by Veeno Dewan
TOYOTA CITY, JAPAN, ― 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 unveiled plans for two major new facilities recently with 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 hydrogen 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.
To increase fuel cell stack output, Toyota will move production to a brand-new, eight-floor high-tech facility on the same premises as its current location in an existing building at its Honsha Plant in Toyota City, near the original site of the company’s very first automobile factory in 1938.
The production of high-pressure hydrogen tanks will be handled by a new, dedicated line to be added inside the nearby Shimoyama Plant (No. 3) in Miyoshi City (Aichi Prefecture). 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 will 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.