Hydrogen-powered Toyota wins Monte Carlo e-rally

A Toyota Mirai powered by a hydrogen fuel cell has claimed first place at the inaugural Monte Carlo e-rally, an FIA event open only to zero-emissions vehicles.

(Credit: Toyota)
(Credit: Toyota)

Driven by Artur Prusak and Thierry Benchetrit, the Toyota successfully completed the 1,000km course ahead of 34 other crews from nine different countries, most of whom were competing in electric vehicles. The Mirai was supported by a mobile hydrogen refuelling station over the five-day event, provided by French industrial gas company Air Liquide. According to Toyota, the victory also marks the longest ever distance travelled in France by hydrogen-powered cars.

“We are thrilled to have won because it is the first time in history that a rally of this size has been organised for zero-emission cars and we have achieved a world first with a hydrogen powered competition car,” said Prusak and Benchetrit, who are also the current world champions of the FIA Alternative Energies Cup.  

(Credit: Toyota)
(Credit: Toyota)

“The Toyota Mirai performed perfectly for the whole circuit. It is comfortable, powerful, and performs as well on the motorway sections as it does on the winding roads of the regularity sections. We found that its driving range can exceed 500 km.”   

Competing for Toyota alongside Prusak and Benchetrit was Mayor of Monaco George Marsan and his co-driver, Jacques Pastor. The pair, who were also driving a hydrogen-powered Mirai, finished six in the overall standings.

“It was the first time that I took part in a rally, and the first time a hydrogen powered car has competed,” said Marsan.

“We really enjoyed ourselves with this Mirai, which showed that sustainable mobility can also be synonymous with performance. The success of this test is a major step towards the roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell cars. The Office of the Mayor of Monaco is proud to have taken part, and with such a good result.”

The Mirai features the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which the company describes as a fusion of fuel cell technology with hybrid technology. The system uses Toyota-developed components including the Toyota FC Stack, FC boost converter, and high-pressure hydrogen tanks.

The new Toyota FC Stack achieves a maximum output of 114kW (155 DIN hp) and power output density of 3.1kW/L. A converter boosts power generated in the Toyota FC Stack to 650V. Tanks with a three-layer structure made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic and other materials are used to store hydrogen at 70MPa (or approximately 700 bar).