What is the Toyota Mirai?
- The Mirai is a Toyota-developed mid-size, four-door saloon, powered by hydrogen-generated electricity and whose only tailpipe by-product is water.
- The Mirai has many attractions for SMEs and larger fleets, not least a company car tax banding of 5%, rising to just 7% in 2017/18, which will appeal to SMEs wanting to achieve economic savings and improve sustainability targets.
- What’s it like to drive? See Toyota Mirai hydrogen car: Future driving technology with business benefits now
- See also Toyota Mirai is London’s first hydrogen private hire car
WE’LL be seeing more hydrogen cars on the UK’s roads this year as a government incentive boosts Toyota Mirai hydrogen car numbers .
The government’s fleet funding support incentive was announced in May as part of a £2 million government fund to encourage more businesses to switch to hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.
That will see it bring 20 new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell cars on to Britain’s roads – cars that emit zero carbon dioxide (CO2), with just water as the tailpipe product, making it an ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV).
The Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Fleet Support Scheme allows local authorities, health trusts, police forces, fire brigades and private companies to bid for funding to add hydrogen-powered vehicles to their fleets.
So far 12 Toyota customers have decided to adopt the Mirai. These include:
- The Science Museum;
- Aberdeen City Council; and
- Leasing company Arval.
And the demand for low emission vehicles is increasing.
The latest Department for Transport figures show record sales of ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs), with 9,657 registered in the quarter for April to June, an increase of 49% on the same period last year and 253% up on two years before.
Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota’s president and managing director, said: “We are proud to be at the forefront of bringing the benefits of ultra-low emission transport to the UK and welcome the government’s announcement of funding that will enable more of our customers to introduce Mirai to their fleets.
“Toyota is committed to producing vehicles that provide sustainable mobility, developing breakthrough technologies that have successfully brought hybrid and now fuel cell vehicles to the marketplace.”
Whether an already green company or one that wants to implement green policies, the fleet funding support the government provides could give the impetus for more SMEs to introduce Mirai or EVs to their company car fleets.
What about hydrogen fuel supplies?
In bid to boost the hydrogen fuel cell market, the government will continue to offer grants for the new hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for at least another two years.
However, there are drawbacks – predominantly the lack of refuelling infrastructure and also the vehicle’s mileage range (usually 250-300 miles).
Currently there are some 15 refuelling sites in the UK but organisations are linking to counter the lack of infrastructure that could potentially stifle fuel cell vehicle demand.
There is also some concern about how hydrogen is produced – most of it comes from North Sea gas and it’s energy-intensive to produce. But latest hydrogen fuelling stations use on-site production methods powered by solar energy.
This week ITM Power opened a new public hydrogen refuelling station at the Centre of Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in Rainham, east London.
The station is the second in the UK to make hydrogen on-site from solar energy, captured using an array of photovoltaic panels, and follows ITM Power’s opening of a wind-powered station in Rotherham.