Even though Toyota is selling plenty of hybrids, the automaker is also investing in hydrogen fuel-cell technology as evidenced by its rollout of the Toyota Mirai fuel-cell car in California. And a few days ahead of the start of the Tokyo motor show, Toyota has taken the wraps off a futuristic fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) concept dubbed Fine-Comfort Ride.
The origami-style exterior aside, this fuel-cell concept promises a range of 1,000 kilometers or 621 miles on a full load of fuel, along with zero CO2 emissions — and really no other emissions. Toyota is staying mum regarding the details of the powertrain, only indicating that this concept features electric motors at each wheel. Along with the newly developed hydrogen powertrain, the Fine-Comfort Ride concept is also expected to showcase advanced autonomous driver assist systems.
When it comes to design, there’s a diamond-shaped interior layout that grows narrower toward the aft section of the car, offering the widest seating area at the front row. The interior itself is futuristic enough, with four swiveling round-shaped seats that can rotate to face each other, conference-style, and a large rear bench that wraps around the tail section of the vehicle.
The concept features swiveling seats that can face each other, in addition to a back bench.
This is just a concept for now — and despite Toyota championing fuel-cell technology, the current Mirai only has one competitor in the marketplace in the form of the Honda Clarity. But “competitor” may be too strong a word, given the fact that there are just 91 hydrogen filling stations in the U.S. (less than two per every state is one way of looking at it), and most of them are in California, where these two models are sold. It’s not the investment in hydrogen tech that’s lacking at the moment — it’s the infrastructure. And Toyota has not fully embraced pure-electric vehicles. The development of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles may be effectively coming at the expense of a Toyota competitor to the Nissan Leaf, among others.
Without measurable growth in the numbers and geographic locations of hydrogen filling stations, Toyota may soon face some tough questions about its lack of focus on battery-electric cars in the U.S., plug-in hybrids notwithstanding.
We’ll have to wait a few more days till the Tokyo motor show gets going to get answers to these questions, but for now there is no doubt that Toyota can dazzle with a futuristic exterior and interior concept design.