Toyota FCV-R hydrogen fuel-cell concept car, 2012 Detroit Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
Toyota might be expanding its Prius line of hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars, but it hasn’t forgotten about hydrogen fuel cell technology.
In fact, at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, the automaker has reiterated its commitment to fuel cell technology by promising it will produce tens of thousands of hydrogen fuel cell cars in the near future.
“We are preparing to be able to produce tens of thousands per year in the 2020,” Didier Leroy, head of Toyota’s European operations told Automotive News.
Toyota’s bold claim might not be quite so bold however. Tens of thousands of hydrogen cars every year would hardly make hydrogen fuel cell cars popular.
In order to reach mainstream popularity, Toyota would have to measure sales and production volumes in hundreds of thousands -- maybe even millions -- of cars per year.
But without those kind of production volumes or a dramatic drop in production costs and sticker price, we remain dubious that Toyota will be able to achieve its lofty hydrogen fuel cell car goal in such a short period of time.
Simply put, like plug-in cars, until the cost of buying and running hydrogen fuel cell cars drops, they will remain niche-market vehicles.
Take the hybrid car, for example. Even 12 years after hybrid cars first launched in the U.S., they command a very low market share.
For reference, 2029 is only 17 years away.
Then again, if any automaker can turn hydrogen cars around, it has to be the automaker responsible for turning the Hybrid from a dull, boring car into something a little more fun.
What do you think? Will Toyota achieve its goals, or is it chasing an impossible dream?
Let us know in the Comments below.