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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota will have a hydrogen fuel cell car on the market by 2015, but don’t expect it to be cheap.

Toyota Europe product planning and marketing vice president Alain Uyttenhoven told Automotive News the Japanese manufacturer’s first mass production hydrogen-powered vehicles would be more expensive than initially expected.

“We could expect a fuel cell vehicle to retail at about 100,000 euros ($133,300) in Europe,” Mr Uyttenhoven said.

He said Toyota expects to sell a few thousand hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around the world by the end of 2015, and admitted the vehicle’s price would be the major hurdle for prospective customers to jump.

One way for Toyota to limit the financial pain for early adopters could be to follow the lead of Honda. The Honda FCX Clarity – the world’s first mass produced hydrogen car – is currently available to lease in the US.

Honda says it will lease about 200 vehicles over the next three years, primarily in Southern California, on three-year deals at US$600 per month. That equates to US$21,600 ($20,800) over 36 months.

By 2015, Toyota and Honda will be joined by Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and potentially other large global manufacturers in having hydrogen-powered cars on the market.

Toyota is yet to confirm the details of its upcoming hydrogen car. Its development work has so far centred around the Toyota FCHV SUV concept (Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle). The latest iteration, the FCHV-adv, is capable of travelling 690km in real-world conditions with only a 6kg hydrogen tank.

Would you pay top dollar for a first-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle? Would you be tempted to lease one, or just wait a few years for the price to come down? Let us know in the comments section below.




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