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