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Toyota Projects 5000 to 10,000 Annual Sales for FCV Hydrogen Car

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/12/2013 Alex Nishimoto

Toyota's FCV Concept bowed at the Tokyo Motor Show last month, and the Japanese automaker has set lofty goals for its upcoming hydrogen-powered car. Automotive News reports Toyota hopes to sell between 5000 and 10,000 units when the production version of the FCV arrives in early 2015.


Toyota FCV Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Toyota FCV Concept When Toyota built fuel cell vehicles for demonstration purposes in 2007, the cost for each hydrogen system topped a reported $1 million. Since then, costs have been dramatically reduced, enough for chief officer of Toyota's R&D division Soichiro Okudaira to project that fuel cell vehicles will be price-competitive with other zero-emission cars before 2030. In an interview with Automotive News, Okudaira said, "Beyond 2020…fuel cell cars will be considered just one alternative of the eco cars."

Toyota expects the hydrogen fuel cell system in the FCV production model to cost less than 5 million yen (about $48,500), which would be roughly half the car's expected 72,000-euro (about $100,000) price tag in Europe. When we drove a Toyota fuel cell vehicle prototype in Japan, we learned that the car could cost as little as $50,000 in the U.S. Much of the decrease in cost comes from reducing the amount of platinum in the fuel cell catalyst. To help spread production costs, the FCV will share components like the electric motor and electronics with Toyota hybrids. However, the hydrogen-powered car won't share a platform with the next-gen Prius, as the fuel cell vehicle will be heavier and require a different body structure and layout, though the fuel cell stack will reportedly shrink to be able to fit underneath the front seats.

a blue car

In addition to the improved engineering, Toyota believes that larger production volumes will contribute to fuel cell savings. That makes meeting the automaker's sales goals critically important to future hydrogen-powered products from Toyota. By 2020, Toyota plans to "further reduce the cost of the fuel cell unit to one-fifth," according to Toyota R&D's Okudaira.

When it arrives in 2015, the FCV production model will join the Hyundai Tuscon fuel cell variant, which the Korean automaker plans to start leasing in Los Angeles starting next year. California recently passed a law to fund the construction of at least 100 public hydrogen filling stations by 2024, so here's hoping the infrastructure is sufficiently bolstered by the time the next wave of fuel cell vehicles arrives.

Source: Automotive New Europe (Subscription required)

Toyota FCV Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Toyota FCV Concept

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