Fancy a car that emits just water?
The Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle at the 3rd annual edition of the International Conference on Future Mobility. - Photo by Juidin Bernarrd
Dubai - These cars run on hydrogen, doing away with harmful fumes and emissions
Published: Tue 7 Nov 2017, 11:00 PM
Last updated: Wed 8 Nov 2017, 7:20 PM
Imagine driving a car that doesn't emit harmful fumes but clean water instead?
A hydrogen-powered vehicle (HPV) was displayed at the third International Conference on Future Mobility (ICFM) in Dubai on Tuesday. The car called Mirai (which means 'The Future' in Japanese) is manufactured by Japanese carmaker Toyota.
Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the ICFM, Saud Abbasi, managing director of Toyota-UAE, said unlike conventional vehicles which run on gasoline or diesel, HPVs are powered by fuel cells that combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which runs the motor. No fumes are emitted; only water is produced as a by-product by converting hydrogen gas into electricity. And the water is said to be clean enough to drink.
He added that when it comes to UAE Vision 2021, which is aimed at reducing the country's dependence on fossil fuel, hybrid cars and electric vehicles are not the only game in town.
Abassi said these cars run on hydrogen, which is most abundant element in the universe. "We need to tap this rich resource to make us less dependent on fossil fuel." (See box story on how HPVs run)
Toyota Mirai is not yet commercially available in the UAE but there are three vehicles in the country that are being tested by Toyota for almost a year.
"Our idea is to test this Mirai for a long period to ensure its safety like what we did when we introduced the hybrid Toyota Camry for the Roads and Transport Authority's Dubai Taxi. We first tested 10 hybrid cars nine years ago and now Dubai Taxi has a fleet of around 1,200 hybrid cars," Abbasi said.
Abbasi was personally behind the Mirai steering wheel and he said that it can travel for around 500 kilometres (approximately twice back and forth from Dubai to Abu Dhabi) on a full tank. Mirai also has a strong torque so acceleration is brisk.
Abbasi also said that compared to other electric cars, an HPV or fuel-celled car takes only three to five minutes to get full tank, compared to an average of one hour for electric cars to be fully charged.
At present there is only one hydrogen refilling station in the UAE and the entire region and it was unveiled recently at Toyota's Al Badia showroom in Dubai Festival City. He said he is hoping that this move will eventually usher in the UAE's transformation into a "hydrogen society" in terms of transportation and mobility.
Dubai tests self-parking vehiclesOn the sidelines of the third International Conference on Future Mobility in Dubai, Khaleej Times was given a live demonstration on how a car can park on its own via remote parking assist using a smartphone. Oliver Niederer, customer service executive at Mercedes-Benz ME, showed how the semi-autonomous Mercedes E400 can search for a suitable parking space and park itself automatically under 30 seconds at the press of a button, whilst he retained control of the accelerator and brake at all times.
The car will steer itself until it is safely parked. A note though: The driver should not lift his finger off the smartphone lest the connection with the car is lost and the self-parking is terminated.
Lennart Mueller-Teut, head of marketing and communications at Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East said: "The Mercedes-Benz E 400, with its host of connected capabilities, demonstrates the great possibilities stemming from the linking of the physical and digital spheres."
He added: "These connected features are not yet commercially available in the UAE. The E 400 was flown directly from Germany for the Conference."
Dubai tests self-parking vehicles 1-At speeds below 35kmph, the app (active parking assist) identifies a suitable parking space -both parallel and perpendicular and steers the vehicle into it automatically.
2-If the vehicle is travelling below 30kmph, active parking assist will display a 'P' and an arrow on the dashboard to indicate when it has identified a suitable parking space
3-The driver then just has to engage reverse gear, confirm the parking suggestion and drive no faster than 10kmph. The steering is controlled entirely by the app - it steers and brakes the vehicle automatically and indicates in the instrument display what actions the driver needs to take.
4-The system works with great precision: The parking space only needs to be one-metre longer than the vehicle for automatic parking to proceed. If the distance to other vehicles or obstacles should become too small during the parking process, the app provides the driver with audible and visual warning signals.
5-During parking, 10 ultrasonic sensors - six in the front bumper and four in the rear - measure the vehicle's clearance at the front and back. Active parking assist's control unit processes the signals from the sensors and calculates the best angle of approach into the parking space. The car will steer itself until it is safely parked. A note though: The driver should not lift his finger
off the smartphone lest the connection with the car is lost and the self-parking is terminated. Mercedes E400 is not yet commercially available in the UAE. It was flown directly from Germany for the Conference.