Lexus recently revealed that its 2019 model will offer a hydrogen fuel cell powered powertrain.
Lexus Europe boss Alain Uyttenhoven said: “We know how to make fuel cells and the only challenge is how to package a fuel cell in a car that also needs a certain level of performance.” He did not confirm plans for the LS, however. “Premium buyers have certain expectations. For refinement, fuel cell is ideal, but we must also do some work to demonstrate the right levels of performance.”
When Lexus unveiled the LF-FC at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show in October, the brand offered a sneak peek into the future. The svelte four-door flagship concept sedan is large, and its dynamic forms are exact and exciting. But while the LF-FC’s exterior styling is worthy of note, it is what lurks beneath that is particularly groundbreaking.
The “FC” in the model’s name stands for “fuel cell,” which references the car’s revolutionary new fuel-cell drive system. Using a fuel-cell stack that mixes two elements that are abundant in nature – hydrogen and oxygen – the LF-FC produces electricity from a small battery, removing the need for a gas-guzzling gasoline engine and the necessity for heavier batteries. The benefits add up. Unlike conventional electric vehicles, refuelling a fuel
cell-powered unit only takes a few minutes. It’s also amazingly clean – water vapor is the only emission. Power is transferred to the ground via in-wheel-motors at each front wheel (along with its rear wheel drivetrain), making the model an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
The styling of the original concept vehicle is bold and dynamic. From every angle the sedan appears elegant and sporty (there are cues taken from Grand Touring models here). Its overall demeanor is characterized by a swooping roofline and a low, wide, aggressive stance. The front end features an evolved version of Lexus’s trademark spindle grille (it features a new mesh design), while L-shaped daytime running lights jut out from the front fenders. The rear is highlighted by striking taillights, which seem to be floating in midair.