Automotive

Toyota's FCV Plus concept is part car, part power plant

Toyota's FCV Plus concept is p...
The FCV Plus concept car is designed to double as a clean energy source and to operate as part of the "electric power-generating infrastructure"
The FCV Plus concept car is designed to double as a clean energy source and to operate as part of the "electric power-generating infrastructure"
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The FCV Plus concept car is designed to double as a clean energy source and to operate as part of the "electric power-generating infrastructure"
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The FCV Plus concept car is designed to double as a clean energy source and to operate as part of the "electric power-generating infrastructure"
The FCV Plus can be used as a "stable source of electric power" for the home, to feed back into the grid or with which to charge other cars
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The FCV Plus can be used as a "stable source of electric power" for the home, to feed back into the grid or with which to charge other cars
In addition to generating electricity from the hydrogen in its own tank, the FCV Plus can use hydrogen from an external source
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In addition to generating electricity from the hydrogen in its own tank, the FCV Plus can use hydrogen from an external source
An auxiliary tank could be hooked up to the FCV Plus to generate electricity for a purpose other than driving and without the danger of running the in-car tank dry
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An auxiliary tank could be hooked up to the FCV Plus to generate electricity for a purpose other than driving and without the danger of running the in-car tank dry
The fuel cell stack of the FCV Plus, which is located between the front wheels, can be removed and used independently of the car as a portable energy generator
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The fuel cell stack of the FCV Plus, which is located between the front wheels, can be removed and used independently of the car as a portable energy generator
The FCV Plus is said to be well balanced as a result of its major components being split between the front and rear ends
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The FCV Plus is said to be well balanced as a result of its major components being split between the front and rear ends
All four wheels of the FCV Plus boast in-wheel motors
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All four wheels of the FCV Plus boast in-wheel motors
The FCV Plus can charge other electric vehicles using wireless charging panels on its rear wheels and under the front floor
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The FCV Plus can charge other electric vehicles using wireless charging panels on its rear wheels and under the front floor

Last year, having developed its Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) from concept to fully fledged production as the Mirai, Toyota subsequently unveiled the FCV Plus. In addition to being hydrogen-powered, the FCV Plus was designed to be a power source itself. Today, more details have been released.

The concept is based on the premise that, although the car itself may run on clean fuel, other energy consumers may not. As such, the car is designed to double as a clean energy source and to operate as part of the "electric power-generating infrastructure," helping to protect the environment and provide a measure of energy security in the process.

In this way, Toyota says the FCV Plus becomes more than just a car, similar to how the addition of cameras, internet capabilities and other features have made smartphones more than just phones. It effectively becomes a mobile power source, able to be used as a "stable source of electric power" for the home, to feed back into the grid or to charge other cars.

In addition to generating electricity from the hydrogen in its own tank located behind the the rears seats, though, the car can use hydrogen from an external source. This means, say, that an auxiliary tank could be hooked up to the car specifically with the intention of generating electricity for a purpose other than driving, and without the danger of running the fuel tank dry.

In addition to generating electricity from the hydrogen in its own tank, the FCV Plus can use hydrogen from an external source
In addition to generating electricity from the hydrogen in its own tank, the FCV Plus can use hydrogen from an external source

It's also possible to remove the fuel cell stack, which is positioned between the front wheels, and use it independently of the car as a portable generator. Other electric vehicles, meanwhile, can be charged using wireless charging panels on the rear wheels and under the front floor. The car's energy status at any given time can be displayed with words and/or symbols on its windscreen and rear window.

Along with other components, including the drivetrain, the fuel cell stack of the FCV Plus has been miniaturized. This has reduced the size of the vehicle to 3,800 x 1,750 x 1,540 mm (150 x 69 x 61 in) along with its overall weight, while still allowing it to be spacious inside. Toyota characterizes it as being the length of a compact car with the cabin of a large saloon, and says this makes it ideal for city use.

The fuel efficiency of the vehicle is improved as a result of the lower weight afforded by its smaller parts and aerodynamic design. It is also said to be well balanced as a result of its major components being split between both the front and rear ends. Elsewhere, all four wheels of the FCV Plus boasts in-wheel motors, and it has near-panoramic visibility.

All four wheels of the FCV Plus boast in-wheel motors
All four wheels of the FCV Plus boast in-wheel motors

Toyota tells New Atlas that there are no plans to develop the FCV Plus into a Mirai Plus at present, and that it believes the technology for this sort of a vehicle needs another dozen or more years worth of development. It is expecting to produce 30,000 fuel cell cars in the next few years, though.

The FCV Plus is debuting in Europe at the Paris Motor Show.

Check out Toyota's concept video below:

2015 Tokyo Motor Show: Toyota FCV Plus Concept

Source: Toyota

6 comments
Willibald
It's not a clean energy source.
skierpage
"expecting to produce 30,000 fuel cell cars in the next few years," Aha-ha-ha. US Mirai sales are just 641 units despite free H2 for the duration of the lease and dropping the cost to $349 per month. The upcoming Prius Prime plug-in hybrid is cheaper and better than a Mirai in every way. All these party tricks where the car acts as a power source work just as well with a battery EV. But you can cheaply recharge a plug-in at a billion outlets and tens of thousands of charging stations, and can make your own electricity renewably. Hydrogen makes more sense for fleet vehicles, just like compressed natural gas. But without a carbon tax they're too expensive.
VincentWolf
I agree with Willibald it's not a green energy source because most of the hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels--either from stripping hydrogen from the hydrocarbons or burning the fuel for the energy to do that or both. Usually both making it a very dirty fuel. Until they have massive solar installations producing hydrogen gas AND the infrastructure to store the fuel it's a complete waste of time and Toyota keeps pushing this instead of BEV's and really pissing people off all over the world for their blatant push to profit and call it 'green'.
JoshuaSalo
If Toyota put even the slightest amount of real effort into this car it would be obvious. The video looks like an amateur was paid maybe $150 to animate the car for the demonstration. Middle school quality! Why do they even pretend?
VirtualGathis
@VincentWolf13: There isn't enough land area in the world to accommodate the infrastructure you propose. The solar energy gets converted to hydrogen at about 50% efficiency; if using electrolysis the cells are only 15% efficient as well. The fuel gets converted back to electricity at about 60%. Converting even a fraction of the automobile fleet to your solution would require the entire land area. Wind power on a utility scale has already begun to prove itself infeasible as the energy being taken from the winds is altering climates downwind from the wind farms, so scaling up enough of it to power vehicles as well would damage the ecologies that exist downwind from the farms, possibly beyond repair. Clean liquid fluorine salt thorium reactors could, on the other hand, take up the load with little trouble. They can produce temperatures high enough to break water without electrolysis, use a fuel source almost as abundant as dirt, and fully burn the fuel. Before the anti-nuclear folks chime in: Thorium fully burns the fuel, and can consume the wasted fuel from older reactors, so the "waste" is less radioactive than coal ash, which has uranium in it, is vastly less toxic than fly ash, and liquid salt reactors can be built "walk away safe" so that a disaster would not release the fuel even if everyone abandoned the building and no automated systems are functioning. All together this puts thorium power light years ahead of so called renewable energy like solar which uses hugely wasteful manufacturing and rare resources while taking up enormous tracts of land, and requires enormous grid storage to compensate for it's variability.
ei3io
Hydrogen will come from solar&wind forever unlimited and clean while quick fill-up stations will happen for certain. This will transition as the dirty non sustainable heavier battery material waste dies off as a primary power source. Practically all transportation will be from hydrogen someday.