Robert Carter, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, believes that hydrogen fuel cell cars will be the future.
Carter made the statement during a presentation at the Automotive News World Congress held during the 25th annual Detroit international auto show.
"Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are safe," Carter told several hundred executives who participated at the annual conference, adding that the hydrogen tank can withstand gun shots and remain safe even after the bullet pierces a hole on the tank.
Toyota has partnered with the State of California to develop refill stations which can take deliveries from a tank truck. Even though hydrogen stations will be more expensive and in need of government subsidies to build, Carter said that only 15 percent of the current number of gas stations would be enough for the state calculated on the basis that 68 hydrogen stations would be able to service 100,000 cars.
Carter said the Toyota fuel cell vehicles are now under tests in all climate conditions, including testing in Canada and the Death Valley.
"Fuel-cell vehicles will be coming, sooner than many may believe," Carter said. "It will happen in California."
According to Carter, refilling time for a fuel cell car will be 3-5 minutes, the same as refilling a gasoline car. It has 300 miles in drive range and will be priced similar to that of the current hybrid vehicles.