Friday | 21 Aug 2015

Hydrogen fuel cell Toyota hits the WRC stages

A Toyota saloon powered by a hydrogen fuel cell is opening the stages at ADAC Rallye Deutschland this weekend and could pave the way for a WRC version in the future.

Toyota will return to the World Championship in 2017 with a Yaris-based World Rally Car but the Japanese manufacturer is in Trier to showcase its latest emission-free production car, the Mirai, which goes on sale in the US, UK, Denmark and Germany later this year.

The car is being driven by its Japanese owner Mitsuhiro Kunisawa, a journalist and experienced rally driver, and has been modified only slightly for its competitive debut with special brake pads, competition tyres and a roll cage. The 113 kW fuel cell powertrain remains unchanged and accelerates the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.6 seconds.

The Mirai's chief engineeer, Yoshikazu Tanaka, is in Trier to supervise the project. “It is our dream that one day our fuel cell vehicles will be able to compete in WRC. Therefore, we will continue to develop this technology with great ambition," he said. "Spectators at the Rallye Deutschland will have to get used to this noiseless premiere at Trier, but they’ll experience the art of an almost pollution-free future.”

Launched in Japan in December 2014, the Mirai is fuelled by hydrogen, stored on board in an ultra strong plastic and carbon fibre tank. The hydrogen is mixed with oxygen in a fuel cell stack to create electricity which powers an electric motor driving the front wheels. The only by-product of creating electricity in this way is water, which leaves through the tailpipe.

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