Toyota Motor Corporation launched the world’s first mass-market fuel cell car, the Toyota Mirai, last year. As usual, the new alternative powertrain technology would again be carried over to its luxury brand Lexus. According to a report from Nikkei, the first Lexus may be introduced around 2020, which would be the year of the Tokyo Olympics, the pinnacle of sporting events that is watched world over.
Lexus will share core components of its first fuel cell vehicle with Toyota, keeping manufacturability and costs in mind, as per the report. As rumoured in recent months, the Lexus LS will likely be the first model to incorporate fuel cell technology which will use the second generation fuel cell stack, not the current one of the Toyota Mirai.
The Toyota Mirai is priced at ¥7,236,000 (USA – US$58,335). Subsidies, of course, reduce the price to a certain extent depending on the market. The Lexus LS is priced from ¥8,548,000 (USA – US$73,460) for the petrol model. Go for the hybrid and the base price shoots up to ¥10,811,000 (USA – US$128,935). And these prices are likely to increase once the fifth generation model is introduced. So clearly, the fuel cell variant would be a very expensive one indeed.
The first Lexus FCV is anticipated to be demanded only by consumers who are particularly sensitive about the environment.
However the report says that the company will factor market trends and cost-cutting efforts into the price. Engineers are working to lower the costs by curtailing platinum usage in the next-gen fuel cell stack. Efforts are also being made to simplify manufacturing processes, which is essential to prevent hydrogen leaks.
Toyota Motor aims to increase annual sales of FCVs to more than 30,000 units around the end of the decade and is notifying its suppliers of plans to ramp up monthly production from the current 60-70 units to 3,000 units at the time when the second generation Toyota Mirai is introduced.