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Tokyo show: Toyota looks to future with FCV

Cell mate: The Toyota FCV concept has a range of around 500km and can be refueled in less than three minutes.

Toyota confirms hydrogen fuel-cell FCV just 12 months away from production


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20 Nov 2013

TOYOTA has confirmed its first mass-produced fuel-cell sedan is just 12 months away from production after ripping the covers off the FCV concept at the Tokyo motor show today.

The Japanese auto giant said the unveiling of the near-production concept proves that development of the vehicle is in its final stages, with the FCV set to go on sale in its home market in 2015.

Further specifications released today show that the four-seat FCV is similar in size to the Camry, resting on a comparable 2775mm wheelbase but measuring slightly longer, wider and narrower than the top-selling mid-size contender.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb said it was a logical step for the company to develop a hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle, given its extensive experience in producing hybrid technology.

“When Toyota introduced the Prius in 1997, no-one knew what a hybrid was – or that Toyota had been developing the technology for more than 30 years,” he said.

“Yet global sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles have now topped 5.5 million vehicles and we’re building a hybrid version of Camry here in Australia.

“As the leader in hybrid technology, it is a natural step for Toyota to consider alternate fuels such as hydrogen because of its enormous potential in supporting energy diversification and zero emissions while offering the same convenience as today’s petrol-powered cars.” Toyota said it has made progress in performance improvement as well as cost reduction, and suggested the vehicle will cost less than ¥10 million (A$107,000) when it launches in urban centres of Japan including Tokyo, Chukyo, Kansai and Fukuoka before rollouts in Europe and the United States.

The FCV uses a lightweight fuel-cell stack and two 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks and it produces 100kW of power.

As previously reported, the FCV has a fuel-cell power density of 3kW per litre, more than double that of Toyota’s previous fuel-cell concept based on the Kluger SUV.

The system in the FCV features a high-efficiency boost converter that reduces the size of the motor and the number of fuel cells for enhanced performance at a reduced cost.

Driving range is at least 500km and Toyota says the FCV takes around three minutes to refuel.

Toyota believes hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will become more mainstream by the 2020s, and the car-making giant predicts it will build and sell tens of thousands of hydrogen-powered vehicles annually.

The exterior design of the FCV is meant to highlight the functions of a fuel-cell vehicle – converting air into water, as the system produces electricity.

Large air intakes dominate the front while from the side, the FCV carries a profile that Toyota says represents ‘flowing liquid’. The tail-end is inspired by the stern of a catamaran.

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