- TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION announced it will participate in the
California Fuel Cell Partnership*1, a program aimed at promoting
awareness of fuel cell vehicles by demonstrating the viability of both
fuel cells and alternative fuel infrastructure technology.
is always searching for forums to discuss issues surrounding fuel cell
technology. We decided to participate in the California Fuel Cell
Partnership because it offers such an opportunity," said Toyota
Managing Director Hiroyuki Watanabe at the 17th International Electric
Vehicle Symposium (EVS-17) in Montreal.
fuel cell vehicles as a promising form of environmentally friendly means
of transportation, Toyota has been promoting technological innovations
in this field for many years. In September 1996, it unveiled a fuel cell
vehicle equipped with a hydrogen-absorbing alloy for storage of pure
hydrogen; it demonstrated the vehicle in a test run at the EVS-13 in
Osaka that year and conducted test drives in it in 1997. Also in 1997,
Toyota developed the world's first fuel cell vehicle with an on-board
methanol reformer. In 1999, Toyota and General Motors of the United
States reached an agreement to cooperate in research and development of
vehicles with advanced environmental technology, with special focus on
fuel cell, hybrid and electric vehicles.
promote the widespread use of fuel cell vehicles, numerous issues must
be resolved and major breakthroughs are still required in fuel cell
technology itself. These issues include creating standards for fuel
selection and safety, standardization and development of infrastructure.
"To form a consensus on these issues, it has become very important
to promote global and open discussion not only among automobile
manufacturers under the spirit of 'competition and cooperation', but
also among industries and administrative organs," Watanabe said.
on this thinking, Toyota, together with leading car and fuel companies,
such as GM and Shell, has decided to join the Sustainable Mobility
Project*2, a working group of the World Business Council for Sustainable
Development*3, a private-sector initiative set up in response to the Rio
Earth Summit. Through its participation, Toyota aims to discuss on a
global level future power sources for automobiles, fuel selection and
other issues regarding mobility in the 21st century.
with such global undertakings, national-level initiatives that reflect
regional needs and concerns will become ever more important. Toyota's
understanding of this is reflected in its joining, along with major
overseas automakers, the Policy Study Group for Fuel Cell
Commercialization organized by the Ministry of International Trade and
Industry's Agency of Natural Resources and Energy. Toyota's decision to
become a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership in the U.S. was
made along the same line.
seeks to encourage synergy among these national level as well as global
initiatives and, by doing so, promote greener cars and eventually create
a rich and environment-friendly 21st century through "sustainable
The California Fuel Cell Partnership was established in April 1999 as a
demonstration program to promote the practical and economic potentials
of fuel cell vehicles, as well as to discuss the formation of a suitable
infrastructure for supplying fuels appropriate for such vehicles. Plans
feature opening a currently under-construction fuel cell vehicle service
center/showroom in Sacramento, California, on Nov. 1, 2000. Key members
include the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of
Transportation, the California Air Resources Board, automakers such as
Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Volkswagen, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai, petroleum
and infrastructure-related companies such Shell, BP and Texaco, and fuel
cell maker Ballard. It will place several dozen fuel cell passenger cars
and fuel cell buses, first of the "hydrogen-storage type" and
then of the "on-board fuel-reformer type", on the road between
2000 and 2003.
The other core member companies of the Sustainable Mobility Project are:
BP, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Michelin, Norsk Hydro and Volkswagen. GM,
Shell and Toyota are co-chairs.
The Geneva-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a
coalition of some 140 international companies (more than 20 of which are
Japanese, including Toyota) chiefly focused on relaying proposals for
sustainable development from industry to society and to discuss
industrial guidelines for such development. Established in 1995, it is
currently chaired by Charles O. Holliday, Chairman and CEO of DuPont.
Its vice chairmen include Toyota Honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda.