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Bless the folks at Toyota, really. Not content with making its hydrogen fuel cell patents royalty free for any auto manufacturer to employ, the world’s leading car manufacturer is now working to price the newly-revealed Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle much lower – currently, prices begin at US$57,500.

Katsuhiko Hirose, project manager at Toyota’s fuel cell development arm, told Automotive News that the firm is quite keen on pricing hydrogen-powered cars along the lines of a conventional petrol or diesel car. “A hydrogen-powered EV should cost roughly the same as a modern diesel,” said Hirose.

As expected, things are a lot easier said than done as Hirose admits that the final decision to drop the price is “a matter of debate within the company.” A further obstacle despite the vaunted price reduction is public perception towards a hydrogen-powered vehicle.

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“Acceptance of fuel cells probably will be similar to that for hybrids, about 10 to 15 years,” added Hirose. Additional concerns on the operational range of a hydrogen-powered car were dismissed with Hirose stating that hydrogen cars possess more or less the same range as that of a petrol- or diesel-powered car.

Further reinforcing Toyota’s aim to reduce the price of fuel cell vehicles is the issue of the rising number of cars being produced and registered. With markets such as China and Brazil rapidly adding to the count, the need for non-petrol-powered cars is among the key answers to alternative forms of mobility.

GALLERY: Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle