Toyota looking beyond hybrids, will start fuel cell sales by 2015

Article by Christian A., on November 7, 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. will soon be known for more than just its hybrids as it has plans that by 2015, a few thousand units of its hydrogen-burning fuel cell will go on sale worldwide. The world’s largest automaker said that sales will be limited due to the high price of this vehicle.

Toyota Europe Vice President for Product Planning & Marketing Alain Uyttenhoven said that a fuel cell vehicle is expected to sell at around 100,000 euros in Europe.

JATO Dynamics said that automakers are working on a broad range of green technologies to enable them to comply with stricter EU emissions rules that will demand that by 2015, the average CO2 from cars has to be 130 grams per kilometer.

This could go as low as 95g/km by 2020. This is a significant drop from about 146g/km in 2010. He explained that for short trips in the city, the solution is pure battery-powered vehicles.

'But for weekday urban commuting and weekend trips, the best would be a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid. In 2012, Toyota will start selling the plug-in hybrid version of the Prius, which can be driven 23km in pure electric mode while the non-plug-in Prius could only go 2 km.

Uyttenhoven said that its research shows that over 80% of urban daily trips are less than 20km. Toyota has yet to reveal the pricing of the plug-in Prius but it did say that it will cost about 7,000 euros higher than a comparably equipped standard Prius, which is priced from 27,750 euros in Germany. [source: Autonews]

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