Toyota recalls all 2,800 hydrogen Mirai cars over safety hazard

15 Feb 2017

The Toyota Mirai on display in 2015. Image: Darren Brode/Shutterstock

Toyota’s dream of starting a hydrogen car revolution has already hit a major stumbling block, as it recalls all of its 2,800 Mirai hydrogen fuel cell cars.

As electric vehicles are viewed as the future of environmentally conscious transportation, Toyota has been banking on the hydrogen fuel cell with its Mirai car (not to be confused with the Mirai botnet discovered last September).

Back in 2015 on ‘Back to the Future Day’, Toyota described how the hydrogen gas produced at landfill sites across the globe could be harnessed and used as hydrogen fuel for cars, emitting nothing but water vapour.

However, the company has already stumbled into a severe pothole, announcing a full global recall of its cars over serious safety concerns.

According to Reuters, Toyota said that in the right – or wrong – conditions, the car’s fuel cell could rapidly exceed the maximum voltage.

This could occur when the accelerator pedal is pressed firmly down after a car has been driving on cruise control for a long period of time.

Hyundai to enter the market

Since it was launched in its native Japan in 2014, 2,840 cars have been sold across the world to eager customers, reaching the US, Europe and the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the worry created by the recall, Toyota has said that the error is a straightforward software fix that can be done in half an hour at a Toyota dealership.

Currently, Toyota remains the only notable manufacturer to release a hydrogen fuel cell car on the market, but its South Korean rival Hyundai has revealed its own plan to launch its own SUV version sometime this year.

Toyota took the step back in 2015 to encourage more manufacturers to develop hydrogen fuel cell cars by releasing more than 5,000 patents of its technology for free.

Updated, 2.37pm, 15 February 2017: A Toyota spokesperson has since said that it is not a recall but a ‘customer satisfaction campaign’ that will include the necessary software update to prevent future hazards.

The Toyota Mirai on display in 2015. Image: Darren Brode/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic