At a media event held in Tokyo today, Toyota Motor Corporation revealed the exterior design and Japan pricing of its hydrogen Fuel Cell Sedan, first unveiled as a concept at the Tokyo Motor Show last year.
The car will launch in Japan before April 2015, and preparations are underway for launches in the U.S. 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 refuelling infrastructure is being developed. Europe and U.S. prices have not yet been decided. Likewise, more detailed information, such as specifications, exact prices and sales targets, will be announced later.
Toyota's commitment to environment-friendly vehicles is based on three basic principles: embracing diverse energy sources; developing efficient, low-emission vehicles; and driving real and positive environmental change by popularizing these vehicles.
Hydrogen is a particularly promising alternative fuel. It can be produced from a wide variety of primary energy sources—including solar power and wind power—and is easy to store and transport. When compressed, it has a higher energy density than batteries. In addition to its potential as a fuel for home and automotive use, hydrogen could be used in a wide range of applications, including large-scale power generation.
Toyota has been developing fuel cell vehicles in-house for more than 20 years. Toyota's fuel cell system includes a proprietary FC Stack, which generates electricity from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and high-pressure hydrogen tanks. In 2002, Toyota began leasing the "Toyota FCHV", a fuel cell SUV, on a limited basis in Japan and the U.S.
Significant improvements have been made to the FC system since 2002. The fuel cell sedan Toyota revealed today, for example, features performance and a cruising range similar to a gasoline engine vehicle and a refueling time of roughly three minutes. When driven, it emits only the water vapor 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.
Karl Schlicht, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Europe said: "We are very excited by the arrival of Fuel Cell technology. Of course, there are many challenges ahead, such as the availability of fuelling infrastructure and customer awareness. But our history with hybrid gives us all the experience we need to launch a new technology to the market. In Europe, we will be taking it step by step, gradually introducing the car in selected markets. But we are confident that going forward, hydrogen will become increasingly popular as a way of powering vehicles."
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.