Joint venture partners Toyota hydrogen fuel tech with 5 Chinese firmsJune 10, 2020
A new initiative expands on the automaker’s existing efforts toward the use of H2 fuel.
Toyota hydrogen fuel ventures aren’t anything new. The company has already moved ahead on a number of projects such as the sporty Mirai model powered by H2. That said, the automaker is stepping ahead with broader plans in a joint venture with five Chinese companies.
The new joint venture is geared toward the development of H2 fuel cells.
The Toyota hydrogen fuel joint venture will involve Beijing Automobile Group Co., Beijing SinoHytec Co., Dongfeng Motor Corp., Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., and China FAW Corp. The venture has called itself the United Fuel Cell System R&D. Toyota has a 65 percent ownership in the venture, with an initial investment of nearly $46 million.
This represents the opportunity to develop H2 cell technology that could one day power a range of vehicles across China. This could, in turn, drive a much wider demand for using the renewable energy technology in this way around the world.
Working in the Chinese market offers Toyota hydrogen fuel technology a powerful jumping off point.
The Chinese market is large enough that it could present an opportunity to make fuel cell vehicles mainstream. China has the capacity to make the use of this renewable energy a national priority in transportation. As the largest vehicle market in the world, embracing H2 powered cars could send the vehicles outward as was the case with electric vehicles. This, according to Wan Gang, who is known as the father of the electric car movement in China.
Though H2 fuel cells require a substantial amount of energy in their manufacture, it is considered to have a better scalability than battery-electric tech for vehicles. This suggests that there may be more potential for this technology in private cars and passenger vehicles than has previously been predicted.
There remain many barriers to the expansion of Toyota hydrogen fuel vehicles. Among the biggest challenges has to do with the creation of a refuelling station infrastructure. So far, H2 vehicles have seen a greater focus in mass transit, cargo transportation and heavy machinery.