Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could be relatively affordable once Toyota starts trying to sell them.
Prototypes in the automakers fleet cost around $1 million per vehicle, but one of the brand’s top engineers said today that those costs have decreased to five percent of what they used to be. Said simply, that means it will cost about $50,000 to make one of the alternative fuel vehicles, which could make them commercially viable if other factors don’t get in the way.
The road to retail sales won’t be easy. Infrastructure limitations will confine initial sales to California and New York and the cost for consumers t buy one is likely to reach closer to $100,000. Consumers already struggle with electric cars around the $40,000 mark.
But that’s true for more than one reason. Aside from the high initial cost of ownership, electric cars aren’t usually very practical. They tend to be small, they’re slow to refuel and they usually only travel about 100 miles before needing juice.
Hydrogen fuel cells will be able to power larger, heavier vehicles, will refuel faster and will be able to travel much greater distances. For example, Toyota’s fuel cell prototypes based on the Highlander can travel about 440 miles.
Those won’t be offered to the public in 2015 when Toyota plans to start initial sales. Instead, the Japanese maker will offer a car similar in shape to the Prius, and close to the FCV-R concept (above) shown during the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
[Source: Automotive News]
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