The rumored fuel cell Lexus LS may be part of a major new product initiative from Toyota in preparation for their 2020 Tokyo Olympics sponsorship — from Japanese magazine Best Car by way of Automotive News:
As part of the push, Toyota plans at least eight vehicles that highlight modern mobility, Japan’s Best Car magazine reported.
The Olympic Games have long favored using zero-emission electric vehicles to accompany events such as the marathon, given concerns over the quality of the air athletes must breathe.
The LS fuel cell would debut by 2018 while the Crown fuel cell arrives the following year, Best Car said. Renderings published by the magazine show both vehicles with the gaping side air intakes that appear on the front fascia of the Mirai.
The initial reaction to rumors of a fuel cell LS were tentative — after all, hydrogen refueling stations in North America are largely theoretical outside of California, and even the most advanced technology is useless without power.
Should this rumor prove true, Lexus would be able to offset the development costs with the PR opportunity of the 2020 Olympics, all while capitalizing on the Japan commitment to a nationwide hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
A fuel cell LS would always be a “statement” car, a way for Lexus to show off its forward-thinking technology and get the jump on competitors. Now, it’s a car with a purpose as well, and that makes the rumor much more believable.