Toyota Motor Corporation has announced in the last few days that it will increase production of the ‘Mirai’ fuel cell sedan, amid stronger than expected demand for the hydrogen-powered vehicle.
The new plan calls for production to increase from the 2015 level of 700 units to approximately 2,000 units in 2016 and approximately 3,000 units in 2017.
Considering the approximately 1,500 orders received in the first month of sales in Japan, and upcoming launches in Europe and the US later this year, it was decided that the supply structure should be adjusted to reflect the level of demand for the vehicle.
Toyota launched the Mirai in Japan on 15th December (2014).
Sales plans for Japan, the US and Europe – following the production increases – will be formulated taking into consideration each region’s level of hydrogen infrastructure development, energy policies, car-purchasing subsidies, consumer demand, environmental regulations, and other factors.
Toyota claims the Mirai signals the start of a new age of vehicles; Mirai is itself the Japanese word for ‘future’.
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.
Drivers can also expect the same level of convenience as offered by gasoline engine vehicles, with a generous cruising range of 650km (according to Toyota measurements taken based on the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s JC08 test cycle) and a hydrogen refuelling time of about three minutes.