Tag: toyota mirai
Toyota has a vision for the future, and it includes full-sized city buses that run on hydrogen fuel. The automaker is already developing the buses and plans to have them out and running on the streets before the 2020 Olympic games. The buses that all run on hydrogen fuel don’t produce any pollution during operation, and they provide the same performance that standard diesel buses offer today.
They Function as Generators
One of the coolest features of these buses is that they can be used as highly reliable generators in times of emergency. That means that power could be provided to sections of the country that need it most if the grid happened to go down. In emergency situations such as hurricanes and other natural disasters, this could be a helpful feature that would certainly be valuable to have around.
Three Times the Power of a Tesla Model S
In order to offer enough power to effectively drive the buses around, Toyota developed a system significantly more power than that what runs the Mirai. The system relies on a series of 10 pressure tanks that hold a total of 600 liters of compressed hydrogen overall. That gives you a total power output of 235 kWh or about three times the amount that a Tesla Model S can put out. That’s a source of power that could really help in an emergency situation.
Achieving Clean Hydrogen Fuel
The one major criticism that still surrounds hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is that they don’t currently operate on clean fuel, because the hydrogen they use is formed from methane and other potentially harmful fuel types. This is an issue that Toyota is working hard to resolve, but the important consideration to make, is that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could be fueled entirely by clean energy sources in the future, something that fossil fuel-based vehicles can’t argue.
Toyota continues to push out hydrogen fuel-cell technologies as Japan works toward a fully hydrogen-based society in the future, and that’s a technology that could be adopted in the United States as well. Sure electric vehicles are more efficient, but hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles run on fuel that can be pumped into the vehicles as needed. The full-sized buses that Toyota is developing is an exciting infrastructure enhancement that should show off how capable hydrogen vehicles are, and it will be interesting to see how they do once they’re finally released in Japan.
Every day there are millions of pounds of sludge waste produced around the world. Much of this waste is sent right into landfills around the world where it builds up and occupies a whole lot of space. Toyota is using some of that sludge waste in Japan to power Mirai hydrogen vehicles, and the automaker believes it’s possible to do this all over the world.
What is Sludge Waste?
Sludge waste is a byproduct of the sewage systems around the world. Each time that you flush the toilet sewage is sent down to a treatment plant, or a septic tank. At treatment plants the sewage is split up into liquid water that needs to be treated, and solid sludge that is collected and shipped to a landfill.
The water would still be recycled as usual, but Toyota would like to take that solid sludge, and convert it into hydrogen with a few minor inputs. It’s a really green practice that takes advantage of a fuel source we’re just throwing away. It’s one of the best ways to begin producing hydrogen to power our vehicles.
How Can it Be Used to Produce Hydrogen?
In order to create hydrogen from sludge, microorganisms are added to the mixture. They convert sludge into biogas, which is a mix of methane and carbon dioxide. With these two mixtures, workers simply have to filter out the CO2 and then add in water vapor, which generates hydrogen. The final step is to remove the remaining CO2 from the mixture and pure hydrogen is the end result. This hydrogen can be put straight into the tank of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles like the Mirai and used to drive them around.
How Much Hydrogen
A single plant in Japan is capable of producing about 2800 Kg of hydrogen each and every day, or enough fuel to power approximately 600 cars for the day. Just imagine how many vehicles could be operated with plants set up all over the United States. Making biogas and utilizing it isn’t something new, and India relies on a similar approach to produce a large portion of its electricity each day, but it is something that we aren’t doing much of in the United States, and a good clean way to produce hydrogen for those early Mirai adopters that are having trouble finding a refueling station.
Plenty of standard cars have traveled over long distances, but the same can’t be said for electric vehicles. Most are used for short-distance travel, but that’s not the case with the Toyota Mirai. Sure the Mirai is technically a hydrogen-powered car, but it utilizes an electric motor, which also makes it an electric car. For that reason, the vehicle was able to set a record for the greatest distance an electric vehicle has traveled in a 24 hour period.
Drivers operated the Mirai for a total of 1,438 miles in a 24 hour period. This is the greatest distance that an electric car has travelled over a 24 hour period, and it’s truly an impressive accomplishment. It’s also a cool achievement that shows the Mirai can be used for long-distance travel just like a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle. Sure it runs on a different type of fuel, but it’s just as capable as its competitors are. In order to achieve this record the vehicle would have had to travel an average speed of about 59 miles per hour, and that doesn’t factor in any stops that it had to make for refueling. That means the Mirai was able to maintain speeds upwards of 60 miles per hour for a full 24 hours, a pretty impressive feat to say the least.
Setting the Record
In order to set the record, the Toyota Mirai was piloted nearly continuously in between different hydrogen charging stations. At each station the vehicle was stopped and refueled for a total of four minutes. Throughout the 24 hour period, the drivers took turns operating the vehicle and pushing it toward a pretty impressive record.
The Toyota Mirai is the most well-known hydrogen-electric vehicle currently on the market. There aren’t many competitors that are gaining much traction at the moment, but the Mirai is out and available in a few different parts of California. It’s expected to increase in popularity over the next few years, and both Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai plan on releasing their own version of a hydrogen vehicle in 2017. For the moment the Mirai is the best hydrogen vehicle that the average consumer can pick up, and it seems that you can enjoy some seriously long-distance drives while behind the wheel of the vehicle.
There’s no arguing that the Toyota Mirai is a revolutionary vehicle, but such revolutionary technology comes at a cost, and that cost is about $50,000. That’s more than many car buyers are willing to spend, or can afford to spend. When the first wide-spread hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is selling for so much money, it keeps most people from being able to take advantage of the technology. Toyota is working to refine the technology that the Mirai relies on, to create a smaller, more affordable version for 2019.
Does that Mean a New Model or Mirai?
At the moment it’s unclear if Toyota means to create another hydrogen fuel cell model to compete alongside the Mirai, or to just further refine the Mirai and stop offering the original once the new and lest costly version is released.
A More Affordable Hydrogen Car By 2020
Toyota is the sponsor of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, and it would be the perfect stage to present an all-new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to the masses. With billions of viewers tuning in from around the world, there is literally no better way to get word out about the vehicle, and that’s why Toyota plans on having the vehicle completed before the Olympics.
A Lagging Infrastructure
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is being supported in just a few locations around the world, with Japan being the most enthusiastic proponent of the technology. There are currently around 80 refueling stations in Japan, and somewhere around 11 stations in California. Both of those figures need to go up dramatically for the Mirai to be the massive success that Toyota expects it to be with more than 30,000 models sold by 2020 in the US (around 210 have been sold in the US currently). There are plans for an additional 12 stations within California, and plans to put others up around the United States in large metropolitan areas.
If Toyota is able to get the cost of the Mirai down, much like the automaker did when it released the Prius c, more buyers will be willing to take the risk and buy a vehicle created from such new technology. It’s what Toyota is counting on, and it could be just the thing they need to really get that technology out there to the masses. It’s an exciting time to be a vehicle owner, and it’s likely that some pretty major innovations will be released by Toyota in the near future.
Most people think that Toyota just got into hydrogen fuel-cell technology because they learned about the Mirai. That’s simply not the case. The automaker has been working on the tech behind the Mirai for the past 23 years and is one of the most dedicated companies to the technology. Toyota knows that hydrogen powered vehicles could be a very big thing for the world and something that should be pursued heavily, but they’ve come up against some pretty serious problems with the release of the Mirai. The hydrogen refueling infrastructure still isn’t there and Toyota has been scaling back the sales of the vehicle for that very reason. That doesn’t mean the tech will fail, or that it’s not worth the time and effort, it just means the company has to work even harder than before to make it happen, and that’s exactly what they seem to be doing.
Creating Refueling Networks
Toyota has run into some hiccups while trying to sell the Mirai to customers and get the vehicle spread out throughout California. Refueling stations that were supposed to open already have been behind schedule and the company actually had to open up the dealerships where the vehicles were sold to handle refueling tasks. For the automaker, one of the biggest challenges of getting hydrogen vehicles out to the general public is building up a solid refueling infrastructure. A total of 49 stations are supposed to open in California to serve that market, but Toyota is already working on getting some stations in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The company plans on having major success with the Mirai and future hydrogen vehicles and is banking big time on the tech that’s supposed to be better than electricity.
Almost half of the Mirai is put together by hand, and the remaining sections of the vehicle are handled by robots. This process helps keep costs down while guaranteeing a high level of precision and accuracy where it’s needed most. The vehicle is unique and the construction process will likely become even more streamlined in time, but Toyota takes a great deal of care making sure that they are built to high standards.
There isn’t too much information about what Toyota plans for the future beyond the Mirai, but the automaker still has pretty big plans for the little hydrogen-powered car. The company wants to have 3,000 Mirais out on the open road by 2017, and it plans to make those sales numbers jump even further after that point.
Releasing hydrogen vehicles to the general public and getting them to adapt the technology and actively embrace it is a bold goal. It’s something that most automakers would never dream of doing, but Toyota isn’t a common automaker. As the pioneer of hydrogen vehicles and one of the largest automakers in the world Toyota has the experience and the power to make its goal happen.
Toyota has been working hard to push forward hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and recently started selling the Mirai vehicle. About 57 Mirai’s have been sold to date and the owners of those vehicles in Southern Cali are running into a bit of trouble when trying to refuel them. That’s because some of the expected refueling stations around the area are lagging behind schedule. This could make owning the vehicle into a stressful experience with just four refueling stations open currently, but Toyota’s quick thinking is keeping the experience a positive own for all the early adopters. The automaker found a way to make six additional refueling spots available to give the owner’s more flexibility than they would have with the actual stations currently open.
Portable Refueling Stations
Toyota set up six portable refueling stations right at six of the eight dealerships that sold the Mirai vehicles to those customers. That means most Mirai buyers can simply head back to their local dealership to refuel the vehicle anytime that it needs to be topped up, free of charge of course. This just shows that Toyota really wants the Mirai to succeed and even though things don’t always go according to plan the automaker can work through problems to make the tech work.
Why the Lag?
California has ambitious plans to open up dozens of refueling stations, but the government has had some trouble getting them up and running according to schedule. It’s unclear if it’s a construction issue, or something to do with regulations. Private companies are involved in the plan as well and they could be leading to the holdup as well. Either way, while Mirai customers wait for the other refueling stations to open up they can rely on Toyota to provide all the fuel that they need. Thankfully the Mirai has a range of around 300 miles and shouldn’t need to be refueled that regularly except for the very heavy drivers.
If you’re a customer waiting on the Mirai and you’re starting to freak out thinking that you won’t have a place to refuel the vehicle relax and know that Toyota has your back. The automaker wants the tech to succeed because it knows fuel cells have a strong future, sure there will be some growing pains along the way, but that’s nothing that Toyota can’t handle.
The EMA awards (sponsored by Toyota and Lexus) were a fun-filled spectacle that really gave Gwyneth Paltrow and a handful of other environmental champions a chance to shine for all their efforts to improve the environment. Paltrow received the 2015 Green Parent Award thanks to all her efforts to make corporations label all their GMO products as such. This is a major environmental issue and Gwyneth spent 2015 working toward getting the issue resolved. Lance Bass was the night’s host and he kept the tone light and fun, but also made sure that everyone understood just how important the environmental issues represented really are.
Both the Toyota Prius and the Toyota Mirai were recognized at the event. The Prius was a major spectacle at the EMA awards because the vehicle’s been on the market for the last 15 years. The Mirai – Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell car – was on display for everyone to get acquainted with fuel cell technology a bit more and to see the stylish vehicle in person.
Rescuing a Baby Elephant
Kristin Davis of Sex and the City was honored at the big event for her work with the EMA to bring back an orphaned baby elephant in Kenya. She helped rescue the creature that was a victim of poaching and she helped raise even more awareness for the ongoing issue in Kenya and other parts of the world with poaching.
Missions in Music
Don Henley received the Missions in Music Award during the event for his continued work to help preserve historic locations and the Walden Woods, home to Henry David Thoreau’s many writings and to the conservation movement overall.
Overall there was an excellent turnout to the event. Big names like Jessica Biel, Blythe Danner, Don Henley, and Gwyneth Paltrow were all in attendance to show their support for the environment.
Mike Sullivan of LAcarGUY was present to explain the Mirai and Toyota’s leading environmental technology and it was a good night for the environment overall.
Forbes recently spoke with Toyota about some of Tesla’s offerings as well as the upcoming launch of the Toyota Mirai. The Mirai is a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle that runs on compress hydrogen as its fuel source. Toyota doesn’t see electric vehicles as being a realistic green source of transportation at the moment, and according to the automaker a time when electric vehicles are a good reliable way to get around over long distances is a long way off in the future.
Electric Cars Have Some Difficult Challenges to Overcome
When it comes to increasing the range of electric vehicles, Scott, a Toyota Executive says that there are some difficult Physics and chemistry problems that have to be solved still. He explains that to increase the range of an electric vehicle you have to add a heavy electric battery. He goes on to say that each additional battery improves the range of the vehicle by a marginal amount and that all the added weight that you add from the battery further decreases the range that you’ll get from that battery.
According to Scott electric vehicles are an ideal solution for short-distance travel because they are highly efficient at what they do. He goes on to state that they aren’t yet suitable for long distance travel and that a new material with a higher energy density has to be developed to change that.
The Charging Dilemma
Another issue that Scott sees with electric vehicles is that they can’t be charged too quickly. Charging an electric vehicle quickly can damage the battery components and it requires a massive amount of power. With an increase in energy capacity it would become more and more difficult to get all the necessary power into the batteries in a timely manner. This isn’t an issue with vehicles like the Mirai or standard gasoline or diesel vehicles, because they rely on a fuel source that can be pumped into the vehicle relatively efficiently. The fuel source has a higher energy density than batteries do, and that makes them into a more effective tool for long-distance travelling.
Hydrogen Vehicles Don’t Face the Same Hurdles
Unlike electric vehicles that are still waiting for key technology enhancements, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles aren’t waiting for those enhancements. According to Toyota the vehicles are already ready for long distance travel, and with a range of over 300 miles on a fill up that takes less than 10 minutes it’s easy to see that they’re on to something. The Mirai only really faces two specific challenges still. The first is lowering the cost of the technology to make cars that are around similar prices to standard new vehicles sold today. Toyota says that goal is a realistic one and that they are already making improvements to lower the cost of the technology further. The second is getting hydrogen refueling stations around the country so that owners can actually enjoy long-distance travel. This issue won’t be that difficult to solve once enough drivers adopt the fuel cell technology. As demand increases for the new fuel source more stations will pop up around the country, and there is already a significant level of support for the stations with infrastructure being improved around the country already.
The hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle isn’t perfect yet, but it’s much closer to being the best suitable option for long-distance travel than the electric vehicle is, and that’s exactly what Toyota had to say about electric vehicles versus the Toyota Mirai.
Automotive News and Transport Evolved recently interviewed LAcarGuy owner Mike Sullivan about the Toyota Mirai and about how his Toyota dealership in Santa Monica California is one of just eight dealerships in the country releasing the product early on.
The Mirai is One Car Sullivan Isn’t Selling
Don’t get me wrong, the Toyota Mirai will be available for order at Toyota of Santa Monica, and it will be available there earlier than most other places in the world. While the car’s going to be in stock, Mike Sullivan explains that getting the cars to customers is more of a matchmaking process than it is a numbers game like most vehicles are. This is because he wants to make sure that each and every one of the early adopters truly loves the car.
If a buyer comes into the dealership and requests the vehicle the dealership will look them over and decide if the car is a good fit for their lifestyle. If it isn’t they will actually turn customers down and redirect them to a more suitable vehicle. This isn’t to be mean, or to be overly exclusive. It’s just to make sure that customers aren’t unhappy with their purchase.
This is what Sullivan had to say about the challenge of selling the Mirai.“With everything else on my lot, I’m selling something. It’s what I do,” “This car is the exact opposite. It’s the reverse of selling. We’re going to turn people down if this isn’t the car for you.”
Challenges with the Mirai
The Toyota Mirai isn’t a bargain car with a starting price of $58,325 and initially it won’t be the easiest to refuel with just a handful of hydrogen refueling stations around California. For these two reasons the vehicle simply isn’t going to be a good fit for everyone. If you don’t live close enough to refueling stations it will be a burden fueling up the car. If you’re looking for a bargain car this one’s likely too expensive.
Choosing the Original Mirai Dealerships
The first eight stores stocked with the Mirai were all chosen for a list of specific reasons. They are all located near planned hydrogen fueling stations. They are all high-volume electric and hybrid selling locations and they have the finances to handle any upgrades necessary to make the sales possible.
Giving Customers an Early Look at the Mirai
Mike Sullivan has been working hard to promote the Mirai and everything the vehicle stands for. He even hopped on the live streaming program Periscope to give dozens of interested people a walk around look at the Mirai in real time.
Introducing the Mirai Champion
Many of the eight Toyota dealerships to start off selling the Mirai before any others in the country plan on assigning a single employee to serve as the Mirai expert. This Mirai Champion will talk with every customer interested in buying the hydrogen fuel-cell car. The hope with assigning a single person to the task is that they become an expert on the matter and provide a more reliable and consistent buying experience for each of the Mirai shoppers. A similar strategy was employed by Nissan when the company began selling the LEAF to customers.
Toyota of Santa Monica Upgrades
To get the Toyota dealership ready to sell the Mirai a number of improvements have to be made to it. The first is an upgrade to the repair center so that repairs and services can be performed on the Mirai after it starts selling to customers. That way customers have a place they can take the vehicle if any work needs to be performed. Sullivan is also planning to add a personal hydrogen refueling station so that dealership customers can refuel their vehicles after making the purchase. This will cost around $150,000 for the dealership to do, but it’s a small price to make the dealership more accessible and it’s a real perk for customers that live in the area.
The Toyota Mirai is arguably an even more revolutionary technology than the Prius was when it was first released all those years ago. If you’re at all curious about the new technology and you want to see the vehicle first hand now’s your opportunity! This SBC Member Mentor session is all about introducing the Toyota Mirai and learning what it can do for the environment. It’s an exciting new piece of technology and could be a major turning point for the automotive industry. Not only is the session good to learn about the new technology, but it will serve as a valuable networking opportunity to get you in touch with other members of the SBC as well.
Get To Know New Professionals
If you’re interested in getting to know other sustainable business owners and associates in your area the presentation is a good opportunity to do some serious networking. The first 15 minutes of the event will be spent networking with the other members attending. This gives you a chance to meet up with new people and ask any questions that you have. Expand your current network and get in touch with other professionals who can help your business grow and develop.
Get an Introduction to the Mirai
A quick 20 minute presentation from Alisha Auringer, the Manager of the Environment at LAcarGUY will help you understand more about the Toyota Mirai and how it works. You’ll get a look at the tech that drives this unique vehicle and soon you’ll have a much better understanding of how a car can drive around with nothing but hydrogen in the tank.
Build Your Understanding
After you learn all the new information abut the Mira you’re likely to have some questions. That’s why there is another 20 minute sessions for questions and comments after the initial presentation. You can ask more about the car, or learn more from the questions that other people ask.
Get Your First Look at the Mirai
If you’ve been waiting to get an up-close look at the new Mirai now’s your chance. The last half hour of the Mentor session will be spent taking a closer look at an actual Mirai and possibly giving out test drives as well. Get a look at the technology that is powering this revolutionary new vehicle and you can start to develop some new ideas around introducing this vehicle to customers.
You can easily RSVP for the event using the link on the banner below. It’s simple to do and will only take a minute to get yourself locked in for the special event.