Progression in the technology also made automotive industries to advance. Progress is happening in every field, when it comes to automotive industry, hydrogen powered is an emerging technology and these vehicles are the future of the market.
On 17th November 2014, Toyota, the innovator in the hydrogen technologies introduced the first fuel-cell car called ‘Mirai’ (meaning “future” in Japanese). This car will go for sale in Japan on 15th of the December 2014; and the sales in two major cities of the U.S. and Europe will start from fourth quarter of 2015. Sales in India could only be expected in the future, as there is a deficiency of hydrogen fuel stations in India.
Mirai – “future” in Japanese
Toyota Mirai and its features are as follows:
- The major advantages of the Mirai is – it is hydrogen powered vehicle that runs on electricity, produced by the hydrogen fuel combined with oxygen and emits water vapor (not CO2).
- In order to withstand the extreme forces, the hydrogen fuel tank of the car is strengthened with a material called Kevlar.
- It is capable of traveling 650kms (Approximately 400 miles), when the tank is full.
- Fuel cell stack fits under the front driver and passenger seats.
- The fuel cell stack is capable of delivering 3.1 KW/L (4.1hp), generates 153hp and allows the vehicle to accelerate to 60mph in 9 seconds.
- It also comes with optional power take off (PTO) device, which will serve as a mobile generator, in the case of emergency. With this accessory in emergency cases, Mirai can power home essentials for up to a week.
- Mirai also have regular gadgets such as – blind spot monitor, vehicle pre-collision, automatic high beams, drive start control and lane departure alert.
According to the Reuters, its initial cost in the U.S. is $57,500 (i.e., Rs 35, 75,637/-) and could drop after the federal and state incentives and it will cost 6.7 million yen (i.e., $56,460), before the taxes in Japan.
Toyota also announced that it will provide complimentary hydrogen fuel up to three years, but there were no details on it for the customers.
- The styling of the vehicle is challenged i.e., it is clumsy and looks awkward. The rear light design also looks like vintage vehicles of 1990s.
- The major challenge according the US Department of Energy is, there were only 13 hydrogen stations in the U.S. and 30 stations in Japan, so the hurdle of the Toyota will be to build enough number of hydrogen stations for making the realistic purchase of the car.
Because of this reason, executives said that only 700 Mirai will be produced for sale in the year 2015 and only 200 will be allocated from this lot for sales in the U.S., in the year 2015. But, by the end of 2017, Toyota is expecting the cumulative sales of the car and might achieve 3,000 units in the U.S. The chairman of Toyota said that global sales would be expected to raise to “tens of thousands” in 2020s.
Mirai is the most awaited car by the hi-tech people. We can expect good sales in the U.S. and Japan, after its release, as the cities are equipped with hydrogen fuel stations.