Toyota’s second generation fuel cell vehicle is both a technological marvel and a more practical and user-friendly vehicle. Drive to find out more.
Back in 1997, Toyota embarked on a lonely journey to create the world’s first hybrid vehicle. Dubbed the Prius, the car was the type of car that was expected to bridge the gap between regular internal combustion engines and electric and hydrogen vehicles of the future. Not many automakers continued the difficult path, but Toyota stayed on course. Today, the 5th generation Prius is seen by many as one of his most technologically advanced cars. And Toyota’s hybrid technology has more than doubled the fuel economy he gets from internal combustion engines. Toyota has sold approximately 16 million hybrid vehicles to date, and has fully recovered its investment in hybrid technology.
The long bonnet and fastback roof make it feel like a grand tourer.
This is a Japanese company taking the next step by investing in fuel cell technology and the future of hydrogen. And this is the second Mirai. The first-generation Mirai, of which Toyota sold 10,000 units, was built in 2014 after Mercedes-Benz nearly shelved the Neckar hydrogen fuel cell project. What was once evolved into an actual car.
Toyota Mirai: powertrain, interior
Hydrogen in tank compressed to 10,000 psi.
The new Mirai is rear-wheel drive based on the Lexus LS. In addition, the overall length is 85mm longer, the wheelbase is 140mm longer, and he has three hydrogen tanks, two of which are arranged in a “T” shape under the floor and one mounted in the trunk. Under the hood, the fuel cell stack, manufactured in collaboration with BMW, combines compressed air and compressed hydrogen to generate electricity and water.
Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity.
The tank currently holds 5.6kg of hydrogen, giving the 2nd generation Mirai a range of around 640km on the WLTP cycle. To transmit power, the Mirai uses an electric motor placed just above the rear axle. Most of the power comes from the fuel cell stack, but like a powerful hybrid there’s also a 1.24 kWh lithium-ion battery that helps dampen the energy flow.
Fuel cells can take in and purify dirty air. EVs cannot.
The interior looks more like a GT than its predecessor. The high dashboard and low, sporty driving position are complemented by a racy fastback roofline and long, flat bonnet. Under the floor hydrogen is stored at a pressure of 10,000psi, and with the tank taking up so much space, the backseat is very cramped. A low roof means tall passengers have to brush their heads and not enough leg room.
H2 tanks under the floor and rear seats compromise space and comfort.
However, the seats are large and very supportive, especially in the front. The dash is split and its design is non-traditional. The quality level is average and the car feels functional rather than luxurious at this price point.The third hydrogen tank is located under the trunk, so there is only 321 liters of trunk space. . No wonder Toyota decided to set this car as a GT.
Toyota Mirai: ride, handling
But the Mirai is neither sporty nor fast. Designed to travel long distances comfortably, and weighing him as heavy as 1,937 kg, the rear-mounted electric motor can only manage a power-to-weight ratio of about 95 horsepower per tonne. Initial acceleration is decent, with 182 horsepower sent to the rear wheels via the electric motor, reaching 100 km/h in about 8.5 seconds. Even a short drive revealed its easy-going personality.
It drives like a regular EV, albeit with a chemistry lab under the hood.
The car is very sleek and rides like a Mercedes sedan, even with big 20-inch wheels. There was a bit of up and down movement on the badly paved cement sections, but the car felt relaxed, comfortable and effortless. Effortless long-distance driving is what this car excels at. As expected, the Mirai rolls pretty well in corners and is generally hesitant to carry a lot of speed.
Toyota Mirai: Verdict
It’s unlikely Toyota will sell the Mirai any time soon, but if it does, I’m sure some green early adopters will be interested. is all set to take off in India, this could be a responsible and fun way to stand out. If imported into India, it will cost around INR 140 crore to INR 160 crore depending on the tax exemption. Do you have a taker?
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