Toyota took well-documented steps towards in hydrogen mobility in early 2015 with the roll-out of its Mirai fuel cell vehicles, momentum which gained further traction recently with its involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
Launched in Japan in December (2014), amidst stronger than expected demand, the Mirai reached UK shores in August ahead of its September launch and is also being rolled out in the US this year as Toyota seeks to build awareness, understanding and acceptance of fuel cell technology.
The vehicle uses the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which features both fuel cell technology and hybrid technology, and includes Toyota’s new proprietary FC Stack and high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The TFCS is more energy efficient than internal combustion engines and emits no CO2 or substances of concern (SOCs) when driven.
Mirai translates as ‘future’ in Japanese and motorsport fans were arguably given a glimpse of the future for the world rallying formula as a Toyota Mirai saloon opened the stages at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland last weekend.
While it was not allowed to officially compete in the championship, the Mirai’s participation across the three days is seen as a major milestone for public awareness of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
According to The Linde Group, the car was powered by its mobile hydrogen filling station, which was clearly visible at the exit of the drivers’ paddock. Andreas Friedinger, the Linde Service Engineer responsible for the event, commented, “To be on the safe side, we planned for five refills to cover all of the stages over the three days.”
“With a full 700-bar tank and normal driving conditions, the Mirai could easily manage the 1,200km-plus route with just two to three refills. But with the hard style of driving practiced in rallies, fuel consumption can be well over one kilo hydrogen per 100km.”