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Lexus Forum: Lexus' Parent Company Toyota and Honda to abandon hydrogen fuel cell plans
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:12 PM
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Default Lexus' Parent Company Toyota and Honda to abandon hydrogen fuel cell plans

In a shocking and abrupt reversal of course, the two Japanese auto giants that had previously thrown their lot in with a hydrogen future have announced a joint venture to pursue battery electric vehicle technology that is “far more likely to succeed.”

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Honda and Toyota are two of the largest and most influential automakers in the world. Both Japanese companies are known for quality, reliable products and for taking a steady long-term approach. Until very recently, that approach was to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology while virtually ignoring pure electric vehicles.

Now, however, shocking revelations from several high-ranking officials at both companies indicate the Japanese giants plan to join forces and abandon their misguided fuel cell projects. A Honda official who wished to remain anonymous stated, “Look, as always we’re a decade or two away from truly viable fuel cell vehicles, and that’s the best-case scenario. We need to take action against climate change now, and this fuel cell thing has mainly just been a marketing charade. Battery electrics are here today and if we don’t get into the game as soon as possible we will be left behind.”

A Toyota executive echoed those sentiments, adding “To be honest, I don’t know how we made it this far without recognizing our folly. Where will the hydrogen come from and how do we store it? Who will pay for the refueling infrastructure? How will we get vehicle costs down? How do we make the chemical reactions happen faster for responsiveness remotely comparable to EVs? And that’s not even considering safety concerns; look what happened when two Teslas had fluke accidents and their batteries caught fire relatively harmlessly. Hydrogen is an extremely dangerous gas...imagine the uproar when a couple of hydrogen fuel tanks explode!”

It is heartening to see this change of course for the two powerful companies that previously contributed very little to the zero-emission vehicle movement. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles don’t seem to make much sense, especially on the heels of the announcement that the first production fuel cell vehicles in Japan would have cost over $97,000.

As pointed out by another Honda official, “Exorbitant costs aside, fuel cell vehicles compare quite unfavorably with ever-improving battery technology. You can plug in an EV everywhere, and the infrastructure is relatively inexpensive and easy to install anywhere you need it. Heck, with solar panels you don’t even need a grid connection. But you can refill a hydrogen vehicle pretty much nowhere, and the infrastructure build-out required would be daunting. Each station can cost well upward of $1 million. Almost makes me shudder just thinking about it.”

With Honda and Toyota focused at last on battery electric vehicle development, there is no telling what the industry could accomplish without the distraction of the hydrogen mirage in the distance. They should be commended for their honesty and bravery in this reversal of ideology.

As the great automotive engineer C.S. Lewis once said, “If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” To the relief of all those who hope for a carbon-free transportation future, Honda and Toyota have finally heeded his advice.

Who are we kidding...Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone!
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