We wrote an article about EV’s recently where we stated our new found appreciation for EV’s and importantly, talked about the challenges car manufacturers face, emissions regulations for one. Click here
So, the point is, alternative fueled cars WILL form the basis for our future motoring.
Full electric cars have drawbacks, mostly focused around their range and charging them but there is a huge amount of development work being done In this area. Range extenders, exchange battery stations and so on are some ideas.
What about an electric car that allowed us to refill in minutes at fueling stations like we are used to now? Ridiculous idea……or is it?
Bring on the Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
Mention the word hydrogen and people usually think of an exploding WWII airship or a terrible bomb. That was then, this is now.
In simple terms, the Mirai is an electric vehicle. To that end it is very simple. Stop/go and forward/backwards, it couldn’t be more simple to drive.
The electricity comes from a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. This electricity is used to power the car, simple. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe by the way!
The genius part is you can refill with hydrogen and carry on, thus resolving the tradition issue of electric vehicles.
At the moment there aren’t many hydrogen fuel stations in the UK but there are some and that number is growing.
Is it safe? It’s basically completely safe. Safer than petrol. The reason is that it can’t burn on its own, say in a tank, and when it’s mixed with air, it isn’t very dense so disperses very quickly. Petrol is much more dangerous.
As well as this, the carbon fibre tanks on the Mirai are bomb proof…… literally.
Hydrogen isn’t very dense so the tanks are pressurised to 700bar (your car tyres hold about 2bar) to fit more in but don’t worry, the refueling is electronically controlled to ensure its safe.
What’s it like to drive? It’s great! Really nice inside, very well built, conventional enough to be familiar and not like some kind of futuristic concept car. The styling is a little odd, particularly the front but so what. You sit a quite high, like an MPV but it is great to drive. You feel quite special actually.
There are issues to consider like the negative side effects of the hydrogen manufacturing process but remember, this is the first step, things will change and get better.
The car will set you back around £60k if Toyota will sell you one. It costs about £50 to fill it and it will do around 300 miles to a tank.
That’s a pretty impressive first step. I wonder what the next step is..……