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Toyota and Honda introduce fuel-cell vehicles at the LA Auto Show

Honda's fuel cell vehicle.
Totota's Mirai fuel-cell car.

Automotive manufacturing giants Honda and Toyota have revealed new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles at the LA Auto Show.

THE TOYOTA MIRAI

Toyota unveiled its Mirai, a four-door saloon that will go on sale in Japan at the end of the year and in the US and Europe in 2015. The Mirai – meaning ‘future’ – borrows much of its technology from Toyota’s hybrid cars. It takes the electric motor, power controls and main nickel-metal hydride battery from its Camry hybrid, and the chassis from its Lexus HS 250h. The fuel cell and power electronics are mounted under the floor and the twin 60-litre hydrogen tanks are under the rear seat.

Toyota’s Mirai has a range of 300 miles, will accelerate from 0-60mph in 9.0 seconds and can be refueled in under five minutes. It will be priced at around £63,000, positioning it at about three times the amount of a conventional family saloon. Toyota chairman, Takesh Uchiyamada says, “The success of the car will depend on the ownership experience.” For that reason, Toyota is supporting the creation and maintenance of hydrogen filling stations in the US, but not in Europe where it is relying on the existing HyFive program which will see 110 stations introduced in six cities across Europe, including London.

THE HONDA FCV

Honda’s fuel-cell vehicle, the FCV Concept is due to go on sale in 2016, according to the company. The FCV Concept will build on the success of the FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle, which has been on sales since 2008.

Honda claims the FCV Concept will be more efficient and capable of being packaged in a conventional car body with all the major parts of the fuel cell installed under the bonnet rather than between the seats as they were with the FCX Clarity.

The FCV Concept has a newly designed fuel-cell stack, which is 33 percent smaller than that in the outgoing model. It is claimed to produce more than 135bhp and is fuelled by gaseous hydrogen stored in a single tank at 10,000psi, which gives the car a 435-mile range.

Both vehicles are capable of power take off functions that can be used to provide household electricity for up to a week. 

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