Toyota to bring Mirai hydrogen fuel cell sedan to China

on Apr19

Toyota launched the Mirai in 2015 and aims to boost production to 3,000 units this fiscal year. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

SHANGHAI — Toyota Motor Corp. will begin testing the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell sedan in China in October to assess the market for fuel cell vehicles and promote the futuristic technology here.

The trial program will run through 2020, and Toyota will establish a hydrogen refueling station at its Chinese r&d center as part of it, the Japanese company said.

Toyota is dabbling with fuel cells in the world’s biggest auto market as the Chinese government becomes increasingly aggressive in pushing new-energy vehicles, including electric vehicles, as a way to reduce emissions and dependency on oil.

A rendering of Toyota’s hydrogen refueling station for fuel cell vehicles — the first in the Chinese city of Changshu.

Toyota has positioned fuel cell vehicles, which generate electricity from onboard hydrogen storage tanks and emit only water vapor, as a key leg of its long-range powertrain plan. It launched the Mirai in 2015 and aims to boost production to 3,000 units this fiscal year.

Between January 2016 and February 2017, Toyota sold about 3,000 units of the Mirai in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. China’s infrastructure highlights the challenges facing the technology.

The country has only five hydrogen stations, centered around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Toyota said. Toyota’s station will be the first in the city of Changshu.

“Toyota will engage in promotional activities and attempt to gauge how receptive Chinese consumers are to the vehicle,” the company said. Aside from China, Toyota is also proceeding with demonstration tests in Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Canada.

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