Toyota has been experimenting with hydrogen power for several decades now, and it seems that other companies are starting to see it as a viable alternative to electric cars - especially for bigger vehicles like trucks and buses.
But its latest hydrogen creation is something rather smaller. With help from Tamiya and Bramble Energy, Toyota has created the UK’s first hydrogen R/C - a fully working remote control version of its Mirai saloon. It uses the same technology and is even painted in the same Scarlet Flare red as the proper car.
Prise off the bodywork (something you can’t do in a full-size Mirai) and you’ll find a tiny hydrogen fuel cell that’s capable of generating 20 watts of electricity. It sits on Tamiya’s TT-02 chassis, the brand’s standard four-wheel-drive chassis that’s readily available.
Toyota’s shrunken Mirai has the same benefits of the real thing. Storing the hydrogen in mini quick-release canisters means it’s easy to swap in full ones once they’re empty, while nothing but water is produced in the process. Supposedly, the hydrogen power lasts twice as long as a battery-powered R/C, which sounds to us like twice the fun.
Perhaps the best bit is that Toyota revealed its smallest model in a model village. Tamiya said it performed really well around the Old New Inn Model Village in the Cotswolds, and even added that hydrogen would work well for its R/Cs.
But you can’t buy one and, even if you could, it’d be far more expensive than any remote control car you’re used to. Hydrogen is still expensive and the technology is still some way off being mainstream. The full-size Mirai starts at £50,000 - more than a Supra - and is the second-most expensive model in the Toyota line-up.
A Toyota spokesperson said: “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. […] 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.”
Toyota is planning to create hydrogen-powered boats, trains and buses, and is increasing production of fuel cells ten-fold to 30,000 a year.