The Toyota Mirai is the first fuel-cell hydrogen vehicle to market, but it’s not cheap. To accommodate a wider demographic of car buyers, Toyota is reportedly developing a more affordable version of the innovative car.
According to an report first spotted by , the new model will be mass-produced but will only be slightly more affordable than the current Mirai at 5.5-6 million yen (~$50,900-$55,500 USD) versus approximately 6.7 million yen (~$62,000 USD).
Produced at the factory that once made the Lexus LFA supercar, the Mirai requires a significant amount of manual labor, limiting initial output to just three units per day. The cheaper model will be marginally smaller and have revised engineering that enables volume production and lower overall costs, thanks to economies of scale.
The fledgling fuel-cell vehicle segment is struggling to gain traction in an automotive market that has yet to fully embrace hybrids let alone electric cars. With just dozens of refueling stations around the world, there is simply no infrastructure to support such vehicles.
Toyota has set a FCV production target of 30,000 units annually by 2020, coinciding with the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.
Hyundai Nexo Has Best Range Of Any Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle
Hyundai used the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as a stage to announce that its new Nexo fuel cell vehicle now offers the longest driving range of any fuel cell vehicle available.
With a driving range up to 378 miles (609 kilometers), the hydrogen-powered SUV can travel further than any of its direct competitors, handily beating the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity‘s range of 300 miles (483 km) and 80 miles (129 Km), respectively. In fact, Hyundai says it delivers the same range as a regular, gasoline-powered car.
Filling the Nexo’s tank takes only five minutes. By comparison, a regular EV would get about 81 miles (50 km) worth of charge in the same time on even the best and fastest chargers.
Considering the sparsity of hydrogen stations anywhere in the world, the long driving range and fast refueling help make the Nexo a more compelling vehicle for those early adopters capable of affording one.
Hyundai Nexo Fuel-Cell SUV Shoots For Hydrogen Car Future
Unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Hyundai Nexo is Hyundai’s second-generation fuel-cell, hydrogen-powered vehicle, succeeding the Tucson FCV.
The Fuel cell vehicle segment is in an even more fledgling state than regular EVs, but Hyundai is confident that hydrogen is a viable alternative to gasoline and pure battery-powered electric vehicles.
Based on a new dedicated vehicle architecture that’s just over 10-inches longer yet lighter than the Tucson FCV’s, the Nexo has a driving range of 370 miles (595 km), a improvement of 105 miles over the Tucson. There’s also more power thanks to a 120 kW electric motor, giving it a 3-second faster 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time of 9.5 seconds.
An improved fuel cell system layout with the battery being relocated to the trunk in addition to a 6-inch longer wheelbase means more interior room for passengers and their cargo.
Hyundai was sure to address the start-up issue with FCVs in cold climates — the Nexo can be started in just 30 seconds following overnight temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Nexo is one of 18 eco-friendly models that the Korean automaker will introduce by 2025. It plans to use fuel-cell powertrains in sedans, trucks and buses.
Toyota Admits Elon Musk Was Right About Fuel-Cell Vehicles
Toyota has admitted that Tesla CEO Elon Musk was correct to be skeptical about hydrogen fuel-cell technology being the best bet for zero-emissions vehicles.
Referring to proponents (not just Toyota) of FCVs replacing gasoline engines, Musk once boldly and unabashedly said “Fuel cells should be renamed ‘fool cells,’ they are so stupid.”
Yoshikazu Tanaka, Toyota Mirai chief engineer, recently told in an interview that “Elon Musk is right — it’s better to charge the electric car directly by plugging in.”
Tanaka statement suggests Musk was only partially correct in his dismissal of FCVs. Yes, the company believes some customers will prefer the comparatively quick refill time provided by conventional electric cars, but it still sees a niche for hydrogen in the grand scheme of things.
That’s Japanese humility for you…
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