TOKYO (AP) - Toyota Motor Corp hopes to become the world's first automaker to launch a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle for commercial use by marketing a car using the futuristic technology next year, a report said yesterday.
Toyota plans to start selling its environmentally friendly FCHV-4 in Tokyo by summer in 2003, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported.
Fuel cell cars run on energy produced in a chemical reaction combining hydrogen and oxygen, making them virtually pollution-free.
Major automakers have been developing fuel cell vehicles, but a high price has kept the cars out of showrooms. Toyota's version will cost about 10 million yen ($75,000), making the target customer large corporations and the government.
The launch will initially be limited to Tokyo because hydrogen refuelling stations are being set up in the capital. The top speed of the FCVH-4, which stands for "fuel cell hybrid vehicle,'' is 150 kilometres an hour and it has a cruising range of more than 250 kms. The car is modelled after Toyota's Kluger V sport-utility vehicle, which is marketed in North America as the Highlander..