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Toyota previews 2015 fuel-cell electric vehicle

Toyota FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) Concept to debut at Tokyo Motor Show

Published: November 17, 2013, 6:00 AM

Among several concept vehicles Toyota will introduce at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show next week will be a new FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) Concept. It is said to be a practical concept of the fuel cell vehicle Toyota plans to launch around 2015.

Like the other concept vehicles on display, Toyota says the FCV Concept represents the company's efforts to contribute positively to society while creating ever-better cars that exceed expectations.

The hydrogen-powered fuel-cell concept is purported to have a driving range of at least 500 km and refueling times as low as three minutes, roughly the same time as for a gasoline vehicle.

Slightly longer than a Prius v, on the same wheelbase, the FCV Concept can accommodate up to four occupants.

Its somewhat odd exterior design is said to evoke two key characteristics of a fuel cell vehicle: the transformation of air into water as the system produces electricity, and the powerful acceleration enabled by the electric drive motor.

The front view features pronounced air intakes, and Toyota says the side view conveys the air-to-water transformation with its flowing-liquid door profile and wave-motif fuel cap. The theme carries to the rear view, which is said to convey a catamaran’s stern and the flow of water behind.

If they say so.

More important than the car's appearance is Toyota’s proprietary small, light-weight Fuel Cell Stack, which has a power output density of 3 kW/L – more than twice that of the current "Toyota FCHV-adv" FC Stack – and an output of at least 100 kW.

Fuel is carried in two 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks underneath the body.

The new Toyota FC system is also equipped with a high-efficiency boost converter that increases the voltage, which has made it possible to reduce the size of the motor and the number of fuel cells.

The result is said to be a smaller system offering enhanced performance at reduced cost.