While many manufacturers are investing in battery-powered electric cars, Lexus believes hydrogen is the way forward. The Japanese luxury brand has pledged to produce a hydrogen-powered car by roughly 2020, previewed by this – the LF-FC concept. The concept previews the brand’s hydrogen technology, as well as offering a glimpse at the styling that could feature on the new LS luxury saloon.
The four-door LF-FC saloon is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell sending power to three electric motors – one in the rear and two in the front allowing four-wheel drive and torque vectoring for extra stability and agility.
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The exterior offers a peek at Lexus’ next generation styling. The company’s signature ‘spindle’ grille remains and is flanked by slim, sharply angled LED headlights. In profile the car has a sleek coupe like profile with a low roofline and feature lines to break up the sheet metal and reduce visual weight.
More prominent haunches over the front wheels than current Lexus models hint, however, at the car’s performance-focused persona. The long bonnet and rearward cabin also allude the car’s more sporting character while bold, angular headlights recall those fitted to the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car.
The LF-FC’s interior shows us what to expect from Lexus cabins in the future. Interestingly, the firm seems to have fitted a holographic projector to the centre console. It claims navigation, multimedia and the car’s climate control can be manipulated in this way with the control image projected into the air above it – a first of its kind in any car.
Aside from posh leather and real wood trim, the car’s controls can be operated using hand gestures rather than a traditional touchscreen or dial. Befitting its role as a luxury saloon, the LF-FC features two expansive rear seats that can recline for extra comfort.
Lexus says the LF-FC will be a “high output” car. While it’s not confirmed any performance figures, any production LF-FC would be entering a market populated by the Tesla Model S – a car known for its shockingly rapid acceleration – meaning the Lexus could have in excess of 600hp to truly compete with rivals. The fuel cell is mounted in the car’s rear for better weight distribution allowing for better balance.
The car also features autonomous driving technologies using a stereo camera, radar and sensors that give it a 360-degree view of its surroundings. Lexus claims this allows the car to completely drive itself on the motorway – including changing lanes and overtaking slower traffic.
Lexus firmly believes fuel cells are the long-term solution to having sustainable passenger vehicles. It claims diesel’s days are numbered because it’s only really popular in Europe where more stringent regulations will eventually ban diesel models from city centres. The brand hopes to have a production model with this technology in 2020 with prices hovering around £80,000.
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If you can’t wait for the LF-FC’s tech to trickle down to production models, head over to our Lexus LS deals page to see how much carwow could help you save. Or, if you’re not sure what model you want, use our car chooser to narrow down your search.