Friday, October 11, 2013
Toyota Unveils Fuel Cell Sedan Prototype
NAGOYA (Nikkei)--Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) gave the media its first look at a prototype of a fuel-cell-powered sedan, having brought the technology a step closer to reality by miniaturizing key components.
Until now, the automaker's fuel cell prototypes were based on sport utility vehicles. By reducing the size of the equipment that generates electricity from hydrogen, Toyota was able to install the component under the seats instead of in the engine compartment. And the sedan has two hydrogen tanks instead of four.
While lowering the costs of key components by downsizing them, Toyota also improved the car's performance through technological innovations. The sedan's drivability at high speeds is comparable to cars powered by 2.5-liter gasoline engines, according to a Toyota official.
The prototype traveled 322km from the firm's headquarters in Aichi Prefecture to Tokyo earlier this week without refueling. Based on the amount of hydrogen left in its tanks, the vehicle has an estimated range of 650km, according to the automaker.
Toyota plans to begin selling fuel cell sedans in Japan, the U.S. and Europe in 2015. Although it has not disclosed prices, it has reduced the cost of the fuel cell system to about a tenth of those used in SUVs, which are estimated at almost 100 million yen. It aims to sell fuel cell cars at between 3-5 million yen in the 2020s, said a company official.
(The Nikkei, Oct. 11 morning edition)