Toyota Unveils Fuel Cell Concept Car with 1,000-km Driving Range

Wilbert Tan

Toyota‘s concept car, dubbed the ‘Fine-Comfort Ride’–gotta love how the Japanese name their cars–is a fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) that looks part-crossover, part-minivan, and part-limo. The look sort-of references the Toyota C-HR subcompact, reimagined as a boxy stretch car. Toyota revealed the concept at the recently-held Tokyo Motor Show, which ended on November 5, 2017.

Japan’s biggest auto manufacturer claims that the concept offers 50 percent better driving range than what current hydrogen-powered FCVs offer, with an intended range of 1,000 kms per charge. In comparison, the best FCVs in the market can only complete 650 kms, according to Toyota.

In addition, Toyota says that the Fine-Comfort Ride can be refueled in as little as three minutes. It also features artificial intelligence and automated driving technology.

Championing FCVs

Most carmakers have abandoned fuel cells and taken the electric vehicle (EV) route instead. Although Toyota does have its own EV technology that it’s working on as well, it is one of the few remaining players in the hydrogen cell race, saying that it believes that FCVs are the ultimate zero-emission cars, even as its competitors lean toward the improving capabilities and falling costs of lithium-ion batteries. All these efforts are meant to help the brand comply with worldwide environmental standards, which look to get more stringent with each passing year.

According to Toyota, thee Fine-Comfort Ride discharges no CO2 or substances of concern (SoC) while in operation. Below are some of the concept car’s noteworthy characteristics:

Exterior

  • Adopts a diamond-shaped cabin that narrows towards the rear, while being wider in all dimensions from the front to the center of the vehicle, maximizing the space of the second-row seats and aerodynamic performance.
  • Utilizes a flexible layout unique to electric-powered vehicles, adopts an in-wheel motor, positions the wheels at the very corners of the vehicle, and utilizes a body underside cover, thereby achieving high running stability and quietness suited to a premium saloon.

Interior

  • In adopting the concept of “wearing comfort (being wrapped in comfort),” the vehicle embodies future mobility that provides additional value other than movement to the passengers and is not simply just a “ride.”
  • The Agent function and the touch display are arranged around the driver and passenger seats. The seats allow for flexible adjustment according to posture, and the displays allow the driver and passengers to freely access information. The seat layout can be flexibly adjusted, so Fine-Comfort Ride can be used as individual space or as a communication space for individuals.

Toyota hopes that the Fine-Comfort ride will show case the potential of FCVs. The Japanese carmaker showcased the vehicle at the Tokyo Motor Show alongside its fuel cell concept bus called the Sora, which has room for 79 people including the driver. With the Sora set for sale in 2018, Toyota is targeting to have a national fleet of over 100 fuel cell buses operating mainly within Tokyo before the city hosts the Olympic Games in 2020.

Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride Concept
Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride Concept
Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride Concept
Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride Concept

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