That, as you can see, is the Japanese automaker's Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV), which is still in its prototype phase. We're still at least half a year away from seeing the FCV in production trim, but the model has already been pressed into duty as the "zero car" at the Shinshiro Rally, the last round of the Japanese Rally Championship.
The zero car, for those unfamiliar, is to rally what a pace or safety car is to circuit racing, driving the rally stage to check for signs of trouble before the competitors put their feet to the floor, so it's not as if the FCV needed extensive modifications. From the looks of things, it just needed some jazzy stripes, mud flaps, probably different rolling stock and an interior with racing buckets and harnesses, roll cage, radio equipment and maybe a bit more ground clearance.
Still, seeing a hydrogen-powered car running a rally stage must have been an unusual sight for the spectators in Aichi Prefecture. They'll have to wait until next April to see a production car on the road, while those of us in the US and Europe are expected to get them next summer.
Trailblazing Toyota FCV to Feature in Final Stage of 2014 Japanese Rally Championship
A Toyota fuel cell vehicle (FCV) will be put through its paces in the final installment in this year's Japanese Rally Championship: the 285 km Shinshiro Rally, held in Aichi Prefecture on November 1 and 2. Before the race starts, the FCV, specially tuned and outfitted for rally racing (as pictured below), will check the safety of the roads as a zero car―while emitting zero CO2 or harmful substances.
Toyota's FCV sedan, a next-generation environment-friendly vehicle powered by hydrogen, will be launched in Japan before April 2015 and in summer 2015 in the U.S. and Europe.
Toyota has been developing fuel cell vehicles for more than 20 years. The company's commitment to environment-friendly vehicles is based on three basic principles: embracing diverse energy sources; developing efficient, low-emission vehicles; and driving real and positive environmental change by popularizing these vehicles.
Toyota revealed the exterior and Japan price of the FCV in June.