Toyota has unveiled a handful of new concept vehicles at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. One such concept is the FCV Plus, the Japanese automaker’s latest take on sustainable urban transportation for the cities of tomorrow. This hydrogen-powered vehicle is all sorts of weird, but that’s to be expected for cars that debut at the biennial Tokyo auto event.

It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the FCV Plus’ design, because it really is something else. But move past the car’s bizarre style, and focus on its function, because that’s where you’ll find its real purpose.

Toyota got the hydrogen-powered ball rolling with the curiously designed Toyota Mirai. It may not be Toyota’s best-looking ride, but it is expected to redefine the industry as one of the world’s first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to be sold commercially.

Now, the FCV Plus takes Toyota’s focus on hydrogen-powered vehicles to a whole new level. The concept has its own hydrogen tank, but it can also generate electricity from hydrogen stored outside the ride. This feature allows the FCV Plus to function as a source of power that can be used by the local community.

Don’t let the Jetsons-esque looks fool you – the Toyota FCV Plus has a far bigger purpose beyond being eye candy. It’s meant to showcase the possibilities of a future where cars are powered by hydrogen.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota FCV Plus.

  • 2015 Toyota FCV Plus
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Toyota FCV Plus
- image 649860

Weird doesn’t even begin to describe the Toyota FCV Plus. Proportionally, it’s not really a car, so much as it’s a large, glass-covered cockpit with four stacks in the corners. The front section throws away the traditional fascia in favor of headlight strips on the wheel arches and an illuminating grille integrated with the glass cockpit. The large intakes also have some kind of lighting function when the car is in something called “social mode.”

The Toyota FCV Plus might be one of the weirdest-looking concept vehicles of the year

The one redeeming quality of the design is the glass-covered body, which emits a nice blue hue, evoking a feeling of calm and serenity. On the sides, the only features I can make out are large cut-aways, which I can only assure are the doors. I don’t know how the doors open or close, or what purpose those extending lines have beyond their aesthetic appeal.

Moving to the back, you’ll notice that the two rear wheels are completely hidden. The overall spider-like appearance of this section completes what might be one of the weirdest-looking concept vehicles of the year.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 3,800 MM (149.60 Inches)
Width 1,750 MM (68.89 Inches)
Height 1,540 MM (60.62 Inches)
Wheelbase 3,000 MM (118.11 Inches)

Interior

2015 Toyota FCV Plus
- image 649861

Things get a little simpler in the cabin of the FCV Plus. It’s still not something you’d classify as a traditional-looking interior, but it does have two front seats and a stand-alone steering wheel with just two buttons on it. I assume one is the ignition, while it’s clear the other is the hazard button. Meanwhile, there’s no dashboard, eliminating the possibility of airbags. Instead, the front glass acts like a digital display.

At the back is a rather comfortable-looking, two-seater sofa that’s wrapped in some kind of web-like structure. As far as aesthetics are concerned, this sofa is the highlight of the FCV Plus.

Drivetrain

2015 Toyota FCV Plus
- image 649858

At the heart of the Toyota FCV Plus is a hydrogen system that Toyota is developing with an eye towards possible future production. The system was developed to fit the concept and features electric hub motors at all four corners. There’s a hydrogen-fuel-cell stack between the front wheels, and a compressed-hydrogen tank just behind the rear seat. There’s no mention how much power the system can produce, although it’s probably similar to the Mirai’s 153 horsepower.

The FCV Plus’ hydrogen system also has a variety of other functions, including the ability to produce electricity to power non-automotive items. Yes, the FCV Plus can power a house after it’s fed with hydrogen. This can be accomplished by hooking up an external hydrogen source.

It’s worth noting that Honda has made a similar statement with its own production fuel-cell car, the identically named Honda FCV.

Conclusion

2015 Toyota FCV Plus
- image 649859

I understand why Toyota is shooting for the stars with concept vehicles like the FCV Plus. Toyota is one of the most aggressive auto companies when it comes to pioneering automotive technology. We only need to look to the Toyota Prius and the upcoming Toyota Mirai for evidence of that. But the FCV Plus is still something else. The weird design is offset by wondrous hydrogen technology, so it’s silly to dismiss the concept as nothing more than a showpiece.

Like everybody else, I don’t know if this concept will ever have a future as a production model. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen, especially given the absence of safety features. But that’s not the point of the FCV Plus. Toyota didn’t design this concept with the thought of bringing it to life in the future. What I’m particularly excited about is the hydrogen technology and how the company could adapt it for future vehicles outside of the Mirai.

If there ever comes a point where we see Toyota adapt more of this technology, we can look back to the FCV Plus Concept as one of the many prototypes. So don’t judge this book by its cover. Chances are, the contents inside those pages will be far more valuable in the future, however long that might be.

  • Leave it
    • Only a concept
    • It looks weird, to say the least

Press Release

Compressed hydrogen has a higher energy density than electricity, can be generated from a wide range of raw materials, and is easy to store, making it a promising future energy source. That’s why Toyota envisages a sustainable society in which hydrogen energy is in widespread use―a society embodied by this concept vehicle.

2015 Toyota FCV Plus
- image 649859

Clean generation of hydrogen from a wide range of primary energy sources will make local, self-sufficient power generation a global reality, and fuel cell vehicles will take on a new role as power sources within their communities. Toyota’s aim is to add an all-new sense of purpose to the automobile by turning fuel cell vehicles from eco-cars into energy-cars.

Generating electricity
In addition to the vehicle’s own hydrogen tank, the car can also generate electricity directly from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle. The vehicle can thus be transformed into a stable source of electric power for use at home or away.

Sharing generated power with others
When the car is not being used as a means of transport, it shares its power generation capabilities with communities as part of the local infrastructure.

Supporting future generations
The car’s fuel cell stack can be reused as an electricity generating device, transcending the traditional functions of cars. Put to versatile uses around the world, these stacks could contribute significantly to local communities.

2015 Toyota FCV Plus
- image 649860

The fuel cell stack is mounted between the front tires, and the hydrogen tank behind the rear seat. Together with the adoption of independent in-wheel motors in all four wheels, this allows for a spacious cabin despite the vehicle’s compact vehicle body. By concentrating functional parts at the front and the rear of the vehicle, this next-generation fuel cell vehicle package creates an optimal weight balance and a wide field of vision.
The exterior adopts a distinctive, sleek shape, while the frame structure of the interior ensures rigidity despite the light weight of the car. Altogether, the design conveys the vehicle’s advanced technology and outstanding environmental performance.

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