Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week it’s all about Toyota and California going bananas for hydrogen fuel cell tech, for both buildings and for cars - but mostly for cars, and even though the tech has been just around a corner that seems to be taking about 35 years to navigate, word on the street is that it might actually be reaching feasibility...we'll see.
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – May 2, 2014 ::
• Toyota’s Going Fuel Cell Crazy in California
Well, there are really two pieces of news here, but they’re kind of the same thing. See, it’s all about hydrogen fuel cell energy - whether for home/office/industrial use, or for the cars that have been “Of the Future” for about...oh, 30 years or so. Seriously, hydrogen-powered cars - you’re LATE.
Anywho, story #A is that Toyota has added a 1.1 megawatt fuel cell generator at their Los Angeles sales headquarters. It’s projected that the big ol’ fuel cell will cleanly supply as much as ½ the facility’s total energy needs, and it’s basically the same kind of system, albeit hugely scaled up, as those that fit into Toyota’s shiny new automobiles.
[#A: TOYOTA’S PARTIALLY FUEL CELL POWERED BUILDING - AUTOEXPRESS UK]
Which brings us to Story #B: Toyota has just dropped a small mountain of cash into FirstElement Fuel (ohhh, clever!), a California startup that’s aiming to build a network of hydrogen refuelling stations. This investment is concurrent with an almost $50 million state initiative that aims to make the state an easier place to drive a lot of made-in-Asia, hydrogen-powered cars. Or at least designed in Asia. Partially. Among those Asian auto options (Honda, Hyundai, and the Big T), there are several such vehicles already available and in development, but Toyota’s super-efficient, intensely blue FCV, allegedly buyable next year, appears to be the hottest commodity (GM is also up in this, partnering with Honda, actually). Rightfully so, Toyota seems quite eager for Californians to not only buy the FCV, but also be able to actually drive it!
We complained and dorked on this issue before, but the issue remains: fuel cell auto tech has been hurry up and wait for decades. Which is annoying. Electric cars have made big strides, but hydrogen fuel cell vehicles seem locked in an endless loop of lacking fueling stations, cost un-effectiveness, etc., etc., and blah blah blah, and - seriously - decades later, we ain’t got no hydrogen cars. Toyota, California - you better not be messing with us.
[#B: TOYOTA KICKS IN CASH TO FUND HYDROGEN REFUELING NETWORK - BUSINESSWEEK BLOOMBERGY]
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all.
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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.