Toyota claims it has helped lower the price of building fuel-cell-powered vehicles by up to 90%. With that in mind, the recently-tarnished Japanese manufacturer thinks it will be able to release a hydrogen car in the $50,000 range by 2015 (a time frame other manufacturers are playing by, as well).
According to Bloomberg, Toyota's first attempt at a retail hydrogen vehicle will be a four-door with the range of a conventionally (i.e. gasoline) powered car. However, Toyota isn't there yet.
Even though the brand has brought costs down from close to a million dollars per vehicle, Toyota "would need to cut current costs by about half before starting retail sales" according to Yoshihiko Masuda, Managing Director for Toyota's advanced vehicles.
The primary issue lies with covering costs, something hydrogen technology has failed to do. If Toyota can get the car to market (and offer a more affordable one, as they have suggested), it could be a huge step in getting more people on the hydrogen fuel train (ultimately leading to more investments and lower costs).
Some of the companies already onboard include GM and Honda. GM has 100 fuel-cell powered Equinox SUVs that it "loans to individuals and fleets" and Honda has been leasing its FCX Clarity to a select few customers in California since 2008.
As for expected response to a $50,000 hydrogen Toyota, Masuda says the market would likely be small. But that's always how it starts, isn't it? Baby steps. And no sticky accelerators.
By Phil Alex
*Photos: Toyota FCHV-adv , Via: Bloomberg