GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Toyota believes the price of fuel cell cars will match those of hybrids within 10 years, the automaker's European head of sales and marketing, Matt Harrison, said.
"By the third generation we fully expect fuel cell costs to be comparable with hybrids," Harrison said on Wednesday at the Automotive News Europe Congress here. "We believe fuel cell vehicles have a huge potential," he said.
Toyota currently sells its first-generation fuel cell car, the Mirai sedan, which starts at around 7.2 million yen ($65,800) in Japan.
Harrison said Toyota was "not so far" from selling the second-generation model, with the third-generation arriving within a decade.
As with all automakers selling in Europe, Toyota needs to progressively reduce CO2 emissions from its new-car fleet levels to comply with increasingly tougher targets mandated by the European Union to tackle climate change.
"There is no perfect technology to meet this task to succeed," Harrison said. "We are preparing various alternatives and will let our customers decide which form of electrification suits them."
Harrison said Toyota's hybrid models will help it to hit the EU's CO2 reduction goal for 2020. Toyota has the lowest average CO2 of any mainstream automaker as ranked by JATO Dynamics.
Toyota sold 480,000 hybrids in its wider European region last year, including Russia, with the technology accounting for 46 percent of sales. Looking at just western Europe, that figure rose to 60 percent. "It's limited by supply for the second year running, not demand," Harrison said.
Harrison said Toyota reduced the cost of hybrid technology by 75 percent since launching the first Prius in 1997. The car is now on its fourth generation. "Our next-generation hybrid technology will be more affordable still," he said.
Harrison did not say how the price of fuel cell cars will be reduced to match hybrids.
German supplier Robert Bosch expects fuel cells to become cheaper partly due to the reduction of the precious metal platinum. The supplier's future fuel cell design will only need the same amount of platinum as a current diesel catalytic convertor, Bosch said earlier this month. David Hart, director of E4tech consultancy in Switzerland, expects the next generation of Toyota's Mirai will reduce platinum use by two-thirds.