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Toyota to begin sales of Mirai fuel cell vehicle in Europe by September

At the Geneva motor show, Toyota announced that it would begin sales of the new Mirai fuel cell vehicle (earlier post) in Europe by September. Sales of the FCV began in Japan last December. European launch markets in 2015 will be the UK, Denmark and Germany; more markets will be added in 2017. Toyota said that it is expecting annual volume of 50-100 cars/year in 2015 and 2016. Initial price is €66,000 (US$73,735) + VAT (Germany).

Toyota Mirai at Geneva 2015. Click to enlarge.

The system uses Toyota-developed components including the Toyota FC Stack, FC boost converter, and high-pressure hydrogen tanks.

  • The new Toyota FC Stack achieves a maximum output of 114 kW (155 DIN hp). Electricity generation efficiency has been enhanced through the use of 3D fine mesh flow channels (a world first), which ensure uniform generation of electricity on cell surfaces, providing compact size and a high level of performance, and a world-leading power output density of 3.1 kW/L (2.2 times higher than that of the previous Toyota FCHV-adv limited-lease model).

  • The amount of water on fuel cell electrolyte membranes has a substantial influence on electricity generation efficiency. Control of the amount of water is carried out using an internal circulation system for circulating the water created when generating electricity; unlike systems used in all other previous Toyota fuel cell vehicles, the new system thus does not require the use of a humidifier.

  • A new compact, high-efficiency, high-capacity converter has been developed to boost power generated in the Toyota FC Stack to 650 volts. Increasing the voltage has made it possible to reduce the size of the electric motor and the number of Toyota FC Stack fuel cells, leading to a smaller, higher-performance Toyota Fuel Cell System, thereby reducing system costs.

  • Tanks with a three-layer structure made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic and other materials are used to store hydrogen at a very high pressure of 70 MPa (70 megapascals, or approximately 700 bar). Compared to the high pressure hydrogen tanks used in the Toyota FCHV-adv model, tank storage has been increased by approximately 20 per cent while both weight and size have been reduced to achieve a world-leading5 5.7 wt%.

Mirai comes with a full range of advanced safety equipment:

  • A Pre-collision System (with millimeter-wave radar) helps prevent collisions or reduce collision damage through alerts and brake control if a high likelihood of collision is detected.

  • A Lane Departure Alert system uses a camera to detect white or yellow lane markings and alerts the driver when the vehicle is about to deviate from its lane.

  • Drive-start Control limits sudden starts or sudden acceleration during gear-shift operation.

  • A Blind Spot Monitor uses radar to detect vehicles in adjacent lanes and helps rear view confirmation when changing lanes.

Handling stability and ride comfort are both improved through the location of major parts such as the Toyota FC Stack and high pressure hydrogen tanks centrally under the floor to achieve a low center of gravity and superior front-and-rear weight distribution, as well as the use of a high-rigidity body, which features enhanced rigidity around the rear suspension.

The full under-floor cover and aerodynamically designed clearance lights reduce wind resistance and contribute to improved fuel efficiency and handling stability. Aero fins employed at the side of the rear combination lamps also improve straight-driving stability.

Outstanding quietness is achieved by electric motor drive at all speeds and reduced wind noise, plus full sealing of all body parts, and the use of sound-absorbing and sound-blocking materials optimally arranged around the cabin, including the use of noise-reducing glass for the windshield and all door windows.


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