Toyota is preparing for ten-fold growth in fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) after 2020 with a new facility to produce fuel cell stacks and a new dedicated line for high-pressure hydrogen (H2) tanks.
The Japanese corporation sees global sales of FCEVs increasing significantly after 2020 to at least 30,000 per year from today’s 3,000. To prepare for this growth, the company has unveiled plans for two major new facilities – a brand new building near its original automobile factory for expanding fuel cell stack mass production and a new line in an existing plant to manufacture high-pressure H2 tanks.
Manufacturing both components at scale is critical to achieving lower system costs and wider availability for further growth and sales of FCEVs.
Expansion of production facilities
To increase fuel cell stack output, Toyota will move production from its current location, within one of the existing buildings at its Honsha Plant in Toyota City, to a brand-new, eight-floor high-tech facility on the same premises, near the original site of the company’s very first automobile factory in 1938.
The production of high-pressure H2 tanks will be handled by a new, dedicated line to be added inside the nearby Shimoyama Plant (No. 3) in Miyoshi City (Aichi Prefecture). Previously, the H2 tanks were assembled at the Honsha plant on a smaller scale. Toyota’s H2 tanks are made of extra-thick carbon fibre and are built to withstand major impacts.
The new facilities are expected to help significantly reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions during the production stage. This is one of the initiatives for the Plant Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge in the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 announced in October 2015.
Construction of the new H2 tank line at Shimoyama is starting now, while the exterior for the new stack production facility is already finished and work will now begin on the interior. Details of the respective facilities will be announced later with a view to start operations around 2020.