Toyota Aims to Produce a $50k Hydrogen Car by 2015


Fifty grand is a hefty chunk of change for a lumbering, presumably beige Toyota. But fifty stacks isn’t too bad if said lumbering, presumably beige Toyota is powered by Hydrogen and emits only water vapor from its tailpipe.

Toyota announced it has reduced the cost of constructing fuel-cell powered vehicles by 90 percent over the past few years. The company hopes to cut that production cost by another 50 percent in the coming years and plans to sell its first fuel-cell vehicle for $50,000 by 2015.

Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have cost as much as $1 million to produce even in recent years. Because of these astronomical production costs most manufacturers of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles declined to offer them for sale to the public. These cars were often nothing more than high-tech public relations campaigns. Toyota plans to turn this around.

“Our target is, we don’t lose money with introduction of the vehicle,” Yoshihiko Masuda, Toyota’s managing director for advanced autos, said. “Production cost should be covered within the price of the vehicle.”

Toyota isn’t the only car manufacturer to claim they’ll be offering affordable fuel-cell vehicles to the public soon. Honda, Daimler AG, and Hyundai have claimed they’ll be offering fuel-cell vehicles to the public by 2015 as well.

Hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles cost so much to produce because hydrogen is such a wily element – its molecules are so small that it easily leaks through most materials that vehicles are commonly manufactured from. Currently, platinum is integral in the manufacture of hydrogen powered vehicles. Any poor sucker with a high-maintenance lady will tell you that “platinum” and “cheap” are words that have never met.

Toyota and a number of other auto manufacturers have been cutting the amount of platinum used per fuel-cell vehicle over the past few years and are working to cut it even further in order to make mass-scale production of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles a real possibility.

Source: Bloomberg