Toyota is predicting a 10-fold growth in fuel cell vehicles, post 2020. The car maker says global annual fuel cell electric vehicle sales will increase to at least 30,000 units a year, from the current 3,000 per annum total.
To prepare for this growth, the company has unveiled designs for two new major production facilities in Japan. An eight-floor building at the Honsha plant will accommodate the expansion of fuel cell stack mass production, close to the site of the company’s original car factory, which opened in 1938. An artist rendering of the FC stack production building within the Honsha Plant premises, is pictured above.
Production of high-pressure hydrogen tanks will be handled by a new, dedicated line to be added to the nearby Shimoyama plant. Previously, tanks were assembled at Honsha on a smaller scale. They are made of extra-thick carbon fibre and are built to withstand major impacts.
Toyota mass produced the world’s first hydrogen saloon, the Mirai (pictured above). The Mirai is sold in 11 countries: Japan, the USA and nine countries in Europe, including the UK. To help develop an environment that will allow FCEVs to be sold in more markets in the future, demonstration tests of Mirai are under way in Australia, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
In Japan, Toyota aims to reach sales of at least 1,000 FCEVs per month and more than 10,000 annually from around 2020. Sales regions in the country will be expanded from the current four major metropolitan areas to make the car accessible to more customers.
The fuel cell stack is the component in an electric vehicle which generates electricity from a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, powering the car with zero harmful exhaust emissions. The hydrogen fuel is contained in on-board high-pressure tanks. Manufacturing these components at scale is critical to reducing system costs and making these vehicles more widely available.
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