As a comparison against conventionally-powered vehicles, the 2009 Toyota Highland Hybrid achieves an EPA-estimated rating of 26 mpg combined fuel economy and has a full-tank range of approximately 450 miles. With premium grade gasoline currently priced at about $3.25, the gasoline-powered V-6 Highlander hybrid is estimated to travel approximately 26 miles at a cost of about $3.25. Currently, hydrogen gas pricing is not fixed, but DOE targets future pricing at $2 to $3 per kilogram. Therefore, the FCHV-adv is estimated to travel approximately 68 miles at a projected cost of about $2.50 - more than double the range of the Highlander Hybrid, at equal or lesser cost, while producing zero emissions.
AutomobileMag.com has driven hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on several occasions. It is our opinion that their operation is ordinary enough to be readily accepted by the driving public once the cost of the powertrain becomes competitive.
As for finding hydrogen fuel when you need to fill up, GM's Bereisa told us, "There's a lot more hydrogen production around than people think, so if the country wanted to move to a hydrogen economy, it could get done pretty quickly and with a lot less investment than we're already seeing in the current stimulus package." As a matter of fact, the Toyota Highlanders likely passed a number of hydrogen producing refineries along their test route. Those familiar with the I-5 in Southern California may recall the multiple pipelines running parallel to the interstate along sections between San Diego and Los Angeles. One of those larger pipes (approximately 4-feet in diameter) carries hydrogen used in and/or produced by the energy industry.