Toyota has unveiled the exterior design of its hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Sedan, following the car’s appearance in concept form at last year’s Tokyo motor show.
Initially, the four-door saloon will be introduced first in Japan before next April, with preparations in place for subsequent roll-out in the US and European markets in the summer of 2015.
The construction of the new car took into account Toyota's commitment to developing vehicles that are kinder to the environment, based on three principles: embracing diverse energy sources; securing low vehicle emissions; and driving positive environmental change by making these vehicles popular with customers.
Many analysts identify hydrogen has having great potential as an alternative fuel, as it can be produced from a wide variety of primary energy sources, including solar and wind power, and is easy to store and transport, while it also has a higher energy density than batteries, when compressed.
As such, hydrogen could also be used in a much wider range of applications beyond automotive and domestic use, including large-scale power generation.
The Japanese company has been developing fuel cell vehicles in-house for more than 20 years, with its system including a proprietary FC Stack that generates electricity from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and high-pressure hydrogen tanks.
The technology was featured in the Toyota FCHV (fuel cell hybrid vehicle); an SUV which was leased to customers on a limited basis in Japan and the USA from 2002.
Since then, Toyota has significantly improved its FC system, with the new Fuel Cell Sedan delivering performance and a cruising range similar to that of a petrol-engined vehicle, and refuelling taking roughly three minutes.
When driven, the car’s only exhaust emission is water vapour, produced by the chemical reaction between the hydrogen and oxygen.
According to Toyota, the technology has "great potential" in the development of vehicles that are kinder to the environment and ideal for helping deliver sustainable mobility.
Karl Schlicht, executive vice-president of Toyota Motor Europe, commented: "We are very excited by the arrival of fuel cell technology. Of course there are many challenges ahead, but our history with hybrid gives us all the experience we need to bring a new technology to the market."
As well as the new Fuel Cell Sedan, Toyota is also engaging in other hydrogen-related initiatives, such as developing and testing fuel cells for use in homes, and designing fuel cell forklifts and buses.
« « Classic motors go up for sale | Bespoke McLaren is premiered » »