Toyota’s UAE dealer Al-Futtaim Motors, in collaboration with France’s Air Liquide, have jointly inaugurated the UAE’s first hydrogen station in Dubai Festival City, to be used by Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). However, don’t pull out your wallets to buy a hydrogen-powered car just yet.
The new facility comes following the launch of a collaborative study about the feasibility of “establishing a hydrogen-based society” in the UAE, aiming at drastically lowering CO2 emissions in line with the UAE Vision 2021.
The new hydrogen station, based at the Toyota service centre in Al Badia, will “enable larger-scale deployment of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles as part of a pilot program which started in May 2017, aiming at testing the zero-emission FCEV technology on UAE roads.”
At hand during the event was the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai that emits only water from the tail pipe. In the onboard Fuel Cell Stack, hydrogen combines with oxygen in the air to generate electricity that powers the vehicle’s electric motor, so the drive experience is very much like that of an electric car such as Tesla, only without the excruciatingly long recharging times. The Mirai does not require external electric charging, can be refilled with hydrogen in less than 5 minutes and is able to travel up to a claimed 500 km on a full tank.
It remains to be seen if hydrogen-powered cars are embraced as widely as the electric cars that seems to be all the rage nowadays, as the Mirai and other fuel-cell cars from Honda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have failed to go mainstream in other more-developed markets so far. The Mirai costs the equivalent of Dhs 210,000 in the United States.