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Toyota Mirai hydrogen car goes rallying

Toyota's first mainstream hydrogen fuel cell car, the Mirai, has been used as a course car for the WRC

The Toyota Mirai hydrogen car kicked off last weekend’s WRC round in Trier, West Germany. Used as a 'zero' course car, experienced rally driver and journalist Mitsuhiro Kunisawa used the car to preceded competitors through the stages.

To be rally-ready, though, the Mirai was fitted with a roll cage and race seats as well as competition tyres, improved brake pads and WRC-style decals. To further aid Kunisawa, Toyota Germany provided a mobile hydrogen refuelling unit, which fills the plastic and carbon fibre tank in just three minutes.

Despite these modifications, the 152bhp, 335Nm fuel cell powertrain remains unchanged. It fuses together hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell stack to produce electricity – powering an electric motor connected to the front wheels. It’s good for 0-62 mph in 9.6 seconds and can hit 111mph flat out.

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Yoshikazu Tanaka, the Mirai’s Chief Engineer, said that his dream is that one day we will see fuel cell vehicles competing in World Rally Championship events. Although spectators will need to familiarise themselves with the “noiseless premiere”, the prospect of an “almost pollution-free future” is enticing.

The Toyota Mirai has been on sale in Japan since December, but European sales won’t kick off until October 2015, with prices in mainland Europe starting at €66,000. UK prices kick off at £63,104, with standard equipment including a heated steering wheel and heated seats.

With a 371-litre boot, zero emissions and a range of up to 300 miles, it’ll rival models like the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, as well as all-electric models like the Nissan Leaf and plug-in Hybrids such as Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV.

Now read our first drive review of the Toyota Mirai.

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