Toyota touts new fuel cell car concept

Posted by Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling.com

Toyota, continuing a steady march towards a 2015 debut of its first production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, plans to showcase at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month a concept version of what this new offering might look like. It is still a work in progress, however, showing evolution from the automaker’s earlier designs.

The new FCV Concept, according to Toyota, reportedly has a driving range of around 500 km (310 miles) and a hydrogen refueling time as low as three minutes. Fully fueled, the vehicle can provide enough electricity to meet the daily needs of an average Japanese home (10 kWh) for more than one week.

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image via Toyota

As with all concepts, designers for Toyota’s latest fuel cell vehicle iteration went into creative overdrive with ideas on what it represents to the world around it. Its exterior look, they noted, evokes two key characteristics

of a fuel cell vehicle: the transformation of air into water as the system produces electricity, and the powerful acceleration enabled by the electric drive motor. The bold front view features pronounced air intakes, while the sleek side view conveys the air-to-water transformation with its flowing-liquid door profile and wave-motif fuel cap. The theme carries to the rear view, which conveys a catamaran’s stern and the flow of water behind.

The car’s FC (fuel cell) Stack and 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks placed beneath its specially designed body allow the FCV Concept to hold up to four passengers. It has some impressive specifications, such as “a power output density of 3 kW/L, more than twice that of the current ‘Toyota FCHV-adv’ FC Stack, and an output of at least 100 kW.”

In increasing the voltage it has made it possible to reduce the size of the motor and the number of fuel cells, leading to what’s described as a smaller system offering enhanced performance at reduced cost.

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling.com