Photo Gallery Toyota's Fuel-Cell Car

Toyota has developed a new long-range electric vehicle powered entirely by a cutting-edge fuel cell. The project represents a dramatic departure from the goal of developing a mass-produced, effective, battery-driven electric car. But what does it mean for our future?
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At this year's Tokyo Motor Show in late November, Toyota is planning to unveil a sedan that will be the world's first series-produced fuel-cell car to be sold on the market. According to Toyota, it will be available for purchase in 2015.

Foto: Toyota
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The car is powered by a fuel cell - a sort of power plant on wheels which combines hydrogen and oxygen in a controlled manner, producing electricity in the process.

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The Toyota fuel-cell prototype car will have a range of 600 kilometers (375 miles) and will only take minutes to recharge.

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The prototype won't even won't even require an electrical outlet -- because its fuel is hydrogen and it will make its own electricity.

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Toyota's new car -- of which a prototype is shown here -- is both revolutionary and sobering because it marks a turn away from the purely battery-driven electric car, which is being developed by almost every other automaker in the world.

Foto: Toyota
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Koei Saga of Toyota spent about 10 years working on hybrid drives before becoming the company's chief developer last year. Battery development has brought Toyota "halfway to the goal," he says, but he doubts this goal will ever be attainable. Electric cars based on today's battery technology, says Saga, are "money losers."

Foto: Shizuo Kambayashi/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Company officials note that about 500 Toyota engineers are working on fuel-cell technology, which, even for a major corporation, is a considerable number. This suggests the technology is Toyota's top R&D priority. Here, an employee of Taiyo Nippon Sanso, the gas supplier, demonstrates a hydrogen nozzle at the Toyota Advanced Technologies media briefing in Tokyo on Oct. 10, 2013.

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BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer poses next to the new BMW i8 hybrid sports car at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Hybrid technology was pioneered by Toyota, which unveiled its first successful hybrid vehicle 16 years ago.

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Toyota's fleet of hybrid vehicles already outperforms the European Union's 2020 emissions target, which would limit CO2 emissions to an average of 95 grams per kilometer. Here, a Toyota hybrid engine.

Foto: Toyota
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel sits inside the new BMW i3 electric car at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Sept. 12, 2013. Now that many car manufacturers have started selling electric cars, they are confronted with an unresolved problem: The cars cost too much and are inefficient. Their ranges are too small and it takes hours to recharge their batteries.

Foto: ? Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters/ REUTERS
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