Toyota Builds World's Smallest Hydrogen Car

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The Toyota Mirai has been shrunken into a hydrogen-fueled RC car.

Unlike most automakers, Toyota still doesn't have a single battery-electric car in its lineup. Its first EV called the bZ4X will arrive next year, but in the meantime, the Japanese automaker has been focusing on hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Toyota is one of the few automakers committed to hydrogen fuel-cell technology. Launched in 2015, the Toyota Mirai was the world's first production fuel-cell vehicle and was recently redesigned for a new generation. Last week, the Mirai set an impressive Guinness World Record after traveling 845 miles on a single fuel tank, which is a lot further than any electric car on sale now. In another first, the Toyota Mirai has been scaled down to become the UK's first hydrogen-fuelled remote-control car to demonstrate how hydrogen fuel-cell tech can benefit other types of vehicles.

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

Built in collaboration with UK energy firm Bramble Energy and model company Tamiya, the remote-control Toyota Mirai is a 1/10 scale replica of the real hydrogen-powered sedan. It's based on Tamiya's popular TT-02 RC car with a body shell fitted on top replicating the full-size Mirai's design. Even the car's Scarlet Flare paint has been replicated for the RC car. Like its larger sibling, the RC car is powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell system. Bramble Energy fitted a miniaturized version of its printed circuit board fuel cell system, a control system, and hydrogen storage into the RC car's four-wheel-drive chassis.

This is the same off-the-shelf chassis you can buy in model shops. It's also fitted with two hydrogen fuel canisters that can be swiftly replaced to refuel and two electric motors producing around 20 Watts of power. As a result, the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai RC car will travel twice as far as a conventional battery-powered RC car. To show what it can do, Toyota took the tiny Mirai RC car for a test drive around a model village in Bourton-on-the-Water, England.

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
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In its push to expand its hydrogen fuel cell technology, Toyota is increasing its fuel cell production to 30,000 units a year. "Cars are the tip of the iceberg for Toyota in terms of progress towards a hydrogen society. Hydrogen will play a key role in meeting our future energy needs, bringing zero-emission driving for both big cities and small villages," said David Rogers, a spokesperson for Toyota. "It allows us to store renewable energy and transport it easily, so that it can be used on-demand to power a variety of industries."

"In Toyota collaborations across Europe, you'll increasingly see trials of fuel cell-powered buses, trains, boats and, who knows, maybe even homes. We undertook this challenge to have some fun and show what can be done with fuel cells and we think the results are great!"

Toyota
Toyota

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