Technology

Toyota begins sales of high-tech fuel-cell bus

Posted on April 3, 2018

Toyota's Sora fuel cell bus feature a high-capacity external power output device. Photo: Toyota
Toyota's Sora fuel cell bus feature a high-capacity external power output device. Photo: Toyota
Toyota Motor Corp. announced that sales began on March 7 of its fuel-cell bus, Sora*1, the first FC bus to receive vehicle type certification in Japan.

Vehicle feature highlights

  • The Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which was developed for the company's Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), has been leveraged to realize high environmental performance with no CO2 emissions or Substances of Concern (SoC) emitted when in operation, as well as quiet comfort with minimal vibration.
  • The Sora is equipped with a high-capacity external power output device, which can provide high output and a large capacity of electricity supply (9 kW maximum output, and electricity supply of 235 kWh*2) and has potential use as an emergency power source following disasters.

Universal design and function

The Sora has horizontal seats with an automatic storage mechanism. Photo: Toyota
The Sora has horizontal seats with an automatic storage mechanism. Photo: Toyota

  • Horizontal seats with an automatic storage mechanism (first in Japan*3). The Sora's seats are automatically stored when not in use, improving comfort and convenience for passengers with strollers and wheelchairs as well as other passengers.
  • Field of vision support camera system (bus peripheral monitoring function) (first in Japan*3). Eight high-definition cameras fitted inside and outside the vehicle detect pedestrians and bicyclists around the bus providing a field of vision support camera system. When at bus stops, the system warns the driver of surrounding pedestrians and bicyclists through sound notifications and images thereby improving safety.
Toyota's new fuel cell bus offers a field of vision support camera system. Photo: Toyota
Toyota's new fuel cell bus offers a field of vision support camera system. Photo: Toyota
  • Acceleration control function delivers improved safety (first in Japan*3). The acceleration control function suppresses sudden acceleration and enables smooth acceleration from complete stops in consideration of the safety of standing passengers. Also, as the bus is not motor operated, there is no gear shifting, resulting in minimal lurching.

Design

  • The design pursues stereoscopic shaping that significantly differs from the hexahedron (box shape) of conventional buses. It also uses LED technology for the front and rear lights. Such design features make the FC bus instantly recognizable.
The rear of the bus showcases the stereoscopic design of the Sora bus. Photo: Toyota
The rear of the bus showcases the stereoscopic design of the Sora bus. Photo: Toyota

Toyota expects to introduce over 100 fuel cell buses, mainly within the Tokyo metropolitan area, ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. As the number of FC buses in operation within the metropolitan area increases, Toyota anticipates greater awareness of the vehicle among the general public.

Last year, Toyota launched the "Start Your Impossible" global corporate initiative to transform the company from an automobile company to a mobility service company. This was guided by the company's desire to contribute to the improvement and enhancement of customers' lives and society as a whole through support of the creation of a more inclusive and sustainable society in which everyone feels inspired to challenge his or her impossible.

Toyota Sora interior. Photo: Toyota
Toyota Sora interior. Photo: Toyota

*1 Sora is an acronym for Sky, Ocean, River, Air, representing the earth's water cycle.

*2 The power that can be supplied and the power amount may differ, depending on the performance of the power supply unit, amount of hydrogen remaining, and power consumption. External power output device sold separately.

*3 As of March 28 (according to Toyota Motor Corp.).

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