Toyota may have brought yet another hybrid concept to Geneva, and may we have moaned again about their obsession with flogging hybrid cars. But we can’t argue they haven’t made a success of turning car buyers on to hybrid cars, however futile a long-term route we may think it is.
But it seems Toyota do agree with us on electric cars with no plans to throw their weight behind the EV in a big way, but they are gearing up to try and do with hydrogen fuel cell cars what they’ve done with hybrid cars, and are expecting to be selling tens of thousands of fuel cell powered cars a year by 2020.
Toyota plan to start real world trials of its hydrogen fuel cell powered FCV-R in Japan this year, followed by further trials in Europe and the USA, ahead of a full launch of the mass-market Toyota FRC-V in 2015.
What makes the announcement by Toyota that they don’t see hydrogen fuel cell powered cars as just a token punt at a future alternative but a viable mass-market option will not only galvanise other car makers in to moving more quickly with their own fuel cell projects – they made the mistake of letting Toyota have the hybrid market to itself for too long – but should make investors consider the viability of creating a refuelling infrastructure a more certain gamble.
Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai also have plans for mass-market hydrogen cars in the pipeline, and the revelation by Toyota that it plans on building and selling tens of thousands a year will doubtless see other car companies re-doubling their efforts.
In fact, Toyota aren’t just planning a hydrogen fuel cell car future but are also working on fuel cells for buses and forklifts and its Aisin Seiki parts affiliate is developing new fuel cells.
Source: FT (sub required)