Toyota Motor Sales will produce a hydrogen fuel-cell electric car for the 2015 model year with a 300-mile range that will initially debut in California, the automaker announced at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Toyota showed its FCV concept mid-size sedan as well as a camouflage-taped engineering prototype it has been using for testing in North America for more than a year.
The automaker plans to launch the vehicle in California because that state has approved $200 million to build hydrogen fuel-cell fueling stations starting in 2015.
"Fuel cell electric vehicles will be in our future sooner than many people believe, and in much greater numbers than anyone expected," said Bob Carter, Toyota's senior vice president of automotive operations, at CES on Monday.
The engineering prototype has "consistently delivered a driving range of about 300 miles and zero-to-sizty acceleration of about 10 seconds with no emissions other than water vapor," according to Toyota. Refueling of its hydrogen tanks takes three to five minutes.
The FCV's hydrogen powertrain produces more than 100 kilowatts, which is enough to power a house for a week in an emergency.
Toyota is working with the University of California Irvine's Advanced Power and Energy Program to help map out potential locations for new hydrogen fueling stations that would allow a FCV owner to reach a station within six minutes.
Toyota expects 20 new stations in the state by 2015, 40 stations by 2016, and as many as 100 by 2024. "Stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen," Carter added.
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