‘Taking in air, emitting water’, Toyota’s FCV Concept does for hydrogen what Prius did for hybrids

The introductory ignition of future automotive drivetrain technologies, it would seem, are going to be fairly silent from here on out.

Time was, when automakers had a new powertrain technology, they unveiled their latest breakthrough with a loud roar and a cloud of smoke. Things have changed, though, as has the global climate.

From now on, state-of-the-art automotive technologies will be unveiled with a whisper and perhaps – at most – a cloud of steam.

Take the Toyota FCV Concept you see above, for example. Toyota says it’s a nearly production-ready version of the Japanese automaker’s mass-market hydrogen fuel cell vehicle slated to go on sale in 2015.

Designed to evoke the external aesthetics of both a catamaran and flowing water, the FCV Concept front end was penned to symbolize the “taking in air, emitting water” of the onboard hydrogen fuel cell.

Side bodylines are intended to convey air-to-water with flowing, liquid-like door shapes and a wave-motif fuel cap. The rear, however, reintegrates the catamaran form. To us, it looks like a Corolla with a taller Ferrari Enzo nose.

Powered by Toyota’s lightweight fuel cell stack (the thing that turns hydrogen into electricity), the FCV Concept can go approximately 310 miles (500 km) per tank. The two high-pressure onboard hydrogen tanks can be also be fully refilled in around three minutes, which, Toyota brags, is similar to a standard gasoline car.

Toyota doesn’t give any acceleration figures but does say that the FCV Concept’s fuel cell stack packs a power output density of 3 kW/l – more than twice the power output density of the current Toyota FCHV-adv that we drove in California.

This new fuel cell stack isn’t just better on paper; it’s also smaller and less expensive. Engineers also increased system voltage thanks to a high-efficiency boost converter, which is good because the prototype hydrogen cars we drove were a bit sluggish.

Ignoring the jumble of hydrogen-related language and the underwhelming exterior design, the Toyota FCV Concept is a very important car.

Hydrogen has long been an automotive pipedream.

Like the Prius before it, the FCV is that first essential step from concept into day-to-day reality. Imagine: By late next year, you’ll be able to go to your local Toyota dealer and buy a car – albeit for $50,000 – that will emit nothing from the tailpipe but steam.

The FCV Concept proves that, despite what Elon Musk has to say, hydrogen is here in a serious way.

Cars

Startup Rivian exits stealth mode with a bold promise to electrify off-roaders

Electric car startup Rivian has finally turned off stealth mode and provided details about what it's been working on since 2009. It will build battery-powered off-roaders instead of taking on Tesla and others in the luxury EV segment.
Cars

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.
Cars

Where are you going this weekend? These 5 off-road vehicles say 'anywhere'

The body-on-frame SUV is going extinct, but there are still several options for buyers looking to skip the asphalt. To help you sort the good from the bad, we've rounded up the best off-roaders currently available.
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Cars

The DBX SUV will go where no Aston Martin has gone before

When it launches in 2019, the Aston Martin DBX will be the British automaker's first SUV. In the meantime, camouflaged DBX prototypes will undergo strenuous testing around the world.
Cars

Ford teams up with Walmart to study consumer response to autonomous delivery

Last week it was Ford and VW, and this week Ford and Walmart are signaling a desire to work together on autonomous vehicles solutions. Ford and the giant retailer will study consumer reactions to self-driving delivery vehicles.
Cars

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.
Cars

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.
Cars

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
DT Daily

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.
Cars

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.
Cars

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.
Cars

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.