Tokyo (Japan) – Toyota today said that it will begin leasing a new fleet first fuel cell hybrid vehicle model, the FCHV-adv, to Japan's Ministry of the Environment beginning on September 1. The government is paying a lofty price for the privilege of driving these cars and there is no announcement when these cars will be available for the public. Sticking with your Prius, or a Highlander hybrid, may be a better idea than waiting for a Highlander fuel-cell hybrid vehicle.
According to Toyota, the Ministry of the Environment has agreed to a lease rate of 840,000 yen per month for 30 months, which equals about $7700 per month. The manufacturer did not say whether that payment refers to just one car or the entire fleet (with an unspecified number of vehicles) it appears that Japan is increasingly interested in investing into the development of fuel cell vehicles. Toyota said that it plans to lease the FCHV-adv to other national government entities, local governments and companies in or related to the energy industry as well.
The vehicle is basically an enhanced version on the first FCHV, based on the 2002 Highlander SUV/crossover. Weighing almost two tons, the car cranks out 122 hp and is said to reach a top seed of about 92 mph. The tanks placed under the rear seats can hold 156 liters or almost 44 gallons of hydrogen, which will give the FCHV-adv a range of 516 miles.