Lexus planning a hydrogen fuel-cell LS by 2017

Toyota's Fuel Cell System will certainly migrate to other vehicles in the carmaker's lineup, but Australian car site Motoring reports that one of the models at the head of the queue is the Lexus LS. According to its sources, the executive barge powered by hydrogen will be released by 2017 and take the top spot in the range, rolling in above the LS Hybrid.

We're told that Toyota engineers will find a way to slide two hydrogen tanks into its bodywork with the same general setup as on the Mirai – one under the rear seats and another under the rear parcel shelf. The 150-kW fuel cell stack will be placed under the front seats. Motoring says the resulting sedan and its 220-kW electric motor would come in "at around 2,100 kg," which is 4,620 pounds; that's a ginormous 539 pounds less than the listed curb weight of the current LS Hybrid, and 387 pounds more than the standard LS. Assuming all goes as planned, it would have a range of roughly 238 miles, a few dozens less than the Mirai's range of about 300 miles. It would look slightly different, too, the front end getting larger intakes to cool the power unit.

It wouldn't surprise us if Lexus does have a hydrogen LS planned – it would be a statement car, and the company likes making statements, even if few heed them; it has stuck with its LS 600h for the past seven years, yet of the 7,539 LS models sold through the end of November this year, only 61 of them were hybrids. The timing would be intriguing, however; by the time the LS hybrid came out, Lexus had already worked over its filet-and-potatoes models. And if the hydrogen version is going to come in above the $120,440 hybrid, well, that will be a statement indeed.

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