By Kirstie Wielandt
At the Paris Motor Show back in September, I was delighted to come across a remarkable new fuel cell vehicle (FCV) developed by Toyota called the ‘FCV Plus’.
For those in the know, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are being heralded as the most exciting development in environmentally friendly vehicle technology as they are essentially powered by the conversion of clean hydrogen into electricity, with the only byproduct being plain old water, banishing the need for polluting fossil fuels. This itself is enough to excite clean tech geeks beyond measure. What’s particularly interesting about the new Toyota FCV Plus vehicle is a couple of new groundbreaking elements which literally blow my mind.
Firstly, there’s the potential for its ‘stacks’ (batteries) to act as a power wall for other energy driven devices when the car is parked up; this energy can be transferred either via a conventional cable or wifi on its side panels, whilst a sign in the front and back windscreen tells the user where the battery level is at.
Secondly, and this is where the concept becomes particularly mind bending, a stack can be really easily removed from the vehicle and reused as a clean electricity generating device in its own merit. Place several stacks together and the potential only multiplies. Whilst this won’t solve the world’s energy crisis on its own, the potential of this technology for off-grid communities around the world is really exciting and is begging for someone to come up with a business model to maximise it. Additionally, the whole concept of using a car battery to not only run the car but also share energy with the community and even act as an energy generating device on its own merit is a total game changer. It transcends the traditional function of a car as an energy-using product.
I’m really looking forward to seeing this innovative technology evolve over coming years; in the right hands, it could represent a massive paradigm shift for us all.