A video of Toyota’s Mirai fuel cell vehicle being hand-built is dramatic without a word being spoken.
Consisting of 19 minutes of video at the Motomachi Plant in Toyota City, Japan, workers put together with fastidious care a Mirai from bare body shell to finished car.
Notably absent are robots, and this hands-on process is indeed more labor intensive, and as near to custom-made as a major manufacturer can muster.
This plant was formerly known as the LFA Works, and is where the $375,000 Lexus LFA supercar was also built, as well as the Toyota Supra.
This single video is pieced together from several videos Toyota posted to its media site.
If you notice the hand gestures, this is a safety protocol practiced in Japan called pointing and calling. Also noteworthy are the exotic hand tools among other specialized equipment used to assemble the vehicle to specification.
You won’t find those tools at Harbor Freight, or even off the Snap-On dealer’s truck.
The assembly line for the Toyota Mirai is divided into three main sections: trim, chassis/fuel cell assembly, and final assembly. In each section, there are sub-assembly areas for parts installation. This is an overview of the production line as well as the parts selection process located close to the assembly line.
Before each Toyota Mirai body is brought to the former LFA Works assembly line, it is painted at the mass production line at Motomachi Plant. The vehicle doors are then removed to enable more efficient interior work for Toyota’s highly skilled craftspeople, as well as preventing doors from being damaged. This video also showcases: wire harness, dash silencer, brake fluid tank, rear combination lamp, instrument panel, main battery, roof lining, and rear bumper installation.
The Toyota Mirai fuel cell sedan features a CFRP Stack Frame which is produced at the assembly area of Toyota’s Motomachi Plant, formerly the LFA Works. Following the installation of the fuel cell stack, the boost converter, hydrogen tank and tubes are fitted to the vehicle. This video also shows the hydrogen leak test which is performed using helium. Next, the vehicle’s fuel cell stack and hydrogen tank are installed at the same time, followed by preparation of the electric motor and marriage of the air compressor to the fuel cell stack. Before the chassis assembly is complete, the drive shaft, front axle, inverter, water heating unit, high voltage cable, front suspension, motor, rear axle, front bumper and wheels are installed.
The final processes before the Toyota Mirai fuel cell sedan rolls off the assembly line are the installation and assembly of the external power supply system, vehicle interior, engine bay, windshield, and rear windows. The glue used to affix the windows to the frame is 8 mm high and 12 mm wide, applied by highly skilled craftspeople at a consistent rate. This video also features the final interior trim installations, including: seats, doors, steering wheel and inverter cover. An ignition check is then performed on the vehicle before it is send for final inspection.
Detailed quality control and inspection is performed on the Toyota Mirai before it leaves the Motomachi Plant, on its way to customers. Toyota specialists use both visual and tactile inspection to ensure the vehicle is of the highest quality and without any defect before leaving the factory.