What’s it like to live with the Toyota Mirai?
Automakers have flirted with hydrogen fuel cell cars for well over a decade, and a few automakers are still at it — including Toyota. In fact, not only is their new Mirai a much better looking car than the previous generation, but with a 30% range boost from the previous-generation Mirai to over 400 miles on a tank, it makes a serious case to switching from a gas or diesel car. There’s just one problem, as Tommy demonstrates in the video below. What’s it like to actually live with something like a brand new Toyota Mirai?
If Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell offering looks appealing from the jump, here’s what you need to know. Prices start at $49,500 for the base XLE, rising to $66,000 and up (before destination) for the fully-loaded Limited. In either case it’s not as cost-efficient as, say, a Toyota Avalon Hybrid. But, electric cars, on the whole, still run pricier than their gas or even hybrid counterparts. As a way to entice prospective owners into the hydrogen option, Toyota does offer complementary fuel-ups for six years (or $15,000 worth, whichever comes first). Outside general maintenance, just being able to drive without any other worries is a good reason to seriously consider a Mirai.
That is, assuming you live somewhere with hydrogen filling stations. Here in the U.S., that means living in California…and that’s virtually it. Only a handful of stations dot the landscape even in the most forward-thinking zero-emissions state, so that’s your first hurdle? The second? Even if you do live close to enough to fuel up, there’s the experience once you get there.
It’s perhaps not as convenient as you might think…
Under ideal conditions, filling up with hydrogen should take roughly as long as a gasoline or diesel car. You have to lock the nozzle in place since the fuel is under pressure (up to 10,000 psi), but once you do that you should be off to the races. However, if you have several cars in line waiting for hydrogen, the station’s pressure can actually drop off temporarily, slowing everyone down. The nozzle can also freeze if several cars are using it in a row…sticking the nozzle to vehicles and making it tougher to remove until it thaws out.
At the moment, partially because there’s so little infrastructure, it can cost a fair amount to fill up a car with hydrogen. Refueling the Mirai, for example, costs about $90 a throw if you had to pay for it (by the kilogram) yourself. That said, provided everything runs smoothly, you can drive around without emitting anything other than water, which is a nice benefit.
Check out more on the Mirai itself and what living with it is like in Tommy’s video below: