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Toyota names timetable, price for new fuel cell car

Japanese auto maker Toyota has for the first time announced a timeframe for its new fuel cell cars, saying they will hit the market by March next year. A consumer-friendly price may also bolster the vehicles' popularity.

Toyota will roll out its new hydrogen-powered cars next March, the company said Wednesday, marking the first time the auto giant has committed itself to a specific timetable for its fuel cell vehicles.

The company also named a price - 7 million yen, or $68,700 - that was lower than expected and could help boost the cars' popularity among environmentally conscious consumers in Japan.

A price for US and European markets has yet to be determined.

"Hydrogen is a particularly promising alternative fuel since it can be produced using a wide variety of primary energy sources, including solar and wind power," Toyota said in a statement.

Toyota had previously only revealed that its fuel cell cars would be ready sometime in 2015, but on Wednesday it also said it would make them available in the United States and Europe by the summer.

The company included one caveat in its announcement, however, saying that it would only begin selling the new model in regions where enough hydrogen refueling stations had already been built.

cjc/ (AFP, dpa)