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The cars, which landed in the UK on Saturday, are part of the first consignment to reach Europe ahead of the new Toyota Mirai’s official launch next month.
The Mirai marks Toyota’s global introduction of the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell saloon and will be offered in selected European markets – the UK, Germany and Denmark, where a hydrogen fuel supply and retail infrastructure continue to be developed.
The limited supply of Toyota Mirai cars have already been snapped up in the UK showing just how keen business and corporate customers are to be among the first to explore the potential of Toyota’s advanced fuel cell technology.
Karl Schlicht, Executive Vice President Toyota Motor Europe, said: “This marks the debut of a new age for clean mobility, a turning point in the history of the automobile. With Mirai and its fuel cell technology, Toyota is working on delivering clean, safe and enjoyable mobility for the next 100 years. We are looking forward to the start of deliveries of the first Mirai to customers from September and to see the future taking shape on European roads.
The Mirai, meaning “future” in Japanese is designed to be as convenient to drive as a conventional petrol-powered car. Hydrogen fuel is stored on board in high pressure tanks and used to generate electricity in a chemical reaction with oxygen in a Toyota-designed fuel cell stack. The energy produced is used to drive the car, with the only tailpipe emissions being water vapour. Refuelling from empty takes between three and five minutes at the pumps and Mirai has a driving range similar to conventionally powered vehicles.
The Mirai is a four-door saloon promoted by Toyota as a family fuel cell car with a futuristic look and an eye-watering price tag. Despite the cost, Toyota does take a lot of its parts from its Hybrid model, although Toyota claim to have reduced the cost of the Mirai by 95% in comparison to its first fuel cell vehicle, the 2008 FCEV SUV Highlander.
The Mirai is of a similar size to an Insignia, Mondeo or Passat, with a range of 300 miles and a top speed of 111mph. The cabin is surprisingly luxurious and futuristic in looks with a curved dash and lots of black screen with electrostatic touch switches. With the whole driveline under the floor, the rear seats are over a hydrogen tank and are therefore quite high which compromises head room, although there’s plenty of leg room and 371 litres of boot space.
Where can you fill it up? In the UK the Government has promised an £11 million grant for 15 hydrogen filling stations and London is also part of a the HyFIVE project, which involves 15 manufactures aiming to put 110 fuel cell cars on the road by next year in six major European cities.
The Toyota Mirai goes on sale in the UK in September with prices from £63,104. Toyota claims it will make between 50 and 100 models up until 2016 with the aim to make “tens of thousands in the 2020s.”