By on January 8, 2014


It doesn’t have a name yet, and the prototype that Toyota unveiled at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show was covered in camo, but the Japanese automaker promises that they will be selling a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in the United States next year. The company is claiming it will have a range of 300 miles and will refuel in less than five minutes. The Corolla sized sedan has been tested in North America’s hottest and coldest locations and Toyota says that the emissions free car will have an electric motor rated at greater than 100 kW (>130 hp) and be able to accelerate from zero to sixty miles an hour in about 10 seconds.

“We aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel; just everything necessary to make them turn,” said Bob Carter, Toyota’s senior VP in charge of U.S. auto operations. “For years, the use of hydrogen gas to power an electric vehicle has been seen by many smart people as a foolish quest. Yes, there are significant challenges. The first is building the vehicle at a reasonable price for many people. The second is doing what we can to help kick-start the construction of convenient hydrogen refueling infrastructure.”


Toyota’s not saying what the car will cost but it claims that it has significantly reduced the cost of building a fuel cell, approximately 95% in a little over a decade. Toyota spokeswoman Jana Hartline says that Toyota will give consumers “a variety of options” when the H2 FCV, including outright sale. That would make the Toyota FCV the first fuel cell vehicle available for purchase in the U.S. Honda has made fuel cell cars available but only on leases.


Besides the cost of the fuel cells, which typically use precious metals as catalysts, the other barrier to fuel cell vehicles in a lack of fueling stations, so while you’ll be able to buy a Toyota FCV, you’ll only be able to do that in California, which has at least a rudimentary hydrogen infrastructure. Toyota is working with UC Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Program to map out where additional stations should be placed, and based on their models, they say that an additional 68 hydrogen fueling stations will be needed when the cars go on sale.


California currently has nine public hydrogen fueling stations, mostly around Los Angeles and San Francisco. Another 19 are under development. The state of California has approved $200 million in funding to build hydrogen stations in the state in 2015 and another 20 stations are expected in 2016.

toyota-fuel-cell-vehicle-concept-14 (1)

Carter said that Toyota also plans to independently address the issue of fueling stations. “Stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen.”

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18 Comments on “Toyota Will Put Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle On Sale Next Year...”

  • avatar

    I have a hydrogen generator in my apartment here in South Korea. My electricity bill is usually around $10 USD and I use a LOT of power.

    If hydrogen can take off in homes and cars, I’m all for it. I hope this gains traction, no pun intended.

    • 0 avatar

      Last I saw, hydrogen cars can not be parked in an enclosed garage. H leaks out of tanks and, as the Hindenburg demonstrated, has explosive results.

      What’s the cost per mile for H fueled cars?

    • 0 avatar

      The big problem with hydrogen is not the fuel cell but transportation and storage of H2. In an apartment complex type use H2 isn’t transported, Natural gas is. Than it is cracked, heat is used for heating and H2 is not stored but used directly. For car use H2 needs to be compressed which waste a big amount of energy which makes battery EV more economical.

  • avatar

    The last number I heard puts the cost of this vehicle pretty close to a Tesla (in the $70k-$80k range), which is considerably less than the Honda which is over $100k. I will be extremely surprised if Toyota gets the price anywhere near the $40k or so price of EVs when they first hit the streets. Considering how few they will sell given how few fueling stations exist, there’s no way they can leverage mass production for the cost decrease.

    Even if Toyota does get the price down, I still think hydrogen is a fool’s errand for most vehicles. I am also not convinced that at some future point in time we won’t discover that all that water vapor produced by these vehicles is not a harmful emission. After all, CO2 was not considered a pollutant for decades.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “California currently has nine public hydrogen fueling stations, mostly around Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

    That’s 9, and there is one in the southeast US.

    Sorry Toyota, Hyundai, and anyone else trying this hairbrained scheme – it will fail. You’ll never match gasoline or electricity for infrastructure, and I see you’re trying to build the infrastructure on the public’s dollar.

    Besides, based on cost/mile, today’s H2-powered Honda Clarity gets the equivalent of 28 mpg gasoline. There is no compelling reason to buy such a car, when long-range EVs are cleaner, and gasoline is cheaper to run.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Solid oxide fuel cells that run directly on gasoline and that can get >=20kWh out of a gallon would be a game changer.

      But only at 10 cents per watt or thereabouts.

      • 0 avatar

        So a 90kW engine (60kW FC + 30kW boost battery) would cost something like $7.5k

        Weight is an unspoken question but you can go more expensive for performance cars

        Durability is also a question but trucking could also go higher

    • 0 avatar

      Short range EV are also cheaper to run especially with your claimed 28 mpg fuel cost equivalent for the Clarity. Upgrading the battery to short range EV size isn’t that expensive especially as it is already using the Prius battery but it would increase user friendliness considerable (pluging in the electric cord every evening is easier than going to the gas station every fortnight, especially with those rare H2 gas stations) But using electricity instead of H2 as fuel would lead to a much lesser need for tank stations and with that i don’t think you can sustain a deep infrastructure needed for common use of FCHV.

  • avatar

    Are we all sure they are not trying to sneak in a new Camry by hiding it as a alt fuel car?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Some post-war jet fighter concepts were ‘concealed’ out in the open by affixing propellers to their noses, so the Soviets wouldn’t figure out what they were. Maybe Toyota is doing the opposite – heh.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    So has Toyota gotten fuel cell costs down to 10 cents per watt, or is this another stunt?

  • avatar

    Those wheels on the blue one are comically small. It looks like a 1990 Citroen/Fiat offspring.

  • avatar

    I just don’t get why you’d want to fuel a vehicle with Hydrogen. In some far-off future where we have fusion-based power plants, and electrical generation is essentially free, Hydrogen is indeed an ideal fuel source.

    But until that distant day arrives, Hydrogen is a stupid fuel. There are two ways to generate Hydrogen: By electrolyzing water, like you did in middle-school science class. This is horribly inefficient. The other way (most common these days for commercial hydrogen production) is to crack it off of… drum roll plesae, Hydrocarbons. Which isn’t exactly going to make things one bit greener. And then you need to burn even more energy compressing the stuff for transport.

    EV’s are a cute idea, and I happen to think Volt-style hybrids are a pretty good balance. But Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles don’t actually solve any problems whatsoever.

  • avatar

    Will this hydrogen hybrid be a plug-in capable or can you only refuel it with hydrogen?

  • avatar

    I argued fervently with my grandfather over Christmas as to the future of power in this country. He argues it will be natural gas and LNG in cars. I argued hydrogen because it’s zero emissions. He wouldn’t hear it though.

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