Toyota Motor Corp. is looking beyond hybrids. The world's largest automaker plans global sales of a few thousand units of its hydrogen-burning fuel cell vehicle by 2015. The reason sales will be limited is because of the futuristic vehicle's anticipated high price.
"We could expect a fuel cell vehicle to retail at about 100,000 euros ($138,000) in Europe," said Toyota Europe Vice President for Product Planning & Marketing Alain Uyttenhoven.
Automakers are preparing to offer a vast array of green technologies to help them meet tougher emissions rules in Europe.
"We see pure battery-powered vehicles to be just a solution for small trips in the city, while a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid is the best solution both for weekday urban commuting and weekend trips," he said.
Next year, Toyota will begin sales of the plug-in hybrid version of the Prius, which can travel 14.3 miles in pure electric mode compared with just 1.3 miles for the non-plug-in Prius.
"Our research shows that more than 80 percent of urban daily trips are less than the 20km (12.4 miles)," Uyttenhoven said.
Toyota has not announced the price of the plug-in Prius, but the company did reveal that it would cost about 7,000 euros ($9,651) more than a comparably equipped standard Prius, which starts at 27,750 euros ($38,261) in Germany.