Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled its hydrogen-powered FCV-R Concept car at the Geneva Motor Show, restating its aim to sell vehicles based on the non-polluting sedan by 2015. Toyota, the largest seller of hybrid vehicles in the world, hopes that in the next decade, it will be able to supply thousands of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles annually in anticipation of the demand for petroleum-free autos. Didier Leroy, head of Toyota's European operations, said that the company is undertaking preparations so that it would be able to make “tens of thousands” of these vehicles each year in the 2020s.
John Hanson, a spokesman for the company's U.S. unit, said that Toyota has yet to announce the price or marketing plans for fuel-cell cars or set a global sales target. Toyota is currently selling the plug-in version of its Prius hybrid while this year, it has built vehicles that will be made at the battery-powered RAV4 and Scion iQ models. He added that there will still be challenges, including having to cut costs and resolve technical complications that had prevented retail customers from buying hydrogen fuel-cell cars.
Hydrogen is ideal to be used as fuel due to its abundance and as it’s able to make vehicles go on distances comparable to that of gasoline. The disadvantages include the high expense in making the fuel cells, the layers of plastic film coated with platinum placed between metal plates that make electricity, and the fact that there are only a few stations that have the equipment to dispense hydrogen fuel. At the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, Toyota presented the FT-Bh concept vehicle. Toyota claims that the carbon emissions level of this small, lightweight gasoline-electric hatchback is less than half the average for cars of the same size.