The world’s biggest car maker Toyota has made a bold statement about what it sees as a bright future for hydrogen-powered cars by calling its new fuel-cell vehicle the Mirai.
Mirai, for those of us who do not speak a Japanese dialect, roughly translates as “the future”. The Toyota Mirai — a name, we should mention, was leaked through unofficial channels in July — is due to be launched in its native market tomorrow.
The company has released a video (see above) hosted by president Akio Toyoda, spruiking the technology. It is early days for fuel-cell cars, but Toyota is obviously staking a claim to market leadership alongside the likes of BMW, Hyundai and Honda.
The car features a Fuel Cell Stack which can generate electricity as a result of the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. It needs hydrogen to run of course, but its only bi-product is water vapour.
Toyota claims the Fuel Cell Vehicle has a cruising range similar to a petrol-engine vehicle and a refuelling time of roughly three minutes. It had previously stated a cruising range of up to 500 kilometres.
Toyota has also claimed the car will be able to produce enough power to satisfy the needs of a regular home for a full week.
The company has stated the Fuel Cell Vehicle will be sold in Japan priced at about 7 million yen ($73,300), though as we know it be the subject of large subsidies. It will also launch in parts of the US and Europe from mid-2015, and is helping fund the construction of numerous filling stations.
Australia’s essentially non-existent hydrogen infrastructure and the high cost mean the fuel cell vehicle will not be available on our shores in the foreseeable future. As we have seen with our slow EV rollout, Australia is not exactly leading the charge with the global rollout alternative-fuel vehicles.