The new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle has just set a distance record, and Toyota hopes the zero-emission Mirai will help make hydrogen cars as popular as Prius did for hybrid cars.
The 2016 Toyota Mirai, which is a bit larger than the Prius, just set a record 312 miles on a single fill, the longest driving range of any zero emission vehicle on the market, and it gets an EPA-estimated 67 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) city/highway/combined. That’s better than the Prius hybrid.
In case you haven’t heard, hydrogen is the next new thing, as it was a decade ago, before hybrids and electrics accelerated into the fast lane and left fuel cells in the dust.
Fuel cell vehicles like the Mirai are designed to compete with traditional internal combustion engines, including diesel, and hybrids, without using gasoline. Instead, Mirai creates electricity on demand using hydrogen, oxygen and a fuel cell, and emits nothing but water vapor in the process. Zero emissions.
Toyota is offering buyers three years of free hydrogen fill-ups, which will help defray the hefty cost of the Mirai, about $57,000 before tax credits. That’s about double the cost of the Prius.
Toyota also is offering an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on key fuel cell vehicle components including the FC stack and power control unit, FC hydrogen tanks and hybrid battery pack.
The Mirai is not the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
The Honda FCX Clarity has been leased to the public since 2007 (FCX stands for fuel cell experimental).
Mercedes-Benz drove an F-Cell B-Class around the world in 2012 to demonstrate its potential, and has been leasing it since last year.
Hyundai has been leasing the Tucson fuel cell SUV in California since last year, also with unlimited free fuel-ups.
But Toyota claims the Mirai is the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, which pits it up against Hyundai, which claims the Tucscon as the first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell SUV. The others are limited edition models, as Ford Focus and Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell models, for fleet testing.
Mirai goes on sale first in California, and will be rolled out elsewhere in the USA after that.
Would you buy a fuel cell vehicle?