Toyota has announced the second generation of its zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric saloon. Called the Mirai, it allows for an extra (third) hydrogen fuel tank to be added, increasing the car’s driving range to around 400 miles .
Toyota began development of a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle in 1992, introducing the first generation Mirai saloon to world markets in 2014. The achievement was founded on the company’s experience in hybrid technology, the core technology for a wide range of different electrified vehicle powertrains.
The basic concept of hybrid power has successfully been adapted to produce Hybrid Electric (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric (PHEV), Battery Electric (BEV) and – starting with the Mirai – Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV).
Now a new generation Mirai is being launched – a car that, Toyota claims, takes FCEV technology to a higher level. A comprehensively redesigned fuel cell system, intelligent packaging and aerodynamic efficiency help extend the driving range to around 400 miles, with no other emissions other than pure water.
One of the improvements with the new Mirai is that it’s equipped with a lithium-ion high-voltage battery in place of the current model’s nickel-metal hydride unit. Although smaller in size, it is more energy-dense, giving higher output and superior environmental performance.
Toyota claims the environmental benefits of driving the Mirai also go beyond zero emissions to “negative emissions” with the car effectively cleaning the air as it moves. As air is drawn into the vehicle to supply the fuel cell, an electric charge on the non-woven fabric filter element captures microscopic particles of pollutants, including sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxides (NOx) and PM 2.5 particulates.
Finally, with the new generation Mirai, Toyota is planning a 10-fold expansion in sales volume. This growth will be supported by the new model’s stronger performance and greater customer appeal, with a selling price reduced by around 20 per cent.
Toyota says the practicality of hydrogen FCEV ownership will also steadily increase as markets improve their hydrogen infrastructure, the number of filling stations rises and Governments and local authorities introduce new incentives and regulations for cleaner mobility.