After months of hype, Toyota has unveiled its 2015 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Sedan, the first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle to go on sale in the world. Based on the Hydrogen Fuel Cell concept car unveiled by Toyota at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, it will go on sale in Japan next year at an approximate price of ¥7 million (£40, 464, $68,703, or €50,482).
Unveiled this morning at a special press conference in Tokyo, Japan, the Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan will initially be sold in Japan, with sales due to start in specific U.S. and European markets next summer. Other markets will follow as specific areas or countries develop their hydrogen fuel refilling infrastructure.
Despite being less than a year from launch, Toyota has yet to give its first ever Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle a name. Nor has it offered any concrete specifications for the vehicle, something it says will follow in due course. As a consequence, Toyota is only willing to cite price as being ‘around’ ¥7 million, something which may change between markets and with final vehicle specification.
The idea however, is clear. At the ¥7 million mark, Toyota is essentially underwriting a large portion of the development costs of its early hydrogen fuel cell vehicle cars in the same way it underwrote its now famous Prius family of hybrids. Although its cost will certainly exclude a large portion of the car-buying public, its price sits well within the price range of other high-end and niche-market vehicles.
As for range, performance and capabilities? Toyota hasn’t laid out anything specific, but we do know from the FCV Concept unveiled last year at the Tokyo Motor show that the car Toyota’s FCV Sedan is based on had a claimed range of around 435 miles on the Japanese JC08 test cycle from a tank full (12 pounds) of hydrogen fuel. Given how overly optimistic the JC08 test cycle is, we’d guess a more realistic range to be somewhere between 350 and 400 miles per fill.
The concept car supposedly managed 106 mph, with 0-60 times still a mystery. We’d expect the production version to match that.
Looking a little like a futuristic, taller version of the popular Prius hatchback with a massive three-part lower grille, the new unnamed Toyota FCV certainly stands out from the crowd. Aside form the aforementioned grille and its sweeping lines from headlights to wing mirrors, part of that is due to its sheer size.
That size, say many in the industry, is simply due to the large amount of equipment that’s needed to make the FCV feasible. As well as the 100 kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell stack — which lives under the front seats — there’s a large, 100 kilowatt electric motor and power electronics under the hood, a small electric battery pack, and not one but two hydrogen fuel cell tanks to fit in.
Naturally, we’ll be bringing you more information as we have it, but we’re keen to know what you think of the production version of this as-yet unnamed Hydrogen Fuel Cell car?
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