Member portrait

This article is part of Hydrogen Denmark’s series of member portraits. Here we highligt the members’ work for hydrogen- and Power-to-X technologies for the benefit of both climate, employment and Danish exports.

From Mirai to the Olympics: Toyota wants to create zero-emission society

In March 2021, the new Mirai, Toyota’s second generation hydrogen car, arrived on Danish soil. Like its predecessor, the new Mirai is pollution-free, but it is larger, lower and more aerodynamic than its predecessor. However, the hydrogen car Mirai is not the only step that the Japanese mobility group is taking in its mission to go beyond zero.

Already in 2015, Toyota formulated its own environmental strategy, the so-called Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050. The strategy focuses on six main areas. One of the focus areas is that all cars that Toyota produces must be zero-emission cars by 2050. This includes both hydrogen cars and battery-electric cars .

The other focus areas in Toyota’s strategy are i.a. to achieve zero emissions from the entire life cycle of the car and the establishment of emission-free factories. In order to achieve these ambitious goals, optimization of resource consumption in production, as well as minimization of water consumption in the production process, and an increased focus on recycling materials are also included in Toyota’s strategy.

All of these initiatives should culminate in Toyota’s overall ideal of establishing a society that is in harmony with nature. Among other things, expressed in Toyota’s ambition to create the future city ‘Woven City’, which is a city under construction on Toyota’s own grounds at the foot of Japan’s iconic mountain Mount Fuji. The Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group is involved in designing the city, which i.a. must use hydrogen as an energy source for all activity in the city.


In Denmark, there are currently no plans for a hydrogen-based city, although, you can contribute to a better climate by driving in Toyota’s hydrogen car Mirai.

The almost 5 meter long car contains three hydrogen tanks, which can hold approx. 5.6 kilos of hydrogen. The car has a range of about 650 kilometers, although in a record attempt in May it managed to drive a full 1,003 kilometers on a single refueling.

The car’s fuel cell, which converts hydrogen into electricity using oxygen, has a specially designed chemical filter that purifies the air that is sucked into the fuel cell. As a result, the air entering the fuel cell is cleaner than the air around the car. Therefore, the car actually helps to clean the air while driving. The only thing the car emits is water and water vapor; 7 liters per 100 kilometers driven.

But it is not only these characteristics that must ensure that the population adopts the hydrogen car. Anders Tystrup, Toyota Denmark’s press manager, says: “The first thing you notice about the new Mirai is the design. The fuel cell stack is located in the engine compartment, instead of under the driver’s seat, as is the case with the first generation Mirai. Thus, we have been able to lower the seat position, which gives the car a lower center of gravity and thus better driving characteristics and a more aerodynamic expression. The first generation spoke a lot to sanity and those technologically interested. Now the second generation must speak to the feelings of the people. It is still important that it is a hydrogen car, but it is in the first place the car’s beautiful design and good driving characteristics that should speak to people. The fact that it is also a pollution-free hydrogen car is just extra icing on top of the cake, but not the primary thing that should help arouse people’s interest in the new Mirai.”

Fotos: Toyota Danmark

Broad perspectives

In addition to hydrogen vehicles for passenger transport, Toyota is also working to implement hydrogen technology in commercial and heavy vehicles, such as trucks and buses, as well as in sectors other than the mobility sector.

Tystrup: “We deliver fuel cells for trucks in the US, develop hydrogen buses, and we are also involved in shipping, where we has delivered the fuel cell to the world’s first self-sufficient hydrogen-powered ship, the Energy Observer.”


Natural disasters

Japan, as a home market, is both a large and important market for Toyota. Tystrup: “In addition to mobility solutions, we also use hydrogen in other sectors. Unfortunately, Japan is often hit by natural disasters, which increase the risk of power outages. We have therefore developed a generator that is hydrogen powered and a mobile medical clinic that runs on hydrogen so that it can be used when there is a power failure in disaster situations.”

A detail of the new Mirai for the Japanese and American markets is that you can buy a device that makes it possible to connect the Mirai to your house, so that in the event of a power failure you can use the car as a power generator and send power from the hydrogen car to the house. In fact, a fully-fledged Mirai can supply an average household with power for up to a week.

These initiatives make it clear that the Japanese mobility group is actively incorporating hydrogen into their technology mix on the way to beyond zero, which is not only an expression of contributing to a world without emissions, but also of contributing to a better society. However, the hydrogen effort is not alone, the press officer emphasizes: “Toyota believes and invests in hydrogen, but we are also working on other low- and zero-emission technologies. By combining the technologies in a smart way, we will do our part to ensure that the green transition is a success.”