Source: Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota City, Japan, October 18, 2017. Toyota Motor Corporation announces the launch of the “Sora1“, a Toyota fuel cell bus (FC bus) concept. Toyota plans to launch sales of a commercial model based on the concept vehicle in 2018 and expects to introduce over 100 Sora, mainly within the Tokyo metropolitan area, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Toyota developed the Sora (concept model) based on the vision of an “enduring town icon” guided by two ideas: to make best use of the characteristics of the FC unit; andì to enhance the comfort of passengers traveling on bus routes.
Idea 1: Service vehicle for the entire community
The Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which was developed for the Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV), has been adopted to deliver superior environmental performance with no CO2 emissions or Substances of Concern (SoC) emitted when in operation.
The Sora is equipped with a high-capacity external power supply system, providing high output and a large capacity of electricity supply (9 kW maximum output, and electricity supply of 235 kWh2) and can be used as an emergency power source following disasters.
Idea 2: Universal design and function that is people-centered
Because the bus is envisioned to be used by large and varying numbers of passengers at any given time, Toyota paid close attention to convenience, safety, and peace of mind with the aim to give all passengers a pleasant riding experience, so that they would want to ride the buses regularly.
Horizontal seats with an automatic storage mechanism improves comfort (first in Japan3)
The bus is equipped with horizontal seats with an automatic storage mechanism to provide space for strollers or wheelchairs. This provides extra seating for regular passengers when the space is not needed for strollers or wheelchairs.
Improved safety from bus peripheral monitoring function (first in Japan3)
Eight high-definition cameras fitted inside and outside the vehicle detect pedestrians and bicycles around the bus, providing a peripheral monitoring function that warns the driver with sound and images to improve safety.
Improved safety from acceleration control function (first in Japan3)
The acceleration control function suppresses sudden acceleration and enables gentle acceleration from stops, in consideration of the safety of standing passengers. Also, there is no lurching due to the lack of a need for gear shifting.
Improved ease of boarding and exiting through automatic arrival control4 (first in Japan3)
Adoption of automatic arrival control detects the guidance line on the road surface and uses automatic steering and deceleration to stop the bus with approximately 3 to 6 cm of clearance from the bus stop, and within a range of 10 cm ahead of or behind the bus stop position. This improves boarding and exiting for passengers using strollers or wheelchairs.
Improved convenience through ITS Connect
Bus transportation capability, speed, punctuality, and convenience is boosted by ITS Connect, which utilizes vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to support safe driving, together with systems that support bus convoys and that provide priority at traffic signals (PTPS5).
The design pursues stereoscopic shaping that significantly differs from the hexahedron (box shape) of conventional buses. It also uses LED for the front and rear lights. Such design features make the FC bus instantly recognizable.
Vehicle Name Sora
Length / width / height 10,525 / 2,490 / 3,340 mm
Capacity (seated, standing, and driver) 79 (22+56+1)
FC stack Name (type) Toyota FC Stack (Solid polymer electrolyte)
Maximum output 114 kW × 2 units (155 PS × 2 units)
Motor Type AC synchronous
Maximum output 113 kW × 2 units (154 PS × 2 units)
Maximum torque 335 N･m × 2 (34.2 kgf･m × 2)
High-pressure hydrogen tank Number of tanks
(Nominal working pressure) 10 (70 MPa)
Tank internal volume 600 liters
Drive battery Type Nickel-metal hydride
External power supply system2 Maximum output /power supply amount 9 kW / 235 kWh
Toyota plans to display the Sora (concept model) at Tokyo Big Sight during the 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017. The theme for this year’s show, which runs for 12 days from October 25 to November 56, is “Beyond the Motor.”
1SORA: an acronym for Sky, Ocean, River, Air, representing the earth’s water cycle.
2The 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.
3As of October 18 (according to Toyota Motor Corporation).
4The bus stops without leaving a large gap between it and the bus stop.
5PTPS: Public Transportation Priority Systems
6The 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017 is to be held at Tokyo Big Sight in Tokyo’s waterfront area from October 25 through November 5, with press days on October 25 and 26, a special-invitation day on October 26, a preview day on October 27 and general-public days from October 28 to November 5.
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