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The world’s largest carmaker will show off this Toyota FCV Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. FCV stands for Fuel Cell Vehicle, and this concept previews an actual hydrogen-powered car Toyota plans to launch in 2015.

Toyota says that its progressive refinement of hydrogen fuel cell tech has given the car a range of at least 500 km on a full tank of the gas, and refuelling time will take around three minutes, roughly the same as for a petrol/diesel vehicle.

The powertrain features Toyota’s proprietary compact and lightweight fuel cell stack and a pair of high-pressure (70mPa) hydrogen tanks, located beneath the specially designed body. This compact packaging means the FCV can carry up to four occupants.

The Toyota FC stack has a 3 kW/l power output density, which is more than twice that of the system previously used in the FCHV-adv concept, and a maximum power output of at least 100 kW. It is also equipped with a high-efficiency boost converter.

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By increasing the voltage, Toyota has been able to make the motor smaller and reduce the number of fuel cells, leading to a system that is more compact overall, yet delivers better performance at reduced cost.

Driving aside, a fully fuelled vehicle can provide enough electricity – 10kW/h – to power an average Japanese family home for a week.

The FCV Concept is a big car. At 4,870 mm long, it’s 45 mm longer than the Toyota Camry, and its 2,780 mm wheelbase is longer than the D-segment sedan’s too. The exterior design carries the theme of transformation of air into water, which is exactly what happens when the fuel cell system generates electricity for the motor.

The front end features pronounced air intakes, while an air-to-water theme is captured in the flowing liquid profile of the doors, a wave motif on the filler cap and a rear-end treatment inspired by the stern of a catamaran.