Toyota Motor Sales in the US will begin a programme in December that will help to establish a fuel-cell hybrid-electric vehicle (FCHV) community in the state of California, linking government, education and industry, and including hydrogen refuelling companies.

“The task of bringing practical fuel-cell powered vehicles to the mass market will require a considerable investment of time, resources, cooperation and patience,” said TMS COO Jim Press. “This programme marks a significant first step in the right direction.”

The programme begins with the delivery of the first two Toyota FCHV hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and the University of California, Davis (UCD) on Monday, December 2. The vehicles will be leased to the universities for 30 months at a cost of approximately $US10,000 per month. 

Both universities are at the forefront of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle and infrastructure research, development and implementation.

The Toyota FCHV is based on Toyota’s Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle and represents advancement on the FCHV-4 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, which has undergone comprehensive real-world testing over the last 16 months in California and Japan.

Earlier on Monday, TMS’ parent company Toyota Motor Corporation announced that it would lease four Toyota FCHVs to agencies of the Japan government on December 2.

TMS will announce on December 2 complete details of its fuel-cell community programme including specific information on infrastructure providers and how the vehicles — as well as additional resources to be provided by Toyota — will contribute to on-going research, development and implementation.