It seems the push for alternative fuels has gone a step further when Union Transport Secretary Nitin Gadkari recently arrived at Parliament House in a Toyota Mirai. What is special about the Mirai? It’s a hydrogen-based fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), similar to the Hyundai Nexo and Honda Clarity. This certainly shows the commitment of the Government and Department of Transport when it comes to the switch to greener fuels.
Is the Toyota Mirai an electric vehicle?
Essentially yes. It’s powered by a 1.24kWh battery pack capable of producing a respectable 182hp and 406Nm of torque. Additionally, it has a claimed range of 400 miles, which compares fairly well to some larger EVs with bigger batteries. The main difference, however, lies in the way the Mirai stores its electricity. There is also a key difference in the way the energy is delivered.
How is an FCEV different from a BEV?
That’s the important thing. The main difference lies in the way energy is stored. Sure, the FCEV has a battery pack too, but a relatively smaller one and paired with a hydrogen fuel cell. These fuel cells then use the electricity generated by the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen and even store it in a sealed tank, similar to petrol, diesel or CNG-powered cars. However, what makes the FCEV particularly interesting is the fact that the hydrogen gas can be restored in less than five minutes.
Will it catch on in India?
It’s certainly a route to alternative fuels that deserves more investigation. Not long ago, Gadkari had launched this green hydrogen-based advanced fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), Toyota Mirai, and said it was the first of its kind in India, aiming to create an ecosystem for such vehicles the country. Although it’s more expensive than some of the battery electric vehicles on the market, it could prove cleaner as the tailpipes only emit water vapor as emissions. In fact, Gadkari posted a tweet saying India would soon become a “green hydrogen” exporting country.
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