While a host of its mechanical details are still under wraps, we now know how the Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) Concept due to be presented at the Tokyo Auto Show will look. The automaker has just released official images of this near-production iteration of its upcoming hydrogen-powered midsize, 4-passenger/4-door due to launch around 2015 and also provided background information as to what influenced its exterior styling.
According to Toyota, the primary cues found in the new FCV's bodywork are nautical in nature. Specifically, this as-yet-unnamed vehicle incorporates elements drawn from the design of a modern catamaran while evoking the appearance of flowing water. The large outboard intakes up front allegedly symbolize "taking in air and emitting water" while the car's profile carries on that liquid-look nuance in its contour lines, door profiles and even the wave-motif of its fuel-filler cap. While it may require a bit of imagination, the 3D forms that comprise the car's tail section allegedly recall the overall character of a catamaran's stern.
As we previously reported, the powertrain elements in the production version of this super-green Toyota-to-be are identical to those in the prototype FCV model that we test drove last month in Japan. While Toyota still has not released output figures for the system, it has reiterated that the lightweight, compact fuel cell stack that drives the car's electric motor tucks neatly under the floor and produces more than 3kW per liter, twice as much as the stack used in the current fleet of Toyota Highlander FCHV-adv test vehicles and a world benchmark value. Fitted with two hydrogen fuel tanks that can be refilled in roughly three minutes, the Toyota FCV will have a range of "at least 500km," or about 310 miles. However, real-world tests recently carried out in Japan indicate that figure may well be closer to 350 miles.
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