When the Toyota FCV Concept was showcased at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota announced that it would be entering production in 2015. Well, since we’re less than half a year away from 2015, it’s about time we saw prototypes of a production version of the FCV Concept on the road.
We can see that the production car will keep a lot of the concept car’s styling. This design has been many years in the making, first seen in 2011 in the form of the Toyota FCV-R concept. There are vertical daytime running lights integrated into the flared bumper, which appears to have swapped the concept’s mesh grille to a new design that features horizontal bars.
This new car – rumoured to be called the Mirai, which is Japanese for future – is not a hybrid, despite its Prius-like roofline. It uses an electric motor, but the difference is what powers those motors – not batteries, but hydrogen. The powertrain features Toyota’s proprietary compact and lightweight fuel cell stack and a pair of high-pressure (70mPa) hydrogen tanks, located beneath the four-seater body. It can go 500 km on a full tank of hydrogen.
This isn’t the first hydrogen fuel cell car to come out of a Japanese automaker. Honda was there earlier with the Honda FCX Clarity, which has had an experimental leasing run since 2008. We managed a quick drive of the Honda FCX Concept back in 2007. It’s pretty much like an electric car that you can refuel with hydrogen in a jiffy instead of having to charge it for a few hours.