Toyota Motor Corp. is in a big hurry to get a jump on competitors in the market for green, environmentally friendly, cars. It was the first to sell a mass-produced hybrid car, powered by electricity and gasoline, launched in December. Now, Toyota president Hiroshi Okuda is bragging he will beat rivals with mass-produced fuel-cell cars powered by hydrogen, though he doesn't specify when.
Toyota engineers have a large time window in their favor. Mercedes-Benz and Ford, in partnership, don't plan to have such a car on sale until the middle of the next decade. GM has targeted 2005, while Chrysler is shooting for mass production in 2010. Toyota is working on a hydrogen-powered version of its RAV4 sport utility and already has a drivable prototype.