Toyota Reveals Fuel-Cell Rally Car

Rallying, especially the hotly contested Shinshiro Rally, final round of the 2014 Japanese Rally Championship, is a noisy affair.

Highly tuned all-wheel drive hatchbacks will be snarling up and down their gearboxes this weekend to get through the 285kms of tight, twisty special stages in Aichi Prefecture as quickly as possible this weekend.

All except one. Toyota has built a very special hydrogen-powered FCV fuel-cell vehicle to act as the ‘zero car’, which drives through every stage before the competitors are let loose on it in anger, as the safety marshal to check for open gates, missing or misleading route markers or changed conditions since the stage was surveyed to draw up the pace notes.

So before all hell breaks loose on each special stage, the spectators will see this car come by at close to rally pace, quietly humming to itself and emitting nothing but water vapour.

Pushing the

‘Green’ Agenda

The rally FCV has been specially tuned and equipped for rallying, says Toyota, without giving details of what’s been done to it – other than visually obvious graphics, mud flaps and lightweight forged-alloy rims.

But that’s not the point. Toyota has been developing fuel-cell vehicles for more than 20 years, pushing its ‘green’ agenda on three basic principles: developing efficient, low-emission combustion and hybrid-powered vehicles, embracing diverse energy sources and changing the mindset of the general driving population – often by presenting future vehicles in a fun or sporting context.

The ‘street’ version of the FCV was revealed on the home market in June this year, and will go on sale in Japan in April 2015, followed by the EU and North America in mid-year.

Toyota has been developing fuel cell vehicles for more than 20 years, leading up to this, its first hydrogen-powered production car. There are no performance figures for the rally car, but the vanilla-flavour FCV is good for 0 to 100kmh in about 10 seconds, has a range of as much as 480km and can be refuelled in less than five minutes.

Source : The Namibian