Toyota announces hydrogen-powered bus
Toyota is preparing to introduce an eco-friendly city bus powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
Known simply as the FC Bus, the hydrogen-powered bus uses an evolution of the drivetrain that powers the futuristic Mirai hatchback. Power is provided by a pair of electric motors that each generate 155 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. The bus is completely silent, it’s wireless, and it emits water vapor instead of harmful pollutants.
The FC Bus carries no less than 10 tanks that store enough hydrogen to give it a total driving range of 124 miles. That’s not much, but filling the tanks takes approximately ten minutes.
The 77-passenger FC Bus promises to make big cities like Tokyo quieter and cleaner, but that’s not all. With a small amount of wiring work the on-board 235-kWh, nickel-metal hydride battery pack can be used as an external power supply in the event of a disaster like a tsunami or an earthquake. Japan is often confronted with these events, so a fleet of hydrogen-powered buses can help save lives.
Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology isn’t cheap, according to newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. Pricing is expected to start at about 100 million yen, a sum that represents nearly $1 million. In comparison, a traditional diesel-powered bus is four or five times cheaper depending on the model. Executives nonetheless believe they can sell at least 100 buses by 2020, when the city of Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics.
Toyota firmly believes hydrogen is the fuel of the future. The company is deep in the development of a hydrogen-powered forklift, and it’s also in the process of designing stationary fuel cells for use in homes and business.