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Toyota prices hydrogen car at $69,000 for Japan, U.S. model coming next summer

Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle is Toyota's hedge against battery-electric cars.

By Clifford Atiyeh Jun 25, 2014 1:35PM
Toyota's next hydrogen-powered car will cost the equivalent of $69,000 when it goes on sale in Japan later this year.

The FCV -- a temporary model name standing for fuel cell vehicle, which converts gaseous hydrogen in an on-board chemical reaction into electricity and water vapor -- is Toyota's first hydrogen-powered car built from the ground up. While Japanese executives have promised a 435-mile range based on their country's fuel economy tests, Toyota's American arm has quoted the FCV with a more realistic 300-mile range -- a feat that if true would outpace every battery-electric car on sale.

Toyota has made it clear, despite its strong leadership in hybrids, that it doesn't regard battery-electric cars as the solution to gasoline. Last month, when Toyota announced it was severing its contract with Tesla to finish off the RAV4 EV, North America CEO Jim Lentz said those cars were practical only for “short-range vehicles."

"But for long-range travel primary vehicles, we feel there are better alternatives, such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and tomorrow with fuel cells,” he said.
Toyota said the FCV would arrive at California dealers starting next summer. That kind of price would scare off most Toyota buyers, but not the well-heeled "early adopter" drivers in Southern California who are within the state's roughly 10 public hydrogen stations (there are just two more in the rest of the country).

The state government has promised $200 million through 2024 to fund up to 100 more public stations and Toyota has also said it would cover operational and maintenance costs for some of the new stations. So far, there is no firm U.S. price and production numbers (expected to be very small) haven't been announced.

Until then, Hyundai has begun leasing its Tucson Fuel Cell in California for $499 per month for 36 months, including all fuel and maintenance, while claiming a 265-mile range. Honda has finished California leases on its FCX Clarity and plans to introduce an all-new model next year.

Toyota has been leasing Highlander-based fuel-cell models in the U.S. and Japan for several years and has been developing fuel cell stacks and hydrogen technology since 1992. More hydrogen partnerships, spurred by the Department of Energy and between automakers such as Toyota and BMW, will net even more models by the decade's end.

[Source: Toyota]
Jun 27, 2014 2:23AM
Thirty years ago I attended a Petroleum engineering conference (plus many since then), and it was agreed to at that time, hydrogen was the fuel of the future.  So, is this a surprise....No.  The only problem was how to contain the pressurized gas so it does not turn into a bomb during a wreck.  Evidently, that problem has been solved.  Emission pollution is almost "zero" using hydrogen....
Jun 27, 2014 6:59AM
The hydrogen fuel cell has been around for a long time. (See Popular Mechanics 1956)  The BIGGEST REASON we have not gone there is MONEY,  How are you going to bend people over if they can produce their own electricity or fill their tank up with the garden hose!
Jun 27, 2014 4:40AM
Hydrogen Fuel Cells are not just a fad. Toyota firmly believes they will be the future of the automotive industry.
Jun 27, 2014 5:52AM
You asked for it, you got it, toyoda!  Maybe, just maybe total independence from middle east oil forever!
Jun 27, 2014 8:19AM

Alternatives and one is forcing anyone to buy an electric...or hybrid... or fuel cell vehicle.

Let the market decide.Maybe we end up with a variety of fuel types.

Give it a few years...plenty of people said they would NEVER own a color TV...then it was plasma (too expensive)...look at what we have thse days.

Remember when 30-35" inches was a HUGE TV?

Now even 65 is looking kinda small.LOL

Jun 27, 2014 11:11AM

Take a bunch of solar panels - hook them up to a bunch of copper wires (+ positive and - negative pairs) - put the wires up into inverted glass containers filled with water.  When the sun comes up - VOILA!  You get Hydrogen Gas in one container and Oxygen in another (the + and - electrodes).    It is called ELECTROLYSIS!

I did this "experiment" 50 years ago (only I used a dry cell battery instead of solar panels)!


Jun 27, 2014 5:38AM

 I've felt for some time now that hydrogen may be the only real alternative to gasoline in that it could be carried in a tank which could be refilled at dispersed supply stations. For awhile, one of the biggest problems was safety...there was a real danger of explosions. That has been addressed in numerous ways now.

 There is still one problem, however: production. Currently, the best method we have involves the use of fossil fuels and results in just as much CO2 released as if the fuel had been burned. Not much point in that. Wide scale nuclear energy from breeder-type plants to electrically "crack" the hydrogen from water would be a viable and "green" solution, though not terribly efficient and creates problems all it's own (such as what to do with a sudden, perpetual supply of plutonium).

 There are studies investigating the use of various catalysts and other methods for making the production of hydrogen both efficient and green but no one has really had a "Eureka!" break-through yet.

Jun 27, 2014 9:02AM
As soon as Hydrogen gets into the mainstream,  the price of a fill will go up.
How about a big windup spring?  I can afford that.

Jun 27, 2014 4:46PM
they should make a on demand hydrogen car where it makes it as u drive not have the corporations keep theirs hands in the cookie jar and overprice hydrogen like they do gasoline !!!!
Jun 27, 2014 8:13AM
Hydrogen might be the fuel of the future, but it is not the fuel of today, tomorrow, next year, or even the next decade. 
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