Toyota To Step Up Mass Production Of Fuel Cell Stacks, Hydrogen Tanks

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Toyota City:  Toyota sees global sales of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) increasing significantly after 2020, to at least 30,000 per year from today’s 3,000. To prepare for this growth, the company has unveiled plans for two major new facilities:

• A brand-new building near its original automobile factory for expanding fuel cell stack (FC stack) mass production at Toyota’s Honsha Plant in Japan; and

• A new line in an existing plant to manufacture high-pressure hydrogen tanks at Toyota’s Shimoyama Plant in Japan.

The fuel cell stack is what generates the on-board electricity from a chemical reaction between hyd rogen and oxygen, which propels FCEVs and produces zero emissions. The tanks store the hydrogen fuel. Manufacturing both components at scale is critical to achieving lower system costs and wider availability for further growth and sales of FCEVs.

The hydrogen tanks were previously assembled at the Honsha plant on a smaller scale. Toyota’s hydrogen tanks are made of extra-thick carbon fiber and are built to withstand major impacts.

Toyota took the lead in bringing the first mass-produced fuel cell sedan, the Mirai, to market in December 2014. Annual production and sales have steadily increased, going from about 700 units in 2015, to around 2,000 units in 2016, and approximately 3,000 units in 2017. . Toyota aims for annual sales of FCEVs to top 30,000 units globally by that time.

At present, Mirai is sold in 11 countries: Japan, the United States, and nine countries in Europe. Its imminent arrival in Canada was also announced in January 2018. Demonstration tests of Mirai are currently under way in Australia, Canada, China, and the U.A.E., and Toyota is studying the demand for FCEVs and  helping with initiatives to promote hydrogen infrastructure development.

In Japan, Toyota aims to reach sales of at least 1,000 FCEV units per month and over 10,000 units annually, beginning 2020.  Toyota started sales of fuel cell buses to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in February 2017, and introduced the final version, the Sora, in 2018 with three additional units. Toyota aims to sell at least 100 such buses ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Toyota said it would continue to expand its FCEV product range and strengthen product appeal, aiming to bring overall costs down. Also, Toyota will keep working with the Toyota Group and other companies to develop a hydrogen supply infrastructure and construct a low-carbon hydrogen supply chain. Through such initiatives, the company is actively contributing to the realization of a hydrogen-based society.