Automakers have been debating the virtues of electric power versus hydrogen, and Toyota reportedly could lose some serious money by betting on the latter.
The Japanese carmaker plans to launch its first hydrogen fuel-cell model next year but may suffer losses of as much as $133,000 per vehicle, Edmunds.com reported.
Plug-in electric vehicles and even hybrids have left automakers sustaining losses so far since the market won't allow them to charge prices high enough to cover development and production costs.
Consumers could save big on Toyota's upcoming sedan if it's priced between $60,000 and $70,000 and federal and state tax credits reduce the cost even further. A federal incentive of $7,500 and a potential rebate of $5,000 in a state like California could help tempt customers.
Because fuel-cell technology is pricey to develop, "they are probably taking a hit of 50,000-100,000 Euros ($66,000-$133,000)," said Pat Cox, former president of the European Parliament.
Cox talked about major losses on green cars at a panel discussion this week, and his comments were first reported by Autoblog Green.
Toyota and other automakers believe that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will be more popular with consumers than electric cars since they can be filled quickly at hydrogen stations. Electric cars have limited ranges and must stop to be recharged.