Toyota, the Japanese carmakers and global leader in automobile sales, made an announcement on Monday that it will start selling cars that use hydrogen for fuel – which will emit only water vapor as exhaust – in the United States by 2015, two years earlier than what was expected. Toyota made the announcement at the International Consumer Electronics Show, the annual gadget show of the consumer electronics and technology industry, with the shift in schedule coming months after Hyundai and Honda both made known that they would start selling hydrogen-powered models in the U.S. by 2015 as well.
The electric car model which Toyota plans to launch is called the FCV for now, which the company highlighted during the Tokyo Motor Show, uses hydrogen as fuel for a battery. The FCV will have a range of 300 miles (480 kilometers), and can do 0 to 60 miles per hour (96 kph) in 10 seconds. The hydrogen tank can be refueled in just a matter of three to five minutes.
According to Toyota, California will be its first target market. Research data from the University of California in Irvine has shown that the first 10,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles can be supported with as few as 68 refueling stations covering the area of San Francisco to San Diego. Toyota also mentioned that the state of California has already approved a budget of US$200 million to build around 20 hydrogen fueling stations by 2015, another 40 by 2016, and then 100 by 2024. “This infrastructure [for this] is going to happen,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. Carter said all the cars in California could be served with just 15 percent of the 10,000 gas stations in the state if the spacing of stations were correct. “We don’t need a station on every corner,” he said.
[via Detroit Free Press]
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