Toyota FCV To Begin Production In December: Report Photo:
2013_toyota_fcv_hydrogen_concept_04 Photo: tmr
2013_toyota_fcv_hydrogen_concept_02 Photo: tmr
2013_toyota_fcv_hydrogen_concept_01 Photo: tmr
2013_toyota_fcv_hydrogen_concept_03 Photo: tmr
Tony O'Kane | Jun, 10 2014 | 2 Comments

Toyota will reportedly commence production of its first-ever mass market fuel cell vehicle, the FCV, in December of this year.

And according to Japan Times, the Japanese auto giant is preparing to forge ahead with its plans for a production fuel cell vehicle, even though the specialised hydrogen refuelling infrastructure needed to keep them gassed up is still in its infancy.

The first production FCVs will be sold in Japan and select states in the USA, with the cost of an FCV in Japan expected to be around ¥8 million (AU$83,500).

That's a hefty price for a Corolla-sized four-door, zero-emissions or not, but Toyota is hoping to drop the cost of entry to somewhere between ¥3 million ($31,320) and ¥5 million ($52,190) next decade, as hydrogen cars transition from new tech to mainstream.

What will happen on the infrastructure side remains to be seen.

Toyota has declared in the past that it won't branch out into the business of supplying hydrogen, and the expectation is that the existing fuel industry will adjust to cater for demand.

The cost of hydrogen is another factor that will determine the popularity of fuel cell vehicles.

Though electric cars have markedly less range (and a much longer "refueling" time), hydrogen filling stations are currently hard to find - even in green-friendly states like California - and the gas itself is relatively expensive compared to electricity.

However, the Californian government has commited to increasing the footprint of hydrogen fuel stations, releasing more than $200 million in funding for 20 new stations to be built in 2015, with the eventual goal to have around 100 stations by 2024.

The projected range of the production FCV is estimated to be around 480km on a single tank.

The FCV won't be Toyota's first foray into the world of hydrogen-powered road cars though. From 2002, a limited run of experimental fuel cell SUVs were leased in North America and Japan, based on the first-generation Toyota Highlander (Kluger in Australia).

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