Toyota sees 5 to 10,000 fuel cell sales a year as a healthy target image

The Japanese company is confident that fuel cell vehicles will be priced competitive against other zero-emission cars before 2030, according to Soichiro Okudaira, chief officer, R&D Group.

Toyota, who unveiled at the Tokyo auto show last month the production version of its FCV Concept, hopes that, when the car goes on sale in early 2015, big reductions in the cost of fuel cells will help it sell between 5,000 and 10,000 units.

“Beyond 2020… fuel cell cars will be considered just one alternative of the eco cars,” Okudaira said.

Although when the company built demonstration vehicles in 2007 each fuel cell system cost nearly 750,000 euros, it now expects the cost of the system will be less than 5 million yen (35,900 euro) by 2015, or about half the car’s 72,000-euro price tag.

“First we need to simplify the system, then share parts with combustion engines, reduce the use of precious metals and reduce the quantity of material used to build the tank,” Tatsuaki Yokoyama, a general manager of Toyota’s fuel cell system engineering division said.

Toyota believes larger production volumes and improved engineering will contribute to future fuel cell cost savings. Also, sharing components with the company’s existing hybrids, including a motor and electronics, has also contributed to lower costs. However, the production sedan will not share a platform with the next-generation Prius, because the fuel cell vehicle is heavier and has a different underbody structure and layout.

Via Automotive News Europe