By on October 18, 2017

Toyota Fine Comfort-Ride Concept

Still glued to hydrogen as the fuel of the future, Toyota will unveil a new fuel cell concept at the Tokyo Motor Show that could be summarized as a mobile lounge. Existing somewhere between a crossover and minivan, the “Fine Comfort-Ride” concept vehicle underscores a more roomy and relaxing automotive future.

At 190 inches long and 77 inches wide, it isn’t a petite transport. However, that mass translates into a spacious cabin — with ample room for six — affixed with all the luxuries you’d want to see in the car of tomorrow. It has lavish swivel chairs, mood lighting, connectivity for each passenger, and windows that double as infotainment screens.

Unfortunately, it has the face of Droopy Dog. This may be the first time an automaker has molded a vehicle’s bodywork into jowls. 

Toyota Fine Comfort-Ride Concept

Of course, this is the Fine Comfort-Ride, not the Handsome Express, so Toyota can be forgiven for prioritizing interior glory at the expense of comely sheet metal. With an emphasis on “wearing comfort,” Toyota is likely to showcase autonomous capabilities during its official debut and underscore the benefit of hands-free driving in a living room on wheels.

However, this is a car without a timeline. We’ve seen concepts like this before and, while its limo-like interior is something worth yearning for, Toyota is unlikely to put anything like this into production. Instead, the Fine Comfort-Ride serves as a marketing opportunity for the automaker’s ongoing love affair with hydrogen fuel cells. 

Toyota Fine Comfort-Ride Concept

Toyota says it’s capable of 621 miles of quiet and smooth running on a single tank of the most abundant element in the universe. But being plentiful in the cosmos doesn’t mean it’s easy to come by on this planet. As we’ve mentioned before, hydrogen’s tendency to form covalent compounds means it has to be refined in energy-intensive ways — making it a non-starter in most parts of the world.

Japan, however, has fairly extensive hydrogen infrastructure. It’s one of the main reasons Toyota has persisted with the technology. In addition to the Fine Comfort-Ride, the company also recently announced plans to expand hydrogen truck testing in the United States and is building a fuel cell bus concept called Sora. The manufacturer wants to build 100 examples of the Sora for use in Tokyo before the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Both Sora and the Fine Comfort-Ride will be on display at the 45th annual Tokyo Motor Show beginning October 25th.

Toyota Fine Comfort-Ride Concept

[Images: Toyota]

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10 Comments on “Toyota Sticks With Hydrogen for ‘Fine-Comfort Ride’ Concept Vehicle...”

  • avatar

    Fine Comfort-Ride with giant-diameter wheels?

    No bueno.

  • avatar

    “Droopy Dog”? That pretty cruel. Though it’s face has a strong resemblance to “Jake the Dog”, from the Adventure Time series.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Mirai’s purchase price and cost per mile is equivalent to a Hellcat.

    Hydrogen is a dead end.

  • avatar

    Advertisement at Tokyo Olypmpics:

    You laugh, you laugh, gaijiin but Hydrogen-Sama shall rise again!!!

    Seriously though I thought hydrogen was kind of dumb until I realized it’s an electric car with potentially carbon-free fuel (think hydropower or nuclear running all of their overnight capacity and optimizing our utility asset base), which refuels your car in five minutes, which reduces our dependency on fossils and helps lower the geopolitical temperature, and which doesn’t have the battery disposal issue.

    Yes there are downsides – weight, cost to re-set our fuels infrastructure principal among them – but nothing which billions of foolish private sector money hasn’t moved already in the past.

    Let 1,000 experiments blossom.

    Oh yeah, the article – that thing is ugly but as a design experiment, have at it, Toyota.

    • 0 avatar

      Electric recharging at least has the benefit of an electricity delivery infrastructure already in place; it’s just the endpoints that need building.

      Hydrogen requires everything from ground up — there is no existing hydrogen infrastructure anywhere.

      I bet you could make hydrogen by electrocuting water quicker and cheaper than deliver hydrogen in pipelines, railroads, and trucks, and store it underground. But then you’re right back to electricity.

      Choice 1: electricity to battery to motors.

      Choice 2: electricity to electrocute water to create hydrogen to store in underground tanks to transfer to vehicle fuel tanks to convert to electricity in fuel cells to deliver to motors.

      One choice has more steps, and more inefficiency, than the other. And it costs a hell of a lot more.

      • 0 avatar

        Funny you mention all that, I work in the energy sector and yes we already have hydrogen and hydrogen fueling infrastructure around the country, mostly for industrial usage. What we don’t have are consumer fuel stations outside of five in California and five or so in NY currently. Basically it can be as simple as building an electric-driven unit at existing gas stations, and Air Liquide and Toyota among others are part-way there already. Not cheap but I’d worry more about the per-car weight penalty than this issue.

        I think you misunderestimate the environmental horror show all the batteries of the world are about to be btw. And the positive impact of using much more of our electricity generation run-time to create carbon-free transport.

        Anyway, I’m not going to convince you here.

  • avatar

    At least the grille openings are getting smaller.

  • avatar
    Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

    Finally, the AMC AM Van has been given an engine.

  • avatar

    But is the Fine-Comfort Ride grounded to the ground like the sporty Camry?

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