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Toyota US bumps fuel-cell forecast

2014-01-07 08:38

US TARGET FOR FUEL-CELL CARS: Toyota has announced at the 2014 CES expo in Las Vegas that it expects to sell more hydrogen-fuelled electric cars in the US than previously planned. Image: TOYOTA

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Toyota has announced at the CES expo here that it expects to sell more hydrogen-fuelled electric cars in the US than previously planned, with California as the first target market.

The car, which Toyota calls FCV for now, uses hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity to charge a battery pacl which in turn drives one or more electric motors. Water vapour is the only "exhaust gas".

Toyota said the FCV would go on sale in the US in 2015 but rival automakers Hyundai and Honda also plan to sell hydrogen-fuelled cars in the US by then.

...AND THE PRICES

Bob Carter, a senior vice-president for automotive operations with Toyota Motor Sales USA said the US branch of Toyota recently increased its request for vehicles to sell in the US. A claimed 95% cut in production costs from the prototype would help Toyota make fuel cell cars at "a reasonable price for a lot of people".

Toyota has promised to sell its fuel-cell cars for the equivalent (Jan 2014) of R500 000 to R1-million, "aiming for the lower end of the range".

Toyota said the car would have a range of about 480km and could fill its hydrogen tank in three to five minutes.

Working with researchers at the University of California,

Toyota said the first 10 000 vehicles could be supported by "only' 68 fuel stations from San Francisco to San Diego; it also noted that California had approved $200-million to build about 20 hydrogen stations by 2015, 40 by 2016 and 100 by 2024.

"This infrastructure thing is going to happen," Carter said.

Researchers estimated where likely FCV buyers would need hydrogen stations and planned to put them within six minutes of their home or work.

"We don't need a station on every corner," Carter said.
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