Toyota is bringing its Fine-T fuel cell hybrid in-wheel motor concept car to the New York Auto Show next week. The concept made its world premier at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show as the Fine-X. (Earlier post.)
The Fine-T is powered by a new downsized, high-performance Toyota fuel-cell stack fueled by 70 MPa storage tanks. The fuel cell stack adopts a new alloy catalyst, which reduces the amount of precious metals used. The hybrid components are mounted beneath the vehicle floor, allowing greater cabin space—the interior space of an Avensis with the approximate exterior size of a Yaris—and creating a low center-of-gravity.
With the Fine-T, Toyota pursued using carbon-neutral materials over a wide range of interior fittings, processing polylactic acid (PLA), obtained from sugar cane, as well as Kenaf and other plant fiber into a variety of textures for door trim, suede-like ceiling material, seat nets and floor mats.
The concept uses an independent four-wheel large-angle steering system and independent four-wheel drive incorporating in-wheel motors with integrated drive power and wheel turning-angle control.
A drive-by-wire system connects the driver’s controls to actuators that operate vehicle functions. In front-axle/rear-axle turning mode, the vehicle can be turned around from the front or rear, which makes maneuverability easier when parallel parking. In directional change mode, continuously variable steering of the front and rear wheels allows a change of direction of almost the entire length of the vehicle in four directions. This feature allows for U-turns while coming out of parallel parking. The on-the-spot turning mode allows for convenient 360-degree turning on the vertical axis.