Toyota reckons it can get the retail price of a hydrogen-fueled car below the $50,000 mark, and could launch as soon as 2015.
Yoshihiko Masuda, Toyota's managing director for advanced autos, told Bloomberg Newsthat the first model is likely to be a sedan with a similar driving range to a standard gasoline-powered car.
"Our target is, we don’t lose money with introduction of the vehicle," Masuda said. "Production cost should be covered within the price of the vehicle."
Previous prototypes have been costed out at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The company reckons it can achieve the price cut through cutting the amount of platinum required by about two-thirds, to just 10 grams or so. It also says it's found a cheaper way of producing the polymer-electrolyte thin film used in the fuel cells and carbon-fiber hydrogen tanks.
Toyota isn't the first company to promise a commercially available hydrogen car in the next five years - General Motors, Daimler, Honda and Hyundai have all said the same. But none of these has indicated that the price could be remotely affordable.