There is no doubt that Toyota is the biggest automaker in the world; also, there is no doubt that the future of the automobile industry lies in electric drive-trains. However, Toyota doesn’t quite agree with the latter statement. Toyota is yet to offer a fully battery-electric car. Toyota sees much of its future lying more on fuel-cell technology. The automaker has invested significantly in research on fuel-cell technology. The Toyota Mirai is one example of Toyota’s progress in this technology. Now, the automaker has gone a step further to demonstrate the huge possibilities available with this technology via showcasing a new fuel-cell powered concept. The concept named the “ Toyota Fine Comfort Ride Concept ” was revealed at the ongoing Tokyo Motor Show. Although the automaker is promoting the concept as a premium saloon car of the future, it actually looks like a blend between a crossover and a minivan.
Toyota Fine Comfort Ride Concept Exterior and Interior design
The Toyota Fine Comfort Ride Concept has a somewhat futuristic design with a flexible layout like many of the latest electric-powered vehicles. The concept’s wheels are pushed to the extreme corners of the model to attain high stability. In terms of dimensions, the concept is 4,830 mm long, 1.950 mm wide and has a height of 1,650 mm. It has a wheelbase of 3,450 mm. In addition, the model comes with in-wheel motors; this has made it possible for the engineers to hook up the underside with a protective cover that enhances the quietness of the model, an important feature for a premium sedan. The shape of the model also enhances its aerodynamics.
Entry and exit of passengers are made easy since the model has sliding rear doors like those of a minivan and also lacks B-pillars.
The cabin is suitable for 6 passengers which steps out of the conventional sedan’s normal carrying capacity of a maximum 5 passengers. The seats have a flexible design that enables passengers to alter postures. The seats can be swiveled or reclined. This is enhanced by the cabin’s diamond-like layout that narrows towards the rear. The concept is also wider unlike current sedan models from the front to the center which provides plenty of space for second-row passengers. The layout boosts space for the first and second row seats; the rear row looks like a bench.
The cabin is also equipped with displays that enable the driver as well as passengers to access information about the vehicle as well as the entertainment and climate-control systems. There is an LCD screen that displays important information and another larger display on the dash for the navigation system. The model also features touch display and Agent function arranged around the driver as well as passengers to ease accessibility by all occupants. During the release, we noted that the Fine-Comfort Ride Concept has some autonomous capabilities. The model has an Artificial Intelligence Agent that enables the driver to switch to a self-driving mode. Upon switching to the self-driving mode, the driver can turn the seat around to interact more with other passengers.
As revealed earlier, the concept derives its power from a hydrogen fuel-cell. The fuel stack is mounted at the front of the concept while hydrogen tanks are mounted underneath the floor. According to Toyota, the powertrain produces 416 hp and Toyota claims a range of 620 miles when the hydrogen tanks are full. The tanks can be refueled in only three minutes.
Toyota seems to be really serious about its hydrogen fuel-cell technology project because, in addition to the Fine Comfort-Ride, the company is also exhibiting a fuel cell bus concept christened “Sora” at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Toyota, in fact, plans to build 100 Sora units to be used in Tokyo just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.