At Toyota’s recent Hybrid World Tour event, managing office Satoshi Ogiso made it clear that the company continues to see hydrogen fuel cells as part of the future drivetrain mix and that Toyota’s first commercially available hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will go on sale in 2015. Ogiso indicated that at the upcoming Tokyo and Detroit auto shows Toyota will be showing “a well-defined mid-size four-door sedan concept” powered by the company’s latest fuel cell. Images of the Toyota FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) Concept have now been released in advance of the Tokyo show. “Well-defined” appears to mean close to production ready.
The four seater, said to cost up to $100,000 when it does arrive in production form, will likely have a 300 mile range. The FCV Concept has two 70 MPa high pressure tanks for storing hydrogen located below the body which feed a small, lightweight fuel cell stack, a proprietary Toyota design. The “Toyota FC Stack” has a power output density of 3 kilowatts per liter, more than twice the power density of Toyota’s current “Toyota FCHV-adv” fuel cell stack. The system also includes a “high efficiency boost converter”. The result is higher voltage, allowing the use of fewer cells in the stack and smaller electric motors. That means reduced costs but also reduced weight, a critical factor in electrically powered vehicles.