Toyota may be the maker of the most iconic hybrid vehicle of them all, the Prius, but the Japanese company refuses to go all-in on electric and is instead focusing on hydrogen fuel cells for powering its future cars. The first among them will be a 2015 sedan that has today been priced at ¥7 million (roughly $70,000) for its launch market of Japan. That’s right in line with Tesla’s Model S, which will be its most direct competitor in the developing market for alternative energy vehicles. Toyota claims a cruising range of 430 miles for its hydrogen-fueled car and a refueling time of just three minutes — both numbers underlining the key benefits of its technology over standard batteries.
After Japan gets it by April 2015, the as-yet-unnamed fuel-cell sedan will arrive in the US and Europe in the summer. California will be the first American market, because of its greater willingness to embrace new car technologies and the fact it’s already investing in hydrogen fueling stations. Still, the biggest challenge for Toyota will be to ensure the necessary support infrastructure is there to make its new cars convenient enough for drivers to use on a daily basis.
The design of what was until now a prototype has been finalized, looking very much like the car that was shown off at CES in January. Toyota hasn’t yet settled on the car’s specifications and exact prices for each region, which will be detailed in full over the coming months.