Toyota experiences a hydrogen hiccup as it’s forced to recall all 2,800 fuel cell Mirai cars
Being at the cutting edge of technology sometimes has its drawbacks. Praise has been heaped on Toyota for its efforts in developing a proper production-ready hydrogen fuel cell car, but the Japanese car maker’s Mirai has come unstuck.
The futuristic-looking mid-size car is being recalled so an issue related to the car’s fuel cell output voltage can be rectified. Fortunately for Toyota this is expected to be a modest exercise as only around 2,800 examples are in the wild.
Citing “unique driving conditions” as the reason behind the recall, Toyota believes that piloting the Mirai on full throttle after navigating a long descent while using the car’s cruise control could result in the fuel cell internals exceeding its maximum safe voltage.
The lucky few living the high-tech dream will have their cars updated free of charge by a local Toyota dealer, with the process said to take about half an hour.
Toyota has, so far, only sold the Mirai in the United States, the United Arab Emirates and selected markets in Europe. It’s found favour with a variety of users, including early adopters and businesses keen to trade on the car’s green credentials. There’s also a modest but strong following in the taxi community, although the overriding restriction is the need to be close to a hydrogen filling station. Given the current rate of growth in contrast to the strides being made with electric vehicles, don’t expect one supplanting your nearest petrol filling station anytime soon.
That said, Toyota’s commitment to the cause is considerable, and since the first Mirai sale in 2014 the company has set a goal to lead the automotive industry in this emerging technology. Experts believe that big gains can be made in commercial transportation, such as trucks and buses, which operate fixed routes, making building an refuelling infrastructure more straightforward.