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Tokyo show: Toyota reveals two fuel-cell concepts

Hydro hauler: Toyota’s fuel-cell-powered Sora bus will arrive in production guise in Japan next year, with more than 100 examples to be on the road by the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

310kW six-seater car and near-production bus fuel-cell concepts unveiled by Toyota


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19 Oct 2017

TOYOTA will use this month’s Tokyo motor show to unveil a pair of hydrogen fuel-cell-powered concept vehicles, including a sedan with a 310kW output and 1000km range, and a 59-seat bus set to be released in Japan next year in anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The bus concept, called Sora, adopts a pair of 114kW fuel-cell stacks and 113kW/335Nm electric motors developed for Toyota’s Mirai production car, fed by10 high-pressure tanks holding 600 litres of hydrogen.

The powertrain can also be used as an emergency external power source, powering, for example, a community centre for about 30 hours at up to 9kW.

Toyota has also included a number of safety and convenience features on the Sora concept, including eight high-definition cameras to detect pedestrians and bicyclists and warn the driver with sounds and images.

To aid standing passengers, Toyota has fitted an acceleration control function that provides gentle acceleration from stops, while vehicle lurches have been minimised due to the lack of gear changes. Seats can also be folded to provide extra space for wheelchairs and strollers.

The concept includes Toyota’s ITS (Intelligent Transport System) Connect system, using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity to for safer driving, including bus convoys and priority at traffic signals. This will not be available on production vehicles next year.

Another feature on the concept, automatic arrival control function, can detect guidance lines on the road to automatically stop the bus at a bus stop within 10cm accuracy and maximum 6cm from the kerb.

Second of the concepts is a premium six-seat sedan/wagon called the Fine-Comfort Ride which uses a 310kW fuel-cell drivetrain capable of about 1000km of driving range and a zero-to-100km/h sprint time of 5.4 seconds.

The wild-looking concept features minimal overhangs, sliding rear doors, autonomous driving control and a flexible seating layout allowing front-seat passengers to turn their seats around to face rear occupants.

The diamond-shaped body narrows towards the rear in an aerodynamic tear-drop shape, while interior spaciousness is enhanced by space-saving in-wheel electric motors at the corners of the vehicle.

The fuel-cell stack is at the front of the vehicle, while the hydrogen tank is under the floor.

Toyota is one of the few motor companies already offering a fuel-cell vehicle, the Mirai, in limited markets such as California.

The company last year toured a small fleet of Mirais around Australia, but lack of refuelling infrastructure meant it had to be followed around by a mobile refuelling station on the back of a truck.

The Mirai features a 114kW/335Nm powertrain with a driving range of about 550km.

The Tokyo motor show kicks off on October 25.

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