Diesel Outlawed So Lexus To Go Hydrogen Fuel Cell

With major cities heading towards banning diesel-fuelled cars by 2020, reports in Europe suggest the all-new Lexus LS sedan will include a flagship hydrogen fuel cell model.

The fuel cell Lexus LS set for launch in 2019 is tipped to be based on the all-wheel-drive LF-FC concept car shown at the Tokyo Motor Show last year which ran one electric motor powering the rear wheels and two in-wheel electric motors at the front.

Lexus says the powertrain, with its front-mounted power control unit, together with ‘T’-shaped hydrogen tanks, provides outstanding weight distribution and chassis dynamics.

Lexus LF-FC Concept

Lexus LF-FC Concept

The LF-FC concept featured two driving modes – in the Cruising mode it consumed hydrogen only to create electricity to drive the motor (for the rear wheels) and recharge the battery, while in Acceleration mode both the battery and hydrogen fuel cell stack powered both the electric motor and the in-wheel motors.

Parent company Toyota has established credentials in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with its Mirai sedan already sold in Japan and North America and currently undergoing testing in Australia.

Alain Uyttenhoven, Lexus Europe chief told Britain’s Autocar: “We know how to make fuel cells and the only challenge is how to package a fuel cell in a car that also needs a certain level of performance. Premium buyers have certain expectations. For refinement, fuel cell is ideal, but we must also do some work to demonstrate the right levels of performance.”

Sales numbers for the hydrogen fuel cell Lexus LS will be small with most buyers opting for the 400kW V8 petrol hybrid configuration.

Autocar reports the all-new Lexus LS will be jam-packed with technology including some autonomous driving functions as well as gesture-control infotainment and touchscreens both front and rear.

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