Kiwa hydrogen specialists contribute to Toyota Mirai
From March this year it will be in the showroom, the new hydrogen powered Toyota Mirai. As usual, the Japanese car manufacturer did not go overnight in the development of its new vehicle and invested heavily in new components and techniques. Toyota turned to Kiwa to test new high pressure components for the new Mirai's hydrogen powertrain. Commercial manager Daan ten Have of Kiwa Alternative Fuels and Pressure Products tells more about it.
One of the biggest challenges facing hydrogen car manufacturers is the storage of hydrogen gas. ‘This has to be done under high pressure to keep the size of the hydrogen tanks within limits,’ says Ten Have. ‘Those tanks and their components have to meet strict requirements and are therefore extensively tested under the most extreme conditions. Manufacturers have been able to do this for more than ten years in Kiwa's hydrogen lab in Apeldoorn, one of the few in Europe and even far beyond.’
The first generation Toyota Mirai (‘Mirai’ is Japanese for ‘future’) appeared in 2016 and was one of the first mass-produced vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell. Worldwide, more than 10,000 Mirai 1.0’s had been sold by the end of 2019, mostly in the United States and Japan. ‘But in the meantime, Toyota was already working on a new model,’ says Ten Have. ‘That was tackled in a way that is characteristic of Japanese car manufacturers in general and Toyota in particular: by thinking far ahead and investing heavily in solid engineering.’ According to Ten Have, this also includes the development of even better hydrogen tanks and parts thereof. ‘At Kiwa in Apeldoorn, we specialize in testing these and we are proud that we have contributed to the new Mirai in this way.’
The new Mirai will be available from March 2021 and, according to Toyota, is an improvement on the first model on all fronts. The catalog promises - in addition to a lower purchase price - more power and acceleration speed, a higher top speed and a greater range. In addition, the Mirai comes with a unique feature: a refueling service. Buyers of the first edition of the new Mirai, the ‘Launch Edition’, can have their car picked up and refueled at home or at the office, provided they live or work within 30 miles of a hydrogen filling station. ‘A great way to lower the threshold for the purchase of a hydrogen car,’ Ten Have concludes. ‘Because there are few hydrogen filling stations, hydrogen cars are still not very popular. The famous chicken and egg story. It would be nice if Toyota could change this with the Mirai. That would be well-deserved because it is a beautiful car in every way.’
For more information on Kiwa's component testing services for the automotive sector, please visit our product page on automotive hydrogen testing.