(Kyodo) _ Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled on Monday a next-generation hydrogen-powered fuel cell hybrid-electric bus which will carry visitors during the 2005 Aichi World Exposition, which opens March 25.
Toyota allowed members of the press to a ride on the advanced transportation system, developed jointly with Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors Ltd., in the Aichi town of Nagakute.
The bus will travel 4.4 kilometers to link two expo sites in 10 minutes. The hybrid bus service will carry visitors between the Nagakute area and the other site in the city of Seto free of charge, Toyota officials said.
The hybrid buses are powered by fuel cell batteries, which generate electricity through chemical reaction between high-pressure hydrogen and oxygen, and nickel hydride batteries.
Fuel-cell cars emit only water and are regarded as "ultimate environment-friendly" vehicles. Automakers are working to develop them as such vehicles can help curb global warming because they emit no carbon dioxide.
During Monday's presentation, journalists were able to ride on three green-colored hybrid buses. Without an internal combustion engine, they felt no vibrations under their feet and could even hear whispery conversations.
Toyota plans to deploy eight fuel cell hybrid buses, each capable of carrying 65 passengers during the expo through Sept. 25. A hydrogen station will be set up in the Seto site for refueling, according to the company.
The carmaker started development of the bus in 1992. The vehicle was actually used in local bus services in Tokyo from August 2003 to the end of 2004 in the run-up to the expo, Toyota officials said.