29 Sep 2008

Race on for petrol-free car

8:42 pm on 29 September 2008

Car makers are racing to develop the first mass-produced and affordable petrol-free car, says Toyota Australia chief executive Max Yasuda.

Launching Toyota's 2008 sustainability report on Monday, Mr Yasuda said the car industry had no future unless it could solve environmental problems caused by automobiles.

The first manufacturer to produce an affordable petrol-free car could dominate the market.

Mr Yasuda envisaged a time when all mass-produced cars would be petrol-free, alternatively powered machines.

"Fuel cell (powered) could be one candidate, electric vehicles, could be one candidate, I think there's a lot of potential for the future for petrol-free driven cars. The technology is already here, it's available, the question is, is it going to be economically feasible for the consumer to purchase a car? I think that's the sole question right now."

Mr Yasuda said there were a handful of petrol-free cars available now that were leased to universities in Los Angeles and Tokyo.

He estimated if they were to be sold to consumers, it would be at about 10 times the cost of an equivalent-powered mass-produced petrol-driven car today.