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TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp. aims to cut the cost of hydrogen-powered fuel-cell cars to $50,000 from more than $1 million by 2015, when it hopes to start selling the environmentally friendly vehicles, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

Toyota is "developing everything to reach this (2015) target" the financial daily quoted Kazuo Okamoto, who takes over as Toyota's head of research and development next month, as saying during a visit to Frankfurt.

Toyota, the world's second-biggest car maker, believes launching hydrogen cars earlier than 2015 would be difficult due to a lack of filling stations, the paper said.

Its plans are more conservative than those of General Motors Corp., which aims to have a production-ready hydrogen vehicle by 2010 with a fuel cell that costs $5,000, it said.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which emit only water, would ease environmental concerns and help cars meet stricter emissions regulations. They could also counter to rising energy prices.

A Toyota spokesman could not confirm Okamoto's comments.

Toyota said on Friday its fuel-cell hybrid cars had received vehicle type certification from the Japanese government -- meaning the cars no longer need to be certified individually -- clearing the first hurdle for commercialisation.

Toyota, which started limited marketing of fuel-cell vehicles in 2002, has now leased 16 such cars to government bodies in Japan and the United States but has not revealed any launch plan.

Toyota and GM are in the early stage of discussions on collaborating to make fuel cells, a source familiar with the plans told Reuters last month.

Honda Motor Co., Japan's third-biggest car maker, also said on Friday its FCX fuel-cell vehicles had received type certification.

Use the THS ECVT, swap the ICE for Fuell Cell ?
GM, FORD, CHRYSLER-MB should join Toyota in its goal to bring the affordable Fuel Cell vehicles to the masses sooner . It will be dubbed:
Not-AT PZEV but UAT-ZEV (Ultra-advanced technology zero emission vehicle )
 

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C.Rickey Hirose said:
Use the THS ECVT, swap the ICE for Fuell Cell ?
The ECVT would not be appropriate with a fuel cell. The fuel cell is a source of electrical power. The ECVT expects a source of rotational power.

Experience with the electric motor generators and the control circuitry will be of great benefit to Toyota as they develop a fuel cell vehicle. They will also need a place to store electric energy as the fuel cell won't react quickly to changing power demands from the driver. So their battery and/or ultra capacitor experience will also greatly benefit them.
 

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This is how Prius was created. They set a price goal and worked for a decade to reach it.

This is also the fundamental shortcoming of the Plug-In Prius I've been arguing against. Rather than setting a price goal, they set a technological goal. In other words, they didn't study what the market really wanted. If they had, a target price-point would have been discovered rather than a maximum MPG.

Imagine how popular a plug-in option could be if it had been designed to add only $4,000 to the vehicle price instead of the current premium of $10,000 to $12,000. True, it would be as efficient. But far more people will be interested in that more affordable upgrade, and the MPG improvement would still be impressive.
 

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Hi John, I don't think you're quite right about the aims of the two plug-in Prius groups.

As far as I understand it, the Prius-plus group are more of a pressure group than a business. They want to show the manufacturers and the world that plug-in hybrids can be made to work with today's technology. Their major goal is to persuade Toyota to develop and offer to the public plug-in hybrids in the near future - not to make a profit in the first instance.

EnergyCS, however, are definitely a business and want to make money from plug-in hybrid conversions. You are right that the current projected cost of the conversions is about $10-12k, but that's not bad given that only one or two prototypes have been built so far! The only reason the price is this high is because of the cost of the batteries, but Valence, the suppliers of the batteries, are working hard to reduce this.

Valence have established that the major market for their product is automotive, and that PHEVs are a much more likely alternative than pure EVs in the near future. So they admit on their own website and press-releases that in order to make a decent business from Saphion batteries in the automotive arena, they will need to cut the cost of their batteries to about $200-300 per kWh, which is about a quarter of what it is just now in very low production volumes.

So Valence are definitely aiming for a $3-4k pricepoint for a plug-in hybrid Prius, for entirely business oriented reasons. They would just love Toyota to sign on the dotted line, and they realise that the only way this will happen is by meeting this pricepoint. They are confident they can meet this target.

EnergyCS believe the $10-12k conversions will be bought up by fleets with the aid of government grants - not, primarily, by the general public. This will help them learn how to make the packs cheaper and easier to manufacture, and they feel that the price will come down a lot with the help of this early cash-flow.
 
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