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Trio of Toyota Mirais land in Aus
Toyota announces three Mirais and refuelling station for Australian evaluation
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11 Jul 2016
TOYOTA Australia has announced that three examples of its high-tech Mirai fuel-cell car have hit local shores, for assessment and promotional purposes with the fleet soon to be followed by its own mobile hydrogen fuel station.
The environmentally friendly trio have already arrived at Toyota Australia’s Melbourne headquarters and will stay Down Under for three years for local Toyota engineers to learn more about the technology, as well as part of “key stakeholder engagement activities”, according to the car-maker.
Joining the three Mirais towards the end of the year will be a portable refuelling station that can top the car's tanks up anywhere, allowing the Mirais to be transported to different parts of the country with greater ease.
Little is known about the station at this stage but Toyota says that it can be attached to a truck for mobile refuelling or it can be ground mounted as well.
A Toyota spokesperson said the station will be based at Toyota Australia’s Altona facility in Melbourne’s west when it is not on the road and that a permanent hydrogen refuelling station at the company’s HQ – similar to Hyundai’ s station at its Macquarie Park head office – is unlikely at this stage.
Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner said having three examples of the Mirai in the country will help spread the word about hydrogen fuel-cell technology and increase its awareness.
“After having a taste of the technology last October, we are incredibly excited to have not one, but three of the fuel cell vehicles back in Australia,” he said.
“We are looking forward to educating a whole new audience on this future technology and generating more awareness of fuel cell vehicles.” Mr Buttner acknowledged that it would take some time before hydrogen fuel-cell infrastructure was established, but reiterated Toyota’s commitment to supporting the technology.
“We are extremely interested in fuel cell technology, but we need the relevant infrastructure in place before we can sell these vehicles in Australia.
“This will take time to develop so it is imperative that we take a whole of industry approach so that we can move these plans along as quickly as possible.
“Fuel cell technology is expected to play a key role in the future and we do not want Australians to miss out on this.” The spokesperson added that Toyota was working with Hyundai to ensure the regulations for refuelling are consistent to all brands that offer fuel-cell tech, adding that it made sense for the companies to collaborate in a bid to facilitate wider acceptance and understanding of the benefits of hydrogen fuel-cell-powered cars.
Late last year Toyota brought a single Mirai to Australia for a series of conferences and, at the time, Mr Buttner highlighted the potential for fuel-cell tech to be rolled out first in the commercial sector, before a wider consumer push.
It is believed that having the vehicles in Australia for three years will help Toyota better understand how such a roll out could occur, and is possibly the first step in a future consumer trial.
The Mirai uses the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which combines fuel-cell and hybrid technology, for a cruising range of about 550km and a refuelling time of approximately three minutes, all while emitting only water vapour.
Hyundai Motor Company Australia imported a left-hand drive zero-emissions ix35 Fuel Cell in late-2014 to highlight the technology, with the hope of eventually being able to hold commercial trials, and ultimately, sell the car Down Under.
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