Toyota recalls thousands of hydrogen-powered Mirais

The Japanese car maker that is pushing hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to battery-powered cars says a glitch in its flagship model needs repairing.

Toyota says a problem with its software on the hydrogen-fule cell Mirai needs fixing. Benoit Tessier / Reuters

A software defect has forced Toyota Motor to recall thousands of its hydrogen-powered car, including those currently being tested in the UAE.

The car maker is recalling almost 3,000 zero-emission Mirai cars after software issues caused the system to shut down, according to Reuters. Hydrogen is used as a substitute to petrol, and a chemical reaction with outside air creates electricity to power the vehicle. However, the software glitch was sending more voltage than the engine could handle.

“In line with Toyota’s international protocol, Al Futtaim Motors will be applying a software update to the three Mirai vehicles currently being tested on UAE roads as part of a pilot plan,” a spokesman for Al Futtaim, the distributor of Toyota here, told The National.

The software update is anticipated to take less than an hour.

The cars in the UAE are part of a larger programme and began technical testing last year. However, Al Futtaim said that the public was not affected as the “vehicles are not available for sale in the UAE”.

Al Futtaim, Adnoc, Masdar and France’s Air Liquide announced last month a joint collaboration for the region’s first hydrogen station, which is expected to start construction in May. After the station’s completion, the Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV) was expected to be tested by government entities.

Al Futtaim’s senior managing director, Bertrand Thiebaut, told The National last week, that zero emission cars such as FCVs were the future for the company. “When rolled out on a large scale, [FCVs] will be the most suitable environmental solution to traditional petrol vehicles,” he said.

Adnoc and Air Liquide could not be reached for comment. Masdar referred The National to Al Futtaim.

Outside the UAE, Toyota said it would call back about 2,800 Mirai vehicles made between November 2014 and December 2016 to repair the defect.

Toyota launched Mirai – which means “future” in Japanese – in late 2014 as it looked to push further into the fast-growing market for environmentally friendly cars.

Mirai was its first mass-market hydrogen fuel-cell car.​

* with Reuters

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