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Lexus Committed to Hydrogen Technology for Future Vehicles

Lexus LF-FC Fuel Cell

Paul Williamsen, Lexus International manager of global strategic communications, explains in a CarAdvice interview why the brand is reluctant to pursue full-electric vehicles:

“The problem with EVs is a simple matter of chemistry – we won’t be able to get the charging times down,” Williamsen explains. “I’ve worked with batteries enough to know that fast-charging a battery is about the second worst thing you can do to it. There are two ways to abuse a battery: overheat it or fast charge it.

“With the Tesla Superchargers, they don’t publicise it, but if you ‘supercharge’ a Tesla, one supercharge takes 20 charge cycles off the end of that battery’s life. Two supercharges takes 40 charges. That’s simple chemistry; you can’t force the ions through the battery that fast without causing damage.”

Instead, Lexus and parent company Toyota are confident that hydrogen-powered vehicles are the true next-generation propulsion technology:

“Our approach is to have the best and most efficient way of using hydrogen, which has to be a hybrid. Not every automaker thinks that way. They can have a zero-emission vehicle by having a hydrogen fuel cell that directly drives the car, or a hydrogen powered ICE, but they’re using twice as much hydrogen as we are.

“We believe a hydrogen fuel cell EV hybrid is the only way to go, so that’s all we build.”

This is not to say that Lexus will never have a full-electric vehicle:

Being a car company, and a very successful one at that, Toyota won’t miss out on selling EVs where they’re in demand, and they might even end up wearing Lexus badges, according to Williamsen.

“It’s not that we’re not working on EVs at all, and I think there is a place for them, just in cities, for some small, luxury vehicles for commuting,” he says.

“Toyota are sponsoring the next Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo, and you can be sure we’ll be making those a zero-emission Olympics. Those cars will probably be all badged Toyotas but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot of technology coming out of that that will benefit Lexus as well.”

Comments
krew
A couple things:
  • Paul Williamsen is speaking purely about the technical aspects of battery charging. Guarantee this has nothing to do with "knock down talk of EVs in favor of hydrogen". It's just plain fact.
  • I have to think the infrastructure will be the biggest selling point for hydrogen, at least in the long term. All of those gas companies are going to invest heavily in hydrogen to safeguard their businesses against the eventual decline of gasoline engines. Anyone can charge their car at home, but fuel cells are a specialized business.
btw, oil companies are biggest investors in alternative energy - solar, wind, ev charging.

they dont look at ev vs hydrogen as people on forums do, they just care about making profit.

With EV vs cars, there is even more profit opportunities, since someone has to provide all that recharging infrastructure... with charging process taking 60m or more, it only makes sense for gas stations to be good places for this.

In many (most?) countries in the world, most people live in apartment builds where charging at home is simply not possible.
spwolf
btw, oil companies are biggest investors in alternative energy - solar, wind, ev charging.

they dont look at ev vs hydrogen as people on forums do, they just care about making profit.

With EV vs cars, there is even more profit opportunities, since someone has to provide all that recharging infrastructure... with charging process taking 60m or more, it only makes sense for gas stations to be good places for this.

In many (most?) countries in the world, most people live in apartment builds where charging at home is simply not possible.
Exactly. The biggest pushers for either type of EV will be big oil companies, the most powerful corporations in the world, not some random tech startup. It will be extremely costly for grid companies to set up charging poles at every home or parking spot. Oil companies, on the other hand, can utilize the resources much more efficiently by providing centralized services, whether it's fast charging for BEVs or refueling for FCEVs. So yes, BEVs have to overcome fast charging issues if they want wide-spread adoption.
ssun30
Exactly. The biggest pushers for either type of EV will be big oil companies, the most powerful corporations in the world, not some random silicon valley startup. It will be extremely costly for grid companies to set up charging poles at every home or parking spot. Oil companies, on the other hand, can utilize the resources much more efficiently by providing centralized services, whether it's fast charging for BEVs or refueling for FCEVs. So yes, BEVs have to overcome fast charging issues if they want wide-spread adoption.

yep, btw - I just read this morning, that if you charge Model 3 at superchargers, it becomes more expensive than Prius hybrid when you fill it with $3 gas (which is Cali prices, not rest of the USA). This was on CleanTechnica, EV site, which brushed it off as not important because apparently other similar cars get 25 mpg (they are not counting hybrids). On the other hand, we had reporters report how LS500h got them 42 MPG on highway at normal speeds.

I think thats hilarious when were are told that it is going to be 3x to 5x cheaper than fuel.

And this is why EVs wont take over the world despite hype from blogs, twitter and facebook. This is why when government drops huge incentives to buy EVs, people stop buying them. And this is why Prius Prime, which is by EV affectionado's points, a lousy plugin, is the best selling plugin in the world.

S
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