| 11:33 AM EST

Toyota Affirms Commitment to Fuel Cell Vehicles

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Toyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce a range of fuel cell-powered vehicles and ramp up volume of its Mirai sedan in coming years.

The carmaker aims to shift from limited production to mass production, reduce the amount of platinum and other pricey materials, and make the system more compact and powerful, Mirai chief engineer Yoshikazu Tanaka tells Reuters. 

The next-generation Mirai is due to launch early next decade. Toyota also is testing fuel-cell powered pickup trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles that it plans to launch by about 2025.

The vehicles will share the base fuel cell components to reduce costs.  A Nikkei report earlier this year said Toyota aims to slash costs of its fuel-cell system 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025.

The carmaker aims to increase the driving range of its fuel cell vehicles from about 300 miles today to 450 miles with the next Mirai and to more than 600 miles by 2025.  

Toyota has sold about 6,000 of the hand-built Mirais worldwide since launching the $60,000 car in 2014. It is one of only three fuel cell cars currently available, along with the Honda Clarity and Hyundai Tucson ix35.

Toyota predicts a tenfold increase in industry sales of fuel cell vehicles to more` than 30,000 units annually in the next few years. This would allow the Toyota to reduce the cost of its fuel cell stack from $11,000 to about $8,000, according to Strategic Analysis Inc. Costs could eventually come down to about $300 per stack with a significant reduction in precious metal content, the market research firm says.


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