Report: Toyota to start fuel-cell vehicle sales by 2015

Toyota, the leader in the hybrid game, is now looking to takeover the hydrogen fuel-cell market. The Japanese automaker said that it is planning global sales of a few thousand fuel-cell vehicles by 2015 and that number will be limited due to the fueling architecture and the high price of the vehicles.

“We could expect a fuel cell vehicle to retail at about 100,000 euros ($138,000) in Europe,” said Toyota Europe Vice President for Product Planning & Marketing Alain Uyttenhoven.

The move is being made as automakers explore a range of new green technologies to help them meet tougher fuel-economy rules.

[slider id=97280]

“We see pure battery-powered vehicles to be just a solution for small trips in the city, while a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid is the best solution both for weekday urban commuting and weekend trips,” Uyttenhoven said.

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle will go on sale early next year.

Refresher: The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is powered by the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system used in the regular Prius – a 98-hp 1.8 liter 4-cylinder that runs on the Atkinson cycle and contributes to a maximum 134 total system horsepower. The system uses two electric motors, one 80-hp unit that works to power the  transaxle, and another smaller motor that works as the electric power source for battery regeneration and as a starter for the gas engine. A newly 4.4 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack replaces the standard Prius’ nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery and fits under the rear cargo floor. Reaching full-charge takes 2.5 to 3.0 hours using a 120v household outlet or 1.5 hours using a 240v outlet. Prices start at $32,000.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Automotive News