Over the years, the Tokyo Motor Show has become a favorite venue for automakers to launch their most innovative models. This years’ event will feature several new models and concepts from Toyota Motor Corporation, including a new hydrogen-powered concept model.
The Toyota FCV hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, which is slated to launch in 2015, will reportedly resemble a catamaran and “evoke flowing water” – an appropriate image considering the fact that water vapor is the only tailpipe emission created by the vehicle’s hydrogen fuel cell.
A decade ago, fuel cells were generally considered the logical successor to the internal combustion engine, but hydrogen fuel cell technology faces a number of looming obstacles, including a notable lack of production and distribution infrastructure.
As battery powered vehicles have gained a wider audience, their inherent drawbacks have spawned renewed interest in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Honda already has an FCX fuel cell vehicle in production and other automakers, including Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and General Motors are exploring the viability of the technology.
Toyota’s production model will reportedly echo the basic appearance of the FCV hydrogen fuel-cell concept vehicle. The automaker claims the vehicle will have a range of up to 325 miles and refueling can be accomplished in just three minutes. Hydrogen refueling stations are currently scarce to non-existent depending on your location, but Japan and Germany are aggressively developing the necessary infrastructure. California expects to have 100 hydrogen refueling stations online within the next seven years. Los Angeles already boasts a handful of refueling stations.
Toyota also plans to unveil the eagerly anticipated a roadster version of its popular FR-S coupe, and the i-Road Concept model which reportedly combines the convenience and maneuverability of a motorcycle with the comfort and safety of an enclosed vehicle.
Also on Toyota’s slate of innovative vehicles is the skateboard-like FV2 Concept model which the driver steers by shifting his or her weight. The automaker says the idea behind the FV2 Concept is to develop “a relationship similar to the relationship of trust and understanding that a rider might have with his or her horse.”
The Tokyo Motor Show opens to the public on November 23 and runs through December 1.