Toyota Australia is predicting it will be able to offer its Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) to mainstream consumers in as little as two years, despite the limited refuelling infrastructure currently available.
Only 20 examples of the second-generation Mirai are in Australia, and are being used on a trial basis by select businesses and organisations, leased for three-years/20,000km for $63,000 plus $2693 for servicing.
What customers will pay though, is still currently unknown as advancements in the technology and manufacturing could drive costs down.
Speaking to media, Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the rollout of FCEVs will be much quicker than petrol-electric hybrids, which has taken nearly 20 years to hit mainstream success since the Prius was first introduced.
Read more about the TOYOTA Mirai
“So, what’s our vision for Mirai? Well, the path to mainstream sales with fuel-cell electric vehicles will be quicker than for hybrids,” he said.
“To that end, we expect Mirai to become readily more readily available to our dealers within two to three years, accelerating as the refuelling infrastructure grows.”
The biggest hurdle citied for the mass adoption of FCEVs is refuelling infrastructure, but Toyota has recently opened Victoria’s first permanent station in Altona, while Hyundai has opened one in Canberra to service its fleet of Nexo SUVs delivered to the ACT government.
The second-generation Mirai has grown in size compared to its predecessor, now measuring 4975mm long, 1885mm wide, 1470mm tall and with a 2920mm wheelbase – making it roughly the size of the Camry mid-size sedan.
The 134kW/300Nm electric motor sends drive to the rear wheels, while the three hydrogen tanks with a combined 5.6kg capacity will allow for up to 650km of range before need to be refilled.
A vast suite of standard safety and cutting-edge technologies are also included, such as autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear cross-traffic alert and a digital instrument panel.
As such, the price of the consumer-grade Mirai is still expected to be high, mainly due to its cutting-edge powertrain.
Mr Hanley said he expects more hydrogen refuelling stations to open in future, which will satisfy the needs of FCEV consumers.
“Of course, there were no petrol stations when the first car was driven back in the 19th century, yet the global auto industry now produces 80 million vehicles a year,” he said.
“Today, we already have a hydrogen refueller as part of our hydrogen set-up right here in Melbourne’s west and the CSIRO has announced it will build a refueller at Clayton in Melbourne’s east – there you can see a corridor emerging and with the long-range driving of a Mirai, you really don’t need a hydrogen refueller at every corner.
“Mirai is a first step towards a sustainable future, one that stems from Toyota’s vision and passion to make a world a better place.”