It’s probably one of the largest vehicles that will grace the Tokyo Motor Show this edition – and it’s a sure sign that Toyota isn’t ready yet to give up on the hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology.
It seems the Fine-Comfort Vehicle presented online not long ago is not the only fuel cell model from Toyota arriving at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, but certainly seating for six has nothing to do with space for 79 people. The Toyota Sora is certainly coming at the right time – brands such as Proterra are already making a name for themselves as elements of the near future of public transportation. The pre-production prototype seen here will receive a proper standard version as early as 2018 when more than 100 units will be deployed onto the streets of Tokyo’s metropolitan area as a test before flooding them in time for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The name is actually a mix between the words “sky,” “ocean,” “river,” and “air” as a nod to the earth’s water cycle that references the concept’s Mirai-derived fuel cell setup that only has water to offer. The bus has room for up to 79 people (22 seated, 56 standing, and the driver) and has 10 high-pressure hydrogen tanks. LED headlights and taillights give a modern, high tech look in tandem with the powertrain, and even has eight HD cameras installed inside and outside that monitor everything – and offer the driver visual and audio warnings. The Sora also premieres an automatic arrival control system in Japan – it will detect the guidance line on the road and automatically inch the bus with around three to six centimeters (1.1 to 2.3 inches) from the bus stop and within 10 cm (4 in) ahead of or behind the bus stop position.