Another member joins the hydrogen camp: Toyota has launched the Fine-Comfort Ride (FCR) concept, a fuel cell vehicle boasting a 1,000-kilometre range and airless tires.
That’s right — the Japanese automaker is eschewing conventional pneumatic rollers in favour of this new lightweight technology it’s experimenting with for the first time. The unconventional approach is born out of necessity, because the FCR utilizes individual motors inside each wheel (read: heavy) to propel itself. The design, which is still in concept stage but aimed at being 30 per cent lighter than normal tires, is comprised of a band of rubber wrapped around a hub made from plastic and aluminum. As an added benfit, they also aren’t prone to punctures or require tire pressure maintenance.
The “premium saloon” is intended to wrap up to six occupants in comfort, featuring a diamond-shaped cabin that is wider up front maximizing passenger space and allowing flexible seat adjustments. The extra manoeuvrability comes in handy to access the wrap-around touch display built into the side windows — containing a virtual Agent to cater to all of a user’s infotainment needs — as well as for tailoring to specific posture requirements or facilitating face-to-face communication. Thanks to the wheels positioned at the extreme corners of the car, a high level of ride comfort and quiet operation is achieved.
Unlike regular electric vehicles that take at least 30 minutes to reach a near-full charge, the single onboard hydrogen pack in the FCR can be conveniently refilled in less than three minutes. There are rumours of autonomous driving capability, although no details have been released. The only other official specifications available are the dimensions, measuring at 4,830 millimetres in length, 1,950 width and 1,650 height with a wheelbase of 3,450 millimetres.