Toyota Sticks With Hydrogen for 'Fine-Comfort Ride' Concept Vehicle

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
toyota sticks with hydrogen for 8216 fine comfort ride concept vehicle

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.

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 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.

[Images: Toyota]

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  • EngineerfromBaja_1990 I'd love a well preserved Mark VII LSC with the HO 5.0 for a weekend cruiser. Its design aged better than both the VI and VIII. Although I'd gladly take the latter as well (quad cam V8 and wrap around interior FTW)
  • Teddyc73 The Mark VIII was the first car I lusted over as a young new auto enthusiast. Still think it's a beauty after all these years.
  • Art Vandelay wish They’d do an SS version of the Bolt. We need more electric hot hatches and this is a clean enough design that it would look good
  • ToolGuy Your Jeep is too studly.
  • ToolGuy I had a point to make, but can't remember if it related to Part XXVIIII or Part XXIX.