Toyota unveils dual mode hybrid fuel transport
By Mike Hanlon
October 12, 2004
A futuristic, eco-friendly transit system will be prototyped by Toyota as part of the on-site transportation for the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan. The new system aims to show nature's wisdom and examples of a new global society in action. The ' Toyota Z-Capsule' is a dual mode train/bus fuel cell hybrid that offers an amazing step forward in the evolution of motor vehicles.
It looks a little like an i-Mac crossed with a bus, but its sleek, ergonomic design is based on nature, with a panoramic window display and streamlined comfort and use of space offsetting it's fuel efficiency.
The futuristic transporter operates on motors powered by high-pressure hydrogen-supplied fuel cells and a nickel-metal hydride secondary battery.
Unlike gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles, it does not emit carbon dioxide or other toxic substances during operation and is highly energy-efficient, as well as quiet to run.
The ' Z-Capsule' is an innovative approach to transportation that is people and community friendly. Based on IMTS or Intelligent Multimode Transport Systems, it allows for unmanned, automatic and platoon operation (in which multiple units run in file formation at unified speeds) of buses on dedicated roads (roads with magnetic markers embedded to ensure automatic navigation and control), as well as manual and independent operation by human drivers on ordinary roads.
The system features the punctuality, high speed and large passenger capacity of conventional rail-based mass transit systems such as trains and the economic efficiency and flexibility of buses serving regular routes.
The joint project between Toyota and the 2005 EXPO in Aichi began when they realized they had similar aims with regards to increasing the public's awareness of the use and efficiency of fuel cell vehicles and finding an eco-friendly transport system for the EXPO.
The use of the ' Z-Capsule' will be definitely be an eye-opener into driverless, automated mass transport of the near future. It will also be the first full-scale mass-transport operation of the rail-less but train-like IMTS, which require railroad permission to run.
While improving air quality and fuel efficiency, the Toyota ' Z-Capsule's' greatest outcome may be in challenging our concept of mass transportation itself. With departures and traveling speed automatically regulated in line with the operations timetable, the IMTS Toyota Z-Capsule promises to always be on time. And that alone makes it worth the ticket to ride.