No reason has been given for bringing the car forward, but it's safe to assume Toyota's development and testing is going smoothly so far--unusual in the alternative fuel vehicle market.
During that time, the car's specifications have changed according to technology constraints.
Toyota confirmed with its last update that the production vehicle will use technology derived from its familiar Hybrid Synergy Drive setup--using a combination of hydrogen tanks and a regular battery pack to supply the car's power.Performance should be similar to that of the automaker's Prius hybrids, with a 90 kW (120 horsepower) output and estimated 0-60 mph sprint of ten seconds.
Unlike full battery-electric vehicles, refueling shouldn't take much longer than it would with a regular gasoline or diesel vehicle--around three to five minutes. Toyota's prototype has delivered a range of 300 miles on a full tank of hydrogen.
Pricing should be more or less as expected. Toyota quotes a figure of around 8 million Yen, or just under $80,000 at current exchange rates.
That puts it among the higher end of electric vehicles on sale today in the U.S, and sales are likely to be small as a result.
However, if Toyota's project goes to plan, it hopes to lower the car's price to 3 to 5 million Yen by 2020, as sales and production capacity allow.