Toyota is set to launch their first line of hydrogen fuel-cell cars months ahead of its original release date of 2015.

Toyota's Zero Emission Fuel Cell Vehicle

Toyota has previously shown prototypes of their Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV), marketed as having “the same hybrid technology at the heart of the Prius but with hydrogen and fuel cell stack.” The vehicle will officially go into production, suggesting that the FCV will hit the market sometime soon. The car will reportedly be released in Japan before coming to the US.

Hydrogen Fuel

Instead of being powered by gasoline or electrical charge, FCVs will run on hydrogen fuel. According to the official description, the hydrogen gas is combined with oxygen in the fuel cell stack and the ensuing chemical reaction powers the electric motor and charges the battery of the hybrid car. Made with the goal of being a Zero-Emission Vehicle, the FCV will emit only water vapor – no greenhouse gases.

The FCV will be able to travel about 300 miles between each refueling, though the problem car owners will have is not so much the abilities of the vehicle itself, but the rareness of hydrogen fueling stations. According to Toyota, there are only roughly 40-50 hydrogen fueling stations across the country, 10 of which are located in California. However, Toyota is committed to making hydrogen fuel stations more common, stating, “Toyota will also continue to support efforts for infrastructure development nationwide.”

Of course, this lack of infrastructure will mean higher costs for hydrogen fuel. Moreover, the first FCV would cost a reported $78,000, but prices are expected to drop after the initial release.

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