toyota's sora electric bus concept explores future of fuel cell technology

toyota's sora electric bus concept explores future of fuel cell technology

the presentation of the ‘sora’ fuel cell bus previews toyota’s plans to produce a model based on this concept. the japaense-automaker expects to introduce more than 100 electric ‘sora’, mainly in the tokyo metropolitan area, ahead of the tokyo 2020 olympic and paralympic games.

all images © toyota



development of the concept was guided by two ideas: to make best use of the characteristics of the fuel cell unit and to enhance the comfort of passengers. toyota’s aim is to create a bus that works for the world and for people, is kind to the environment and can contribute to communities beyond its role as a means of transport. it uses the a fuel cell system that delivers superior environmental performance, emitting no carbon dioxide or ‘substances of concern’ when operating. it is also equipped with a high-capacity external power supply system, with maximum output of 9 kW and electricity supply of 235 kWh. this allows the ‘sora’ to serve as an emergency power source, such as helping to provide relief and support in natural disasters.



because the bus is designed 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. the aim was to give all occupants a pleasant experience and encourage regular bus use. therefore the interior is fitted with horizontally arranged seats with an automatic storage mechanism to provide space for pushchairs, wheelchairs or extra seating, as required. eight high-definition cameras inside and outside the vehicle provide peripheral monitoring, detecting pedestrians and cyclists in the area around the vehicle and warning the driver with sound and image alerts.




a control function suppresses sudden acceleration, so the bus pulls gently away from standstill, taking the safety of standing passengers into account. with no gearshifts required, there is no uncomfortable lurching effect. automatic arrival control detects a guideline on the road surface and uses automatic steering and deceleration to bring the bus to a halt with three to six centimetres clearance from the stop, and within a 10 centimetre range ahead of or behind the stop. this makes boarding or alighting from the bus easier for passengers using wheelchairs or with pushchairs.




bus transportation capability, speed, punctuality and convenience are boosted by vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. this is designed to support safe driving, together with systems that support bus convoys and priority at traffic signals. the ‘sora’s’ design has a stereoscopic shape that is significantly different from the hexahedron – box shape – of conventional buses. this and the use of LEDs for the front and rear lights make it instantly recognizable.

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    technology news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    492,079 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample