FC EXPO 2014 and FCV launch plans

Toyota, Honda and Nissan strive for general market sales



Toyota FCV Concept

 This report describes the exhibition at the 11th International Fuel Cell Exposition (FC EXPO 2014) held at Tokyo Big Sight on 26th to 28th of February 2014. The launch plans of three Japanese OEMs are also reported for market-ready fuel cell vehicles (FCV) in 2015 through 2017.

 Toyota and Honda will launch their market-ready FCVs in 2015 and Nissan will follow in 2017. The FCVs will wear price tags of less than JPY 10 million. The OEMs are making on-going efforts to reduce costs further. Concurrently, Toyota and Honda have launch plans in 2020 for their all-new FCVs that are currently being co-developed with BMW (Toyota) and GM (Honda), respectively.

 According to a progress report by Honda for its FCV development, the company is likely to achieve goals for the driving range (amount of hydrogen storage), environmental compliance (sub-freezing startability, heat control under high temperature), and power output performance (downsizing, weight reduction, dynamic performance). The company admits that further technical development is needed to achieve equilibrium among durability, warranty and cost as they affect each other.

 The Japanese government has positioned the promotion of fuel cell industries as an important pillar of the national growth strategy. The government will start providing government subsidies for constructing commercial hydrogen stations. It is also considering the possible deregulation of safety standards that are often referred to as the strictest in the world.

Related Reports:
Fuel Cell Vehicles: Three OEM groups to reduce development costs (posted in September 2013)
FCV and CNG Concepts: Toyota unveils FCV design concept (posted in December 2013)

Toyota: To launch FCV sedan in 2015, FCV bus in 2016

 At the FC EXPO 2014,Toyota exhibited the Toyota FCV Concept (world premiere at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show) . The production model slated for launch in 2015 will be based on the concept. The concept car is designed to express the "air-to-water transformation" image. The platform and the body have been developed exclusively for the FCV sedan.

 The FCVs that Toyota developed from 2001 through 2008 were called "FCHV" in which "H" stood for "Hybrid." Since "hybrid" is generally associated with the gasoline-fueled hybrid vehicles, Toyota changed the generic name to "FCV" (the hybrid function of supplying electric energy from the rechargeable battery to the motor remains unchanged).

 The new FC stack has a power output density of 3kW/liter, doubled from the FC stack used in the current Toyota FCHV-adv. The FC stack has power output of at least 100kW despite the smaller size and lighter weight. The vehicle has two 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks stowed under the floor and can accommodate four occupants.

 Toyota is concurrently developing another all-new FCV jointly with BMW. The company plans to launch the new FCV in 2020 with a price tag from JPY 3 million to JPY 5 million. It is said that the annual sales quantity is set at several tens of thousands units.

 Additionally, Toyota is planning a market launch of an FC hybrid bus in 2016 which is developed jointly with Hino Motors. The FC stack technology has been commercially applied to residential cogeneration systems as well. Toyota is also working on developing FC forklift truck.

 The FCV can be used as an external power supply. It is capable of supplying enough electricity to meet the daily needs of an average Japanese household for a week or so. Since the FCV is equipped with a powerful generator with a larger capacity than the storage battery in EVs, Toyota claims that it may be used as an emergency power supply as well.

Toyota FCV Concept

Front view Rear view
Front view Rear view
The vehicle embodies the function to "transform air to water" that is unique to the FCV. The bold front design features pronounced air intakes with a large side radiator grille. The door profile is designed to express the flow from air to water. The rear features a catamaran motif that also expresses the smooth flow of water.
The fuel cap is designed after ripples of water.
FCV Concept bare chassis FC and boost converter
FCV Concept bare chassis
(From the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show)
FC and boost converter
(From the 2014 Detroit Auto Show)
The motor and PCU are stowed in the front; the fuel cells and boost converter (see the photo at right) under the front seats; a hydrogen tank under the rear seat; and rechargeable battery and another hydrogen tank under farther back. Fuel cells on the right, the boost converter on the left. Increasing the voltage has made it possible to reduce the motor size and the number of fuel cells.
(Notes) 1. The FCHV-adv launched in 2008 has four hydrogen tanks with the total capacity of 156 liters. The new FCV Concept will only use two hydrogen tanks. The total capacity has not been announced.
2. The Toyota FCV Concept uses nickel-metal-hydride batteries supplied by Primearth EV Energy. Since the FCV ejects water and the vehicle's parts are prone to freezing in cold areas, nickel-metal-hydride batteries having better cold resistance at low temperature are preferred to lithium-ion batteries.


Toyota FCV Concept specifications

Vehicle Length, width, height (mm) 4,870/1,810/1,535
Seating capacity (person) 4
Driving range (km) Approx. 700 (JC08 test cycle), real-world range over 500km
Max. speed (km/h) 170
Fuel cell Type Solid polymer (without humidifier)
Output density (kW/L) 3.0
Output (kW) More than 100
Lowest starting temperature (°C) -30
Hydrogen tank Storage method High-pressure tank (2 tanks)
Filling pressure (MPa) 70


Application plans for fuel cell technology

FC bus  Being co-developed with Hino Motors for market launch in 2016
FC forklift truck  Being co-developed with Toyota Industries
Residential FC cogeneration system  Co-developed with Aisin Seiki and has been released since 2012



Honda: To launch market-ready FCV in 2015, another new FCV with GM in 2020

 Honda's all-new fuel cell-electric vehicle, Honda FCEV Concept, made world debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in November 2013. Its production model will be released for sale in Japan and the U.S. in 2015, followed by Europe. The stack size has been reduced by approx. 33 percent compared to the previous model. Yet, the FC stack yields 100kW of power output with more than 3kW/liter of power density.

 In July 2013, Honda and General Motors (GM) agreed to co-develop the next-generation of fuel cell technology. They will co-develop fuel cell and hydrogen storage technologies that are considered as key elements in technical development and cost reduction. The two companies aim at market launch of the further cost-reduced FCV in 2020.

 Additionally, Honda aspires to make "the sum of the vehicle price and the hydrogen price over the vehicle's use life" equal or less than "the sum of a gasoline-fueled vehicle price and the price of the gasoline fuel."

 The current FCX Clarity has an available portable inverter box, in the rear trunk, for use as an emergency power supply in case of disasters. The FCX Clarity was delivered to the Saitama Prefecture in March 2012 and to Kitakyushu City. A proving test of the inverter box has been conducted since April 2013 to demonstrate its ability to supply electricity to general households and public facilities. The inverter box will be made available on the production model which will be released for sale in 2015.

Honda FCEV Concept

Front view Side view
Front view
(From the 2014 Detroit Auto Show)
Side view
(From the 2014 Detroit Auto Show)
The new FCEV Concept's FC stack size has been reduced by 33 percent. The entire powertrain, including the down-sized FC stack, is packaged under the hood to make enough room for five occupants in the cabin. (The FCX Clarity has the V Flow FC Stack and the associated parts in the center tunnel. The vehicle features a long wheelbase along with a short nose but has room for only four occupants as the tunnel bulges out from front to the foot area in the rear seat.) The front location of the powertrain also allows for flexibility in the potential application of FC technology to multiple vehicle types that the company may develop in the future.


Portable inverter box main specifications

Basic specs Rated output  9kW
Ex. feeding time  Over 7 hours continuous (9kW)
Ex. feeding capacity  Electricity supply for 6 days for use at an average Japanese household
Power converter Voltage adjustment  Inverter type (portable)
Equipment AC receptacle  15A×6pcs, 30A×3pcs
Displays  Output indicator, warning light (overload, heating protection)
Dimensions (H/W/D), weight  628/623/368mm, 49.5kg



Nissan: Co-developing FCV with Renault/Daimler/Ford aiming for 2017 launch

 Nissan is working to achieve "zero emission" and "zero fatality" and challenging these goals through "electrification" and "intelligence."

 In addition to the EV already on the road, Nissan is developing a mass-market FCV model jointly with Renault, Daimler and Ford toward 2017 launch (Daimler also plans to start production in 2017). According to Nissan, both the EV and the FCV can share main components. For instance, the motor in the X-Trail FCV was modified to develop the motor that is now used in the Nissan Leaf.

 Nissan exhibited a cutaway model of the FCV based on the 2005 model of the X-Trail .

Cutaway model of Nissan X-TRAIL FCV (2005MY)

Cabin, underfloor
Cabin, underfloor  The 2005  FC stack model on the foreground, is 90 liters in size and weighs 120kg. The 2011 stack model is downsized to 34 liters and 43kg and can be packaged in the engine room. The use of the costly platinum is reduced to one fourth to reduce the stack cost to only one sixth.
 The hydrogen tank on the right, is located under the rear seat. Nissan is considering using two smaller tanks in the low-cost FCV which will be released in 2017. The smaller tank size will help reduce the overall installation height.



Subsidies granted for commercial hydrogen stations

 In January 2011, three Japanese OEMs and ten energy business operators announced plans to launch market-ready FCVs in the market in 2015 and construct one hundred commercial hydrogen stations. (The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Chubu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Osaka and Fukuoka Prefectures announced that they would support this project.)

 As of February 2014, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) are conducting a proving test of hydrogen infrastructure at 17 locations in Japan. They are all NEDO's proving stations and are not commercial facilities.

 Subsidies have been legislated for building commercial hydrogen stations. Japan's national budget for the fiscal year ending in March 2014 (FY 2013) includes such subsidies for 19 installations (JPY 4.59 billion in total). Construction of commercial hydrogen stations in Japan started accordingly. The national budget for FY 2014 will provide subsidies for 40 installations (JPY 7.2 billion in total).

 It is said that Japan has the most stringent regulations in the world regarding fuel cell infrastructure. Deregulation may be a way to promote FCVs. Installing hydrogen stations currently falls under the control of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. They need to consult four different laws: High-Pressure Gas Safety Act, Fire Service Act, Build Standards Act, and City Planning Act.

 National subsidies are granted for installing up to a hundred hydrogen stations. After that, installations are left  purely to commercial hands. A hydrogen station is said to cost JPY 500 to 600 million. Legislative and cost reduction efforts in support of hydrogen stations are made by both public and private sectors including the Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT).

Objectives of hydrogen supply infrastructure proving tests currently under way

70MPa filling technology  Proving technology for filling hydrogen at 70MPa
Low cost station technology  Proving that low-cost technology for hydrogen stations has reached a practically acceptable level
High frequency operation  Proving practicality and durability by high-frequency test operation assuming market penetration of FCVs and hydrogen stations on commercial basis.
Total system technology  Proving the total system for hydrogen supply infrastructure from hydrogen manufacturing to transportation, storage and filling.

Source: The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT). HySUT is an association founded in 2009 by three Japanese automakers, oil-refinery-distributors and city gas, industrial gas, metal components, and equipment manufacturers. Today, its membership comprises 19 companies and associations. HySUT is dedicated to supporting hydrogen infrastructure installations and diffusion of FCVs starting in 2015.


Subsidy money for constructing commercial hydrogen stations

FY2013 national budgets  In June 2013, national subsidy was granted to 19 projects for building commercial hydrogen stations (11 in metropolitan area, 6 in Japan's central area, 1 in Kansai area, and 1 in Kitakyushu). The project operators include oil refinery-distributors, city gas, industrial gas, metal components, and equipment manufacturers.
 The subsidy money is granted in an amount equal to one half of the applicable expenditure (equipment cost, construction work cost, etc.) or the upper limit based on the hydrogen supply capacity (JPY 130 to JPY 250 million), whichever is smaller. The total budget is JPY 4.59 billion.
FY2014 national budget  Assuming the national budget for FY2014 to be passed, applications for subsidies for FY2014 were accepted from February 24 to March 17. The subsidy ranges from JPY 150 million to JPY 280 million per project for up to 40 hydrogen stations. The total budget is  up to JPY 7.2 billion.
Source: Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Center
(Notes) 1. The proving stations currently operating at 17 locations are subsidized under national budget as a NEDO project. It has not been decided, as of today, whether the project will be turned into a purely commercial business or not.
2. Hydrogen stations at 68 locations are being planned in the suburbs of Los Angeles in the United States. Similar plans are under way at 50 locations in Germany, and also in Northern Europe, the U.K., and France (according to Honda).
Deregulation regarding hydrogen infrastructure
16 provisions being reviewed  Materials for building hydrogen stations, their locations, distances to neighboring buildings and structures, and their management are closely controlled by the High-Pressure Gas Safety Act, Fire Service Act, Build Standards Act, and City Planning Act.
 In December 2010, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency announced timeline for 16 provisions in the above laws that need to be reviewed.
 Among them, review has been completed with regard to "criteria for constructing 70MPa dispensers," "criteria for approving hydrogen dispensers in urbanization control areas" and "parallel operation of hydrogen and gasoline dispensers." For example, the proving hydrogen stations at Ebina Chuo and Kaminokura (in Nagoya city) are built adjacent to the gasoline stations operated by JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation.
8 additional provisions  Eight additional provisions are being studied according to the regulatory reform plan (cabinet decision made in June 2013). Provisions to be reviewed include "criteria for the construction of small-scale hydrogen stations in urban areas," "increasing hydrogen storage capacity in urban areas" and "criteria for performance of steels to be used in the construction of hydrogen stations."

Source: HySUT (The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology)

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