The Lexus LF-FC, a 5.3m long concept, has been revealed at the Tokyo show. It not only provides a preview of the next long-wheelbase Lexus LS but a potential hydrogen-fuelled variant for later in the decade.
TMC has already stated that it intends to use the backdrop of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as a showcase for zero emissions cars, and there have been rumours that a Lexus LS powered by a fuel cell was under development. The prototype revealed at the 28 October Tokyo show press day is the first firm sign of potential truth in these rumours.
One of the most surprising things about the LF-FC is its sheer size. The car is some 10cm longer than the extended wheelbase version of the existing LS sedan. It is also wider and lower, and were its dimensions to be used for the new generation LS due on sale in 2016, it would be a bigger car than the segment leading Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The prototype has all-wheel drive, with the fuel cell stack powering the rear axle and electric motors sending torque to the front wheels. The stack is at the rear of the vehicle, with the power control unit at the front and what Toyota terms “T-formation configured hydrogen fuel tanks” contributing to balanced weight distribution.
While a potential fuel cell version of the next LS is some years off, the standard car should be revealed at the Detroit auto show in January. There should also be a two-door coupe to follow in 2017. Both of these cars are expected to use the same platform as the existing GS and IS sedans but to have aluminium body panels. The Tahara plant in Japan should build both the LS and the ‘LC’ Coupe.