Toyota’s road to green-based innovation
LIVING UP TO THE “START YOUR IMPOSSIBLE” GLOBAL CORPORATE INITIATIVE, TOYOTA CONTINUES ITS ROAD TO GREEN-BASED INNOVATION WITH THESE WORLD FIRSTS
Planning on going to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020? You may find yourself riding on Toyota’s Sora – the first fuel cell bus to receive vehicle-type certification in Japan.
Sora, an an acronym for Sky, Ocean, River and Air (the earth’s water cycle), is powered by the Toyota Fuel Cell System, developed for the Mirai fuel cell electrical vehicle. The concept’s been guided by two principles: to make the best use of the eco-friendly characteristics of the fuel cell unit and to create a better passenger experience.
This is based on Toyota’s “Start Your Impossible” global corporate initiative, launched last year to transform the
organisation from an automobile company to a mobility service company. Toyota aims to contribute to the improvement of both customers’ lives and society, as a whole, by creating sustainable solutions. At the core of this lies the company’s desire to innovate, inspire and contribute to a better future, and the Sora epitomises that objective.
The bus doesn’t emit CO2 or substances of concern, leaving only water vapour in its wake. The system also has a 9kw external power supply with a capacity of 235kwh, which can be utilised as an emergency power supply, when required and provides enough juice to keep lights on for six hours a night, for five nights. In developing the Sora, Toyota’s created buses that give customers the freedom of mobility while serving as a local attraction.
The vehicle has a capacity of 79 in total (22 seated, 56 standing and a driver), and contains horizontal seats with an automatic storage mechanism, considered a first in Japan. The seats automatically store flat when not in use, offering more space and improved convenience for passengers with strollers or wheelchairs.
Added safety features include eight high-definition cameras fitted inside and outside the vehicle, which improve peripheral monitoring. These detect pedestrians and cyclists around the bus and warn of impending obstacles through sound notifications and images. The vehicle also has a control function that enables smooth, lurch-free acceleration from being completely stationary, resulting in a more comfortable ride.
The bus has an automatic arrival control system, which steers it 3-6cm from the bus stop edge and within 10cm of the stop’s fore or aft position, allowing passengers to board more easily – especially those with walking aids or wheelchairs.
Toyota expects to introduce over 100 fuel cell buses ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, operating mainly within the Tokyo metropolitan area.
HOW IT WORKS
At the core of the Toyota Fuel Cell System is the Toyota fuel cell stack, which generates electricity by the chemical reaction of water and oxygen, and the battery. The system generates electric power to drive the bus and emits only water – making this a clean power source.
Step 1: Air/oxygen taken in.
Step 2: Oxygen and hydrogen supplied
to fuel cell stack.
Step 3: Chemical reaction generates
electricity and water.
Step 4: Electricity is supplied to
Step 5: Motor is activated and the
Step 6: Water vapour is released.