It’s just been officially confirmed that Toyota will begin production of their first commercial hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in December of this year. We’d heard that Toyota was aiming for a 2015 launch date, so it seems that things are moving faster than expected.
The news comes from The Japan Times, who offered a few more details about the hydrogen fuel-cell car’s release. Apparently, Toyota will actually begin production about halfway through December so that they can have their first FCVs on showroom floors just in time for Christmas.
For those of you who’re new to Toyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell hype train, the car that they’ll bring to market will be based on the Toyota FCV Concept (pictured above). If you’re willing to go back a ways, we saw the first iteration of the FCV Concept all the way back in 2011 as the FCV-R. The most recent, and most relevant, iteration of the FCV Concept was first seen at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show last November.
What kind of amazing fuel economy can you expect from Toyota’s first hydrogen car? Its total driving range is estimated to be about 435 miles with a top speed of 106 mph. The hydrogen-powered electric motor will likely output something around 135 hp – the perfect amount for responsive city driving.
The production Toyota FCV will go on sale for roughly ¥8,000,000, which is around $78,000 for our US readers. However, Toyota doesn’t plan to keep its FCV-based vehicle priced that high for long: Prices will likely drop bit by bit over the next five or six years until the next FCV debuts for less than half the price of the original “in the 2020s”. Toyota specifically said they’d like to hit the ¥3,000,000 mark ($29,250), but ¥5,000,000 ($48,775) is a more realistic goal. At this price point Toyota feels it would be easy to boost sales and expand production capacity.
Speaking of production, Toyota hasn’t made any mention of where their FCV-based vehicle will, or won’t, first go on sale. Since the car will be manufactured at the Motomachi plant in the Toyota, Aichi Prefecture in Japan, we know it’ll be available there. However, Toyota hasn’t given us any recent updates about when and where the hydrogen car will make it onto international shores. We’re hoping it’ll be by the end of 2014, but nothing’s set in stone.
Really, the problem isn’t whether or not Toyota can manufacture enough hydrogen cars to meet a high international demand. The thing that would keep Toyota from offering a US or EU FCV is the lack of refueling infrastructure. Even in California, hydrogen refueling stations are few and far between. However, Toyota has shown that a comprehensive, nationwide hydrogen-refueling infrastructure would be 4x cheaper to build than the electric charging infrastructure that’d be necessary for the widespread use of EVs.
Either way, we’ll keep you updated as soon as we know more about where Toyota’s first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will be available. In the meantime, we’re just glad that Toyota is moving ahead of schedule… We’d originally expected to see the first production FCV at Christmas of 2015, so Toyota is moving a full year faster than anticipated if they can manage to meet their December goal.leave a response, trackback from your own site