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Toyota confirms hydrogen-powered FCV-R sedan production in 2015

by Mark Kleis

MG takes a closer look at the hydrogen-powered sedan on the way from Toyota.

MG already highlighted the Tokyo Motor Show reveal plans from Toyota, but among them was a vehicle worth taking a close look: the FCV-R: Fuel Cell Vehicle - Reality and Revolution.

Toyota is undoubtedly a leader and trendsetter in the world when it comes to fuel efficient vehicles, so when a leader in that realm announces that it will be taking a hydrogen-powered sedan to market - everyone should listen.

Toyota describes the FCV-R as a "practical sedan-type next-generation fuel-cell concept vehicle," which is of course propelled by hydrogen. The largest attraction of hydrogen lies in the fact that it itself does not produce CO2 emissions when consumed, although its various production methods at times utilize fossil fuels.

In the FCV-R, the fuel-cell unit is located beneath the body, leaving room for up to four passengers and a sizable trunk. The fuel cell stack uses a 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tank, which means the FCV-R has a theoretical highway cruising range of about has been improved to provide a cruising distance of approximately 435 miles based on the JC08 test cycle.

In terms of dimensions, the sedan comes in with a total length of 15.57 feet, width of 5.87 feet, height of 4.95 feet and a 8.86 foot wheelbase while seating four. For comparison sake, the 2012 Camry is only a handful of inches larger in most dimensions - making the FCV-R a mid-sized sedan.

Why this announcement is important
Hydrogen has been one of the most controversial and misunderstood alternative fuel options discussed in the automotive realm for years, with proponents frustrated that the technology isn't adopted faster and critics pointing to vehicle dynamic concerns and a lack of infrastructure.

While Toyota is certainly not the first or only major automaker to commit to hydrogen propulsion ( Honda currently sells the FCX Clarity, for example, and others such as Daimler, Ford, Nissan and GM have advanced prototypes and production goals), its decision to support the technology will likely mark an important step in the industry and may act as a catalyst to the future adoption of the technology.

Look for more details on the FCV-R to emerge after its introduction at the Tokyo Motor Show, for now, we've been told to expect production "around 2015."


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