Toyota fuel cell vehicle debut set for 2015

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are something auto manufacturers continue to kick around with the promise they might actually see significant numbers on the road someday.

Now Toyota, according to MotorTrend, says it is on course for a 2015 fuel cell car, and that it will be a sedan.

The FCV-R concept, which we first reported on when it debuted at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, is described as having the hydrogen fuel cell unit beneath the car’s specially designed body. This allows it to accommodate up to four people as well as their luggage. In terms of dimensions, the car measures around 187 inches and is around 70 inches wide.

What’s really impressive about the hydrogen fuel cell technology in this car is the stated range, which Toyota pegs at 435 miles or so. The automaker said it has resolved technical challenges of fuel cell vehicles such as the FCV-R, and is now close to overcoming issues related to mass production, such as cost reductions, size and weight issues and improving the durability of the fuel cells themselves.

As for what one of these cars might cost, Toyota at one time said it would be reasonable to see the first such fuel cell car retail around $50,000. 

Even as it figures out final costs and the like, the company through the history of its research in this area has been making use of test pilot programs such as putting more than 100 Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle – Advanced (FCHV-adv) vehicles in a nationwide demonstration project that we mentioned back in 2010. They’ve been noted for having a range of around 431 miles, which is close in value to the FCV-R.

Besides Toyota, others who’ve dabbled in hydrogen fuel cell vehicle development include Hyundai and Opel. The latter, GM’s European subsidiary, announced last year its test fleet of these types of cars had already passed the two million mile mark.

Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling