The charge of the green brigade in the auto industry continues and Japanese automakers like Toyota and Honda seem to be heading it. Just last year Toyota showcased a concept of their hydrogen fuel cell sedan at the Toyota Motor Show and today, the company has revealed the exterior design as well as Japan pricing for the car.
The bright blue sedan, called the FCV concept, is shaped like a water droplet. The car will launch in Japan before April 2015, just as they had declared at its unveiling and preparations are underway for launches in the US and European markets in the summer of 2015.
In Japan, the fuel cell sedan will go on sale at Toyota and Toyopet dealerships, priced at approximately 7 million yen (MSRP; excludes consumption tax). Initially, sales will be limited to regions where hydrogen refueling infrastructure is being developed. US and Europe prices have not yet been decided. Likewise, more detailed information, such as specifications, exact prices and sales targets, will be announced later.
Fuel cell cars, which create the electricity that powers them by combining hydrogen with the oxygen in the atmosphere, have been held back by a variety of factors, including the high cost and a dearth of hydrogen filling stations. But now, with these cars becoming reality, these factors will soon be addressed. Fuel cell cars will give greater choice to consumers who are seeking engines that are easier on the environment, creating a potential rivalry with battery-powered electric vehicles. Toyota hopes that this car will be what the Prius is now.
The fuel cell sedan Toyota revealed today, for example, features performance similar to a gasoline engine vehicle, with a cruising range of approximately 700 km (according to Toyota measurements taken under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s JC08 test cycle) and a refuelling time of roughly three minutes. When driven, it emits only the water vapour produced by the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.
Fuel cell vehicles contribute to the diversification of automobile fuels, emit no CO2 or environmentally harmful substances during operation, and offer the convenience of gasoline-powered cars. Toyota believes they have a great deal of potential, and are ideal environment-friendly vehicles for promoting a sustainable mobility society. Toyota Group companies are also engaging in other hydrogen-related initiatives, such as developing and testing fuel cells for use in homes, and developing fuel cell forklifts and fuel cell buses.