This Miniature Toyota Mirai Is UK’s First Hydrogen-Powered RC Car
Toyota wants to showcase its hydrogen prowess by bringing its fuel cell technology to a smaller scaleby Isaac Atienza, on LISTEN 03:47
Toyota is proud of the achievements it has made when it comes to its hydrogen tech. Just over a week ago, the Toyota Mirai achieved a Guinness World Record by driving for 845 miles—the furthest distance ever traveled by a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) on just a single tank of hydrogen. Now though, Toyota is scaling down its hydrogen fuel cell technology, and we mean that quite literally.
In collaboration with Tamiya and Bramble Energy, the Japanese automaker was able to develop a 1:10 scale hydrogen-powered radio-controlled (RC) miniature version of the Toyota Mirai.
The UK’s First Hydrogen-Powered RC Car
The RC car was unveiled in the UK, and Toyota claims that this is also the UK’s first hydrogen-powered RC car.
David Rogers, Toyota UK spokesperson on alternative fuels, says
“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."
How Was The Miniature Toyota Mirai RC Car Built?
From the outside, the unique 1:10 scale body shell was developed by Tamiya. While the RC toy car looks slightly different from the actual vehicle, its design is still instantly recognizable as a Mirai. As a matter of fact, it is even finished in the same Scarlet Flare from the Mirai’s official color palette.
Underpinning the miniature Mirai’s body shell is Tamiya’s TT-02 RC car, which was then converted into a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle by Bramble Energy. Bramble Energy then fitted a miniaturized version of its printed circuit board fuel cell (PCBFC) system, a control system, and hydrogen storage, into the standard four-wheel drive RC chassis. Toyota says that this is the exact same set of parts that is readily available in model shops, at least if you live in the UK.
How Does It Perform?
The miniature Toyota Mirai has an output of 20 Watts (or around 0.03 hp) driving all four wheels. Toyota is proud to highlight that thanks to the miniature hydrogen fuel cell technology, this miniature Mirai has double the range of a battery-powered RC car. In addition, the car also has two switchable hydrogen canisters, which allow for quick replacements when fuel runs out.
Tom Mason, CEO and Co-Founder of Bramble Energy, says
“Bramble Energy’s innovative PCB fuel cell is highly adaptable and scalable, meaning that we are able to make fuel cells of any shape or size. We had to shrink a whole fuel cell system down to the size of an RC car, which gave our engineers a good challenge. Our fuel cell technology is made from the printed circuit board industry which can be turned into any size or shape, so the core fuel cell component was actually not that big a challenge."
Unsurprisingly, the biggest challenge for the team was how to make all of these components fit into such a small chassis. Mason adds, "The biggest hurdle was to make all the system components required to run the fuel cell small and compact enough to fit onto the Tamiya TT02 chassis and inside the Mirai RC car shell.”
The miniature Toyota Mirai hydrogen-powered RC car seems to be just a small experiment and marketing exercise by the Japanese automaker for now, as the company did not announce whether it has any plans to put the miniature Mirai up for sale.