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Toyota unveils Fuel Cell Vehicle in Colorado

The Toyota hydrogen fuel cell car could debut be in the U.S. market in 2015.

Seventeen years after the Toyota Prius became the first mass-produced hybrid car, Toyota is leading automotive innovation again. Its zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric car will makes it North American debut June 27 at the Aspen Idea Festival.

With previous exterior details of the car, currently named the FCV, announced recently in Japan, the North American unveiling is the precursor to the car’s mainstream release.

Interior features, along with the vehicle’s name, volume, and full specifications will be released later.

Toyota has also announced the FCV will go on sale in the Japan domestic market before April 2015. It will debut in the summer 2015 in Europe and in California.

The Toyota hydrogen fuel cell car could debut be in the U.S. market in 2015.
The Toyota hydrogen fuel cell car could debut be in the U.S. market in 2015.

The sedan will be priced in the Japan domestic market at approximately 7 million yen, or at more than $68,000 based on current exchange rates.

“This is a zero-emission electric-drive, mid-size four-door sedan” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “It produces sufficient electrical power to spin the electric motor for about 300 miles on a single fill-up which takes three to five minutes. This is going to be a very special vehicle. And we believe we can bring it in at a very reasonable price for a lot of people.”

The announcement builds on Toyota’s existing efforts to provide customers with access to hydrogen refueling stations when the vehicle arrives in California.

In May, the company announced a financial relationship with First Element Fuels to support the long-term operation and maintenance of 19 new hydrogen refueling stations across the state.

“The success of fuel cell technology will depend less on the genius of the car, than on the ownership experience,” said Carter. “Stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen.”

Fuel cell vehicles use an electric drivetrain whose power is generated from the chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. The only waste the cars emit is water vapor, making them zero-emissions vehicles.

California law requires 15 percent of all new cars sold in the state by 2025 to be zero-emission. Fuel cell vehicles offer buyers a compelling alternative to plug-in electric vehicles.

Instead of batteries, fuel cell vehicles pull compressed hydrogen from a tank onboard the car. The car will have a range of around 430 miles, and the tank refills in about three minutes.

Hydrogen has a higher energy density than batteries, and can be produced using wind or solar power, according to Toyota.

Hyundai currently offers a fuel cell version of its Tucson crossover for lease in California

Honda is also hoping to debut is fuel cell vehicle in 2015.

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