While we still have many years ahead of us for fuel-cell vehicles to become a practical and affordable alternative to gasoline- and diesel-powered models, automakers are edging closer and closer to that goal.
On Tuesday, during the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna Niguel, California, Chris Hostetter, group vice president of strategic planning for Toyota USA, told Automotive News that the brand’s production version of the 2011 FCV-R fuel-cell concept should cost between $50,000 and $100,000 when it goes on sale in the States in 2015.
Hostetter pointed out that the cost of a completed hydrogen fuel cell prototype will have dropped from around $1 million a piece several years ago to somewhere around $50,000 for cars arriving within the next two years.
Toyota has already introduced testers for its fuel-cell powertrain technology based on the body of the Highlander crossover, which are capable of offering a driving range of up to 440 miles (over 700 kilometers). Hostetter added that Toyota will showcase a more production ready version of the FCV-R at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show in late November.
The original FCV-R features a next generation fuel cell stack that consists of a 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tank, which Toyota has said is good enough for a driving range of approximately 700 km or about 435 miles.
Currently, Toyota can only sell its fuel-cell cars in two states in the USA, in California and New York, due to the lack of hydrogen infrastructure elsewhere. According to the report, the company originally planned to operate around 60 hydrogen-refueling stations across the country, but has since dropped its target to less than 30.