Fuel of the Future

Love the idea of an electric car but put off by the lack of range, long charge times and the weight of all those batteries? Well, Toyota may have the answer: Hydrogen fuel cells. And they’ve recently decided to share thousands of patents on their hydrogen fuel cell technology…for free!

Cars powered by these fuel cells could offer increased range over their battery powered counterparts, with much faster refuelling, an abundant fuel source (hydrogen gas can be obtained from ordinary water) and best of all the only stuff coming from the exhaust is good old H2O.

Of course there are drawbacks, as with any new technology, not least of which is the problem of infrastructure. We’ve all got a socket at home to charge a battery powered vehicle but high pressure hydrogen storage? It’s this issue that goes some way to explaining what, on the surface, seems like commercial hara kiri by the Japanese car giant.

Even if they release a world beating hydrogen car, who’d buy it if you can’t fill up? But if all the major manufacturers plan to release fuel cell vehicles, then the costly business of creating new infrastructure suddenly seems a more reasonable prospect.