Toyota has announced that it plans to launch a fuel cell powered vehicle in 2015. Research in the fuel-cell vehicles has been going on for years for many of the major automotive manufacturers. However, the technology faced some serious challenges before it was ready to come to market. Fuel-cell powered vehicles use hydrogen as fuel.
The good thing about using hydrogen is that when it’s burned it produces no pollutants. The downside to hydrogen is that it’s a volatile fuel requiring specialized storage and there is no hydrogen refueling infrastructure in place in much of the nation. One of the biggest drawbacks to early fuel-cell powered vehicles will be the price.
Toyota had previously said that prototype fuel-cell vehicles cost about $1 million each to produce when they were developed about a year ago. The cost to produce the fuel cell vehicles coming in 2015 is predicted to be around $50,000. That would mean buyers can expect to see sticker prices of under $100,000.
Currently Toyota is planning to sell its new fuel-cell vehicle starting in 2015 in states covered by the California Air Resources Board mandate. The production vehicle is expected to be sized similarly to the Prius and Toyota’s FCV-R concept car unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo auto show. Toyota executives predict that even with the company only selling its fuel-cell vehicle in California and New York it should be able to sell 11,000 units nationwide, which is how many units the company sold of its Prius when it launched in 2000.