Fleet News

Toyota to add fuel cell vehicle to range

TOYOTA is to begin 'limited marketing' of a fuel cell hybrid passenger vehicle model in Japan and the United States from the end of this year.

The launch of the vehicle has come earlier than planned, the manufacturer said.

'The moved-up launch reflects the successful outcome of a full year of Japan/US public-road testing of the FCHV-4 – a fuel cell hybrid vehicle (FCHV) prototype – and Toyota Motor Corporation's (TMC) response to society's expectations for cleaner mobility solutions,' the manufacturer said.

Toyota said the model will be a newly developed fuel cell hybrid vehicle featuring, said the carmaker, 'conventional-vehicle-like performance based on improvement's to the FCHV-4's reliability, cruising distance, functionality and other aspects'.

The company will lease the vehicle to entities such as government bodies, research institutions and energy-related companies as issues that remain such as lowering costs and performance at freezing-and-below temperatures make it impractical for public use.

The manufacturer expects to lease about 20 units over the course of a year in limited areas in which TMC has confirmed the availability of hydrogen supply and after-sales service.

Toyota said: 'TMC believes test marketing an FCHV will contribute much toward establishing standards and infrastructures for the popularisation of fuel cell vehicles and towards greater social acceptance as hydrogen as a fuel.

'TMC expects full-scale commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles to begin in 2010 at the earliest, once such standards and infrastructures, as well as a social foundation for deepening the public's understanding of hydrogen fuel, are in place.'

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