“The fuel cell will prevail”

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Still, there are only a few cars, hardly any gas stations – however, the fuel cell will ask for the battery car, says Toyota motor developer Gerald Killmann. Here, he explains when this will happen and how long has the Diesel.


SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr Killmann, there is a drive, you as an engine specialist in the future to be?

Gerald Killmann: I live in the city and work in the suburbs, because I’m going on day 30 miles and three, four Times a year long haul. For this driving profile, I would buy me a Diesel, since a Hybrid is the better choice.

To The Person

    Gerald Killmann, Born in 1965, is a mechanical engineer and has been working since 1992 at Toyota. After working in the development of diesel engines and hybrid drives he has led since 2014 in the field of research and development at the development center of the manufacturer in Brussels.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So has the Diesel no future for them?

Killmann: But, also, the Diesel is in the case of vehicles, the long distances with short periods, still longer in demand. The burners, it will be in ten to 15 years. Because then battery electric cars, but also with a fuel cell, is still quite expensive. The burners will be needed to be able to people with lower incomes suitable vehicles to offer. However, it is often the Hybrid of action, which can travel in cities, locally emission-free.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Toyota sets for the future of the fuel cell, battery-electric vehicles, however, have a big head start, what are the charging infrastructure and number of pieces is concerned, the fuel cell is still at the beginning of the series production. How should you prevail, because in such a short time?

Killmann: special usage scenarios, for example, as a Taxi. The drives 24 hours, several Hundred kilometers of the day. So a car you can’t attach eight hours somewhere to Charge, the driver wants to make a deal. The Same also applies to heavy-duty trucks, the thousands of kilometres of driving. The fuel cell will prevail in the long range, in the case of vehicles, route with little downtime and in the commercial vehicle sector.

What types of electric cars are there?Pure Electric Drive

These vehicles have no conventional drive trains, the transfers from the Motor, the kinetic energy to the wheels. Instead, electric in wheel hub motors, the energy comes from a battery that can be recharged on the outlet. Because the storage capacity of the batteries is not yet with a classic automobile to be comparable, some of the electric vehicles so-called Range Extender on Board – a small Generator that supplies the electric motors with energy when the battery is empty.

Examples: Tesla Model S, VW E-Up, VW E-Golf, Renault Zoe, BMW i3, Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf, Mercedes B-class E-Drive

Hybrid drive

Hybrid cars have in addition to the classic combustion engine, a battery on Board. If the is empty, the petrol engine. A variant are so-called Mild Hybrid systems, in which the current drive is only running in parallel with support to reduce the petrol consumption. The battery is usually loaded by a braking force recovery and a Dynamo. Future hybrid vehicles should be to the wall outlet, rechargeable.

Examples: Toyota Prius, Toyota Prius+, VW Golf GTE, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, Porsche 918 Spyder, Volvo V60 PiH, BMW i8

A fuel-cell drive

These vehicles to pump gas instead of gasoline, liquid hydrogen. In a chemical reaction, the Hydrogen is converted in the fuel cell into electrical energy, which then drives the vehicle. Unlike pure electric vehicles, the infrastructure for hydrogen is an unresolved question. Advantage of fuel cell vehicles is their greater range.

Examples: Hyundai ix35, Honda FCX Clarity, the Hamburg public transport buses (Mercedes-Benz), Toyota Mirai

Range Extender

In contrast to the conventional electric cars with Range extenders have a combustion engine on Board that kicks in when the battery is running low. Advantage: The range increases to the level of a car with a conventional drive. The pioneer of this species of the Opel Ampera, which uses the power of the internal-combustion engine but also, if the full performance is obtained, for example, on the highway.

Examples: Opel Ampera (a rebadged Chevrolet Volt), BMW i3 (optional with petrol engine)

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Toyota is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world and wants to be the with safety stay – only with business customers and commercial vehicles, this position hardly can keep.

Killmann: of Course, we will battery-electric vehicles. Currently, the number of available batteries is, however, limited.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: when will battery-powered vehicles Toyota to mass product?

Killmann: If a small car with an electric drive at a similar price as today, a vehicle with hybrid drive can be offered. But that will take some time. Basically, we have to accept a fact: That will prevail as it is today, only a drive concept that is unrealistic. Vehicles with a fuel cell, battery cars, but also gas mobile will exist in parallel, but in different segments. In the passenger Car segment, there will be more battery cars, for larger vehicles will prevail in the fuel cell.


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SPIEGEL ONLINE: For the customers in the charging infrastructure, a role whose Expansion is underway in the case of E-cars are already slow. This will not take the case of hydrogen even longer?

Killmann: When hydrogen is the development proceed in a different way. Thus, the mobility up to 2050, emission-free, we need him for heavy trucks, buses and so on. The infrastructure is build first, this need around. Along that use tank established corridors, which can also Car used.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: when will the fuel cell and then commonplace?

Killmann: For such a forecast helps to look at the hybrid cars. The Toyota Prius has long been a niche product, it has lasted 21 years, until the hybrid technology in many models. Because it is a pure car technology, we have been able to cope with it as the manufacturer alone. In the case of the fuel cell, we need a new infrastructure and the cooperation with energy suppliers, and governments. Therefore, I do not think that it is much faster. If we go back 21 years into the future, we are almost in the year 2040. Until then, we have reduced the cost so that the technology is widely available and, even in vehicles that serve no niche.

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