The U.K. Government just decided to commit 600 million pounds to fund the proliferation of ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020. Included in that sum is a sizable amount earmarked for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, or FCV’s, and Toyota is getting in on the action with its H2-powered Mirai four-door sedan.
“We are proud to be at the forefront of bringing the benefits of ultra-low emission transport to the U.K. and welcome the Government’s announcement of funding that will enable more of our customers to introduce Mirai to their fleets,” said Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota’s U.K. President and Managing Director, in a press release.
Included in the investment will be 20 new Mirais slated to join various public and private sector fleets. Destinations set for delivery include the Science Museum, Aberdeen City Council, and Arval vehicle leasing service, all of which will use Toyota’s FCV for fleet purposes. The new Mirais are expected to see use by April of 2017.
In addition to actual cars, Toyota will provide support by opening new FCV specialist service centers throughout the U.K. These new service stations will be located in London, Swindon, Sheffield, Swansea, and Aberdeen.
As Toyota points out, Britain is ramping up its national H2 infrastructure network with new H2 refueling sites as well. The latest to open is located at the Center of Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence in Rainham, east London, where there also just so happens to be a Toyota Technical Training Center that offers instruction in fuel cell technology. The new station is the second in the U.K. to produce H2 fuel using solar energy.
Why It Matters
Toyota introduced the Mirai at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, becoming one of the first automakers to sell hydrogen fuel cell vehicles publically and in large quantities. And while other automakers are following suit with their own FCV’s (Honda, for example, sells the Clarity), Toyota seems to be the only manufacturer to take the tech seriously.
In fact, last year Toyota announced plans to triple Mirai production in response to a surge in interest in the vehicle.
In case you were unaware, FCV’s like the Mirai use a fuel cell that combines hydrogen with oxygen pulled from the surrounding atmosphere, creating electricity in the process. The electricity is then used to power an electric motor and drive the car. The only byproduct from this process is water vapor.
It makes sense that Toyota is one of the first on the scene with H2 power, considering it was also one of the first to champion hybrid tech with the Prius. Benefits include quick refill times, long range, and of course, squeaky-clean emissions.
So then, why aren’t hydrogen cars a dime a dozen? To put it simply, all those pros are balanced with a bevy of cons, which include difficulty in creating the hydrogen fuel, high expense, and a lack of existing infrastructure.
What do you think? Is the new investment a wise move, or is it all just steam and mirrors? Should the U.S. invest more heavily in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles?
Let us know in the comments.
Gallery Toyota Mirai
Posted on 14 October 2016
GOVERNMENT ULTRA-LOW EMISSION VEHICLE FUNDING HELPS BRING MORE TOYOTA MIRAI TO BRITAIN’S FLEETS
Toyota to open further specialist service centres in strategic UK locations
Twenty new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell cars are set to join public and private sector fleets in the UK, after winning support in the UK Government’s latest funding announcements to boost the number of ultra-low emission vehicles on Britain’s roads.
Twelve new Mirai customers, including the Science Museum, Aberdeen City Council and Arval are among the fleet operators that have been successful in a competition to share £2 million to invest in new hydrogen fuel cell cars and vans. The new vehicles should be in service by April next year.
Mirai, a mid-size four-door saloon, is powered by electricity generated on-board by a Toyota-developed hydrogen fuel cell and produces no harmful emissions when driven – in fact the only by-product is water.
The fleet funding support for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is part of the UK Government’s commitment to a £600 million investment in ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020.
Paul Van der Burgh Toyota (GB) President and Managing Director, said: “We are proud to be at the forefront of bringing the benefits of ultra-low emission transport to the UK and welcome the Government’s announcement of funding that will enable more of our customers to introduce Mirai to their fleets. Toyota is committed to producing vehicles that provide sustainable mobility, developing breakthrough technologies that have successfully brought hybrid and now fuel cell vehicles to the marketplace.”
Toyota invests in more specialist centres
Toyota is supporting the roll-out of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles in the UK with the provision of specialist service centres for Mirai at additional locations across the country.
From next week, centres in London, Swindon, Sheffield, Swansea and Aberdeen will help extend the reach of the technology, in line with the national H2 infrastructure network plan.
This week ITM Power opened a new public hydrogen refuelling station at the Centre of Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in Rainham, east London, a site that also hosts a Toyota Technical Training Centre, providing specialist training in hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The station is the second in the UK to make hydrogen on-site from solar energy, captured using an array of photovoltaic panels, and follows ITM Power’s opening of a wind-powered station in Rotherham. It is the sixth facility to be delivered by the European HyFive project, funded by the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCHJU) and the Office of Low emission Vehicles (OLEV).
Seven Toyota Mirai were among 11 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that took part in a zero emissions rally to mark the opening of the refuelling station this week, producing nothing but water in their journey to the new facility, located close to the A13 arterial route and the new Thames Gateway development. They followed two rally routes – one a 186-mile journey from a wind hydrogen station in Rotherham, the other a cross-London trip from ITM’s refuelling station in Teddington, passing through the capital’s Low Emission Zone. Both routes were well within Mirai’s driving range of around 300 miles on a full tank of fuel.