Toyota to trial Hydrogen car in Australia


Toyota is bringing one example of its hydrogen-powered Mirai to Australia.

The hydrogen car has taken one step closer to becoming a reality in Australia, with Toyota announcing plans to import a single example of its new Mirai electric car.

While Toyota will not sell the car to the public, the groundbreaking machine will be at the core of a campaign intended to raise awareness surrounding what hydrogen cars can offer.

On sale already in Japan, Europe and the US, the fuel-cell powered Mirai transforms hydrogen into electricity and water, giving it an emissions-free range of around 550 kilometres.

Toyota will exhibit the car at Sydney’s World Hydrogen Technologies Convention in October before using it in a road show intended to win over government authorities, the public and press in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner says that although the Mirai offers cutting-edge technology, it is too early to sell hydrogen cars in Australia.

“It’s clear that Australians are searching for more eco-friendly options. Fuel cell vehicles emit only water and can offer the same convenience of petrol-powered cars,” he says.

“However, before we can introduce these vehicles to Australia we need to have relevant infrastructure such as refuelling stations, which will take time.

“That is why we need to work with industry and government to discuss the refuelling infrastructure required in Australia to support fuel cell vehicles.”

Toyota is not the first car company to bring a hydrogen car to Australia this year.

Hyundai invited government and media representatives to examine its hydrogen-powered ix35 Fuel Cell to its Sydney headquarters in March, where the South Korean giant has installed a hydrogen refuelling station.

Hyundai chief executive Charlie Kim told reporters the brand hopes that a potential “Hume by Hydrogen” refuelling network could link Melbourne and Sydney via Canberra in a similar manner to Tesla’s “Supercharger” refuelling stations in coming years.

One of Hyundai’s guests, Federal Industry minister Ian Macfarlane, controversially declared at the time that “the long term future has got to be in a fuel cell vehicle that is zero-emission”, rubbishing plug-in electric cars as a transport solution.

Nissan Australia chief Richard Emery slammed Macfarlane for the comments, saying Australian governments showed “a complete lack of understanding” and that Canberra had “pulled the rug from under the future of zero-emissions electric cars”.

Several manufacturers including Audi, BMW and Honda are also working to make hydrogen cars a viable option for motorists in the near future


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