Lyft ride hailing firm new benefactor of hydrogen fuel cell-powered Toyota Mirai fleet

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
A row of Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to be deployed in the Vancouver fleet of the Lyft ride hailing service.

In cooperation with Toyota Credit Canada, Toyota Canada has put together a deal to supply two dozen of its zero-emission Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell cars to ride hailing company Lyft in British Columbia, after which a select group of Lyft drivers will be able to rent these 24 cars through Toyota’s new KINTO Share program.

Eligible Lyft drivers will be able to use the KINTO Share app to rent one of the Mirai cars at $198 per week (plus taxes and fees, inclusive of insurance, scheduled maintenance, and unlimited km), at which point one of three Greater Vancouver Toyota dealerships will facilitate the rental.

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
The Mirai provides a roomy and accommodating second row that’s ideal for a taxi-like ride hailing service.

“Toyota’s KINTO Share program is proud to partner with Lyft to demonstrate a zero-emission mobility-as-a-service model in another important step toward achieving our global sustainability objectives,” commented Mitchell Foreman, Director of Advanced and Connected Technologies at Toyota Canada. “This proof-of-concept project also allows more Canadians to experience hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles first-hand, demonstrating their viability and efficiency, especially for fleets.”

While just a trial program, Toyota soon hopes to roll it out across Canada in a larger scale. The program also provides an opportunity for hydrogen fuel-cell awareness.

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
Look for the “LYFT” sticker in the window.

“Everybody who sits in the back seat [of a Mirai] is going to be able to learn a little bit more about hydrogen technology,” stated Stephen Beatty, Toyota Canada’s Vice President, Corporate. “There’s no way that we could do that on our own.”

The partnership lifts up Lyft’s image as well as Toyota’s, which gains positives for adding to its zero-emissions fleet.

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
Many types of people choose to drive for Lyft in order to supplement their income.

“Lyft’s mission is to improve peoples’ lives with the world’s best transportation, and to achieve this, we need to make transportation more sustainable,” added Peter Lukomskyj, General Manager, Lyft in B.C. “This partnership will better serve current drivers and those who don’t have a vehicle, but want to drive with Lyft for supplemental income, while moving us toward our goal of reaching 100-percent electric vehicles on the platform by 2030.”

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
Toyota has introduced a redesigned Mirai for 2021.

The Mirai, which comes standard with a 151-horsepower electric motor good for 247 pound-feet of torque, was the first mass produced hydrogen fuel-cell-powered EV in the world when Toyota launched six years ago. Instead of conventional plug-in electric vehicles that might requires days to completely recharge when hooked up to a regular 12-volt household-style power outlet, or at the minimum hours when using a fast-charger, the Mirai can be totally refuelled in approximately five minutes via specially outfitted hydrogen stations, which are now located in key locations around the Vancouver lower mainland.

The Mirai can be driven up to 500 kilometres between fills, and all the while only emits water from its tailpipe. Additionally, its zero-emission status makes it eligible for BC’s high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, resulting in quicker commutes during peak rush hours. This can be critical for the profitability of a ride hailing driver.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Toyota


Toyota sells 15-million hybrid vehicles

2020 Toyota Prius Prime
Toyota has expanded the Prius lineup to include the uniquely styled plug-in Prime.

Plenty of carmakers build hybrid vehicles, but none has been as successful at partial electrification as Toyota. Of course, it had a head start, creating the entire sector in 1997 with the launch of its original Prius. Now, 23 years later, Toyota has filled the world with more than 15 million hybrid vehicles, while accounting for 80 percent of all hybrid sales globally.

An updated version of that first-generation Prius arrived in Canada for 2000, and now that model is well into its fourth generation and an automotive icon. No other hybrid electric car has sold anywhere near as well as the Prius, plus Toyota has a number of other hybrids to its credit as well.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
The new Corolla Hybrid makes a lot of sense and should sell well.

While the full-size Prius v (for volume) was discontinued in 2017 and subcompact Prius c was cancelled last year, the plug-in Prius Prime is pointing Toyota in a more fully electrified direction. That model, which gets unique styling and the ability to drive at regular city and even highway speeds under full electric power, will be joined by a plug-in RAV4 Prime for 2021, which should be even more popular.

Speaking of popular, Toyota added a Corolla Hybrid to the gasoline-electric fleet for 2020, this model now going head-to-head against Honda’s Insight, which is little more than a restyled Civic hybrid, whereas the Camry Hybrid remains popular with those who require a bigger sedan.

2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid
The Camry Hybrid remains popular.

Toyota doesn’t offer its full-size Avalon Hybrid in Canada, but the aforementioned RAV4 Prime currently comes as a RAV4 Hybrid too, and its popularity will make sure no one in Canada is lamenting the loss of Toyota’s big flagship four-door sedan. Another SUV worth considering is the near-full-size Highlander Hybrid that’s oddly the only mid-size SUV available in the mainstream sector with a hybrid powertrain. Last but hardly least, Toyota offers fleet buyers one of the only hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles available, the one-of-a-kind Mirai taking the hybrid concept into a totally new direction.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Hard to believe that a competitor has never offered anything to rival Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid.

Notably, a considerable number of the 15 million hybrids sold under Toyota’s umbrella wore the Lexus badge, the Japanese automaker’s luxury division adding seven additional gasoline-electric models to the namesake brand’s eight. Starting from the least expensive is the entry-level UX 250h subcompact crossover, which is followed by the NX 300h compact crossover, the ES 300h mid-size luxury sedan, the RX 450h mid-size crossover SUV, the longer three-row RX 450h L, the LC 500h personal sport-luxury coupe, and lastly the Lexus LS 500h full-size sedan flagship (gone are the HS 250h, CT 200h and GS 450h).

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The RAV4 Hybrid will soon be available with a plug-in Prime drivetrain.

If you think that 15 hybrid models from two brands is an impressive accomplishment, considering for a moment that Toyota and Lexus sell 44 unique hybrid vehicles outside of Canada, while hybrids combined for 52 percent of Toyota’s overall sales volume in Europe last year.

So what does the future hold? Toyota plans to increase hybrid integration into more models moving forward, while continuing to develop its hydrogen fuel cell and full electric programs too. Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi announced in June 2019 that half of the carmaker’s global sales would be electrified by 2025. Expect a combination of hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and fully electric (BEV) vehicles, and with that latter category in mind, Terashi pointed out that an entirely new line of full electrics would be designed for international consumption.

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Toyota