Toyota brought hybrid motoring to the masses with its Prius and other car makers are still in the process of catching up. But emission regulations are getting tougher and now, even Toyota is seeking out ways to offer even “greener” cars.
All-electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf are an option for eco conscious buyers. But Toyota is looking further into the future and plans to launch a new fuel cell model in Europe by 2015.
Many of the major carmakers have dabbled in hydrogen-powered cars building fuel-cell concepts and prototypes. It was Honda that has come closest so far by launching the FCX Clarity in 2008 – but it’s only available for lease for a limited number of customers.
Toyota’s zero-emissions hydrogen car will apparently be sold to customers in four years’ time but in limited numbers. Not surprisingly the research and development on hydrogen power doesn’t come cheap and these cars will come with a high price tag.
“We could expect a fuel cell vehicle to retail at about €100,000 [NZ$172,000] in Europe,” Toyota Europe Vice President for Product Planning & Marketing, Alain Uyttenhoven, said in a recent interview.
That’s huge money for a futuristic fuel cell car and will push Toyota deep into the realms of premium brands. However, its hydrogen-powered eco warrior will be the new Prius and like the current Prius may become a trendy status symbol. Time will tell.