Toyota reveals fuel cell bus for 2017, can serve as emergency generator

Toyota unveiled its newest hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle in Japan this week, but it's not a four-door sedan or crossover SUV; it's a bus intended for public transportation. The zero-emission bus uses the same technology as Toyota's new Mirai fuel cell sedan, and the plan is to have a fleet of 100 or so running in Tokyo in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The fuel cell bus it outfitted with up to 10 tanks that can store 600 liters of highly pressurized H2, in turn allowing it to produce 235 kWh of power, or roughly three times what the battery from Tesla's Model S outputs. This means the vehicles can basically act as giant, roaming power sources, which is exactly what Toyota had in mind when designing them.

In the event of an emergency situation, Toyota explains, the bus can act as a giant external power generator, powering things like evacuations sites in the aftermath of an earthquake, or supplying electricity for home appliances during widespread power outages.

The buses will first go on sale starting next year, and are part of Toyota's overall push into the use of hydrogen, which the company "considers to be a powerful source of energy for the future."