Mirai and new Auris alongside motorsports display in Paris
It looks like we managed to make 2 world ‘best’s come together: on the world’s most beautiful avenue, the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Le Rendez-Vous Toyota (this cool Concept Store we have) is currently hosting the world’s first production hydrogen-powered sedan, the new Toyota Mirai.
Yes, you understood well, the car that only emits water and that we also refer to as the ‘Future’ can be seen in real life.
Launched in Japan last December, and on sale in Europe as from September, the Mirai uses hydrogen as a source to generate the power needed to drive its motor while emitting only water. Seen that it’s zero emission it is great for the environment, it has a cruising range similar to a normal petrol vehicle and it can be refilled in as little as 3 minutes.
The new Auris is also on display, the best-selling hybrid in Europe, including a cut-body exhibit to show what a hybrid engine actually looks like and how it works. On sale since June, the new Auris features a more sophisticated exterior design, improved sensory quality, a more pleasant drive and a new engine line-up.
Toyota Safety Sense
We also present Toyota Safety Sense, which is a new set of active safety technologies that help to prevent or reduce the impact of collisions in all sorts of traffic situations. All models equipped with Toyota Safety Sense will feature a Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA). Some further add Automatic High Beam (AHB) and Road Sign Assist (RSA). (To better understand these safety features visit our YouTube channel)
The beautiful Toyota FT-1 was unveiled in 2014 at the Detroit Motor Show and can been seen in France for the first time. This red concept model gives a glimpse of Toyota’s future sports car designs.
Le Rendez-Vous Toyota is also celebrating Toyota’s motorsports heritage with a dedicated display.
We will let you meet our most famous race cars: the GT-One (TS020) which competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1998 and 1999, the 1999 World Rally Championship (WRC) winning Corolla WRC, and the TS040 HYBRID which won the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The motorsports display is completed by several WRC and WEC pilots’ helmets and trophies.
Alongside the car displays, you can jump into a WEC driving simulator and enjoy the race or get your picture taken with your favourite Toyota WEC driver. It’s good fun, come and see us!
Located at 79 Avenue des Champs Élysées in Paris, Le Rendez-Vous Toyota is open from 10:30 am until 10:00 pm, Sunday to Wednesday, and from 10:30 am until midnight on Thursday to Saturday.
Follow the activities of the Rendez-Vous Toyota online:
 Mirai means Future in Japanese
 Initial European sales are limited to Germany, Denmark and UK
It was the summer of 2000. The world had comfortably survived the Millennium Bug, Kylie Minogue’s “Spinning Around” was on top of the music charts in the UK, and Google had just released the first 10 language versions of Google.com in French, German, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian and Danish. In Rotterdam, the very first production Toyota Prius hybrid to be sold in Europe reached the continent.
Prius means “to go before” – a precursor to a new era of electrified mobility. Today, the first production Toyota Mirai – meaning “the future” in Japanese – destined for the European market has arrived, and, like its elder, it is here to pioneer the next step in clean mobility, using hydrogen as fuel and emitting nothing but water vapour.
The first five Mirai cars were unloaded in Bristol, UK and Zeebrugge, Belgium, respectively on 8 and 10 August.
“This marks the debut of a new age for clean mobility — a turning point in the history of automobiles. With Mirai, Toyota is working on bringing clean, safe and enjoyable mobility for the next 100 years, thanks to fuel cell technology. We are looking forward to the start of delivery of the first Mirai to customers from September and to see the future taking shape on European roads. As with Prius 15 years ago, we are proud to bring yet another groundbreaking innovation to Europe with Mirai”, said Mr Karl Schlicht, Executive Vice-President Toyota Motor Europe.
The Toyota Mirai is the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell sedan. After its first public display in Europe in March at the Geneva Motor Show, today marks its debut on European ground. Already sold in Japan since last December, the Toyota Mirai will be launched in Europe from September in the UK, Denmark and Germany.
With Mirai, Toyota is at the forefront of the fuel cell development thanks to our advanced engineering capabilities and our deep knowledge and experience of Hybrid technology. Mirai will allow us to grow awareness, knowledge and acceptance of the fuel cell technology and to promote the development of the required hydrogen infrastructure. It will also help us understand customer experience with the new technology, with trailblazers who want to drive the hydrogen movement forward.
Mirai uses the pioneering Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which features both fuel cell technology and hybrid technology, and includes Toyota’s new proprietary fuel cell stack and high-pressure hydrogen tanks.
Using hydrogen as fuel to generate electricity, Mirai achieves superior environment performance with no CO2 emissions or pollutants when driving, and the same level of convenience and autonomy as gasoline engine vehicles, with a generous cruising range and a hydrogen refuelling time of about three to five minutes.
This could well be the first question on your lips when you hear that our Mirai fuel cell vehicle is powered by hydrogen. Here’s our answer
The quick answer: “Most definitely YES!”
Toyota, of course, only releases a car into the market that is totally safe. The Mirai is no exception. Over the last decade, hundreds of Mirai test cars have been thoroughly road tested, crash tested and safety tested. They have racked up millions of kilometres over all sorts of demanding terrains. They have been put through their paces in the cold of northern Finland and the heat of southern Spain. Their hydrogen fuel tanks have even been shot at by high-velocity weapons.
The result? The Mirai has passed all the tests with flying colours. It’s as safe as any other Toyota vehicle. The fact that it is powered by hydrogen has absolutely no effect on its inherent safety.
The long answer
Let’s unpack the short answer to look at three aspects of a hydrogen powered car like the Mirai that relate to safety: the car, the refuelling process, and the gas itself.
THE CAR: Tough fuel tanks and highly sensitive hydrogen sensors
The hydrogen that powers the Mirai is stored at a high pressure of 700 bar in two compact, lightweight tanks. We have been working on their design in-house since 2000 and are more than satisfied with their strength and safety levels.
Their main source of strength originates from the carbon fibre shell. Over that is a glass fibre layer. Should the car be involved in an accident, any resulting damage to the hydrogen tank will be clearly visible on this layer. Tests can then be carried out to evaluate if the carbon shell itself is compromised. The glass fibre does not contribute to rigidity of the tank, but gives absolute confidence of its integrity. The whole tank is lined with plastic to seal in the hydrogen.
As mentioned above, the tanks have been subjected to extremely severe testing. They are designed to withstand up to 225% of their operating pressure, which is clearly a very comfortable safety margin.
In the improbable event of a leak, the Mirai contains highly sensitive sensors that detect minute amounts of hydrogen. These are placed in strategic locations for instantaneous detection of hydrogen. In the extremely unlikely event of a leak in the fuel system, the sensors immediately shut down the safety valves and the vehicle itself.
As a third layer of safety, the cabin is strictly separated from the hydrogen compartment to prevent penetration of any leaking hydrogen, which would instead gradually disperse into the atmosphere.
THE REFUELLING PROCESS: International safety standards in place
Refuelling is a critical process because it involves human action, which unfortunately can lead to unforeseen and unsafe scenarios, like trying to drive off while the fuel nozzle is still connected to the car. For this reason a number of safety precautions have been put in place.
First, the nozzle at the end of the hydrogen dispenser’s flexible hose contains a mechanical lock to ensure optimal connection with the car’s filling inlet. Unless this mechanical lock clicks into place securely, filling will not commence.
Secondly, a pressure impulse checks for any leakage in the system between the filling station and the car. If a leak is detected, refuelling is aborted.
Thirdly, the rate of filling is carefully regulated, to avoid overheating during transfer. Temperature sensors located in the car’s hydrogen tanks, the nozzle and the pump constantly communicate with each other by infrared to control the rate of flow of hydrogen into the car so that the temperature rise is not excessive.
The internationally applicable standards SAE J2601, SAE J2799 and ISO 17268 establish safety limits and performance requirements for gaseous hydrogen fuel dispensers. The criteria include maximum fuel temperature at the dispenser nozzle, the maximum fuel flow rate and the maximum rate of pressure increase.
By the way, if you try and drive off in your Mirai while the fuel nozzle is attached to the car, you won’t succeed! The car’s ignition is disconnected until you have replaced the nozzle in its holster and closed the car’s fuel cap. To be absolutely sure, a redundant safety system is embedded in the hose and locks the pump if a car would pull the hose too hard when driving off in the middle of refuelling.
THE GAS: Using the lightest element in the universe has its benefits
Hydrogen is the lightest thing known to man and considerably (14x) lighter than air. The consequence is that should a leak occur, the hydrogen will rise into the atmosphere. And thanks to its status as ‘’smallest molecule ‘’ in the universe, it disperses quickly in air and any gas.
The advantage of this is clearly illustrated in gunfire tests conducted on a hydrogen tank. When the hydrogen ignites it appears as a localized jet flame, which is much safer than an accumulation of gas that could suddenly explode.
Finally, the Mirai’s tanks have a pressure relief device that releases the hydrogen gradually in case the temperature should rise abnormally (like in a fire). This prevents any overpressure or explosion; far from the stereotype of a hydrogen explosion. Moreover, the resulting fire leaves much of the car undamaged.
Hydrogen is as safe as any other fuel used in a car. It’s been used as an energy carrier for decades, and there is a vast amount of cumulative know-how and experience in Toyota and elsewhere to handle it safely.
Furthermore, it is a carbon-free, non-hazardous energy source that can be produced from many renewable resources and emits no greenhouse gases when used as a fuel.
No wonder that “mirai” is a Japanese word meaning “future.”
Engaging with stakeholders is always important. As such, we have recently hosted a “day out” for a division of DG Clima (from the European Commission) at our Technical Centre.
More than 5,600 fuel cell and related patents available for royalty free use
Patents include industry leading fuel cell technology used in new Toyota Mirai
This week, the Motomachi-plant in Toyota City starts mass production of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell car. A historic moment for Toyota, which also underlines the expertise and the know-how off the work-force at this Toyota City based plant.
Today, the plant employs approximately 7000 workers, most of them
involved in the production of models for the Japanese market, such as the Crown and the Mark X.
But since 2008, a small unit of highly skilled employees is assigned tospecial projects that require a lot of care, acting as pioneers within Toyota’s production workforce. This is the team that built the limited-run Lexus LFA supercar, and now, they have turned their attention to the Toyota Mirai.
They have a dual role: supplying the first mass-produced fuel cell car and gathering experience for future generations of the Toyota hydrogen-powered models.
The first months of Mirai production are destined for the Japanese market, but as from summer 2015, Motomachi will also start churning out cars for Europe and the US.
The Mirai signals the start of a new age of vehicles. Using hydrogen – an important future energy source – to generate electricity, the Mirai achieves superior environmental performance with the convenience and driving pleasure expected of any car.
The Mirai uses the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which features both fuel cell technology and hybrid technology, and includes Toyota’s new proprietary FC Stack and high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The TFCS is more energy efficient than internal combustion engines and emits no CO2 or pollutants when driven. Drivers can also expect the same level of convenience as offered by gasoline engine vehicles, with a generous cruising range and a hydrogen refuelling time of about three minutes.
The Mirai delivers everything expected from a next-generation car: an immediately recognizable design; driving exhilaration stemming from superior handling stability achieved by a low center of gravity; and quiet but powerful acceleration provided by the electric motor.
TFCS provides superior environmental performance and convenience
The Mirai features the TFCS, a fusion of fuel cell technology with hybrid technology.
The system uses Toyota-developed components including the Toyota FC Stack, FC boost converter, and high-pressure hydrogen tanks.
Toyota FC Stack
The new Toyota FC Stack achieves a maximum output of 114 kW (155 DIN hp) and a world-leading power output density of 3.1 kW/L (2.2 times higher than that of the previous Toyota FCHV-adv limited-lease model).
FC Boost Converter
A new compact, high-efficiency, high-capacity converter has been developed to boost power generated in the Toyota FC Stack to 650 volts. Increasing the voltage has made it possible to reduce the size of the electric motor and the number of Toyota FC Stack fuel cells, leading to a smaller, higher-performance Toyota Fuel Cell System, thereby reducing system costs.
High-pressure Hydrogen Tanks
Tanks with a three-layer structure made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic and other materials are used to store hydrogen at a very high pressure of 70 MPa (70 megapascals, or approximately 700 bar). Compared to the high pressure hydrogen tanks used in the Toyota FCHV-adv model, tank storage has been increased by approximately 20 percent.
Superior handling stability and outstanding quietness enhances driving pleasure
The high output Toyota FC Stack and optimal battery power control drive the electric motor and ensure powerful responsiveness at all vehicle speeds. This provides an immediate increase in torque at the first press of the accelerator, and powerful and smooth acceleration thereafter.
Handling stability and ride comfort are both improved through the location of major parts such as the Toyota FC Stack and high pressure hydrogen tanks centrally under the floor to achieve a low centre of gravity and superior front-and-rear weight distribution, as well as the use of a high-rigidity body, which features enhanced rigidity around the rear suspension.
The full under-floor cover and aerodynamically designed clearance lights reduce wind resistance and contribute to improved fuel efficiency and handling stability. Aero fins employed at the side of the rear combination lamps also improve straight-driving stability.
Outstanding quietness is achieved by electric motor drive at all speeds and reduced wind noise, plus full sealing of all body parts, and the use of sound-absorbing and sound-blocking materials optimally arranged around the cabin, including the use of noise-reducing glass for the windshield and all door windows.
The brake support mode makes efficient use of regenerative braking and improves braking performance when the driver wishes to greatly reduce vehicle speed such as when negotiating long downhill sections of road.
Mirai Main Vehicle Specifications
|FC stack||Name||Toyota FC Stack|
|Type||Polymer electrolyte fuel cell|
|Volume power density||3.1 kW/L|
|Maximum output||114 kW (155 DIN hp)|
|Humidification system||Internal circulation (humidifier-less)|
|High-pressure hydrogen tank||Number of tanks||2|
|Nominal working pressure||70 MPa (approx. 700 bar)|
|Tank storage density||5.7 wt%|
|Tank internal volume||122.4 liters (front tank: 60.0 liters; rear tank: 62.4 liters)|
|Motor||Type||AC synchronous electric generator|
|Maximum output||113 kW (154 DIN hp)|
|Maximum torque||335 Nm|
|Dimensions, weight and roominess||Length||4,890 mm|
|Track (front/rear)||1,535/1,545 mm|
|Minimum ground clearance||130 mm|
|Interior length||2,040 mm|
|Interior width||1,465 mm|
|Interior height||1,185 mm|
|Curb weight||1,850 kg|
Wacth our Mirai video on YouTube for more details.
Thanks to its hybrid knowledge, Toyota created the first fuel cell production car. It is a vehicle driven by an electric motor powered by the electricity generated by the chemical reaction between on-board hydrogen and airborne oxygen. Compared to the Prius, the new Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan has replaced its combustion engine by a fuel cell stack and its fuel tank by a hydrogen tank. Two high-pressure tanks actually, that store the hydrogen at a pressure up to 700 bar and that can be filled up in about 3 minutes. The only emission is water.
Built on the hybrid architecture, the Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan features a battery, a boost converter, an electric motor and a power control unit for the handling of the 4 different phases of working.
At very low load driving, meaning at very low speeds or in traffic jams, it is the battery only that provides the energy to drive the car.
At low load driving, meaning at low speeds like in city centres, the fuel cell stack provides enough energy for feeding the electric motor and simultaneously charging the battery.
At high load driving, when a lot of power is required, the fuel cell stack and the battery work together in order to boost the acceleration.
And then, as for a hybrid car, energy is recovered during braking and used for recharging the battery.
The fuel cell stack is composed by hundreds of cells. In each cell it works as follows:
1. Hydrogen is supplied to the anode side.
2. Hydrogen molecules activated by the anode catalyst release electrons.
3. The electrons released from hydrogen travel from the anode to the cathode, creating an electrical current.
4. Hydrogen molecules that released electrons become hydrogen ions and move through the membrane
5. Hydrogen ions bond with oxygen and electrons on the cathode catalyst to form water.
By generating its own electricity from hydrogen, the fuel cell car can help make a future hydrogen based society a reality, and contributes to energy diversification.
Have a look at our Fuel cell video on YouTube!