Climate Action

Toyota preparing for a 10-fold increase in sales of fuel cell electric vehicles

Japanese car giant, Toyota, is anticipated a surge in demand for new electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

  • 30 May 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

Japanese car giant, Toyota, is anticipated a surge in demand for new electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

In response, the company is constructing major new facilities to accommodate estimated sales of at least 30,000 by 2020. Current sales sit at 3,000 globally.

One new building will be constructed in Honsha to accommodate this growth, located next to the company’s first car factory built in 1938. The facility will produce the fuel cell stack, an essential component which generates electricity through a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. This allows the car to be powered without relying on an internal combustion engine, which creates carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions.

“Fuel cells are now a mature technology and ready for wider distribution,” the company said in a statement.

“To encourage more widespread use of hydrogen-powered, zero emission vehicles, they need to be made more popular and widely available by the 2020s”.

Toyota was the first company to introduce a fuel cell car to the global market, called the Mirai. It was released at the end of 2014 and initially sold only 700 vehicles during its first year. This grew to 3,000 within two years.

Sales of fuel cell buses to Tokyo city authority have been in place since last year and the hope is at least 100 will be sold ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games.

The company is looking to build on this modest success by expanding the product range and the car’s appeal by bringing costs down. Furthermore, it will develop a strong hydrogen supply chain, in partnership with other companies, to accelerate demand for the low-emission vehicle.

Late last year, Toyota formed a new company with Mazda and Denso with the express purpose of staying ahead of the fast-changing electric vehicles market.