Car News

Toyota reveals Sora and Fine-Comfort Ride concepts

Toyota has revealed its Sora fuel-cell bus concept which will enter production for Japan next year and the 310kW Fine-Comfort Ride concept.

TOYOTA IS CONTINUING to push its hydrogen fuel cell message with the unveiling of two new concept vehicles, one, the Sora, which will enter production for the Japanese market next year.

According to Toyota, “The Fine-Comfort Ride concept sedan envisages high performance motoring with a 310kW motor delivering a top speed of 220km/h, a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 5.4 seconds and a range of approximately 1,000km on a single fill.

“The Sora concept bus is closer to a production version with Toyota planning to start sales next year and introduce more than 100 of these buses ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The Fine-Comfort Ride concept is aimed at offering maximum occupant space and features a motor-in-wheel set-up “utilising a body underside cover for the ride stability and quietness expected in a premium car”.

Fine-Comfort Ride concept

The fuel-cell stack is located at the front of the vehicle while the hydrogen tank is under the floor. The Fine-Comfort Ride concept also offers artificial intelligence and automated driving based on the Toyota’s Mobility Teammate Concept in which the car watches over the driver and assists as needed.

Where’s the name come from? “Fine stands for “Future IN Electrified Vehicle” and Comfort Ride embodies the concept of a comfortable space for transportation, suitable for a next-generation premium car,” Toyota said.

It is a continuation of the Fine-S fuel-cell concept vehicle unveiled at the Detroit auto show in 2003.

The Sora concept bus name is an acronym for Sky, Ocean, River, Air. The Sora makes use of the fuel cell system developed for the Mirai, but “has been adopted to deliver superior environmental performance with no CO2 emissions or substances of concern emitted when in operation”.

The Sora uses two 114kW fuel-cell stacks and two 113kW, 335Nm electric motors with 10 high-pressure hydrogen tanks offering 600 litres of hydrogen capacity.

It is equipped with a high-capacity external power supply system, providing high maximum output of 9kW and 235kWh supply. This enables the bus to be used as an emergency power source. For example, it can power evacuation sites such as school gymnasiums and community centres for about five days with lights on for six hours per day (50 kWh per day).

It’s a clever thing, says Toyota, with its automatic arrival control improves boarding and exiting by detecting the guidance line on the road surface and using automatic steering and deceleration to stop the bus. It ensures approximately 3 to 6cm of clearance from the bus stop, and stopping within 10cm ahead of or behind the bus stop position.

Question: Do fuel cell buses make sense?


Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.