Electric vehicles get the lion’s share of the attention in the world of futuristic automotive technology, and for good reason–automakers are quickly sending reasonably priced EVs down the pipeline, and startups like Coulomb and Better Place are hard at work building an EV charging infrastructure. But we can’t count out hydrogen fuel cell technology quite yet. Toyota–the automaker perhaps best known for producing hybrid vehicles–now claims that it will be able to produce a $50,000 hydrogen sedan by 2015, according to Green Car Reports.
That’s not an impressive price considering that there are multiple sub-$40,000 EVs being released later this year (including the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt), but consider this: Toyota claims that the cost to build hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has plunged 90% in under 10 years. And Toyota is far from the only automaker to invest in fuel cell technology. GM, Honda, and Daimler all have research programs of their own.
But while startups like SunHydro are convinced that hydrogen technology will end up being practical, it seems like most automakers are only investing in fuel cell vehicles as a backup plan. After all, it’s unlikely that we’ll have three fueling infrastructures (gasoline, electric, and hydrogen), and automakers appear to be rushing out EVs as fast as possible. It’s always wise to have a backup plan, though, right?