Toyota, the Japanese automaker has revealed more information about its ambitious project the 2015 FCV-R hydrogen fuel cell production car. The company believes that Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles offer the best solution to the challenges of energy sources and emissions, with hydrogen as an ideal, ultra-clean fuel. The firm announced that the production of the vehicle is on the right track, and will explain it at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. At the event, it will demonstrate the complete journey of developing a marketable fuel cell vehicle, and how close the company is to achieve its goal of developing a driving range and performance comparable to conventional petrol and diesel engines, but with no harmful tailpipe emissions.
Toyota applied its successful Hybrid Synergy Drive technology – the power system used by Prius and its other full hybrid production models – in its FCHV development, replacing the petrol engine with a fuel cell and the conventional fuel tank with high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The FCHV uses the same electrical components as a full hybrid powertrain, as well as a 21kW battery to store energy recovered by its regenerative braking system.
Having first unveiled its FCV-R concept at the 2011 Tokyo motor show, Toyota has continued to make progress towards its planned introduction of an affordable FCHV saloon model in Japan, the USA and Europe by 2015. Development of the production model has seen a focus on significant cost reduction, durability, reliability and improvements in well-to-wheel CO2 emissions.
The FCV-R concept is 4,745mm long – 35mm longer than an Avensis saloon – 1,510mm high and 1,790mm wide. Tested by Toyota (in line with official Japanese JC08 criteria) it has achieved a maximum driving range of about 675km, producing no CO2, NOx or particulate matter emissions. The only by-product of the hydrogen fuel cell when driving is water vapour. Toyota has succeeded in downsizing the fuel cell stack by achieving the highest fuel cell power density yet – 3.0kW per litre.
The twin fuel tanks and the fuel cell stack are located beneath the vehicle floor, which means there is no impact on the cabin and load space. Toyota expects FCHVs to reach full mass-market commercialisation during the 2020s, by when it aims to be selling tens of thousands of vehicles annually. The company believes that they can achieve a price tag of less than 70,000 pounds (around Rs. 71.68 lakhs), but it is still working to drive the costs further down.