India’s 1st Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Launched By Minister Gadkari: How It Works?
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurated a pilot study on a green hydrogen-based advanced fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) called the Toyota Mirai.
Gadkari also announced that the latest Toyota Camry Hybrid (the only model of the Camry sold in India) will be flex-fuel compatible in the near future.
The Mirai is the world’s most advanced FCEV which runs on hydrogen.
It was launched in 2014 as was one of the world’s first hydrogen fuel electric vehicles.
The carmaker said that it is now introducing the second generation which has 30% more range, better handling and sharper styling.
This is the first-of-its-kind project in India which seeks to build an ecosystem for such vehicles in the country.
How The Powertrain Works
The FCEV is one of the best zero-emission solutions.
The Mirai is equipped with a high-pressure hydrogen fuel tank and an electric motor.
The powertrain breaks the hydrogen into water and oxygen and generates energy from it.
It is wholly environment-friendly with no tailpipe emissions other than water, unlike traditional ICEs.
Green hydrogen can be generated from renewable energy and abundantly available biomass.
In order to secure a clean and affordable energy future for India, using technology to tap into the green hydrogen’s potential will play a key role.
The pilot project is being undertaken by Toyota Kirloskar Motor, along with the International Center for Automotive Technology (ICAT).
The ICAT is India’s state-run automotive testing, certification and R&D service organisation based in Gurugram.
They will study and evaluate the Toyota Mirai on Indian roads and climatic conditions.
Power, Range, Refuelling Time
Toyota Kirloskar Motor said that the car runs on a hydrogen fuel cell which generates electric power using on-board hydrogen.
It produces 174hp and it can deliver a range up to 650 km in a single charge, with a refuelling time of five minutes.
In comparison, an EV takes 6-8 hours to charge.
Other disadvantages of EVs compared to FCEVs is that the capacity of a lithium battery in the former degrades over time and becomes a major problem when the battery is idle.
Hydrogen And Its Potential, Uses
The road transport ministry stated that India is committed to cleaner energy and using low-carbon means to achieve accelerated economic growth.
Hydrogen is a key element of this strategy since it will play a key role in the low-carbon energy pathways.
The ministry also noted that green hydrogen offers huge opportunities to decarbonise a range of sectors, including road transportation.
It is also gaining significant momentum globally.
FCEVs Preferred Over Battery EVs
Fuel cell EVs have been considered more viable as a long-term energy solution than battery electric vehicles.
Some of the benefits of Fuel cell EVs are that they do not require long charging times, and can be fuelled-up from a hydrogen fuel station in the same time it takes to fill a tank with petrol or diesel.
But in order for hydrogen to be sustainable as a fuel source, it cannot be generated from coal but rather from renewable sources of energy.
This makes the manufacturing of hydrogen and consequently hydrogen fuel cell cars very expensive.
However, the Central Government is backing green hydrogen to act as a counterpoint to increasingly expensive petrol and diesel.
Reliance Industries is on the job, having announced plans to scale up the renewable energy infrastructure in the country with four dedicated gigafactories.