We at Jalopnik have determined that actually, the bus is good. It’s fine. It’s great! New York City buses might even be better than the subway. But after seeing this Toyota fuel cell bus concept, I felt a stab of jealousy. Why does everyone else get the cool shit?
The Sora will be at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, is expected to launch in 2018 and intended mainly for the Tokyo metropolitan area. It uses the fuel cell system that the Toyota Mirai does, but adapted so that it emits no CO2 during use.
Toyota says that Sora also has a high-capacity external power supply system that can provide a large supply of electricity if need be during disasters or other emergency situations, which is extremely cool.
And! It was developed with people in mind. It has improved storage space inside for people with strollers or wheelchairs and eight high-definition cameras on its exterior to better detect pedestrians and bicyclists. Because it doesn’t need to shift gears, passengers won’t experience the lurch as they do from traditional buses.
Automatic steering and deceleration features allow the bus to come within three to six centimeters from the bus stop, which is helpful for better boarding and exiting. On top of that, the Sora has vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to increase convenience and punctuality.
Jackie Birdsall, who is a senior engineer with Toyota’s fuel cell hybrid vehicle group, told us last May that the buses will be used to help move people around Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics. It’s been a fun project, according to her:
“That has been a pretty fun challenge because obviously, it requires more power to move a bus than it does to move the Mirai. It really is a lovely experience to ride in a fuel cell bus as compared to a diesel bus or even a CNG because there’s a different transmission, right? There’s a very smooth ride, but also it’s quiet, there’s no local air pollution and all the smells and it’s an entirely different experience.”
New York City, the stinking cesspool that it is, could really use some of these cool buses!