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Tokyo show: Toyota ramps up fuel-cell grunt

On track: Toyota says a hydrogen fuel-cell car like this FCV Concept will go into production in 2015.

Toyota FCV Concept has double the fuel-cell power density of previous concept

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Toyota logo5 Nov 2013

By RON HAMMERTON

TOYOTA will move another step closer to its hydrogen fuel cell future when it unveils the FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) Concept at the Tokyo motor show later this month.

The company says the concept, with a fuel-cell power density more than double that of its previous fuel-cell concept based on a Kluger, points to a production vehicle to be launched about 2015, with a substantial 100kW of power, a 500km driving range and a refueling time comparable with a conventional car.

The FCV will be one of five concepts to make their global debut at the show, including the first right-hand-drive 86 convertible.

Toyota showed a similar fuel-cell car – called FCV-R – at the 2011 Toyota motor show, saying that one had a 700km range.

Toyota, which has long promised to make hydrogen fuel cell cars a production reality by 2015, says the FCV Concept seats four people and can be refueled in just three minutes.

The FCV is armed with Toyota’s own compact fuel cell stack with a power density of 3kW per litre, more than double that of the previous Toyota unit.

Toyota says the FCV has a high-efficiency boost converter, allowing it to increase the voltage and thus reduce the size of the motor and the number of fuel cells enhanced performance and reduced cost.

The car can even serve as an emergency electricity supply – an important factor in earthquake and tsunami prone Japan.

“Fully fuelled, the vehicle can provide enough electricity to meet the daily needs of an average Japanese house (10kWh) for more than a week,” Toyota says.

Although no acceleration figures have been revealed, Toyota has hinted at “powerful acceleration enabled by the electric drive motor”.

The FCV’s designers incorporated a "flowing liquid" door profile and “wave- motif” fuel cap, while the rear is said to have been inspired by the stern of a catamaran.

Also on the Toyota stand at the Tokyo show from November 20 will be a concept dubbed FV2 (Fun Vehicle 2) that Toyota promises will “connect physically and emotionally with the driver - even to the extent of being able to determine the driver's mood and driving skill”.

The driver steers the FV2 by shifting their body weight, while voice and image recognition will determine the driver's mood, accumulated driving history to suggest destinations, and driving skill information to assist the driver.

Three cars targeted at the Japanese market – a next-generation taxi concept and two next-generation seven-seat minivans, one petrol and one hybrid, will also be shown.

Of more interest to Australian car fans will the first right-hand drive Toyota 86 Open convertible that will appear in concept form.

The left-hand drive version was revealed at the Geneva motor show in March.

Toyota is yet to officially production of the car, despite interest from around the globe.

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