Toyota To Ax Gas-Powered Vehicles By 2050, Focusing On Hydrogen Cars

Oct 16, 2015 01:06 PM EDT | John Nassivera

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Toyota is set on giving all of its drivers environmentally-friendly vehicles, announcing at a press conference Wednesday that it plans on cutting all of its gas-powered cars from its fleet by 2050.

The Japanese automaker is placing a large emphasis on hydrogen cars, as it believes that it will be these vehicles, not electric cars, that take over the roads in the future. The company is not confident in the long-term role of hybrids and battery-models that other competitors like Honda and Hyundai are working on, according to NBC News.

The announcement comes on the heels of Toyota's recent commercial for the Mirai, which will be its first fuel-cell vehicle. The Mirai comes with a range of 300 miles, and it only takes five minutes to refuel.

"When we first announced the Mirai, we said we were at the start of the age of hydrogen," Kiyotaka Ise, a senior managing officer for Toyota Motor Corp., told reporters in Tokyo. "The figure we've announced today is ambitious, but it needs to be to keep the ball rolling."

Toyota also intends to sell over 30,000 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by 2020, as well as reduce average emissions from its cars by 90 percent by 2050 compared with 2010 levels, BBC News reported.

The automaker claims that its new Prius hybrid will be a fifth more fuel-efficient than its predecessor.

Shifting from gas and diesel-powered cars would be a huge change for Toyota, which has been the world's largest automaker for the past three years, Quartz noted. The company sold 10.2 million vehicles worldwide in 2014, and it did not see much growth that year from 2013 from hybrids, which accounted for 1.3 million of those vehicles.

However, there are those who are not as confident in hydrogen technology, referring to a lack of a refueling infrastructure as a major obstacle, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also referred to the technology as "fooled cells," NBC News reported. Countries such as the U.S., Germany and Japan are looking to build more hydrogen pumps by the end of the decade to provide the necessary distribution networks.

Despite the challenges ahead, Toyota seems set on distributing only green cars in the future, with officials also revealing in Tokyo that the company plans on selling 1.5 million hybrid-electric cars a year by 2020.

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