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Tokyo show: Toyota set for 2015 fuel cell debut

New age: The Toyota FCV-R hydrogen fuel cell car is likely to enter production in 2015.

Fuel-cell Toyota concept car points towards a hydrogen future for Japanese giant

Toyota logo15 Nov 2011

By RON HAMMERTON

A HYDROGEN-POWERED fuel-cell car with a driving range of 700km will headline Toyota’s offerings at this year’s Tokyo motor show, where Toyota is expected to confirm it will enter the hydrogen age in 2015.

Also among five cars making world premieres on the Toyota stand in late November will be an all-electric iQ city car and the production version of the upcoming hybrid Prius C light hatchback.

Toyota will also present its showroom-ready rear-drive sports coupe – which GoAuto believes will be called 86 – developed in conjunction with Subaru.

A fanciful concept car – Fun-Vii – that appears to be able to interact with passers-by via the internet will also be shown, next to the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle that made its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

The fuel cell sedan concept, called FCV-R, is said to bring Toyota one step closer to a real-world hydrogen-fueled car that Japan’s biggest car-maker says it will put into production in about four years.

Toyota says the “highly practical” four-seat sedan houses its fuel cell stack under the floor, allowing “impressive luggage space”.

The company claims the hydrogen system, including a 70Mpa high-pressure tank to hold the hydrogen, has been improved over earlier prototypes, extending the range to 700km “or more”.

8 center imageLeft: Prius C. Below: FT-EV III concept and Fun Vii.

Also destined for production – but much sooner – is the Prius C five-door hatch, which will make its show debut under its Japanese name, Aqua.

Describing it as an affordably priced compact and lightweight hybrid, Toyota is preparing to roll out the Yaris-based car in Japan next month, ahead of an Australian launch in the second quarter of 2012.

Toyota claims fuel economy of 2.86 litres per 100km on the Japanese JC08 test cycle – well under the 3.9L/100km of the larger Prius.

Another world premiere is the full-electric FT-EV III, a little city car based on the iQ runabout sold in both Europe, Japan and the US.

Favouring hybrid technology over full electric to date, the FT-EV III is expected to be one of two full Toyota EVs to hit the market in 2012, with the other being the electric RAV4 to be built in Canada with Tesla parts. Neither vehicle has been confirmed for Australia.

Toyota said the four-seat FT-EV II is equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack good for 105km, and is designed for short trips.

Petrol-heads will be looking out for the rear-drive sports coupe that remained nameless in today’s Toyota pre-show announcement.

Employing a Subaru-made ‘boxer’ four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine with Toyota direct-injection cylinder heads, the car will appear in final production guise ahead of its global roll-out, including a mid-2012 Australian launch.

To be known as the Scion FR-S in North America, the coupe is expected to be known as simply ‘86’ in Australia and Japan. As GoAuto reported exclusively in June, Toyota Motor Corporation has registered that name in Australia, after calling concepts of the sports machine FT-86.

The 86 refers to the inspiration for the new coupe, a 1980s rear-drive Corolla that is highly regarded among drifting exponents in Japan.

Subaru will also reveal the production-ready BRZ – its version of the coupe – at the Tokyo show after showing one more concept – the BRZ STI – at the Los Angeles show this week.

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