The Mirai fuel cell vehicle, Toyota’s future-focused zero CO2 emission sedan, has taken victory in the first ever e-Rally Monte-Carlo, a 1,000km regularity rally for ‘zero-emission’ cars run between Fontainebleau and Monaco.
Winning drivers Artur Prusak and Thierry Benchetrit steered one of three Mirai entered by Toyota France, with all completing the course and clearly demonstrating the performance and sustainability of Toyota’s fuel cell technology over a long distance.
Thirty-five crews of nine different nationalities were registered, primarily with battery-electric vehicles.
Already winners of the FIA Alternative Energies Cup in 2015 and 2016, as well as the Monte-Carlo New Energies Rally in 2013 (in a Toyota Prius), Prusak and co-driver Benchetrit have now added another significant trophy to their cabinet.
“We are thrilled to have won because it is the first time in history a rally of this size has been organised for zero-emission cars and we have achieved a world first with a fuel cell-powered competition car,” Prusak said.
“The Toyota Mirai ran perfectly for the whole circuit. It is comfortable, powerful and performed as well on the motorway as it did on the winding roads of the regularity sections. We found its driving range can exceed 500km,” Benchetrit added.
The Toyota Mirai driven by the Mayor of Monaco Georges Marsan and his assistant and co-driver Jacques Pastor finished in an impressive sixth place.
“We really enjoyed ourselves with this Mirai, which showed that sustainable mobility can also be synonymous with performance,” Monsieur Marsan said.
“The success of this test is a major step towards the wider roll-out of fuel cell cars, and The Office of the Mayor of Monaco is proud to have taken part,” he said.
The third Mirai, entrusted to a crew of French journalists, took 11th place and would have undoubtedly done better had it not been for a navigation slip-up in the first regularity zone, as it performed consistently in the later stages.
The Toyota Mirai is currently on sale in Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and The Netherlands, as well as selected markets in the United States.
Three Mirai vehicles are currently in Australia on a three-year mission to help establish fuel cell technology in this country.