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Toyota begins Mirai FCEV trial

Melbourne council and Toyota partner for 12-week Mirai FCEV fleet trial

5 Nov 2018

TOYOTA Australia has announced it is partnering with Hobson’s Bay City Council in Melbourne’s west for a real-world trial of hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Mirai vehicles – a first for the Japanese manufacturer in Australia.


The 12-week trial will see three Mirai fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) sedans be deployed to the council with the aim of driving the vehicles in a range of different conditions.


Once the 12-week trial is completed, Toyota plans on running several other trials over the next three years, loaning Mirais to participating companies and organisations for up to 12 weeks at a time.


Adequate FCEV refuelling infrastructure currently does not exist in Australia, so Toyota is bringing its mobile refuelling station to the former manufacturing site in Altona, approximately 13 minutes’ drive to Hobson’s Bay Council.


Toyota Australia manager of advanced technology vehicles and site development Matt MacLeod said the trial was an opportunity to expose more people to the alternative-powertrain Mirai.


“We know that it's only a matter of time before CO2 regulations arrive in Australia, and that’s why there is such a huge focus on zero-emission vehicles like the Mirai,” Mr MacLeod said.

“This trial is a step in the right direction and that’s why we're excited to partner with Hobson’s Bay City Council to see these Mirai used in a number of real-world applications.

“It’s a great opportunity to highlight the fact that these cars drive just like any other vehicle, except they don’t make any engine noise and emit nothing but water vapour.

“Like most hydrogen powered vehicles, the Mirai isn’t currently available for sale in Australia, mainly because there isn't existing hydrogen refuelling infrastructure to support it.”


For Hobson’s Bay Council, the Mirai trial is a step towards achieving net zero emissions in its operations by 2020.


Alongside the Mirai trial, Toyota Australia is also conducting a trial of fuel-cell-powered forklifts, marking the first time the Toyota Material Handling FC forklifts have been used by the brand outside of Japan.


The forklifts will also be trialled at the Altona site in order to be near the mobile refuelling station, and will be used to move parts around the on-site Toyota parts centre. Next month, the forklifts will be shipped to Sydney for an appearance at the opening of the Toyota parts centre in Kemp’s Creek.


Toyota Material Handling Australia general manager of corporate compliance and project development Bob Walmsley said fuel-cell-powered forklifts can result in lower running costs for owners.


“When a sustainable energy source like solar, wind and water is used to produce the hydrogen, there is a high potential for energy cost savings,” he said.


“With conventional forklift special care is needed when charging and maintaining the battery, whereas a FC forklift is considered simpler when it comes to refuelling and scheduled maintenance.”


Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has also been engaging in FCEV activity with its ix35 and Nexo SUVs, including a deal with the ACT government involving the purchase of 20 examples of the latter and the construction of a refuelling station powered by wind energy.


HMCA manager of future mobility and government relations Scott Nargar told GoAuto last month that the car-maker is also busy taking expressions of interest from companies looking to add the burgeoning powertrain technology to their vehicle fleets.

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