Toyota has just brought in some examples of its new Mirai sedan to show its new technology to the Australian market. It has a whole new look, new body and new interior. But none of that is of particular interest at this stage.
The car is the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The real issue is not just whether the Mirai is a good car but how the hydrogen fuel cell technology fits into the vehicle and to see how it feels to drive. These are the practical pointers to the future of this technology and its use in fleets.
Named as the 2016 World Green Car, the Mirai is the world’s first mass-produced fuel-cell sedan and is already being sold in Japan, the United States and Europe in areas supported by a refuelling infrastructure.
The Mirai is an electric engined car but it is not powered by batteries which have considerable weight, have limited range and are slow to charge. The electric motor in cars like the Mirai and the Hyundai ix35 get their power from a fuel cell that takes hydrogen and combines it with oxygen in a reaction that releases electricity. The by-product is water.