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Toyota to mass produce hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles

by Justin King

The company expects to make FCVs more popular and finally profitable, despite persistent limited demand.

As fuel-cell vehicles continue to struggle in the market, Toyota has reaffirmed its commitment to begin mass producing the Mirai.

The Mirai is currently hand built at the former Lexus LFA factory, limiting output volume and presumably keeping per-vehicle production costs higher than the car's $57,500 price tag.

"We're going to shift from limited production to mass production, reduce the amount of expensive materials like platinum used in FCV components, and make the system more compact and powerful," Mirai chief engineer Yoshikazu Tanaka told Reuters.

A separate source claimed the company will continue to roll out other FCV models including pickups, SUVs and commercial vehicles, starting around 2025.

Sharing powertrain components across the spectrum of hydrogen-powered vehicles is expected to reduce costs via economies of scale. Toyota is also believed to be working to improve driving range to make the vehicles more attractive. The next Mirai is said to have a range of up to 466 miles, rising to around 620 miles by 2025.

As pure battery-powered EVs become more popular and profitable, FCVs still appear to face an uphill battle. Current owners will find virtually no refueling stations across the vast majority of the US. Even in Los Angeles, Toyota lists just 20 refueling stations currently open for business.