Move Over Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), Make Room for Toyota (NYSE:TM) Fuel Cell


Elon Musk, the Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO not only provides good yields to the shareholders, he has also developed himself as a source of interesting finance news. He made a lot of news due to his bent towards the electric cars that were powered by hydrogen fuel cells. This technology opposed the battery powered electric vehicles.

Rival Toyota (NYSE:TM) seems to be drawn to this technology, however and has developed automobiles which are powered by hydrogen fuel cells. These are called Mirai.

These are expected to be available in the Japanese market early next year. They are on sale in US, in summer next year.

Previously, Musk rejected the fuel cells terming them a marketing stunt and went on to say that the developers didn’t believe in the technology. He listed steep prices, fuel safety and difficult implementation of the hydrogen distribution system as potential constraints in embedding this technology in vehicles. These views circulated the market for quite a while, with the latest ones, emerging last year. However, the success that Toyota (NYSE:TM) is expected to draw from this technology is inevitable. Hence, Musk’s views on the fuel cell technology have been completely off the mark.

Currently, Toyota (NYSE:TM) has employed more than 100 hydrogen powered highlanders in test phase that are being driven in North America. While Mirai is still in the lab development phase, the automobile company has already started testing the technology, and has quite clearly proven Musk wrong. Additionally, there is another fleet of the test cars in Japan that have covered over one million miles of real testing in all conditions. The tests have taken place in 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a desert to 20 degree below the freezing point with no major problems.

The automobile industry is expected to undergo a major shift in terms of technology. This has brought about a lot of speculations from automobile enthusiasts. One of the Ford (NYSE:F) executives has coined this update ‘fantastic’. What sets this new trend apart is its easier way of riding the vehicle.

A hydrogen fuel cell is similar to electric battery vehicle. The fuel cell generates electricity by using a combined mix of gaseous hydrogen with oxygen in the air to create electricity. This is where the main difference of a fuel cell arises, where in normal vehicles, a gasoline engine is used. The hydrogen combines with atmospheric oxygen to form water. This process generates electricity, which when applied to electric drive system powers the vehicle.

A fuel cell vehicle actually works as a hybrid, as it has a battery pack in the back that provides power. However, one significant issue is there that can’t be subsided. While it is as quick to fuel up these vehicles as the automobiles that host gasoline fuel system; there aren’t many hydrogen filling stations.

If several hydrogen fuel stations are setup, consumers will have a comfortable choice to pick from. Hence, this is quite an integral shift from the previous fuel system and is expected to be significant, if not ground-breaking.