Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda has revealed that the company plans to mass produce electric vehicles in 2012 and produce fuel cell cars in the US by 2015.
At a presentation at the California Air Resources Board ZEV Technology Symposium, Tatsuaki Yokoyama from Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, said the company aims to reduce the cost of fuel cell vehicles to 1/10 of the current level by design and materials improvements. The company is also targeting reduction to a subsequent 1/10 through scales of economy resulting from mass production.
According to Yokoyama, the design of the fuel cell and hydrogen storage system will play a critical role in achieving the cost reduction. Toyota hopes to simplify the design of its stack, which will result in downsizing and down-weighting; as well as reducing the amount of platinum catalyst required.
Further savings could be achieved as Toyota hopes to co-operate with materials manufacturers and also apply mass production technology to the fuel cell stack, the tank and other components.
Toyota has shown strong backing for fuel cell vehicles under the belief that they are more suitable for long-range, large vehicle applications when compared to electric vehicles. Akio Toyoda states that the company will develop a wide range of vehicles with electric cars for shorter distances and fuel cell vehicles for longer distances.
According to Toyota's calculations, fuel cell vehicles are better than lithium-ion equipped electric vehicles, in terms of the mass required to achieve a practical cruising range, after slightly more than 100 miles.