Yoshikazu Tanaka, Toyota's deputy chief engineer and the man in charge of the FCV project - the latest iteration of which was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show this week - says the hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle is the car for the next 100 years.
"We want this car to trigger the growth of fuel-cell vehicles to the level of the current hybrid, the Prius level, and that's why we're building this car," he said.
Mr Tanaka told TMR that Toyota plans to have the FCV on sale as a genuine production vehicle by 2015. The ambition is to be selling tens of thousands of units a year within a decade.
"This car has a 700km range of a single tank, it's completely zero emission, and it only takes three minutes to charge this car to its full capacity - that's a big advantage over electric vehicles," he said.
"Furthermore, it mixes hydrogen with oxygen to create a chemcail reaction and that's how we generate power, from electricity, we are not burning or combusting anything, so no energy is lost as heat, so it's very efficient.
"That's why Toyota wanted to bring this technology into reality as early as possible. That's why we are expediting this technology."
Mr Tanaka said he accepted that infrastructure would be a problem for the FCV, which will only go on sale in Japan, selected European and American states. Local Toyota spokespeople predicted it could be more than a decade before the FCV made any kind of impact in Australia.
"But it's a chicken and egg situation," Mr Tanaka said.
"If we realise this car and people really love this car, then that will have an influence on infrastructure," he said.
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