It’s not every day that you’re literally shown the future, but Toyota did just that at a private unveiling in Japan of their forthcoming hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle. While the nameless, verdant vehicle shows promise of a world devoid of both carbon emissions and lengthy EV charging times, the question we ask is, “Where’s the infrastructure?”
It takes nearly $1M to install a working hydrogen refueling station, and while we don’t currently have any here in the St. Louis metro area, hydrogen stations are planned to spring up along the coastlines, and perhaps we’ll see the same sort of investment close to home from companies like Shell (who operates a very well established network of petroleum refueling stations across St. Louis and Southern Illinois). It’s also notable that hydrogen is expected to cost roughly 2/3 that of the equivilant amount of gasoline, so the price of fuel is right.
But what about the price of the car? While other automakers are betting on lease-only pricing structures with seemingly no purchase option, Toyota is bucking the trend by offering the vehicle for actual sale – not just on lease – to prospective customers. The last time Toyota made such a bet, it was with the Toyota Prius… which is now the market share leader globally among hybrid vehicles.
Oh… the price. Remember – only the price in Japan has been revealed, and it’s roughly $70,000 USD after conversion.
The Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle will arrive in Japanese showrooms April 2015 with global availability (including the US) by June or July 2015.
The vehicle pictured in this post is NOT a concept! It’s production-spec, and we really dig the throwback styling reminiscent of the first car Toyota sold on our shores, the Toyopet Crown (see it in the roof profile and rear fenders?).
Source: Toyota USA