Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo. The only two hydrogen models that you can buy on the Czech market today. It is not surprising, since the first public hydrogen pump was opened relatively recently. In Prague, where the concentration of hydrogen cars is the highest, even later.
However, from the latest statements at the ongoing Tokyo Motor Show, it seems that, at least from Toyota, we will not see any more hydrogen passenger cars in the foreseeable future. Indeed, technical chief Hiroki Nakajima admitted that the success of the Mirai model remains below expectations, although it is largely not the fault of the car itself. However, the Japanese brand is not done with hydrogen, it is about to find application in the commercial vehicle segment.
“We’re not that successful with Mirai. There are very few hydrogen filling stations and their construction is challenging in many ways. That’s why sales of hydrogen cars are not like that,” Nakajima admitted. But he adds in one breath that the brand does not yet want to cut hydrogen passenger cars completely. He is also looking for ways to improve fuel cell and tank technologies.
In general, however, utility vehicles are considered to be the more suitable segment for hydrogen. They need a longer range, so the battery drive of a classic electric car is not ideal for them. In addition, they travel on busy routes, so fewer hydrogen pumps in the right places would be enough. They know that at Toyota too. “Most medium-sized commercial vehicles travel on regular routes, so a smart placement of a few pumps would be sufficient. Commercial vehicles are the main area we want to continue with hydrogen,” added Nakajima.
In addition, he also mentioned solid-state battery technology. For a long time, the field of electric cars looks like an imaginary revolution. Such a battery has the potential of higher energy density, but at the same time promises smaller dimensions, weight and production costs. The range is generally said to be twice that of today’s batteries.
We can only expect this technology to be in production around 2028. By then – three years to be precise – the Japanese will introduce the latest generation of lithium-ion batteries, which will be part of a brand new modular platform for the next electric Toyotas and Lexuses.
The specifics of the new batteries are that they should be only ten centimeters thin, so they are easier to fit even in sedans or sports cars. In addition, Toyota is also planning a manual transmission for electric cars! It looks like we have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.