Ford, Daimler and Renault-Nissan partner on hydrogen car for 2017
Days earlier, BMW and Toyota announced their plans to build a production hydrogen-powered car by 2020.
The three automakers, which signed a contract at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, less than a week after BMW and Toyota signed theirs in Nagoya, Japan, will work together to develop fuel-cell stacks, which convert hydrogen gas into electricity to power the car. Water is the only byproduct. BMW and Toyota said they would have a production hydrogen-powered car ready by 2020.
Ford said that it would help launch the "world’s first affordable, mass-market FCEVs as early as 2017" and that the agreement would send a "clear signal to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage further development of hydrogen refueling stations and other infrastructure." In other words, they'd like hydrogen federal tax breaks to continue past 2014 and wouldn't mind a few billion in government loans thrown their way.
Toyota, however, may beat them to the punch with its first hydrogen-powered car set to debut in 2015. Since 2008, Honda has leased roughly 200 hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity models in Southern California, where most of the nation's 56 hydrogen refueling stations are located.
Mercedes-Benz, owned by Daimler, is leasing a few dozen hydrogen models in California that are based on the B-Class subcompact sold in Europe. Renault has tested a hydrogen-powered crossover, the Scenic ZEV H2, since 2008. Ford has also run a fleet of 30 hydrogen-powered Focus sedans since 2005 (shown in the photo above). In 2007, Ford set a world speed record in a hydrogen-powered Fusion race car that hit 207 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats. At the same time, it introduced a plug-in hydrogen hybrid prototype based on the Edge that was driven by villains in the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace."
While hydrogen promises an emissions-free future, producing the gas in considerable, sustainable quantities remains a challenge. Audi is opening a solar-powered hydrogen gas plant in Germany this year, but the problems with large-scale production (requiring lots of energy) and storage (compressed tanks requiring too much space) have not been solved.
As technology advances and gov't restrictions get tighter, the closer we get to removing gasoline from our fuel requirements, thus, the closer we get to having standard cars go the way of the dinosaur and soon....other things will follow suit. Prime example? The standard lightbulb.
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