Toyota is putting its hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Sedan to the test in the final round of the 2014 Japanese Rally Championship, but don’t expect it to put in a fast time.
The fuel-cell vehicle, which goes on sale next year, will simply complete the course as a “featured” entry without setting a time.
The rally will take place this weekend over 177 miles of roads in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture. All the Fuel Cell Sedan will have to do is make it from start to finish, which shouldn’t be a problem given the car’s estimated range of around 300 miles between fill ups.
The car’s hydrogen fuel cells power an electric drivetrain made with components borrowed from Toyota’s hybrids. It’s expected to produce around 134 horsepower in production trim, enough for a 0 to 60 mph time of around 10 seconds.
That’s a bit off the pace of the rally cars it will share the stages with this weekend, but Toyota hopes its first effort at a mass-market fuel-cell vehicle will make a lasting impression with customers.
The sedan will go on sale in Japan by next year priced at 8 million yen (about $78,000), and then the U.S. in the summer.
It will compete with a fuel-cell car from Honda and the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, which is already available for lease in California.
Most fuel-cell cars will probably live in the Golden State for the time being, because it’s the only U.S. state with any significant hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
Fuel cells may offer comparable range to internal-combustion cars, but drivers will need to fill up eventually, and hydrogen stations are much more expensive to build than gas stations or charging stations for battery-electric cars.