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Hydrogen as an alternative to battery-electric cars? Even Toyota is now having doubts - AutoReview.nl

For a long time, Toyota did not participate in the development of battery-electric cars. The Japanese giant believed more in hybrids and hydrogen. With the Toyota Mirai, the brand even had the first series-produced hydrogen car in the world. But the question is whether the Mirai will have a successor.

A lot of EV haters still firmly believe in the hydrogen car. But hydrogen pioneer BMW doesn't seem really convinced about hydrogen-powered passenger cars. And now Toyota is also joining the doubters. Only from the makers of the Hyundai Nexowe haven't heard of any cold feet yet.

Will the hydrogen car make it or not? Our newsletter keeps you informed!

On paper, the hydrogen car is Columbus's egg

In theory, a hydrogen car is ideal. Just like a battery EV, a hydrogen fuel cell car is emission-free. According to the factory, the range of the Toyota Mirai is about 650 kilometers and filling up with a hydrogen tank is as quick as filling up your gas tank. A battery-electric car still can't match that. Moreover, with a hydrogen car you don't have to deal with network congestion and you don't have to mess around with plugs and charging cables.

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Columbus' egg? Nope. Because the production of environmentally friendly green hydrogen costs a lot of green energy and money. Moreover, a network of hydrogen filling stations is difficult to get started.


Toyota Mirai on its way to the exit?

Not even Toyota has an answer to these difficult-to-solve issues. The Mirai is therefore selling poorly and the question is whether it will get a successor. Too bad, because after the first Toyota Mirai, it seemed to have escaped from the cartoon series The Jetsons, the current Mirai is quite a beautiful, elegant sedan. However, compared to the enormous amounts of money that Toyota has invested in the development of the Mirai, it is a gigantic flop.

The hydrogen Japanese car has been for sale in the Netherlands since 2015, but there are only 311 Mirais on the license plate. Worldwide, Toyota managed to sell no more than 3,900 Mirais in 2022, less than 0.5 percent of the brand's total sales volume.

'Hydrogen mainly for commercial vehicles'

Through Executive Vice President Hiroki Nakajima, Toyota has now turned to the British Autocar admitted that the Mirai did not bring the success that was hoped for. Nakajima mainly blames the limited number of hydrogen filling stations: "There are too few hydrogen filling stations and it is difficult to expand the number in the short term."

According to Nakajima, the future for hydrogen lies mainly in medium-sized trucks. He explains this because trucks often have fixed routes, where you can build gas stations at the start and end. He is probably referring to ports and large distribution centers. With such statements, Toyota seems to be striking at the roots of a possible Mirai successor.


Hydrogen for combustion engine

On the other hand, there are signs that Toyota has not yet completely given up on hydrogen passenger cars. In this way, the manufacturer tries to make the components of the installation more compact, so that they can be more easily incorporated into compact models. The brand is also working on cars that do not use hydrogen in a fuel cell to generate electricity, but directly as fuel for their combustion engine.


In Japan there is plenty of racing with an experimental Corolla, whose 1.6-liter turbo engine drinks pure hydrogen. This is stored in four tanks made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Whether this has a future remains to be seen. After all, in the EU almost everything with an exhaust will be taboo from 2035 onwards. In addition, large-scale, affordable production of green hydrogen is still a long way off.

This post was last modified on October 30, 2023 12:14 pm

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Dreamer is what I am, but unlike many, I struggle to make my dreams come true. I own, seo, admin and site editor. I am a father, married, Christian, Northeastern/Brazil and Libran. I love cars <3

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