Toyota considers making hydrogen cars in Australia
Toyota is looking at a high-tech switch to hydrogen cars in Australia, which would make use of the abundant source of brown coal in Victoria. Due to its high moisture content, brown coal cannot be transported. To address this, Toyota could build a hydrogen-capturing plant in Gippsland, which would mean an investment of millions of dollars. The plant would provide hundreds of jobs in a region where the unemployment rate is highest in Victoria, Toyota Australia President Max Yasuda said.
Yasuda revealed the company’s plan to roll out the trial cars by 2015. He said Toyota would be ready for mass production should there be sufficient consumer demand. To secure its future in Victoria for the next 10 years, Toyota is investing A$330 million (US$346.9 million) in a plant that will produce 108,000 engines next year, up from a low of 95,000 engines this year, which caused the loss of 350 jobs in April.
If the parent company in Japan approves the plan, hydrogen-fuelled cars would be the next potential upgrade to the plant, Yasuda said, adding that hydrogen cars would become more attractive as the price of petrol continues to increase. Since hydrogen does not have any emission, Yasuda said that the challenge is to make hydrogen cars reasonably priced and to provide infrastructure support for it. No mention of the cost of hydrogen-fuelled cars has been made, but it is generally expected that the price would be between A$50,000 (US$52,670.00) and A$130,000 (US$ 136,942.00).
Honda also has a hydrogen-fuelled car, selling mostly in California. (December 6, 2012)