Toyota Motor Corp unveiled the "Sora" fixed-route FCV (fuel-cell vehicle) bus at Tokyo Motor Show 2017, which was open to the public from Oct 28 to Nov 5, 2017.

The FCV bus detects induction lines on the road surface by using eight cameras attached around the vehicle. It can stop at a bus stop with an accuracy of 30-60mm (gap between the bus and the bus stop) by automatically controlling steering and deceleration.

The "Sora" fixed-route FCV bus exhibited by Toyota

Toyota expects the Sora to be used in urban areas where there is heavy traffic. For improving safety, cameras are used to detect vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians, and the driver is notified of them with sound and image alerts. This function is realized by applying, for example, "Safety Sense P," a technology that the company is employing for passenger cars.

The FCV bus is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2018. Toyota plans to introduce 100 or more units of the bus mainly in Tokyo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic/Paralympic Games. Compared with the company's previous FCV bus, which the Tokyo Metropolitan Government started to operate in March 2017, "We drastically changed its external appearance and interior and improved the performance of the fuel cell system," Toyota said.

The output of the FC (fuel-cell) stack used for the unveiled FCV bus is 228kW (114kW x 2). The maximum output and maximum torque of the driving motors are 226kW (113kW x 2) and 670N·m (335N·m x 2), respectively. The bus is equipped with a nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery with a capacity of 235kWh.

The Sora comes with 10 hydrogen tanks (filling pressure: 70MPa), and the total internal volume of the tanks is 600L. It is possible to fill the tanks with 20-25kg of hydrogen, realizing a drive range of about 200km.

"A drive range of 150km is enough to meet the requirements for a bus," Toyota said.

The dimensions of the FCV bus are 10,525 (L) x 2,490 (W) x 3,340mm (H). Its riding capacity is 79 including seats, standing space and crew. At this point, the bus is used only as a fixed-route bus, but Toyota is considering introducing it as a sightseeing bus.

Original Japanese article