Posts Tagged ‘FCV Concept’

New Honda FCV Concept Unveiled in Japan Ahead of LA

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Toyota officially introduced us to their production-ready Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle this weekend, and they set an official ETA for mid-2015. At the same time, Honda has assured us that they aren’t too far behind by showing us the newest iteration of their future fuel-cell offering. This is the new Honda FCV Concept:

2016 Honda FCV Concept

Although Honda can’t hope to match Toyota’s mid-2015 launch date, they have promised to launch their own fuel-cell vehicle by March 2016 in Japan, followed by a US and European launch later that year.

As we said, this is the newest iteration of their fuel-cell concepts, which of course means that it’s not the first version we’ve seen. The original FCEV Concept was shown at last year’s LA Motor Show, pictured below. The FCEV Concept was in-turn a successor to the original 2002 Honda FCX Clarity sedan, which we’ll talk more about below.

Honda FCEV Concept

Even though there’s no denying that the new FCV Concept showcases some very aggressive styling, you can see that it’s actually been toned down quite a bit since the 2013 FCEV Concept. The new white line extending back from the A-pillar gives the car a distinct sense of boundary, and the removal of the rear wheel covers makes the car look a lot more realistic.

That being said, Honda tells us that the most noticeable changes from the FCX Clarity to today’s FCV Concept can be felt on the inside. They’ve successfully confined the newly developed powertrain to the normal front-end engine compartment, which means that there’s over 33% more room left for a spacious interior cabin. All that extra space will allow the Honda FCV to be a true five-seat sedan when it finally goes on sale in 2016.

Of course, Honda has to beat Toyota somewhere, so their press release specifically claims that their FCV will be able to drive more than 300 miles on a single tank (300 miles is the Toyota Mirai’s claimed driving range), although Honda doesn’t specify exactly how far their car will go. Honestly, it’s probably one of those, “Let’s make a promise now, figure it out later,” kind of situations; driving range will likely end up being 310 miles instead of 300.

Honda FCX Clarity

Honda FCX Clarity

As if to make up for the fact that their FCV will launch second to the Mirai, Honda made sure to remind customers that they’ve had a hand in hydrogen fuel-cell development from the start. In 2002, they opened the doors for an FCX leasing program, and they’ve also made individual sales to several consumers in the US for the sake of real-world testing and valuable feedback. So, even though the Mirai will be the first HFCV you’ll be able to buy in a conventional dealership, it won’t be the first FCV retail customers have ever had access to. You got us there, Honda – well played. (They fail to mention that Toyota partnered with them to create that leasing program, but we won’t nit-pick)

In all seriousness, whatever rivalry lies between Honda and Toyota, the truth is that both of their hydrogen-powered vehicles will have an equal impact on the industry, and they both have each other to thank for the progress they’ve made thus far. Both automakers have been openly collaborating with the Japanese government since the beginning of this year to ensure that Japan remains at the forefront of hydrogen technology development for at least the next two or three decades. In fact, the three parties have together pledged to get the entry-point for commercial HFCVs down to $20,000 within a decade.

If you’d like to learn more about the new Honda FCV Concept, you can get Honda’s official press release here.

Toyota Officially Names Their Upcoming FCV the Mirai

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

2016 Toyota Mirai

As of today, we finally have a name to refer to when talking about Toyota’s upcoming hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. No longer is it simply the “Fuel-Cell Vehicle Concept”; now it’s the Toyota Mirai. Interestingly enough, “Mirai” actually means “future” in Japanese – a fitting name for a car that Toyota believes holds the key for the future of environmentally conscious driving.

If you’d like to see the news straight from source, check out Mr. Akio Toyoda introducing the Mirai in the video below:

As you can see, Mr. Toyoda has given us a full rundown of what we can expect from Toyota’s first-ever commercial hydrogen FCV. Heavily based on the FCV Concept, this modern-looking four-door sedan will be both fuel conscious and fun to drive. It’ll be able to travel 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, refill in about 3 minutes, and the only emissions coming out the tail pipe are two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen… In other words, water.

You don’t have to be an expert to see the implications of a car like the Toyota Mirai. If hydrogen fuel-cell cars take off the way that Akio Toyoda envisions, this could be the first step towards a world without automotive pollution. In both form and function, the Mirai will feel nearly identical to a conventional petrol car. However, instead of relying on limited fossil fuels, hydrogen can be made from almost anything – even garbage, as Toyoda excitedly points out in the video.

The official naming of Toyota’s FCV is only part of the news, however. In addition, NA Toyota CEO, Jim Lentz, informed us in a press release that Toyota has made a new commitment in the Northeastern Corridor – Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts & Connecticut – to build a viable hydrogen refueling infrastructure by 2016.

The new Northeastern infrastructure will come via a partnership with Air Liquide. There will be at least 12 state-of-the-art hydrogen stations available by the time Toyota launches the Mirai in 2016. In combination with the 19 hydrogen fueling stations that will be available in California alone, Toyota is pretty well setup to start closing in from both borders as the rest of the US inevitably adopts the technology over the coming decade.

This is a timely announcement for Toyota, as their new Mirai is set to make its global debut later this week at the 2014 LA Auto Show. Sales of the Mirai are expected to start in California by summer of 2015.

Auction Find – 2013 Toyota Prius G

2013 Toyota Prius auction find

The Mirai isn’t the first time that Toyota has led the way in the automotive industry with breakthrough, environmentally friendly technology. For over a decade now, the Toyota Prius has defined the hybrid market, and continues to lead the way in both sales and influence. By May of this year, the Prius had already sold 70,000 more units than the second best-selling hybrid in the US, which was the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

This particular find is a 2013 model year in fresh-off-the-floor condition. By now, you probably already know exactly what to expect from a Toyota Prius, so we won’t spend a ton of time telling you all the awesome perks of the model. Instead, if you’d like to learn more about this specific Japanese car auction find, just read below the auction sheet for a full translation:

2013 Toyota Prius auction sheet

“Interior B, first registered February 2013, G model, DAA emissions code, AT, AC, power steering, power windows, original TV and navigation system, first time in auction, rear view reversing camera, AT, AC, service book, console scratches, dashboard scratches, door mirrors scratched, scraped under front bumper, light scratches under rear bumper, marks as per map”

Production of Toyota FCV Confirmed for December 2014

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

It’s just been officially confirmed that Toyota will begin production of their first commercial hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in December of this year. We’d heard that Toyota was aiming for a 2015 launch date, so it seems that things are moving faster than expected.

The news comes from The Japan Times, who offered a few more details about the hydrogen fuel-cell car’s release. Apparently, Toyota will actually begin production about halfway through December so that they can have their first FCVs on showroom floors just in time for Christmas.

Toyota FCV Concept

For those of you who’re new to Toyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell hype train, the car that they’ll bring to market will be based on the Toyota FCV Concept (pictured above). If you’re willing to go back a ways, we saw the first iteration of the FCV Concept all the way back in 2011 as the FCV-R. The most recent, and most relevant, iteration of the FCV Concept was first seen at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show last November.

What kind of amazing fuel economy can you expect from Toyota’s first hydrogen car? Its total driving range is estimated to be about 435 miles with a top speed of 106 mph. The hydrogen-powered electric motor will likely output something around 135 hp – the perfect amount for responsive city driving.

The production Toyota FCV will go on sale for roughly ¥8,000,000, which is around $78,000 for our US readers. However, Toyota doesn’t plan to keep its FCV-based vehicle priced that high for long: Prices will likely drop bit by bit over the next five or six years until the next FCV debuts for less than half the price of the original “in the 2020s”. Toyota specifically said they’d like to hit the ¥3,000,000 mark ($29,250), but ¥5,000,000 ($48,775) is a more realistic goal. At this price point Toyota feels it would be easy to boost sales and expand production capacity.

Speaking of production, Toyota hasn’t made any mention of where their FCV-based vehicle will, or won’t, first go on sale. Since the car will be manufactured at the Motomachi plant in the Toyota, Aichi Prefecture in Japan, we know it’ll be available there. However, Toyota hasn’t given us any recent updates about when and where the hydrogen car will make it onto international shores. We’re hoping it’ll be by the end of 2014, but nothing’s set in stone.

Really, the problem isn’t whether or not Toyota can manufacture enough hydrogen cars to meet a high international demand. The thing that would keep Toyota from offering a US or EU FCV is the lack of refueling infrastructure. Even in California, hydrogen refueling stations are few and far between. However, Toyota has shown that a comprehensive, nationwide hydrogen-refueling infrastructure would be 4x cheaper to build than the electric charging infrastructure that’d be necessary for the widespread use of EVs.

Either way, we’ll keep you updated as soon as we know more about where Toyota’s first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will be available. In the meantime, we’re just glad that Toyota is moving ahead of schedule… We’d originally expected to see the first production FCV at Christmas of 2015, so Toyota is moving a full year faster than anticipated if they can manage to meet their December goal.