California adds more regulation for oil and gas industry; water quality and spill response
Magna forms e-powertrain joint venture in China with SAIC Motor subsidiary

Toyota showing two new fuel cell concepts at Tokyo Motor Show: bus and car

Toyota has launched two new fuel cell vehicle concepts: the Sora fuel cell bus and the Fine Comfort Ride fuel cell car. The company will show both at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show later this month.

Toyota plans to launch sales of a commercial model based on the Sora (an acronym for Sky, Ocean, River, Air, representing the earth’s water cycle) concept vehicle in 2018 and expects to introduce more than 100 Sora, mainly within the Tokyo metropolitan area, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Toyota developed the Sora concept model guided by two ideas: to make best use of the characteristics of the FC unit; and to enhance the comfort of passengers traveling on bus routes.


The Sora is powered by the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which was developed for the Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV), and has been adopted to deliver superior environmental performance with no CO2 emissions or Substances of Concern (SoC) emitted when in operation. The Sora powertrain uses dual 114 kW stacks, maximum output from the dual drive motors is 113 kW each, with 335 N·m of torque each.

The Sora is equipped with a high-capacity external power supply system, providing high output and a large capacity of electricity supply (9 kW maximum output, and electricity supply of 235 kWh) and can be used as an emergency power source following disasters. The bus uses a NiMH drive battery.

Because the bus is envisioned to be used by large and varying numbers of passengers at any given time, Toyota paid close attention to convenience, safety, and peace of mind with the aim to give all passengers a pleasant riding experience, so that they would want to ride the buses regularly.


The bus is equipped with horizontal seats with an automatic storage mechanism to provide space for strollers or wheelchairs. This provides extra seating for regular passengers when the space is not needed for strollers or wheelchairs.

Eight high-definition cameras fitted inside and outside the vehicle detect pedestrians and bicycles around the bus, providing a peripheral monitoring function that warns the driver with sound and images to improve safety.

The acceleration control function suppresses sudden acceleration and enables gentle acceleration from stops, in consideration of the safety of standing passengers. Also, there is no lurching due to the lack of a need for gear shifting.

Adoption of automatic arrival control detects the guidance line on the road surface and uses automatic steering and deceleration to stop the bus with approximately 3 to 6 cm of clearance from the bus stop, and within a range of 10 cm ahead of or behind the bus stop position. This improves boarding and exiting for passengers using strollers or wheelchairs.

Bus transportation capability, speed, punctuality, and convenience is boosted by ITS Connect, which utilizes vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to support safe driving, together with systems that support bus convoys and that provide priority at traffic signals (PTPS).

The design pursues stereoscopic shaping that significantly differs from the hexahedron (box shape) of conventional buses. It also uses LED for the front and rear lights. Such design features make the FC bus instantly recognizable.

Fine-Comfort Ride concept vehicle The “Fine-Comfort Ride” concept proposes a new form of the premium sedan by employing a flexible layout unique to electric-powered vehicles and a large amount of available electric power using hydrogen as an energy source.


The concept adopts a diamond-shaped cabin that narrows towards the rear, while being wider in all dimensions from the front to the center of the vehicle, maximizing the space of the second row seats and aerodynamic performance. It utilizes a flexible layout unique to electric-powered vehicles, adopts an in-wheel motor, positions the wheels at the very corners of the vehicle, and utilizes a body underside cover, thereby achieving high running stability and quietness suited to the premium segment.

In adopting the concept of “wearing comfort (being wrapped in comfort),” the vehicle embodies future mobility that provides additional value other than movement to the passengers and is not simply just a “ride.” The Agent function and the touch display are arranged around the driver and passenger seats. The seats allow for flexible adjustment according to posture, and the displays allow the driver and passengers to freely access information. The seat layout can be flexibly adjusted, so Fine-Comfort Ride can be used as individual space or as a communication space for individuals.

The Fine-Comfort Ride boasts quietness and smooth running and also makes full use of the large amount of electricity provided by hydrogen as its energy source. The interior features a full range of equipment, and the car can achieve a cruising range of approximately 1,000 km (621 miles) on the JC08 test cycle. Hydrogen refueling time is about three minutes.



Way to go Toyota.

This new modern FC e-bus will be competitive in many places. The on board batteries should be updated.

The new FCEV with 1000 Km range and 3 minutes refills will be a winner. Should be mass produced in many countries.


Way to go Toyota. You have made another expensive mistake. If you consider that the battery electric transit buses currently available from Proterra and others that are already more cost effective than diesel buses and have more than enough range for a entire day of driving on a single charge, there is no need for expensive energy inefficient hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. I doubt that it will mass produced anywhere. Also, I am quite convinced Batteries are going to improve faster than fuel cells.


The problem is hydrogen for FCs is currently created by reforming(refining) oil and gas, which in effect gives the oil and gas industry control of the energy supply, just as they have now. On the other hand, battery driven vehicles charged by the Sun directly using roof-top solar empowers the individual and make the populous less dependent on polluting fossil fuels and predatory fossil fuel companies.

BTW, there is interest and some progress in developing hybrid electric aircraft. Currently ICEs are used to generate power and drive an electric motor/prop; seems to me a FC powered by hydrogen, that only produces H2O in the upper atmosphere.could be used in place of the ICE to greater benefit.


These are more for proof of concept and to showcase the technology.

Where these will shine best will be on more demanding platforms, like trucks and heavy duty applications, where payload capacity and uptime are critical. Yes, it does come down to towing ;) batteries alone due to size and weight constraints won't be able to adequately replace the outgoing ICE.

Buses like SD points out are more or less on a track, thier miles per day are known, and thier recharge times can be scheduled.

I don't know if most places would get much more than thier home energy needs from rooftop solar, let alone be able to dispatch it adequately to vehicles sitting on parking lots at workplaces during the highest potential for solar energy.

And if you are storing the power in battery banks to use it later, you are cutting your lead over FCs efficiency.

If BEV over the road trucks (long haul) were remotely viable, we'd see some significant introduction already. These are very profit driven vehicles, fuel economy matters, and money matters most. We know an electric motor can dethrone an ICE, but what's going to power that. Batteries are available, and electric motors are available, and yet no one has really put anything into production yet. Batteries scale well electronically, so its not going to be a mystery when you stack cells or module together to make a bigger pack. FCs seem to be more able to meet these demands than the current crop of batteries.

Even if cars had small fc range extenders in the ballpark of 15kw, and could be packaged small enough, it could mean unlimited range, on those road trips. Enabling EVs to fully take over ICE.


I am quite sure that any standard sized house with good sun access especially at snow free latitudes will not find it difficult to power both the house and car but of course if the car drives to work it will require storage battery duplication. On the other hand if the car is garaged for half the week or so then a stand alone house may not require much in the way of battery storage which can be supplemented by the cars capacity.

The reality of car ownership in U.S./Can/Aus/etc is that today many car owning households have two cars.

Most people live in cities and many cities have high percentage of high rise which will affect who can generate their own power. Many people don't want to be involved with small scale solar power gen and it would be unrealistic to expect small solar to power a majority of road transport but it should make a very useful direct contribution as well as indirectly through pooling to the grid.

Approximately 16.5% Australian households have solar PV installations possibly more than any other country. But as they are mainly (85%) under 10 KW (6 Meters X 10M) the per capita rate is not as high as several other countries.Those 85% of installations could be expected to generate 30KWh / day which suggests sufficient for many household needs and daily local commutes.
We know that there are very few electric cars registered so most installed PV systems are not currently sized with that use in mind. As electric vehicles roll out we could expect economics to project the system sizes to increase as well.
If a price is put on carbon pollution it will happen a lot sooner.

Solar does lend itself to up sizing as needs or financial circumstance change.

Future houses will benefit from solar roof orientation and many if not most people and the grid will benefit from high grid connection rates that will offer excess power to be exported to various large scale storage or for distribution.


To fully benefit from home solar energy facilities, a set of storage batteries, large enough to refill the BEVs and supply the house with e-energy 24/7 would be required. The total system size would depend on type & size of house, HVAC required, other home requirements, daily distance travelled with family BEVs plus enough reserve for rainy/cloudy days.

In most cases, such home system would have to produce and store 40 to 60+ kWh and would cost $40+K to $70+K. Depending on local grid electricity price, payback could be very long. In our area, where local Hydro-Wind power is cheap ($0.06/kWh) and plentiful, solar is not (yet) a good solution.


So far, 100% electric city buses have not been a great success during the winter months in our cities. The first 10 units had to be left in the garage/warehouse for the winter months.

It seems that the 324+ kWh batteries will have need help for about 4 to 5 months every year with:

1) a secondary 300+ kWh battery pack = $$$$
2) a large butane heater with large tank = $$ + pollution.
3) a small FC with tanks = $$
4) a small diesel generator = $$ + pollution.

Solution (3) above may be one of the best?


I'm with you Harvey. The commentors who are talking about charging their EV's with solar power, supplying domestic electricity needs, connecting to the electric network to supply surplus energy, etc. are either leaving in Arizona, or California where the sun shines 365 days a year or in Fantasy Land.


With Global warming, more areas may become like Arizona and California. New 50% improved solar panels will become competitive further North?

The challenge will be much lower cost storage units for surplus energy from REs.

The comments to this entry are closed.