Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have a lot of hurdles to overcome, among them a high price tag and an extremely limited infrastructure. Another sticking point is safety, centered specifically on the high-pressure tank full of volatile hydrogen fuel. Toyota doesn’t think you should be concerned over hydrogen fuel cell safety though, going so far as to pump a hydrogen tank full of small-caliber bullets..
Since I’m neither an action movie star nor a Russian mobster, I’m none too concerned about bullets being fired into my fuel tank. Instead, I’m worried about the 18,000 pounds of big rig barrelling down the highway towards me, and what effect that’ll have fuel tank full of hydrogen compressed at 10,000 PSI. All I’m picturing is a big boom followed by a fiery death, and apparently I’ve got it all wrong.
According to Toyota’s Bob Carter, the automaker fired numerous small-caliber bullets at the hydrogen fuel tank, which simply bounced right off. It took a .50 caliber slug to penetrate the tank, even then all that happened was the hydrogen leaked out. No big boom, no fiery death…just a simple gas leak. With a production version of the Toyota FCV poised to launch in 2015, I expect we’ll be hearing more and more about the safety and wonders of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles over the coming years. I have to ask though, just how much of the expected $50,000 price tag is that bulletproof fuel tank?
I suppose it doesn’t really matter. With electric vehicles under the microscope due to a couple of high-profile fires, Toyota will have to go to great lengths to convince consumers that hydrogen fuel is both safe and practical for daily driving. This is a bulletproof first test though, and not just any automaker is willing to shoot a fuel tank of any kind just to prove a point.
Source: Autoblog Green