The Mirai – Driving Toyota’s Eco Performance
The concern about climate change and air pollution has pushed car manufacturers to research and develop more environmentally friendly vehicles. They are shunning away from the traditional fossil fuels and taking on more eco-friendly approaches, and Toyota’s flagship into this movement is the Toyota Mirai.
Mirai, meaning future in Japanese, is the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to be mass produced and sold commercially and was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2014. However, it has taken two decades of research and development to where it is now.
Toyota started research and development into fuel cell vehicles (FCV) in 1992 and has progressed steadily over the years. They have also sold hybrid vehicles including the ever popular Prius.
The Mirai boasts two 5kg hydrogen tanks which can be filled in 5 minutes and a range of 480km, compared to 120km average for most electric cars. Even Tesla’s all-wheel drive Model S 85D has a maximum range of 440km before requiring a refuel.
It is aerodynamic and close to a Toyota Camry in size but also has touch sensors to lock or unlock the doors, heated outside mirrors that fold, Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) technology and 17” alloy wheels. However, it will come at a price.
The car is said to sell for approximately K200, 000 and unfortunately we are not ready for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles yet mainly because of the lack of refueling stations.
Toyota’s focus is now getting the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to become the norm. The Belfast Telegraph reported Seiji Sano, head of the automotive company’s research and development saying that regardless of the technology, getting the car to catch on will be tough. However, it is a step in the right direction and a boost to their eco performance.