Toyota: Hydrogen Fuel Will Be Costly


Toyota is one of the most outspoken proponents of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, even ditching its partnership with Tesla Motors to focus on the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. But even with generous incentives, fueling hydrogen fuel cell vehicles won’t be cheap, with a full tank of the clean-burning fuel costing around $50, reports Ecomento.

That’s what Toyota’s Senior VP of North America Bob Carter said at the recent JP Morgan Auto Conference, claiming that cost estimate comes directly from the Department of Energy. He says the cost will eventually fall to about $30, which is about on par with the cost to fuel many high-mileage compact cars. For example, my 2012 Chevy Sonic 1.4T costs on average about $35 to fill, and gives me 300 miles of driving range, which is what the Toyota Mirai is claiming.

From the onset though, hydrogen fuel will remain nearly twice as expensive as gasoline it seems, though the Department of Energy is funding research to accelerate price parity with gasoline. But from the onset, filling up a hydrogen fuel cell car is going to be costly, moreso than even gasoline.

Then again, you could just buy a car like the Tesla Model S, which can go 265 miles on a full charge which will cost you (depending on where you live) less than $10 to fully charge. If you hook up to a Tesla Supercharger though, that fuel is free. The initial batch of Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell buyers will also get free fuel, though from a limited (though growing) number of hydrogen fueling stations across SoCal.

Toyota’s admission though makes it clear that even if you do buy a hydrogen car, it won’t save you a dime on fuel costs. Meanwhile, electric vehicles continue to increase in range and decrease in cost, and by 2017 the Tesla Model III aims to offer a 200-mile driving range per charge in a $35,000 sedan, half the price of the $70,000 Toyota Mirai, which begins production at the end of this year.

Sounds like yet another advantage goes to EVs, but Toyota doesn’t want to hear it.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.