In anticipation of 2015’s Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota has shown a glimpse of the FCV Plus, a hydrogen concept car dedicated to fuel-cell technology. For twenty years the leading Japanese carmaker has been researching full-cell innovation, and in 2014 launched the Mirai, one of the first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to be sold commercially (available only in Japan).
Image courtesy of Toyota
The FCV Plus exploits systems similar to the Mirai but with a significant improvement: the ability to use its wireless charging capability to share power with surrounding vehicles, effectively creating a social sharing program where drivers can assist others on the road. This concept takes the company into the realm of the new sharing economy, as well as sustainability.
This may seem like science-fiction, but the FCV Plus can actually generate it its own electricity and share it for other uses. In addition to the FCV Plus’ own hydrogen tank, the car can also generate electricity directly from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle. It can thus be transformed into a stable source of electric power for use at home or away. When the FCV is not being used as a means of transport, it could share its power generation capabilities with communities as part of the local infrastructure.
The FCV Plus is silent, gets roughly 300mpg, and emits only water. According to Toyota, “A fuel cell is an electrochemical device, which means there’s no moving parts or anything like that. It takes oxygen from the air, and hydrogen which we store in tanks, and it generates electricity – and the only byproduct is water, which comes out the tailpipe. It’s a zero emission electric vehicle, so there’s no burning of oil or gas – it’s purely electric.”
So is the buzz around this car – though we might not see one on the road in the near future, Toyota predicts the FCV pricing will fall somewhere between a Prius and a Tesla.