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Toyota to more than double Mirai production

Cell mate:The Camry-sized Toyota Mirai is a big success at home, but won’t be Down Under any time soon.

Japanese prime minister gets the keys to first Mirai as Toyota ramps up production

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Toyota logo23 Jan 2015

By TIM ROBSON

TOYOTA Motor Corporation president and chief executive Akio Toyoda handed over the company's first production Mirai to the prime minster of Japan, Shinzo Abe, in a ceremony in Tokyo last week.

The car-maker has also announced that it will increase production of the fuel-cell-powered sedan after higher-than-expected demand.

“This moment represents the new dawn in the age of hydrogen,” said the prime minister. “We have reformed and eliminated a large number of regulations and restrictions [around fuel cell vehicles], and we will continue to focus on regulatory reform and technical development.”

The Japanese PM also said that the government would work on the roll-out of hydrogen infrastructure.

“The vehicle accelerates well, and is quiet and comfortable. I would like all government agencies to start using them,” said prime minister Abe.

Toyota announced last week that it would provide free access to more than 5600 fuel cell-related patents royalty-free until 2020, in order to accelerate development of the technology.

“I’m very pleased to be delivering the world’s very first Mirai fuel-cell vehicle to the Japanese government,” said Mr Toyoda.

“Creating FCVs is not something that can be done by a single auto-maker. Under prime minister Abe’s tremendous leadership, natural-resource-scare Japan will usher in a hydrogen society before anywhere else.”

After receiving 1500 orders for the vehicle since its official launch in December 2014, Toyota will ramp up its production schedule for the polarising sedan over the next three years.

It plans to produce just 700 vehicles this year, before increasing to 2000 units in 2016, ahead of planned launches in the United States and Europe. It would increase the run to 3000 cars in 2017.

A worldwide roll-out of the Mirai will be undertaken in line with each country’s respective progress in the areas of regulation and infrastructure, according to Toyota. The local subsidiary has indicated that there are no plans in place currently to offer the Mirai in Australia.

"In Australia, there are many challenges ahead, including development of the required infrastructure and greater customer awareness, before hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles can be offered here,” Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said in June.

Toyota’s fuel-cell stack produces 114kW of power and has a volume power density of 3.1kW/litre.

The hydrogen is stored in two high-pressure tanks with a combined volume of 122.4 litres at 700 bar (10,000psi), which then feeds into the fuel-cell stack where it combines with oxygen to create a chemical reaction to produce electricity to power the Mirai’s113kW/335Nm electric motor.

The power is stored in a nickel-metal hydride battery. Its quoted range is 500km.

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