Toyota Confirms Hydrogen Plans, Talks Next-Generation Prius Photo:
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Trevor Collett | Sep, 02 2013 | 2 Comments

Toyota will unveil what is destined to become its first commercially available hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicle at November’s Tokyo Motor Show.

The car is expected to be a reimagining of Toyota's earlier hydrogen fuel-cell powered FCV-R concept, a medium-sized four-door sedan that first appeared in Tokyo two years ago.

We won’t have to wait until November to preview some of the technology however, with the hydrogen fuel-cell system set to go on display at this month’s Frankfurt Motor Show - minus the car.

The concept is also set to appear at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early next year, with Toyota US’s Vice President Bob Carter expected to make an announcement about future production at the event.

In 2011, the FCV-R concept managed a driving range of 700km under test conditions, so it remains to be seen what two extra years of development have achieved.

Also in the ‘unknown’ category is the price of the production version, although a broad estimate puts it between US $50,000 and $100,000 (AU $55,000 to $110,000).


New Prius Outlined

Toyota has also revealed details of its next-generation Prius hybrid, with a planned fuel figure improvement of 10 percent.

That would see the current 3.9 l/100km fall to around 3.5 l/100km, with improved battery technology and engine thermal efficiency, along with smaller electric engines being the main influences.

Toyota is also working on a ‘wireless’ charging system, as the Prius moves toward a ‘plug-in hybrid’ future. (Or should that be a ‘wireless-charging hybrid’ future? - Ed.)

An electronic coil positioned on the ground can automatically transmit energy to the on-board batteries of a Prius parked above, eliminating the need to plug-in and un-plug a power cord.

"We have been listening very carefully to Prius owners and are considering their requests for additional all-electric range,” Toyota Motor Corporation Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso said.

“We have also heard from owners that they would like a more convenient charging operation."

Thankfully, the next-generation Prius also promises to be more fun to drive, with improved structural rigidity and a lower centre of gravity than the current model.

Toyota has set itself a goal of five million hybrid sales in the US by the end of 2016, and it hopes that the previous- and next-generation Prius will be the bulk of these.

The Japanese carmaker has already achieved that figure world-wide, and it claims the combined reduction in fuel usage is the equivalent of taking 4.8 million cars off the road.

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