Toyota Once Again Brings Us The Future Of Automotive Technology

The 1997 release of the original Toyota Prius, the worlds first mass produced Hybrid vehicle, spawned an industry wide technological leap forward, as Toyota’s competitors scrambled to develop and release their own hybrid vehicles.

Brace yourselves, Toyota has once again changed the path forward.

By fall 2015 Toyota will begin to sell the Mirai, in California.

The Mirai is a mid-size, four door sedan with a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Drivetrain.

This groundbreaking technology offers performance more akin to a traditional internal combustion engine, uses no gasoline and exhausts nothing but water.

Unlike the battery powered full electric or hybrid vehicles, that require numerous hours to charge, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle can refuel in 5 minutes.

In its function, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle operates much like a battery electric vehicle.

The difference lies in the source of electricity.

The Toyota hydrogen fuel cell stack combines hydrogen, from fuel tanks, with oxygen to produce electricity which powers the electric motor and offers a range up to 300 miles ( 483 kilometers ), per fill.

Toyota’s proprietary fuel cell stack, represents a major leap forward in hydrogen fuel cell performance.

It delivers 3.1 kw/L,  from a much smaller system. The system easily fits under the front occupants feet.

In the Toyota Mirai, this new system will develop 153 hp., enough to propel it from 0-100 km in 9.0 secs and completing the 40-65 km/h passing acceleration in 3 seconds.

In addition to ridding you of electric vehicle range anxiety, in emergencies the Mirai can act as a portable generator capable of powering your homes essentials for up to a week.

This is possible with the optional PTO( power take off ) device.

This technology is revolutionary but by no means is it new.

Toyota began working with hydrogen fuel cells early in the 90’s, and has subsequently developed and tested several cars with the technology.

This testing has included desert ‘Hot’ testing in Death Valley, ‘Cold’ testing in Yellowknife Canada, high altitude testing in Colorado and numerous crash and impact tests.

The net result of which has been the development of a carbon fibre fuel tank capable of withstanding temperature extremes and protecting the vehicle occupants from explosion due to an accident.

This is reassuring as many hear hydrogen and think Hindenburg.

Toyota plans on expanding the availability of the Mirai as the hydrogen fuel fill station infrastructure expands.

If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that when Toyota puts it mind to something, it happens.


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Author Profile: Consumer Expert Robert Nichols

Robert is a lifelong car nut. He works as a Technician with 16 years experience and has multiple trade licenses. Having worked on vehicles ranging from Porsche's, fire trucks, trains, and industrial/mining equipment, he has a varied and broad knowledge base to draw on. But his favorite thing to do is drive, be it on two or four wheels.

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