Toyota plans to manufacture a series of fuel cell vehicles in the SUV, pick-up and utility vehicle sectors, starting around 2025. In order to facilitate the jump to mass production, Toyota plans to minimize use of expensive materials, such as platinum.
Furthermore, the company plans to make the entire system more compact and efficient. Starting with the next generation of the Mirai, which is planned for the early 2020’s, Toyota is aiming to increase the range from the current 500 km to 700 or 750 km. By 2025, they plan to reach a 1,000 km range.
The report breaking the news referred to unnamed sources, as Toyota themselves do not wish to comment on specific product plans for the future. They have developed fuel cell prototypes, however, ranging from delivery vehicles to semi trucks.
Fuel cell technology is considered difficult to establish for a mass market by many automobile manufacturers. Toyota lead the field with the Mirai in 2014, which was the first mass marketed serial FCEV. The price of $60,000 (Before subventions) and issues with the tank infrastructure hampered sales, however; So far the vehicle has only sold about 6,000 units worldwide.
Experts estimate that Toyota has to spend $11,000 on the fuel cell stacks alone – the by far most expensive component for FC vehicles. An expanded production may help by scaling the costs, however. Should the sales numbers for fuel cell vehicles take off in the next decade from the current 3,000 to 30,000 per year, the cost per fuel cell stack would sink to $8,000.
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