In the battle for the future of personal transportation (aka car), Toyota is not putting all the eggs in the same basket.
Unlike Tesla, Toyota is diversifying its car portfolio of non-internal combustion engines by having all-electric vehicles based on lithium batteries and hydrogen fuel-cells.
For a long time, Elon Musk has argued that fuel-cells are a dumb bet because transforming water in hydrogen is an expensive process and extremely energy intensive. Additionally, the lack of infrastructure for refuel purposes makes the whole idea of having a hydrogen car even more unappealing.
Pros of hydrogen cars
However, Toyota’s management is not daunted with the challenges of creating an ecosystem for hydrogen cars. The company prefers to highlight the advantages.
For instance, EVs take a long time to charge, even with supercharging, it may take up to 40 minutes. The hydrogen car is refueled in under 5 minutes. Another advantage is autonomy range. It is pretty easy for a hydrogen car to have something around 500 to 650 miles of autonomy.
Basically, Toyota is trying to establish hydrogen cars not as a mutually exclusive alternative to EV but as a different complementary offering.
In my opinion, there can only be a winner. The duplication of refueling/recharging infrastructure is a big no for the coexistence of both technologies. Additionally, both techs are trying to iron out its disadvantages, which means that EVs based o lithium-ion batteries are already a couple of steps ahead on the learning curve.
Photo credit: Maurizio Pesce