Monday, June 20, 2005

Hooray for Hydrogen!

While oil hitting new highs, I continue to be intrigued by the news coming out of Japan. Toyota is, without a doubt, the best car company on the planet.
(Disclaimer: I'm a Toyota shareholder.)

Toyota aims for $50,000 hydrogen car
TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp. aims to cut the cost of hydrogen-powered fuel-cell cars to $50,000 from more than $1 million by 2015, when it hopes to start selling the environmentally friendly vehicles, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

Toyota is "developing everything to reach this (2015) target" the financial daily quoted Kazuo Okamoto, who takes over as Toyota's head of research and development next month, as saying during a visit to Frankfurt.

Toyota, the world's second-biggest car maker, believes launching hydrogen cars earlier than 2015 would be difficult due to a lack of filling stations, the paper said.

Its plans are more conservative than those of General Motors Corp., which aims to have a production-ready hydrogen vehicle by 2010 with a fuel cell that costs $5,000, it said.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which emit only water, would ease environmental concerns and help cars meet stricter emissions regulations. They could also counter to rising energy prices.

A Toyota spokesman could not confirm Okamoto's comments.

Toyota said on Friday its fuel-cell hybrid cars had received vehicle type certification from the Japanese government -- meaning the cars no longer need to be certified individually -- clearing the first hurdle for commercialisation.

Toyota, which started limited marketing of fuel-cell vehicles in 2002, has now leased 16 such cars to government bodies in Japan and the United States but has not revealed any launch plan.

Toyota and GM are in the early stage of discussions on collaborating to make fuel cells, a source familiar with the plans told Reuters last month.

Honda Motor Co., Japan's third-biggest car maker, also said on Friday its FCX fuel-cell vehicles had received type certification.

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