Toyota has just announced they will be offering a new hydrogen-powered automobile in the next year. The vehicle will be available for sale in the United States, Japan and Europe.
The Toyota FCV sedan will go on sale in Japan in April 2015, and will retail for $69,000. The model will be introduced to Europe and the United States, sometime in 2015. The vehicle is expected to run between 300 and 400 miles on a single tank of fuel before it needs re-fueling.
Hydrogen has the potential to become a clean-burning fuel for vehicles and power plants. Emissions from the engines consist of nothing but pure water vapor. The fuel can be quickly and easily produced using solar or wind power. Toyota officials told the press the FCV will take just three minutes to fuel up, on par with gasoline stations.
However, there is little infrastructure available for the next-generation automobiles. The first drivers of hydrogen-fueled vehicles could find it difficult to find a filing station. Japan has already started investing in hydrogen-fueling stations.
The significant cost of the FCV could also prove to be a hurdle for widespread adoption of the new technology. Although less-expensive than the competing Model S from Tesla Motors, the model is still far more expensive than electric vehicles. Subsidies, like those given for electric cars, could help reduce the price for many of the first owners.
Toyota has been developing hydrogen-fueled cars for more than a decade. This marks the first of the vehicles designed for sale to the general public.