Toy­ota’s con­cepts show that fu­ture could be a real gas

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - NEWS -

FIVE new Toy­ota ve­hi­cle con­cepts will make their world de­but at the Tokyo mo­tor show later this month, among them the lat­est Fuel Cell Ve­hi­cle (FCV) which show­cases the lat­est in hy­dro­gen fuel cell tech­nol­ogy.

The four-seater car has a range of at least 300 miles on a full tank and a re­fu­elling time of about three min­utes – roughly the same as for a petrol or diesel ve­hi­cle. The pow­er­train fea­tures Toy­ota’s com­pact, light­weight fuel cell stack and a pair of high­pres­sure (70mPa) hy­dro­gen tanks, lo­cated be­neath the spe­cially de­signed body which mea­sures 4,870mm long, 1,810mm wide and 1,535mm high.

The stack has a 3kW/l power out­put den­sity (which is more than twice that of the pre­vi­ous sys­tem) and a max­i­mum power out­put of at least 100kW. It is also equipped with a high-ef­fi­ciency boost con­verter. By in­creas­ing the volt­age, Toy­ota has been able to make the mo­tor smaller and re­duce the num­ber of fuel cells, lead­ing to a sys­tem that is more com­pact over­all.

The FCV at Tokyo re­flects the pro­duc­tion model sched­uled for launch next year. It will be dis­played along­side con­cepts that look to the fu­ture for taxis and com­pact MPVs as well as the FV2 (Fun Ve­hi­cle 2).

The FV2 shows what can be done but, un­like the FCV, its gad­gets and gizmos are un­likely to make it be­yond the mo­tor show floor. It doesn’t have a steer­ing wheel but is op­er­ated by the driver shift­ing his or her body to move the ve­hi­cle for­wards or back, left or right.

It also uses in­tel­li­gent trans­port sys­tem tech­nol­ogy to con­nect with other sim­i­larly ad­vanced ve­hi­cles nearby to cap­ture high­way and safety in­for­ma­tion, for ex­am­ple, giv­ing ad­vance warn­ing of ve­hi­cles in blind spots or at junc­tions.

In ad­di­tion, the ve­hi­cle is equipped with voice and im­age recog­ni­tion to de­ter­mine the driver’s mood and uses ac­cu­mu­lated driv­ing his­tory to sug­gest des­ti­na­tions. It also al­lows the body colour and ex­te­rior dis­play to change at will. Pre-cof­fee first thing in the morn­ing, for ex­am­ple, could see many driv­ing to work in a warn­ing shade of red. To show how it works, Toy­ota pro­duced a free smart­phone app.

CON­CEPT: Toy­ota’s in­no­va­tive ‘fuel cell ve­hi­cles’ (FCVs) in­clude a four-seater sa­loon, top, and the seg­way-like scooter.

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