Toyota unveils prototype vehicle running on hydrogen fuel

October 15, 2013 0 By Tami Hood

Hydrogen fuel powers new Toyota prototype

Japanese automaker Toyota has officially unveiled the prototype for its hydrogen-powered vehicles. The automaker has taken a strong interest in hydrogen fuel and how it can be used in transportation. Toyota joins several others in the auto industry that have been working to develop hydrogen-powered vehicles and many of these companies plan to release these vehicles to the global market beginning in 2015. Toyota notes that it has made significant progress in its endeavors to make its next generation vehicles somewhat affordable.

Vehicle based on Lexus, Corolla, and Prius design

The automaker’s hydrogen-powered vehicle is based on the Lexus HS 250h as well as the company’s popular Corolla and Prius vehicles. Toyota has been testing what has been speculated as a hydrogen-powered Lexus in the deserts of California for some time, but the automaker has kept information concerning such tests under wraps. The automaker has been inviting journalists from around the world to test drive its new hydrogen-powered vehicle, hoping to generate some hype for the vehicle’s inevitable launch.

Toyota - Hydrogen FuelToyota cuts cost of production

According to Toyota, the cost of its next generation vehicle has been cut by nearly $1 million. Hydrogen fuel may be popular within the auto industry, but many automakers have expressed concern regarding the cost of fuel cells. Developing a vehicle that makes use of a hydrogen fuel cell is an expensive endeavor because most automakers have taken to developing their own fuel cell technology. Fuel cells are notoriously expensive themselves due to their use of platinum and other expensive materials. Toyota, however, claims to have cut the cost of production down significantly, which may put the automaker’s hydrogen-powered vehicle on track to cost approximately $51,000.

Lack of infrastructure may slow adoption

Toyota expects to ship thousands of its hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2020, but finding initial success may be somewhat difficult. Most promising markets in the world lack a comprehensive hydrogen fuel infrastructure, which could make some consumers leery of purchasing vehicles that use hydrogen as a fuel. Without an infrastructure, hydrogen-powered vehicles are not expected to perform well in any given market.