LAS VEGAS — It’s pretty cool how today’s technology allows us to charge an electric car by simply using an outlet in a home garage.
But here’s something even more badass: Toyota is working on a device that will allow its hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles to provide power to your house for up to a week.
At its CES press event earlier this week, Toyota senior vice president Robert Carter gave a status update on the company’s hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicle, which will enter the U.S. market — California initially — in 2015.
Toyota’s engineers are developing an adapter that will connect its fuel cell car into the electrical grid of a home which can provide enough power for one whole week in emergency situations.
The company’s fuel cell technology combines oxygen and hydrogen to create water and electricity, storing up to to 100 kilowatts of power with zero emissions. On a single fill-up — which takes three-to-five minutes — Toyota’s four-seat fuel cell vehicle can run for 300 miles at a top speed of 100 MPH.
Carter said that Toyota has seen rapid progress with its fuel cell technology development, which started back in 2002 with the original Highlander Fuel Cell. While many still believe the idea is far-fetched, Carter thinks otherwise.
“This is really going to change our world — sooner rather than later,” he said.
But Carter did outline two challenges for getting fuel cell vehicles to market: One, getting the price down, and two, building hydrogen re-fueling stations.
Toyota has allotted tons of resources to both problems, improving its in-house production efficiency and working with experts to expand the hydrogen infrastructure in the U.S. The company has already logged thousands of miles with a test-bed vehicle in various conditions, in addition to multiple safety tests.
Back when Toyota first unveiled its now-popular Prius Hybrid, Carter said that people “thought it was a science project that would never be economically feasible.”
Of course, the company has gone on to sell more than three million Prius’ worldwide. Based on that success, it’s tough to question Toyota’s new ambition for fuel-cell powered cars.
“Stylistically, our goal is not to reinvent the wheel,” Carter said. “We just reinvented everything necessary to make them run.”