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Audi, Toyota, Honda and Nissan lead us into the 22nd century car.

By Paul Robinson - 23 Nov 2014 20:11:0 GMT
Audi, Toyota, Honda and Nissan lead us into the 22nd century car.

One of the hydrogen cars now available to a restricted few. The hydrogen/electric hybrid may beat it, or will we just hang on to the little electric city car, with its limited range? Mirai image; Credit: © Toyota

Will such as thing as a car exist next century? The debate about transport is endless, but one thing is sure. The old combustion of petrol or diesel is gone. Whether by spark or injection the fossil fuels may be so uncommon that they may not even need to be banned. Free energy has been the dream since steam power took us into the industrial revolution. The electric and hybrid cars may occupy us for a while, but will the hydrogen car simply blow up in our face? The background from years ago, as electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and the Toyota TS4 appeared is filled in for you with our Electric Cars Supplement. Why not try a 2nd hand model, but ensure the battery is new?

Audi produced an admirable example of a hydrogen/electricity hybrid A7 recently in Los Angeles, (named the Sportback h-tron Quattro).while the Mirai (or Future) from Toyota will appear in US and European production form in another puff of water vapour next September. Every advertisement claims this remarkable exhaust of simple water, but it has been known to attract criticism - what if it freezes? Some people!!! Audi, and its Volkswagen soulmates are to possess a 100kW LT PEM (Low Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cell that was perfected by Ballard Power Systems in Canada. It’s possible that the large Audi A7 body may have an advantage in interior space, as the Mirai has only room for 4. Both of these cars take a few minutes to recharge, whether with electricity, or hydrogen. So the only concern is how distant the recharging stations are from each other. A little late, a Honda Fuel Cell vehicle (FCV) will appear 6 months after its Japanese rival.

Supermarkets in some countries have just begun to support the forecourt hydrogen network, while the UK will spend £11 million ($8 million) on 15 public stations next year. Luckily, the hybrid Audi can travel 342 miles before recharging, with the Toyota gasping to a halt just before it. Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf can only range around 75 miles with much smaller weight limits, compared to these higher-powered hydrogen vehicles. With several cars struggling to be a world’s first and not to be a first hydrogen failure, LA has to be their first testing ground. Toyota’s electric hybrid, the famed Prius, is currently California’s top-seller. Audi have chosen their new A7 car’s debut well.

US government subsidies will reduce the Toyota and probably the other prices down by at least $10,000 to about $45,000. Losing money on each car, Toyota will want to see a surge in sales, although very few will be available in the west, offering a year’s free fuel, quite possibly! NE states of the US will have recharging stations developed by Air Liquide. ready for 2016. California will already have 28, granted money by the California Energy Commission. So who will be next to release their hydrogen car? Hyundai are probably first in the queue, followed by Ford, Daimler and Renault. Nissan’s experience with electricity will be used by these others in a joint project, designed to push development more quickly. With cities banning diesel cars because of their nitrogen oxide emissions, petrol power may be next to feel the breath on the back of the neck. We are in an age of transition, if only we knew which system to bet on with our hard-earned transport money!