Toyota to Recall Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell Cars

May 20, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Toyota Motor Corp. (Japan) announced that it would recall all six of its hydrogen-powered vehicles after it found a leak in the fuel tank of one of the cars. Toyota had begun leasing the million-dollar-plus cars to four Japanese government ministries and two California university campuses last December. Toyota said the leak occurred in the vehicle leased to Japan's Environment Ministry while the high-pressure hydrogen tank was being refilled. The tank was manufactured by a foreign parts maker, Toyota said, declining to identify the company.

The recall underscores the difficulty in building marketable and fault-free fuel cell vehicles, especially as it comes from a company reputed to be at the forefront of the technology. Toyota said it would recall the six fuel cell cars, as well as postpone the lease of six more to two local governments and four private companies, including Tokyo Gas Co., scheduled for May 29, 2003. The company said that it would return the vehicles after investigating and fixing the problem, without specifying a timeframe.