The concept explores the intersection of mobility and resource sharing
While the excessive exterior styling of the Toyota FCV Plus concept is an attention grabber, it’s the technology hidden underneath that’s even more futuristic. The electrically driven FCV Plus from car manufacturer Toyota gets its current from an onboard hydrogen fuel cell that doubles as a mobile power station. The fuel cell can create electricity to power a home or transfer current back into the grid during periods of high load.
The FCV Plus concept is a decades-ahead look at what the automaker’s first production hydrogen vehicle, the Mirai could become. If you are wondering, why hydrogen? There’s a few reasons:
-Japan’s resource limited island location is better suited to use hydrogen which could be transported in, rather than generated at home by nuclear plants which pose risks
-Hydrogen is a tank-based refueling system and building the infrastructure to support it is easier than upgrading the electric grid
-Ultimately it is an emission source that only produces water, but the manufacture and transportation of hydrogen still isn’t clean with today’s technology
-The short refueling time and extended driving range for hydrogen are closer what people are used to with petroleum powered vehicles
The Japanese Government is incentivizing their domestic automakers to explore and develop hydrogen vehicles. Scientific American reports that Japan is targeting 40,000 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles on its roads by 2020 and 160 fueling stations. The article also explains how it’ll take more of a global commitment to refining hydrogen technologies than just Japan’s alone. And this is were the fuel might have a tougher time gaining acceptance. Right now, many automakers are racing to develop plug-in electric models as battery technology continues to advance and become more affordable. Hydrogen on the other hand is still expensive as reflected in Toyotas current efforts—a 2016 Mirai vs a 2016 Prius costs twice as much for a similar type of vehicle.
Many automakers have been dabbling with hydrogen fuel cells for the past decade. There’s still some chance the technology will get broader exposure but the odds against it got significantly higher thanks to Tesla’s impact on the industry.