Toyota, Nissan, Honda back hydrogen stations for fuel cells

The 2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will achieve just over 300 miles of range when it goes on sale in the USA later this year.

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There are still only a handful of public hydrogen fueling stations operating in the USA. Honda, Nissan, and Toyota say that they’re going to be deeply involved in the entire hydrogen fueling experience.

When the hydrogen and oxygen combine to make electricity, the only by-product is water, which is released from the tailpipe. The Mirai also has a battery that is used for regenerative braking and to give extra power during acceleration.

So Toyota is launching the vehicle in California and teaming with the state to place 100 stations in the next 10 years.

“Fuel-cell vehicles running on hydrogen are electric vehicles without the compromises, such as range anxiety and long waits in front of charging stations”, Thanh Ha Pham, a Tokyo- based analyst at Jefferies Group LLC, said in a report Wednesday.

The three automakers have also agreed “to help infrastructure companies deliver the best possible customer service and create a convenient, hassle-free refueling network for owners” of FCVs. That piece of the puzzle is left to developers, with construction subsidized via the government’s recently unveiled Strategic Road Map for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. Honda’s 2014 FCX Clarity managed an EPA-rated range of 231 miles and 59 mpg-e combined when it was available for lease, and the 2016 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell SUV has a range of 265 miles and a 50 mpg-e combined rating. With the first cars due for delivery to California customers this fall and numbers from the EPA now in hand, maybe they can.

Meanwhile, Honda said it would start selling a hydrogen auto this fiscal year. Today, hybrid cars and electric vehicles are dominating the green-vehicle market.

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They also want to bolster the convenience of hydrogen stations by increasing the number of days they are open, extending their business hours, enhancing and providing operational information and developing hydrogen station infrastructure that is easy to access.

Toyota announced at the Aspen Ideas Festival that the new Toyota Mirai will offer an EPA-estimated 67 miles per gallon equivalent city  highway  combined and an EPA-estimated driving range rating of 312 miles on a single fill of hydrogen – the longest