Toyota Will Put Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle On Sale Next Year

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
toyota will put hydrogen fuel cell vehicle on sale next year

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.

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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2 of 18 comments
  • Charly Charly on Jan 08, 2014

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

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 09, 2014

    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.

  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
  • Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.
  • Arthur Dailey Love the Abe Rothstein tribute suits. Too bad about the car. Seems to have been well loved for most of its life.
  • K. R. Worth noting that the climate control is shared with (donated to) the Audi 5000 of the mid-late 1980s.