This could finally make hydrogen cars affordable.
While many automakers are betting their futures on EVs and hybrids, Toyota believes that hydrogen fuel cell technology may be the ideal propulsion system for the future. Hydrogen technology isn't just a technology of the future, Toyota actually sells a hydrogen vehicle called the Mirai, which has an impressive range of 300 miles. It sounds great, but the Mirai is pretty expensive with a starting price of $58,365. Speaking to Reuters, Toyota talked about its plans to invest heavily in hydrogen power to help bring down the cost.
The next-generation Mirai is scheduled for a release in the early 2020s, and Toyota hopes it can prove the viability of hydrogen by then. The Mirai is currently hand-built, which may attribute to its high cost. "We're going to shift from limited production to mass production, reduce the amount of expensive materials like platinum used in FCV components, and make the system more compact and powerful," said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai. Toyota currently has 13 technicians inspecting the Mirais, and only 6.5 are built per day.
A source close to Toyota says the Mirai will be joined by other hydrogen models - including a range of SUVs, pickup trucks, and commercial vehicles - by 2025. Toyota didn't comment on future product plans but did confirm that it would begin to build small hydrogen delivery vehicles. "We're going to use as many parts from existing passenger cars and other models as possible in fuel cell trucks," said Ikuo Ota, manager of new business planning for fuel cell projects at Toyota. "Otherwise, we won't see the benefits of mass production." As Toyota builds more hydrogen vehicles, the cost will decrease, making the technology more affordable for consumers.