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.