Toyota knows that when it launches its mass-market hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in 2015, it would face a tough battle. Now, it has made sure that its FCV Concept fuel cell vehicle could take a bullet – literally. Bob Carter, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. senior vice president for automotive operations, said at a presentation at the Automotive News World Congress that the carmaker’s vehicle r&d engineers made sure of the technology's durability by firing a small-caliber gun at the two carbon-fiber tanks that will contain the fuel.
The result – the bullets just bounced off. Still wanting to prove more, engineers upped the firepower, using a .50-caliber gun to fire on the fuel tanks.
The bullets, however, just barely dented the tanks. "We wanted to know what it takes to actually pierce them," Carter said after his presentation. He said the bullet test is just one of thousand different tests Toyota is conducting to ensure the durability of the fuel cell vehicles. “We want to be absolutely sure of the integrity of the systems," Carter said.
Toyota is showcasing the FCV Concept fuel cell vehicle this week at the Detroit Auto Show and will start selling the unit in 2015. According to Carter, Toyota will overcome industry pessimists, just as it did to early critics of hybrid technology. He even recalled the time naysayers dismissed the Toyota Prius as a PR gimmick.
Now, Toyota is “approaching 6 million hybrid sales worldwide." He noted that there is no shortage of naysayers on the viability of hydrogen fuel technology and the infrastructure to support it -- among them are chief executives Carlos Ghosn of Nissan, Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and Jonathan Browning of Volkswagen of America. [source: LeftLaneNews]