Toyota's new Murai hydrogen-powered buses will take to the streets of Toyko starting in 2017, the company has announced. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has already purchased two buses, but the automotive manufacturer plans to sell 100 before the 2020 Olympic games hosted in Japan's capital.
"Toyota aims to engage continuously in the diligent development targeted at the expansion of the introduction of the new FC buses from 2018 so as to contribute to the realization of a hydrogen-based society," Toyota said in a press release.
The Toyota Murai bus seats 77 people, including the driver, and utilizes an improved version of the fuel cell engine developed for the Toyota Mirai sedan. Its 10 high-pressure tanks hold 600 liters of highly compressed hydrogen to provide 235 kWh of power. As Engadget reported, that's roughly three times more energy than the Tesla Model S.
Toyota says the hydrogen bus's high capacity external power supply can also provide electricity during disasters, evacuations, and can even power home appliances.
The Japanese company is a force in the burgeoning fuel cell industry, developing fuel cell vehicles, forklifts, and stationary fuel cells for homes. They also continue to release energy-efficient electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius Prime.
Fuel cells are more energy efficient than the internal combustion engine and are less efficient than EVs. And although fuel cell engines release no harmful greenhouse gases into the environment, the processes of synthesizing hydrogen does create CO2 and methane.