Toyota plans to sell a fuel cell vehicle in the following 3 years, becoming the leader in a technology that the other automakers plan to reach in about 10 years.
Toyota believes that its plan to sell a fuel cell sedan in 2015 can be accomplished. Justin Ward, advanced powertrain program manager at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, said the vehicle will most likely be sold in California, which plans to have 68 hydrogen fueling stations in the following three years. The model will be available both for commercial and retail sale.
Since 2008 Honda has sold a few units of its FCX Clarity fuel cell-electric car, most of them in California. Other car makers, such as Chrysler, Volkswagen, GM and Ford, consider fuel cell cars part of their future plans and were not able to say when such a vehicle will get on the market.
“We don’t see it as early as Toyota does,” said Oliver Schmidt, general manager of engineering with the VW Group. “We see it in the 2020 timeframe.”
Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of powertrain engineering, said that the question is not when such vehicles will be on the market but when they will be affordable to customers. He estimates than in about 10 years fuel cell vehicles will be as affordable full battery vehicles.