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Not Giving Up: Toyota Wants Mass-produced Mirai FCVs, Longer Range

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Regardless of it being probably the most ample factor on the earth — however one of many hardest fuels to supply — automakers aren’t giving up on hydrogen. That group consists of Toyota, which launched the world’s best-promoting hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Mirai, in 2015.

Early this yr, the three,000th U.S. Mirai discovered its strategy to the driveway of a California buyer. Cali stays the one American jurisdiction the place FCV automobiles, and refueling infrastructure, are provided (although a hydrogen scarcity final week noticed SoCal stations dry up).

Within the hopes of boosting the fuel’s prevalence and stimulating demand, Toyota plans to enter mass manufacturing with its second-era Mirai, anticipated early within the coming decade. 

Two should-haves for the brand new mannequin are a decrease entry price and larger range.

Chatting with Reuters, the Mirai’s chief engineer, Yoshikazu Tanaka, stated, “We’re going to shift from restricted manufacturing to mass manufacturing, scale back the quantity of pricy supplies like platinum utilized in FCV elements, and make the system extra compact and highly effective.”

Whereas a supply claims Toyota has a range of latest FCVs underneath improvement for a range of markets (together with pickups, SUVs, and transport trucks), the automaker stays obscure on its future plans. There’ll undoubtedly be further automobiles to bolster the brand new Mirai, that’s for positive.

“We’re going to make use of as many elements from present passenger automobiles and different fashions as potential in fuel cell trucks,” stated Ikuo Ota, Toyota’s supervisor of latest enterprise planning for fuel cell tasks. “In any other case, we gained’t see the advantages of mass manufacturing.”

The automaker hopes to extend the subsequent-gen Mirai’s range from roughly 310 miles to round 450 miles.

So far, solely about 6,000 Mirais have left Toyota’s Toyota Metropolis meeting plant. There,  staff hand-assemble the hydrogen-powered sedans, constructing a most of 6.5 automobiles a day. They’re expensive, with Strategic Evaluation Inc. claiming every fuel cell stack prices $eleven,000. In a FCV, hydrogen, saved underneath strain, flows to the fuel cell strack, the place a chemical response generates an electric present to energy a standard electric drive motor. The one byproduct of the response is scorching water, which could be manually discharged by way of a small flap under the car’s rear bumper.

The Mirai had the market to itself when it debuted again in 2015, however fuel cell variations of the Hyundai Tucson and Honda Readability now supply competitors within the vanishingly small market. Regardless of the brand new entries, LMC Automotive predicts FCVs will solely make up zero.2 % of latest automobiles gross sales in a decade’s time.

Having pushed each the Readability and Mirai, it’s clear that, whereas revolutionary, the Mirai has some catching as much as do when it comes to refinement. It’s nonetheless a blast to drive, nevertheless. With low-drag tires on all 4 corners and a punchy motor, driving a Mirai is like starring in your personal Nineteen Seventies car chase, solely with a barely intrusive whine changing the sound of eight roaring cylinders.

[Image: Toyota]

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