In an Australian first, Toyota Australia is partnering with a Melbourne council for a real-world trial of environmentally friendly, zero CO2 emitting, hydrogen (H2)-electric vehicles.

From this week, three Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), the first of their kind to be driven by members of the public in Australia, will be provided to Hobson’s Bay City Council in Melbourne’s inner west for a 12-week trial.

During that period, the Mirais (Japanese for ‘future’) will be driven by council staff under a range of conditions and at different times of the day, just like any other vehicle.

The trial will help Hobson’s Bay City Council reduce its vehicle fleet emissions and reach its environmental target of zero CO2 by 2020.

Toyota Australia’s Manager of Advanced Technology Vehicles and Site Development, Matt MacLeod, said the trial will go a long way to normalising the new technology.

“We know that it’s only a matter of time before CO2 regulations arrive in Australia, and that’s why there is such a huge focus on zero emission vehicles like the Mirai,” he said.

“This trial is a step in the right direction and that’s why we’re excited to partner with Hobson’s Bay City Council to see these Mirai used in a number of real-world applications.”

“It’s a great opportunity to highlight the fact that these cars drive just like any other vehicle, except they don’t make any engine noise and emit nothing but water vapour.”

“Like most H2 powered vehicles, the Mirai isn’t currently available for sale in Australia, mainly because there isn’t existing H2 refuelling infrastructure to support it.”

The trial FCEVs will be refuelled at a mobile H2 refueller based at Toyota’s former manufacturing site in nearby Altona - a 13-minute drive to Hobson’s Bay City Council.

Hobsons Bay City Council Mayor Angela Altair said trialling the H2 fuel cell electric cars as part of Council’s fleet brings both the community and the organisation closer to meeting their goals for addressing climate change.

The trial with Hobson’s Bay City Council will be the first of several trials run by Toyota Australia over the next three years, with Australia’s number one car company planning to loan the Mirai FCEVs to participating companies or organisations for up to 12-weeks at a time.

“This is just the beginning. It’s an exciting first step to not only build greater awareness about this new technology and the Mirai FCEV, but it’s also step towards a cleaner, greener future,” MacLeod said.