A Toyota Sora bus was photographed in Japan on November 5, 2021. Toyota began developing fuel-cell vehicles in 1992.
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Toyota Motor Europe, Catanobas and Air Liquid have signed an agreement on the development of hydrogen-based transportation options, as the race for the development of low- and zero-emission vehicles has intensified.
In a statement on Tuesday, Toyota said the agreement would aim at “closer cooperation in developing opportunities for hydrogen mobility projects in several European countries.” CaetanoBus Portugal based and Toyota Caetano Portugal and part of Mitsui & Co.
Companies are ready to focus on a number of areas related to hydrogen, including infrastructure associated with distribution and refueling; Low carbon and renewable hydrogen production; And installing hydrogen in different types of vehicles.
Toyota says the initial focus will be “buses, light commercial vehicles and cars, with the goal of further accelerating the heavy-duty truck segment.”
Toyota began work on the development of fuel-cell vehicles – where hydrogen from a tank combines with oxygen to produce electricity – in 1992. In 2014, it launched the Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell sedan. The business says its fuel cell vehicles “emit nothing but water from the tailpipe.”
In addition to the Mirai, Toyota has a hand in developing larger hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. These include a bus called Sora and a prototype of a heavy-duty truck. In addition to fuel cells, Toyota is also looking at using hydrogen in internal combustion engines.
While the Japanese automaker seems to be moving ahead with plans for vehicles that use hydrogen – companies like Hyundai and BMW are also looking at hydrogen – other influential voices in the automotive sector are not so sure.
In June 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Sell fuel cells = sell fools,” adding in July of that year: “There’s no point in selling hydrogen fools.”
In February 2021, Herbert Dice, CEO of the Volkswagen Group in Germany, also raised the issue. “It’s time for politicians to embrace science,” he tweeted.
“Green hydrogen is needed for steel, chemicals, arrows … and should not end up in cars. Many are expensive, inefficient, slow and difficult to roll out and transport. Above all: no #hydrogen car catches the eye.”
While dice and masks are wary of the possibility of hydrogen in cars, their focus on battery electric vehicles puts them in direct competition with other companies like GM and Ford.
The next CEO, Jim Farley, recently said that his business “plans to challenge Tesla and all newcomers to become the world’s top EV maker.”
The drive to find zero and low emissions options for diesel and gasoline comes at a time when major economies are planning to reduce the environmental footprint of road-based transportation.
In Europe, for example, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has proposed a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from cars and vans by 2035.
On Tuesday, Ford signed a joint letter from Europe, Volvo Cars and other high-profile businesses, asking the EU government and the European Parliament to give the green light to the commission’s proposal.
The letter called on EU government representatives and MEPs to “establish an EU-wide phase-out for the sale of new internal combustion engine passenger cars and vans (including hybrids) after 2035.”
“The 2035 Fleet-Wide CO2 Target for Vehicle Manufacturers should be set at 0 grams CO2 / km and should be included in the law,” the letter said.