Among the issues dragging down the proliferation of hydrogen fuel cell cars in the market, cost is a huge one. A hydrogen fuel cell car is still many thousands of dollars more expensive than a hybrid or conventional electric car, but Toyota said that it wants to fix that in the coming years.
Toyota is one of the few automakers that’s been quite aggressive in hydrogen fuel cell development. It has been trying to push U.S. sales of the Mirai, but hasn’t had much success. The Mirai currently costs $57,500, while the Prius is just $23,475. Even the Nissan Leaf starts at $30,680. That massive difference in price alone is enough to deter many buyers.
The Japanese automaker aims to lower the price of hydrogen fuel cells, though. Speaking to Autocar, Naomichi Hata, general manager of new business planning for Toyota, said,
“In the early 2020s we will launch the next generation hydrogen fuel stack technology, and that will provide a substantial move forward. Today production of the Mirai is limited to 3000 cars a year, but by 2025 we expect that figure to be ten times higher.
“As a result of these gains we expect—in Japan at least—the same car type to cost the same price whether it is a hybrid or powered by hydrogen.”
This is an admirable claim, one that will surely help with sales. But then we run into our other issue, the infrastructure one. There still aren’t enough hydrogen fueling stations in the U.S. for a cheaper hydrogen car to make a difference in places other than a very select few regions.
The Autocar story doesn’t touch upon the infrastructure problem, so it’s unclear how Toyota will navigate this in the years to come, but who knows! Maybe there will be a huge government push to increase the number of hydrogen fueling stations across the country. That’d be pretty sweet.