Australian automotive site Motoring recently published a report claiming that Toyota’s luxury line, Lexus, is seriously considering adopting fuel cells for its flagship LS sedan. The hydrogen-powered version of the luxury vehicle supposedly will launch before 2017, meaning well-heeled consumers won’t have to wait long at all to have the latest in alternative fuel technology.
With the next generation of the LS coming out soon, the hydrogen fuel cells would likely be nestled in an all-new architecture that has been altered somewhat. The report speculates that the hydrogen tanks will be housed underneath the rear seats, while the fuel cells will be situated under the front seats. The setup also supposedly calls for a 150-kW fuel cell and a 220-kW electric motor. The range is estimated at 238 miles, which is decent but far from spectacular. There is likely some credibility to this news, considering that Toyota’s Mirai fuel-cell car has a similar layout.
There are many benefits to going with a fuel cell powertrain, including a weight savings. Allegedly, the hydrogen-powered LS will be able to shed a few hundred pounds when compared to the hybrid version that is being sold right now, which will in turn help boost efficiency. Another benefit of the new model is the thrill of being one of the first people to own a production fuel-cell luxury vehicle. The car reportedly will come at a steep cost, only adding to the prestige of ownership, with a price exceeding what Lexus charges for the LS 600h L.
Toyota has long flexed its muscles when it comes to its technological abilities, or what some would term “superiority.” Aside from the Mirai and Lexus LS, other fuel-cell models reportedly are coming soon as well. Among them is a large SUV, which might be based on the Sequoia. This news flies in the face of those who say that hydrogen is a fad alternative fuel, but the real test will be to see how many of these models Toyota and Lexus can sell to consumers.