Hydrogen proves itself as green car alternative

One of the vehicles Smartfleet picked as having the potential to change the future has made good on its promise, opening up further opportunities for green cars in the process. 

The Toyota Mirai, one of the key contenders in the hydrogen car market, has set the standard not just for hydrogen vehicles, but all zero-emission options. Range anxiety concerns have dominated talk around these vehicles - electric versions in particular - something that this car could put to rest. 

How far can it go?

According to figures from official Environmental Protection Agency tests published by Toyota, the Mirai will be able to travel an impressive 500 km on a single tank of hydrogen. 

Not only is the range impressive, but the fuel consumption figures are as well. The car will use only 4.1 litres of hydrogen for every 100 km travelled, making it a long time between fuel stops. 

Toyota says the Mirai is the only zero-emissions vehicle to get near this range, a fact that will no doubt spur electric car manufacturers into action. Continuing the theme of world firsts, Toyota says this is the first hydrogen-powered vehicle to be mass-produced, great for fleet managers who want to set the standard. 

Unfortunately, Australians will have to wait to get their hands on one. While Californian residents can put their name down to secure one now, the international release is dependent on the spread of the necessary supporting infrastructure.

Can electric cars catch up?

If any manufacturer can provide an all-electric alternative to rival the performance of this vehicle, it's Tesla. Elon Musk's company - responsible for the class-leading Model S - is already developing its replacement. 

The Model X is set to come tantalisingly close to the range offered by the Mirai. The estimated figures? Just over 430 km per charge. 

While this is less than what the Mirai is set to offer consumers, the all-electric variant will have a few advantages over its rival. Because it only needs electricity, it can be charged at home. On top of this, the infrastructure for these vehicles is already much larger than that of hydrogen cars, with further plans for expansion in place. 

Other companies seem to have a different idea of 'catching up' to the Mirai. While Tesla took it to mean increasing its range, the engineers over at Koenigsegg have found a different approach. 

Instead, the Swedish marque's approach is to get over range anxiety by getting drivers there faster. While its Regera can run in all-electric mode and be charged at home like a Tesla, it also sports a twin-turbo V8 for a combined power figure of over 1,500 horsepower, nearly two Formula One cars. 

On paper it seems like a good idea, but we think fleet managers might stick to Teslas and Toyotas instead.