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There is hope, Toyota proved it


IT’S the stuff of Sci-fi movies, these electric and hydrogen powered cars. We’ve seen them zooming around like little spaceships in movies such as Total Recall, I-Robot and Minority Report to name a few. Most of us used to look at those futuristic machines in pure disbelief, well, we suggest that you start believing because Toyota has just proved that a hydrogen powered car can work in the real world, a world where oil is running out.

Before we tell you about Toyota, let’s have a quick Sheldon lesson. Hydrogen is a chemical element with chemical symbol H and atomic number 1. Hydrogen is the lightest element on the periodic table. Its monatomic form (H) is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe.

Hydrogen can be generated using a wide range of natural resources and man-made by-products such as sewage sludge. It can also be created from water using natural renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. When compressed, it has a higher energy density than batteries, and is relatively easy to store and transport, therefore it also carries expectations for potential future use in power generation and a wide range of other applications, such as transportation.

Hydrogen has been used in many vehicles in the past few years and manufacturers are dedicating countless resources to the development of hydrogen fuel cells. Toyota, though, has proved it can go the distance, achieving 3.5 litres/100km in official US combined city/highway driving calculations, and an estimated driving range of 502km on a single tank – a distance further than for any other zero-emissions car on the market.

Mirai is the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle; a four-door saloon with performance that competes with traditional internal combustion engines. Instead of using petrol, Mirai runs on electricity created on demand by hydrogen fuel and oxygen. The only emission produced by this process is water vapour.

Unfortunately there is no word from Toyota on whether the Mirai will come to South Africa. So why do an article on a car that won’t come to our country? Well, the car might not arrive but the technology certainly will and it does give us a calming feeling that progress is being made to ensure that the car lives on.

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