Toyota Motor Corp. is looking beyond lithium-ion batteries to power environment-friendly cars as the Japanese carmaker recently told financial news company Bloomberg it has cut the production cost to make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 90 percent and will introduce its first hydrogen-powered sedan by 2015.
According to the report, Toyota managing director for advanced autos Yoshihiko Masuda said the company has cut down the cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to around $100,000--one-tenth of the cost of a fuel cell vehicles. Toyota, however, said it would have to cut production cost by 50 percent more before hydrogen-powered cars can become viable for production.
"Our target is, we don't lose money with introduction of the vehicle," Masuda said. "Production cost should be covered within the price of the vehicle."
According to Bloomberg, hydrogen vehicles are "typically larger and offer greater range and faster fueling than battery models." Although a few hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are already running on public streets, these are all test fleets as the lack of fuel stations, high production costs and limited durability have hampered their entry into the market.
Like the first-generation Prius, Toyota isn't expecting its hydrogen fuel cell sedan to immediately catch on with the public as Masuda said its initial market would probably be "small, but with some support."
It isn't just Toyota that's jumping on the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle pack. Other carmakers like General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai have all said they will be ready to market fuel cell vehicles by 2015.