There are always risks when adopting an emerging technology. Buyers of the hydrogen fuel cell-powered Toyota Mirai, for instance, constantly run the risk of running out of fuel, as hydrogen filling stations are thin on ground across most of the world.
The problem is particularly acute in Australia, a massive country with no hydrogen filling stations at all. Toyota has partially circumvented the issue by not actually selling the Mirai in Australia, but the local outpost of the Japanese giant does run a fleet of three Mirai demonstrators.
Faced with the possibility of not actually being able to run it Mirais, Toyota Australia devised a stop-gap solution: a mobile hydrogen filling station.
It’s a big thing, mounted in a semi-trailer. A generator and compressor pump the liquified hydrogen, which is delivered to the rig in cooled and pressurized bottles. There’s enough space left over to haul a single Mirai, as well.
A top of the range Hino 700 Series tractor provides the motive force - Hino is a subsidiary of Toyota.
The executive behind the mobile refueller, Bernie O’Connor, said: “The decision to invest in a mobile refueller demonstrates Toyota’s commitment to maintaining its leading role in developing flexible and personal mobility solutions for the next 100 years.
“This is a practical and necessary measure to enable people to learn about, and experience first-hand, the game-changing Mirai and its ground-breaking technology.”
Of course, the mobile refueller rig isn’t a particularly sustainable solution, as the emissions generated by the Hino’s diesel engine, the generator, and the trucks delivering supplies to it completely obliterate the environmental benefits of running a Mirai.
But if the rig was itself powered by hydrogen, and could carry enough to sustain itself while travelling thousands of miles to remote locations, it could work in sparsely populated areas like Australia where the nearest town big enough to sustain a costly hydrogen filling station could be hundreds of miles away.