SPY PICS: Toyota FCV Caught Refueling In SoCal

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The Toyota FCV hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is set to debut next year, and we’ve got exclusive spy pics of a camouflaged test mule refueling in SoCal. Though it may look rather plain, the Toyota FCV packs potentially world-changing technology beneath its camouflaged skin.

If you took a good long look, the shape isn’t actually that much different from the Toyota FCV Concept that’s been making the rounds at major auto shows. Said to be priced between $50,000 and $100,000, Toyota has long held the belief that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are far superior to pure EVs because of their ability to refuel rapidly. Yet Toyota seems to have opted for a decidedly toned-down look for the FCV, doing away with the sharp headlights, flowing lines, and gaping lower grillwork that made the concept some attention-grabbing. What we’re left with is another bland and boring Toyota sedan that will easily be lost in the masses of automobiles that call America home.

The original Toyota FCV concept. Which do you like better?

Still, Toyota thinks it can move 10,000 FCVs in the first year of sales alone.

Look’s aside, Toyota’s fuel cell technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade, and this test mule is an indicator of just how close we are to getting fuel cell vehicles on our roads. Toyota is aiming for a 300 mile range on a full tank of hydrogen, more driving range than even the top-tier Tesla Model S.

Unfortunately, the hydrogen refueling infrastructure is currently all but non-existent, with just none refueling stations currently open in SoCal (the FCV’s launching point), and another 17 under way scattered around Southern California. But Toyota and other hydrogen-boosting automakers are working with the State of California on establishing a $200 million hydrogen refueling network that consists of another 28 stations and a mobile refueler. That infrastructure will be key to convincing people to switch to hydrogen, though I remain inherently skeptical of the superiority of hydrogen vehicles. It seems to me infinitely easier to recharge an electric vehicle at home, than to drive around looking for one of a handful of hydrogen fueling stations.

But there were those who said the same about electric vehicles. Judging from these spy pics and available details, do you think the Toyota FCV has what it takes to make hydrogen believers out of skeptics?

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Images: Original content from Gas 2, courtesy Draagspeed.

 

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.