Toyota Hydrogen Cars are Coming by 2015
Also, their plan to introduce a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle a la Chevrolet Volt is speeding up and now it's officially a year AHEAD of schedule. Apparently the Volt and the FCX Clarity have put the pressure on Toyota.
Although a bit far-fetched, considering they don't have much experience in fuel-cell or hydrogen technology, the plan to catch Honda or Mercedes-Benz from behind in this race in just a few years could be plausible. Especially knowing the Japanese determination to achieve impossible things in general.
Toyota's hydrogen plan was disclosed by Masatami Takimoto, executive vice-president and board member. “By 2015, we will have a full-fledged commercialization effort,” he was quoted by the New York Times.
For the moment, their only working prototype using a hydrogen fuel cell is the Highlander FCHV (Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle). The working concept is currently on display at the Detroit Auto Show along the third generation of the Prius and a new Lexus hybrid, the HS250h.
Talking about the future of personal transportation, Takimoto said that it will most likely separate into three branches: all-electric vehicles to be used in the city, hybrid-electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars. Of course, this pretty much says it all about their future strategy, but it comes a bit late considering other carmakers are already on this route and have been so for a few good years now.
Toyota expects to report an almost $2 billion operating loss for 2008 – the first in all its history - despite still achieving a net profit for the year. To tackle the increasing challenges thrown by a volatile world economy, they are now using a lot of their resources to research alternative means of propulsion for the future.