Fuel cell technology for use in cars is still something in its infancy and only a few manufacturers have started to offer them commercially and even then, in limited numbers and markets. The Toyota Mirai is one of the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) already in production, its first generation having been launched in 2014.
The second generation of the Mirai went on sale late last year and is currently available in Japan, North America and some European markets. As would be expected, has more advanced fuel cell technology that improves performance in many areas.
The compact, high-output Fuel Cell stack has smaller and lighter parts, and it has been specially designed for use with the TNGA GA-L platform. The FC stack sets a new record for specific power density at 5.4 kW/litre as maximum power has risen from 114 kW to 128 kW.
More fuel capacity
The new Mirai also has increased fuel capacity (approximately 20%) which extends range. Hydrogen can be pumped in much faster than the fastest recharging time for an electric vehicle which can be up to 25 minutes. Its refuelling time is less than 5 minutes at a 700-bar refuelling station.
Over 1,000 kms travelled
This increased range has enabled the Mirai to break the world record for the distance driven with one fill of hydrogen – over 1,000 kms. The record-breaking run was done in France last month and the car was driven on public roads.
The Mirai can store a total volume of 5.6 kgs of green hydrogen. During the run, the average fuel consumption was 0.55 kg/100 kms, the distance and consumption being certified by an independent authority.
‘Eco-driving’ style used
Toyota does mention that, to achieve the 1,003-km driving distance record, the 4 drivers adopted an ‘eco-driving’ style. However, they did not use any special techniques and everyday drivers can also apply a similar driving style if they want to achieve good fuel economy. Under normal driving conditions, the Mirai has a claimed range of 650 kms with all tanks full.
“It’s an amazing challenge that we achieved with the new Mirai. Internally, it is the mindset of ‘Start your Impossible’, going beyond our own limits, that drives us, and we proved it again,” said Frank Marotte, CEO of Toyota France.