It has been more than twenty years in the making, but Toyota’s vision for the car of the future has finally been realised.
Visitors to the 2014 Paris Motor Show became the first members of the public to see the Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan, which can hold four people with ease and deliver a driving range that stacks up against petrol engines.
The Fuel Cell Sedan is the world’s first hydrogen-powered saloon to go into production and can be refuelled in just three minutes with the only emissions produced being water vapour.
Toyota’s Fuel Cell Sedan is a development on the FCV Concept which was first unveiled back in 2013 at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Whilst Toyota has kept similar styling to the concept model, several detail changes have been made, including adjustments to the radiator grille, headlights, rear light and aerial, plus the roof and fuel filler cap.
In order to save room and lower the vehicle’s centre of gravity, the fuel cell, battery and fuel tanks have been fitted under the floor.
Meanwhile, compartment located in the front of the car contains the electric motor, electronic control system and boost converter.
The converter increases the voltage output of the fuel cell, meaning that the size of the motor and number of fuel cells has been able to be reduced, which has simultaneously lowered costs and increased performance.
For twenty years now, Toyota has been developing fuel cell vehicles behind closed doors as part of the manufacturer’s ongoing and significant commitment to environmentally friendly vehicles.
Hydrogen, in particular, is a promising alternative to fossil fuels as it can be produced using a wide range of primary energy sources, including solar and wind power, whilst also being easy to store and transport.
The Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan is tentatively priced at around £43,450 and availability will be at first limited to the regions in which hydrogen refuelling stations are available.
On sale in Japan by April of 2015, Toyota aims to have the Sedan ready for European and US markets by the end of next year, with prices to be announced closer to the time.