Toyota’s new hydrogen fuel cell Mirai was on display at Fleet Management Live with the first fleets set to take delivery this month.
The launch plan will see 12 models registered by the end of the year. Most will go to businesses, both public and private sector, as Toyota seeks to demonstrate that hydrogen is a viable option for fleets.
Companies can buy the Mirai outright or on contract hire, with funding provided via Toyota Financial Services. The monthly lease, typically over four years and 60,000 or 80,000 miles, will be competitive against a diesel executive car, according to marketing manager Jon Hunt. Figures will be revealed at the media launch later in October.
“We are making it accessible because we want people to use them and give us feedback,” he said. “We are looking for the right customers – people that understand the technology, who will use the car regularly and who will have open dialogue with us.”
Volumes next year for the UK are yet to be decided, but will depend on global demand. Hunt said that in the first week the Mirai went on sale in Japan, Toyota received 1,500 orders. “We have production capacity for 700 a year,” he added.
One potential constraint on Mirai demand is the fuelling infrastructure. At present, the UK has two sites in London and one in Swindon, with another nine stations scheduled to open in the next year, including Sheffield and Glamorgan.
In addition, Shell has agreed a plan with ITM to roll out hydrogen fuel cell station at its forecourts. But it will be a while before there is national coverage.
The four-seat Mirai is ‘powered’ by water. Fifty litres equates to five kilos of fuel which will fill the tank and give the car range of up to 300 miles.
Hunt said: “It draws in air, separates the oxygen and combines it with hydrogen to produce power and water.”
He added: “Running the car is really simple. There are very few moving parts – it’s a non-maintenance car, just brakes, discs and tyres. Servicing will be 10,000 miles purely to have a visual inspection of the car and to check that the customer is happy.”
The Mirai will come with a five-year/100,000-mile warranty and five-year support programme under ‘Mirai companion service’, a 24-hour assistance service via a customer contact centre. It will also have an app linked to the car which will provide information on the fuelling infrastructure.
Toyota’s new Safety Sense pack, which is being rolled out to all the models within the next 12 months, will also be available on Mirai.
Safety Sense includes five technologies – Pre-Collision System or Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Road Sign Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control – and is standard on business editions of the Auris, Avensis and Rav4.
Fleet managers that attended Fleet Management Live also had the chance to see the refreshed Auris hybrid and, for the first time, the new Lexus RC coupé, which goes on sale in January.