Yesterday, I changed my base of operations to Tokyo for a month to escape the Chinese New Year festivities (i.e. one month of WW III worthy fireworks, combined with closed shops and restaurants.) If I would have stuck it out a few days longer, I could have enjoyed a ride in a fuel cell vehicle.
Starting on January 29, Toyota Motor will provide “TOYOTA FCHV-adv” (as in “fuel cell hybrid vehicle-advanced”) vehicles to a new car service from Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Toyota is acting upon a request from the Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT), a participant in the Hydrogen Highway Project run by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
Toyota has already provided a hydrogen-powered bus for use on a commercial route between central Tokyo and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The idea is to gather data for the big hydrogen roll-out in 2015.
Detailed data of the still experimental FCHV-adv can be found in the Toyota press release. The car uses the same core hybrid synergy drive as the Toyota Prius, except that the power is delivered by a hydrogen-fed fuel cell. What is most impressive: Despite the definite SUV-like characteristics of the vehicle (the FCHV-adv is based on a Toyota Highlander), there will be not even the slightest pang of range anxiety in this car. With a full high-pressure tank of hydrogen, it can go for 830km (515 miles) before it needs a fill-up.
No, there is no on-board toilet.