Toyota has made a crucial breakthrough in its programme to launch its first fuel cell vehicle by gaining Japanese government approval to build high-pressure hydrogen tanks.
Having become the first car manufacturer to meet the rigorous criteria set by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry - Toyota now have the green light to increase production of the tanks which can be used to safely store hydrogen fuel at up to a 7000bar pressure.
This breakthrough means the company is soundly on track to introduce its Fuel Cell Sedan in North America, Europe and Japan by 2015.
Under Japanese law all pressurised gas canisters and accessories must be type-certified and be available for inspection at any time during the manufacturing process.
Up until now the hydrogen tanks used by Toyota had to be inspection again before being installed into any vehicle; these inspections directly slowed the manufacturing speeds for the FCV prototypes.
This inspection has now been brought in-house, meaning the Toyota Company can now speed up its manufacturing process whilst still keeping to the most stringent quality and safety standards.
Thanks to this news costs will be saved on the FCV’s – a discount that can be passed on to the customer.
Back in June, Toyota unveiled its hydrogen fuel cell sedan; set to be launched in Japan by April of next year, preparations are underway to have the vehicle ready for distribution to U.S and European markets by the end of 2015.
For twenty years now Toyota have been developing fuel cell vehicles behind closed doors; this displays a significant commitment to environmentally friendly vehicles.
Hydrogen, in particular, is a promising alternative to fossil fuels as it can be produced using a wide range of primary energy sources including solar and wind power.
The Toyota fuel cell sedan is priced at seven million yen and availability will be at first limited to the regions in which hydrogen refuelling stations are available.
Prices for the US and Europe are yet to be decided.