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Toyota Plans Fuel Cell Launch Within Three Years

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On: Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 11:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Plans Fuel Cell Launch Within Three Years

Despite the fact that only a handful of hydrogen fuel stations exist in the United States, automakers are slowly moving forward with fuel cell vehicles. Toyota has reiterated plans to launch a fuel cell vehicle in 2015.

Sort of a split between an electric vehicle and fuel vehicle, fuel cell models use an electrochemical reaction to create electricity for powering the motor from hydrogen. The hydrogen is purchased at fueling stations, similar to gas, and fuel cell vehicles can get several hundred miles per fill-up. Hydrogen and oxygen combine to create the electricity, and the only emissions come in the form of water vapor.

Inside Line quotes Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., as saying, "Specifically, we're developing a lineup that includes a hydrogen fuel-cell sedan in 2015." He made the comment during a speech at the 2012 Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars.

Lentz didn't offer any details on the fuel cell vehicle, but past information suggests that it could retail in the $50K ballpark and offer a driving range similar to a gasoline car. Toyota showed the FCV-R fuel cell concept at last year's Tokyo Motor Show. It said the model was capable of driving up to 430 miles thanks to its high-pressure hydrogen tank. At the time, it mentioned bringing a fuel cell vehicle to market within four years, and Lentz's words confirm that that's still the plan.

What's not clear is in what capacity Toyota will launch the fuel cell car. Honda already has the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle on the road, but it's been limited to about 200 leasees in southern California, according to its website.


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