Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

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Lexus LF-FC concept revealed in Tokyo

Lexus has pulled the covers off a new flagship LF-FC concept.

Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, the LF-FC presents a new styling theme that 'embodies Lexus's L-finesse design philosophy' says the Japanese automaker and provides a glimpse into Lexus's design and technology direction for a future flagship saloon.

The front end features an evolution of Lexus's signature grille, with a new mesh design along with L-shaped daytime running lights which 'emerge seamlessly' from the front wings with a floating effect, that is mirrored in the tail-lights. Featuring a flowing roofline in the style of a four-door coupe, the concept runs on 21-inch alloy wheels with carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) rims adding an 'extra dash of flair'.

A high-output fuel cell power system is at the heart of the LF-FC, which drivers the rear wheels and also sends power to two in-wheel motors at the front for all-wheel drive. This drive system allows precise torque distribution control, giving the vehicle 'exceptional handling and stability'. The location of the fuel cell stack at the rear and the power control unit at the front and the arrangement of the hydrogen fuel tanks in a T-formation result in 'optimum' front-rear weight distribution for a sporty saloon.

On the inside, a spacious interior wraps its occupants in what Lexus calls a comfortable yet futuristic environment. Viewed at eye-level, the front seats appear to be 'floating' says Lexus. The rear seats offering a reclining feature and plenty of head and knee room. High-quality aniline leather on the seats, doors and dashboard enhances the level of luxury in the interior.

The LF-FC features an advanced human/machine interface that can be operated using simple hand gestures, with no need to touch a panel or switch. A small holographic image on the centre console indicates where the system can interpret hand gestures to control the audio system and ventilation. The concept uses automated driving technologies, with an elevated level of traffic environment recognition, prediction and judgement functions to provide a safe and efficient driving experience.

The Tokyo Motor Show runs until 8 November.

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Boris Johnson confirms hydrogen Toyota for TfL

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has confirmed the Toyota Mirai, the world's first hydrogen fuel cell saloon, is coming to the capital.

As part of his work to pioneer use of cleaner technology for the future of the capital's transport and infrastructure, Transport for London (TfL) will be in the first group of UK Mirai customers.

The mayor visited Toyota's headquarters today during a three-day trade mission to Japan and took the opportunity to test drive Mirai for himself. He said: "It is fantastic that London will benefit from these new state-of-the-art hydrogen vehicles. By embracing this technology of the future, we aim to consolidate hydrogen's role as a practical alternative fuel for the 21st century and beyond. I am sure that Transport for London will provide the ideal environment for us to see everything Mirai can do and, in doing so, take another great step towards improving air quality in our city and protecting the health of Londoners."

The mayor also discussed London's position as a market for alternative fuel cars, with Toyota senior management. Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota (GB) PLC President and Managing Director said: "We have been delighted to welcome the Mayor of London to our headquarters in Japan to see for himself Toyota's commitment to sustainable mobility. Toyota believes in hydrogen as a key enabler for building a future zero emissions society and we applaud the mayor's commitment to embracing new technology in his mission to make London a leading global city for low-emission, low-carbon transport.

"The success of hydrogen will require constructive dialogue and action, bringing together industry, national governments and city authorities like London to share and develop skills and experience and to communicate the benefits that can be delivered to business and to individuals. Our Mirai fuel cell vehicle is a milestone in the history of the motor car and opens up unprecedented opportunities for cleaner, sustainable transport. Transport for London and the city it serves will provide the ideal environment for Mirai to demonstrate the significant potential of hydrogen as a practical alternative fuel for the next century and beyond."

Transport for London sees Mirai as an exciting opportunity that the mayor is keen to exploit. The TfL Mirai cars and the development of a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure are considered important first steps towards the wider adoption of the technology.

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Toyota to reveal new concepts in Tokyo

Toyota has unveiled its new concepts, ahead of a Tokyo Motor Show debut.

The Japanese brand will give world premieres to three contrasting new concepts, including a lightweight, entry-level rear-wheel drive sports car and a new fuel cell vehicle.

The S-FR concept celebrates Toyota's heritage of lightweight, fun-to-drive sports cars - a line that stretches back from today's GT86 to the 2000GT and S800 of the 1960s. Pitched as an entry-level model, Toyota says its focus is on 'responsiveness and character' with the brand confident it could attract 'its own die-hard fan base of drivers and customisers'. Featuring a long nose and wide stance for a classic sports car profile, the concept also has rounded bodywork adding to the S-FR's appeal.

The S-FR combines simplicity and compact design with an 'exceptionally' lightweight body and a front engine/rear-wheel drive drivetrain which contributes to responsive performance and direct handling. The engine has a front/midship location, says Toyota, with optimal weight distribution and independent suspension securing 'excellent cornering performance'. A six-speed manual transmission supports smooth acceleration.

The FCV Plus concept joins the S-FR and explores how the hydrogen fuel cell, used to power the car, can also be deployed to as an energy source for general use. As well as having its own hydrogen fuel tank, the FCV Plus can generate electricity from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle, so the car can be used to produce power in different locations - at home, at work, or further afield.

Compressed hydrogen has a higher energy density than electricity, can be produced from a wide range of raw materials and is easy to store - all qualities that make it a promising future source of energy. When the car is not being used for transport, it can share its power generation capabilities with communities as part of the local infrastructure. The fuel cell stack can be reused as a device to generate electricity, going beyond the traditional functions of a car.

The fuel cell stack in the FCV Plus is mounted between the front wheels, with the hydrogen tank located behind the rear seat. Together with independent in-wheel motors in all four wheels, this allows for a spacious cabin within a compact vehicle body. Concentrating the functional parts of the car at the front and rear creates an ideal weight balance and gives the driver a wide field of vision, according to Toyota.

The KIKAI concept makes the most of the car's mechanical parts, rather than concealing them from view, the vehicle's inner workings have become part of the exterior in a design concept that breaks with convention. This approach extends to the details such as the fuel tank, exhaust, analogue meters and switchgear. There is even a small window by the driver's feet, giving a view of the tyres, suspension and road surface. The movement of the front suspension's upper control arm can also be seen through the windscreen.

The driver's seat is positioned centrally, putting the driver at the heart of the action. A triangular arrangement of the three passenger seats and an expansive side window that extends up to the roofline help create a congenial cabin environment.

The new, fourth generation Prius will also will be making its Japanese debut at the Tokyo motor show, together with the C-HR Concept - recently unveiled in Frankfurt - that previews a new production compact hybrid crossover that Toyota will unveil next year.

The Tokyo Motor Show runs from 30 October to 8 November 2015.

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Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell breaks zero-emissions record

Two eco-pioneers have taken real-world zero-emission motoring to a new level by driving a Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell 2,383 kilometres - 1481 miles - in 24 hours.

Arnt-Goran Hartvig (Sports Scientist) and Marius Bornstein (Master of Physics) travelled around the clock on public roads in Germany, emitting nothing but water vapour from the fuel cell electric vehicle. To achieve this distance, the two Norwegians covered the 300-plus kilometre route between Vatenfall's hydrogen station in HafenCity, Hamburg and a Shell hydrogen station in Sachsendamm, Berlin as many times as possible in 24 hours. Refuelling the car takes as little as three minutes, enabling the drivers to maximise the distance covered.

Their route included city driving as well as high-speed roads, testing the suitability of the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell for everyday use in all situations. "We wanted to see what the combination of a state of art fuel cell electric vehicle and ditto hydrogen refuelling station are capable of today. The result is stunning", stated the team after accomplishing their journey.

This accomplishment by the duo is the latest in a series of challenges to showcase the potential of fuel cell technology. In June last year the two chose the ix35 Fuel Cell to travel a record 700 kilometres on one tank of hydrogen. They have also driven from Oslo to Monaco, refuelling only at the hydrogen stations already installed along the 2,260-kilometre route.

The ix35 Fuel Cell is fitted with a 100 kW (136 ps) electric motor, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h. It produces no harmful emissions - only water vapour comes from the tailpipe - and has an official driving range of almost 600 kilometres on one tank of hydrogen.

Thomas Schmid, Chief Operating Officer at Hyundai Motor Europe, commented: "This endurance drive highlights both the practicality of our fuel cell electric vehicle's long driving range and the environmental credentials of our technology. Our Fuel Cell programme has already delivered many world firsts, so it is fitting that the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell has once again delivered a new benchmark."

Prices for the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle start from £53,105 OTR with part-funding from the HyFive project - saving customers nearly £15,000 off the un-funded on-the-road-price of £67,985.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

Toyota Mirai hydrogen car sets new record

The new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle has proved it can go the distance, traveling over 300 miles on a single tank.

Instead of using petrol however, the car runs on electricity created on demand by hydrogen fuel and oxygen. The only emission produced by this process is water vapour.

The Mirai achieved 67 mpg in official US combined city/highway driving calculations, and an estimated driving range of 312 miles on a one tank - a distance Toyota says is further than for any other zero-emissions car on the market.

Jim Lentz, Toyota North America CEO, announced the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) fuel economy rating for Mirai at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. It confirmed that the Mirai is the only zero emissions electric vehicle on the market capable of exceeding 300 miles on one fill.

Lenz said: "Toyota realised in the early 90s that electrification was key to the future of the automobile. Just as Prius introduced hybrid-electric vehicles to millions of customers nearly 20 years ago, Mirai is now poised to usher in a new era of efficient, hydrogen transportation."

The Japanese manufacturer describes the Mirai is the world's first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, a four-door saloon with performance that competes with traditional internal combustion engines. Toyota will introduce the Mirai in limited numbers in the UK and other selected European markets later this year, following its launch in Japan and, from this summer, California.