Toyota tests hydrogen fuel tanks… with bullets

toyota hydrogen fuel cell vehicle tanks tested with bullets fcv concept at ces 2014

In a famous piece of advertising showmanship, Pontiac executive John Z. DeLorean demonstrated the brand’s new-for-1968 Endura front bumper by hitting it with a hammer. Toyota has done DeLorean one better. 

Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress this week, Toyota executive Bob Carter said the company fired bullets at its hydrogen fuel tanks to test their durability. Some have questioned the safety of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles because they have to carry the same fuel as the Hindenburg. As far as ways to shut them up go, this sounds like a pretty good one.

Carter said small-caliber rounds bounced off the carbon fiber tanks. A .50-caliber round – the kind used in an M2 machine gun or a powerful sniper rifle – was able to penetrate the tank. “And, even then, it just left a hole and the hydrogen simply leaked out.” he said.

Apparently feeling as invincible as his company’s hydrogen fuel tanks, Carter also name-checked the leads of rival carmakers. “Personally, I don’t care what [Tesla Motors CEO] Elon [Musk], [Renault Nissan CEO] Carlos [Ghosn], or [Volkswagen of America CEO] Jonathan [Browning] say about fuel cells,” he declared. “If they want to ‘plug-in and tune out’ of other technologies, that’s fine.”

Toyota will launch a production hydrogen fuel-cell car in 2015, based on the updated FCV concept it unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, and brought to CES earlier this month. The car will have a 310-mile range and will take about three minutes to refuel, Toyota says. It could cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the viability of hydrogen cars, but at least customers will know that this one does decently well in a gunfight.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

VW will use Siri as the designated driver for its connected car party

Volkswagen of America added Apple's Siri to help drivers control and interact with their cars. Owners can customize voice commands to tell Siri to change access settings such as interior climate, vehicle lock status, and fuel checks.
Cars

Thinking of driving for Uber? These cars are safe, comfy, and fuel-efficient

Uber is a viable means for making money on the side, but you won't earn much if all of your profits are going direct toward fuel and maintenance. Thankfully, these five cars are a perfect fit for those looking to shuttle passengers from…
Cars

This hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Silverado looks like it’s straight out of Halo

General Motors' defense division has released video footage of a rugged, Halo-like truck called Silverado ZH2. The pickup is powered by the next evolution of GM's hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain.
Cars

This hydrogen semi truck could help clean up Europe’s roads — if it gets built

The Nikola Tre is the latest in a proposed line of hydrogen fuel-cell semi trucks from Nikola Motor Company. Nikola hasn't delivered any trucks yet, but claims to have $11 billion in reservations from companies such as Anheuser-Busch.
Cars

Tesla raises prices and simplifies options on Model S and Model X

Tesla is making changes to its offerings of the Model S and Model X. The lower-range 75D models will increase in price, while the higher-range 100D models will decrease in price.
Cars

Tesla brings track mode to Model 3 Performance

The new Track Mode introduced for the Tesla 3 Performance model adds stability to the drive while you're behind the wheel and is specifically designed for driving on closed track courses.
Cars

Jaguar’s rally-ready F-Type roadster is happiest off the pavement

Jaguar is celebrating the XK120's 70th birthday by turning the F-Type roadster into a rally warrior. Built to FIA specifications, the model receives suspension and braking upgrades plus a full roll cage to protect the occupants.
Mobile

Lyft’s new rewards program promises ride discounts and comfier cars

If you're always hopping in and out of a Lyft car, then you'll be pleased to hear that the ridesharing service is about to launch a rewards program. Perks include discounts on future trips and upgrades to comfier cars.
Cars

Study suggests autonomous cars could become red-light districts on wheels

Fully autonomous cars can change the way we commute, but they can also have a far-reaching impact on the tourism industry. Two researchers published a study that outlines how self-driving technology could create a new dimension in tourism.
Cars

Meet the born-again Ford Bronco that will soothe your ’90s nostalgia

Ford has confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in a few short years. While it's still very much a work in progress, this is what we expect from the Blue Oval's born-again off-roader.
Cars

Waymo will launch its commercial autonomous ridesharing service in December

Waymo will launch a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in December, according to a new report. As previously discussed by Waymo, the service will operate in specific areas around Phoenix, Arizona.
Cars

Quick! Someone petition Ferrari to make this luscious tribute to the F40

Ferrari looks toward the future as it designs hypercars like the LaFerrari. Designer Samir Sadikhov turned his eye toward the past to create a modern interpretation of the 1987 F40 without venturing into full retro territory.
Cars

BMW’s 2020 M340i will show off mix of tech and luxury at the Los Angeles show

The 2020 3 Series represents the seventh generation of BMW's bread-and-butter luxury sedan. Where previous generations emphasized the driving experience, the 2020 3 Series focuses more on tech than ever before.