The Toyota 2015 FCV-R should achieve a range of 300 miles per charge, making it the longest-range electric vehicle on the market, beating even the Tesla Model S. But with the Toyotal not due out for a few more years, electric vehicles still have plenty of time to catch up.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles still have the major advantage of quick refueling, while electric cars can finally be charged in less than an hour. However, without much of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure, these hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are limited to a very small area of the U.S. where filling stations are, negating their long-range advantage.
Even with a 300-mile range, the Tesla Model S with the 85 kWh battery pack isn’t very far behind, with an EPA rating of 265 miles per charge. And with its new battery-swapping stations, the Tesla Model S can be “refilled” in the same time it takes to fill a tank of gas. By 2015, any advantage hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles may have could completely disappear.
Even so, automakers like Toyota seem wedded to the technology. At the Aspen Ideas Festival, the FCV-R will be on display, along with the FCHV-adv, RAV4 EV, and Lexus LS to “showcase advanced technology vehicles that are on the road today.” Toyota has pledged to begin selling a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle by 2015, and has said it will sell for between $50,000 and $100,000.
Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles finally seem like a possibility in the 21st century, but by the time they hit the market, will electric vehicles have already surpassed them in range and convenience?