, Toyota is currently developing another system for supplying electricity from the FC bus by way of electric wiring in a building. The goal is to realize capacity for supplying electric energy for 50 hours continuously at the maximum output of 9.8kW. This corresponds to approximately 5 days of lighting in a school gym (12 hours lighting per day).
Honda Feeding from FCX Clarity  Honda has developed the FCX Clarity having an external power feeding system with a portable inverter fitted in the trunk room. The system is capable of supplying electric energy for more than 7 hours at maximum output of 9kW, equal to power consumption in homes over approximately 6 days (power supply from an EV is limited to a day or two). The FCX Clarity with the power system was delivered to Saitama Prefecture. The system may be used as an emergency power source after a disaster.
 In April 2013, Honda delivered the FCX Clarity fitted with a portable inverter to the City of Kitakyushu. It will be a joint experimental vehicle in the Kitakyushu Smart Community Project. The FCX will be used to supply electricity to Kitakyushu Eco House to demonstrate ability as a new method of electric power equalization that will contribute to lowering the peak power consumption.

(Note) Honda has developed, jointly with Iwatani Corporation, the “solar hydrogen station” that supplies up to 35MPa pressurized hydrogen. The station takes electricity from the solar cells and dismantle water into hydrogen by adding high-pressure. The system comprises a high-pressure water electrolysis unit and a dispenser (filling nozzle). It uses both solar power and commercial grid and is capable of producing 1.5 kilograms of hydrogen in 24 hours (The hydrogen amount is enough to power FCX Clarity for about 90 miles). The solar hydrogen station was delivered to Saitama Prefecture together with the above-mentioned FCX Clarity.

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