Toyota eyes mass production of fuel cell car by 2015

  • 20 November 2013
  • From the section Business
Toyota FCV concept car
Image caption Toyota is among the many carmakers looking to develop hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles

Japanese carmaker Toyota has said it is looking to start commercial sales of fuel cell-powered cars by 2015.

Toyota set the target as it unveiled a concept fuel cell powered car, called the FCV, at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The car can be re-fuelled within minutes and it can cover about 500km (300 miles) on a full tank, according to the firm.

Earlier this week, rival Hyundai said it plans to start mass production of such cars as early as next year.

The South Korean company has announced plans to start commercial sales of a fuel cell-powered version of its sports utility vehicle, the Tucson, in the US market.

Honda Motor is also expected to unveil its latest concept version of a fuel cell-powered vehicle later this week.

Infrastructure concerns

Many carmakers have been looking to develop the fuel cell technology further and bring it to mass production.

One of the main reasons is that it is emission-free.

The technology uses hydrogen to generate electricity to power the engine and the waste products are heat and water.

At the same time, fuel cells charge much faster and travel a longer distance after being charged, compared with battery-operated electric cars.

However, there are concerns over the demand for such vehicles, not least because there are not enough hydrogen filling stations.

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Nissan, said that worries over infrastructure were the key reason for his firm to put some of their plans on hold.

"Frankly, I don't know how they are going to do it, because knowing all the problems we have, to have a charging system with electricity, where is the hydrogen infrastructure?" Mr Ghosn was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

"That's why we have postponed, in a certain way, some of our ambitions in terms of fuel cells."