Toyota Shifts Hydrogen Fuel Cell Sales Away from US

Toyota is shifting its hydrogen fuel cell vehicles sales focus to the European and Chinese market after seeing sales stall in the US.

The automaker has announced it will focus on selling fuel cell trucks and cars in these markets as part of a push to sell 200,000 of these vehicles by 2030, Reuters reports. Toyota has been a major backer of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles as an alternative to BEVs but its passenger cars and the North American market have failed to excite.

This switch in strategy is the first by Toyota since it set up a separate hydrogen-focused unit, the Hydrogen Factory with 1,350 staff earlier this month, to expand the application of fuel-cell technology into wider applications, including industrial power generation and commercial trucks. Toyota sold just over 3,900 fuel cell vehicles in 2022, less than half of 1% of its global sales of around 9.5 million vehicles.

The automaker appears to reduce the current high costs of the technology by focusing on China and Europe where hydrogen production and demand is higher and hoping also to strengthen ties with other companies, Toyota’s chief technology officer, Hiroki Nakajima told reporters. He added: “This may be a strange way of putting it, but 200,000 is not a big number. We believe this number and more can be achieved.”

In May, Toyota and Daimler Trucks said they had agreed to cooperate on hydrogen technology and reached a preliminary deal to combine their truck businesses in Japan. Toyota launched the first fuel-cell vehicle nearly a decade ago with the Mirai, a niche car it has marketed in emissions sensitive California. In Japan, where the government has backed hydrogen as an energy-security alternative, Toyota could work with local governments to transition diesel-powered fleets of vehicles such as ambulances and garbage trucks to fuel-cell technology, Nakajima said.

The automaker said it expects the global market for fuel cells to grow to around $35Bn by 2030, up more than 15-fold from 2020 levels, citing a forecast from market research firm Fuji Keizai. Honda is targeting annual sales of around 60,000 vehicles with a fuel-cell system jointly developed with General Motors in 2030.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_  and Threads



One comment

  1. Avatar Wil Venet 12th July 2023 @ 9:18 pm

    Toyota never made it clear that they had hydrogen passenger vehicles for sale in the US market.

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