Being in the infancy across the world, the fuel-cell vehicles are still in dearth due to lack of the advanced technology. It now is foreseen to lead the edge over the electric vehicles thanks to the faster fuelling as well as a substantially higher running range.
Being unveiled at the November 2014 at Los Angeles Auto Show, Mirai fuel mobile car will be introduced in India. The Mirai, a name that means "future" in Japanese, is built on an existing platform but uses a unique design and components.
A bit bigger than the Toyota’s same class sedan - Prius, Mirai offers a front-wheel-drive. However, its passenger capacity is limited to four which is likeable to reduce the strain on the road.
The body look of Toyota Mirai 2014
The trailing edge of the Mirai shows an aerodynamic design that will lessen drag on the car.
Toyota had designed three big air intakes in front of the development car, to cool the drive-train system. This design was retained for the Mirai, even though it does not require as much cooling.
The front look of Toyota Mirai 2014
LED headlights use less electricity and will come standard on the production version.
The LED headlights of Toyota Mirai 2014
The Mirai's front wheels are driven by a 113-kilowatt electric motor, producing 247 pound-feet of torque. That motor gets its electric from a fuel cell stack. The fuel cell stack is equipped under the hood sites, which harvests electricity from the reaction of hydrogen combining with oxygen. With 5 kilograms of hydrogen stored in the Mirai, it can go 300 miles. With a high-pressure hydrogen fueling station, the Mirai fills up its tanks in about 5 minutes. The hydrogen tanks use layers of reinforced carbon fibre and plastic materials, making them very durable. The cabin of the Mirai borrows some elements from other Toyota models.
This four-door, mid-size sedan is powered by hydrogen; it can refuel in about five minutes and travels up to 300 miles on a full tank. It is far way over the electric cars that need to be charged for a few hours to reach the full range. The announcement comes as Toyota confirms its goal to sell ten times as many hydrogen-powered vehicles from 2020 as it does today.
Prior to the Indian market, Toyota sold the Mirai fuel-cell car in Japan, the US and nine European countries, with hopes to expand sales to other countries soon. Toyota says that making the components for hydrogen cars in higher volumes is key to it lowering the cost of fuel cell technology, as well as making it available more broadly.
The fuel-cell vehicles, as Mirai, are seen to hold an edge over electric vehicles as they not only deliver a significantly higher range but can also fill up more quickly.
Unlike the conventional electric vehicles, fuel-cell cars don't plug in a charge up. Instead, the hydrogen helps generate electricity, which powers the vehicle. There are zero greenhouse-gas emissions, as the car emits only water vapour. The hydrogen refuelling stations are still required though.
The range of fuel cell vehicles is extensive. Hyundai's Nexo is an illustration for a strong competitor which offers a range of nearly 600 km after single refuelling. The Korean carmaker had recently shown Hyundai’s Nexo to PM Narendra Modi.
Toyota Kirloskar Motors, deputy MD N Raja told TOI:"It is encouraging to see that the government is considering technology-agnostic solutions when it comes to controlling vehicle emissions: if we look at fuel cell technology, this will certainly be considered now Cars like the Mirai can still not be viable, because importing them after paying steep jobs will make them very expensive."
The hydrogen fuel tank, a battery, a power control and an electric motor are transported into this fuel cell vehicle. The hydrogen gas is placed in the stack with the fuel cell, where it is combined with oxygen from the ambient air. Altogether, the hydrogen and oxygen create an electrochemical reaction that produces electricity that is used to power the vehicle with a by-product of water.
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