2016 Toyota Mirai Review With The LAcarGuy, First US Drives Coming In July – Video

2 years ago by Jay Cole 102

Mike Sullivan of LAcarGuy fame, and who owns Toyota of Santa Monica and Toyota of Hollywood (as well as being a friend of this site), headed down to Torrance, California last week and picked up the first Toyota Mirai in the US.   Here is his review of the 300 mile, fuel cell vehicle that we thought we would pass along.

Mike Sullivan Gives Us An Early Look At The First Toyota Mirai In The US

Mike Sullivan Gives Us An Early Look At The First Toyota Mirai In The US

Mike says that the Mirai is the “most important launch” he has been involved with over in his 39 years in the business; which is saying a lot as he has 8 other dealership nameplates in his stable.

Mike also was at the helm of the largest volume Fisker dealership in the country before the parent company ran into trouble, while his VW dealership sold the first e-Golf to be delivered in the US, and he is also able to boost being the first automotive dealership group in the US to offer EV stations that are open to the general public.

So despite one’s opinion on the viability or place of the fuel cell car in America’s future, or its competitive abilities against the plug-in electric vehicle, Mr. Sullivan has shown himself open to trying out something (anything) new, and you can really tell he is passionate about supporting ecologically friendly products and the ‘green‘ lifestyle in general.

The Toyota Mirai is priced at $57,500 before incentives, and launches in the US in October via a $499/month lease program (with $3,649 down), and Mike’s Toyota Santa Monica location will be one of eight dealers in California to offer the product.  First consumer test drives will be available in July.

Toyota Mirai Production Is Very Limited Due To Manufacturing Limitations

Toyota Mirai Production Is Very Constrained Due To The Complex Nature Of The Build And The Manufacturing Limitations At Toyota’s LFA Works/Motamachi Assembly Plant in Toyota City.  The Maximum Output Is About 10 Mirais Per Day

Toyota hopes to sell 300 copies of the Mirai in the US this year and 3,000 through the end of 2017, but the maximum ceiling for production of the hand-built car according to the Mira’s Chief Engineer Yoshikazu Tanaka is 3,000/per year indefinitely at Toyota’s LFA Works facility.

“Going beyond 3,000 vehicles a year would require a breakthrough in the way they are manufactured.” 

So, the Toyota Mirai, and really fuel cell technology found in any other manufacturer’s current offerings, pose no real threat to the plug-in electric vehicles of today.

It is believed Toyota has more than sold out all the allocation allotted to Japan already for the next 3 years, so if you really want to drive your very own Mirai anytime soon in the US, we suggest you give Mike a call quick.

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102 responses to "2016 Toyota Mirai Review With The LAcarGuy, First US Drives Coming In July – Video"

  1. David Murray says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen the interior of the car. I dislike it greatly. It is similar to the dash layout of a Prius, which I also hate. (and I used to own several Priuses, so I would know)

    Obviously I also dislike the exterior design of the car, especially the front.

    And I also dislike the fuel source.

    Needless to say, I won’t be buying one.

    1. no comment says:

      i don’t care for the design of this car either. i didn’t watch the whole video but i get the impression that FCEVs will require more maintenance than BEVs or EREVs and possible more maintenance than is required for PHEVs.

      from what i have seen in BEVs, PHEVs and FCEVs, i have not seen a better, more practical, option than the Chevrolet Volt, although my perspective is tainted by the fact that i fall within the daily driving range for which the Volt was designed.

      1. Braben says:

        The one problem with the Volt is that the interior is too small for many people. I’m still puzzled why they didn’t make the Volt 2 a bit bigger. If they had, it would be a no-brainer …

        Regarding the Mirai, IMO it’s one of the ugliest cars ever built. I have no idea what they were thinking. But I also find many other Japanese cars super ugly. I wonder if it’s just some kind of cultural difference.

        The video is actually pretty interesting. It shows that the Mirai drives just like any other EV. I still don’t understand why people on this forum are so hostile towards fuel cells. It’s very early days, but in the end a plugin-vehicle with a medium-range battery plus a fuel cell for long-range travel might still turn out to be the best solution.

        1. no comment says:

          a bigger car would not be built as a Volt; the Volt is what it is. if GM wanted to build a bigger car, that car would be built as another model; like the Cadillac CT6.

        2. Lensman says:

          Braben said:

          “I still don’t understand why people on this forum are so hostile towards fuel cells. It’s very early days…”

          Here is a good summary, one suitable for those who don’t want to dive into the scientific details:


          1. Grady says:

            THIS!!!! Thanks for the link! I’ve been wanting to refresh myself on those exact details.

            To paraphrase, a hydrogen economy would be a temporary setback for renewables and mostly benefit the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. And, hydrogen is expensive to compress and store making it unsuitable for widespread usage as a fuel when compared to alternatives.

            Hydrogen’s physical properties as the smallest lightest and most abundant atom in the universe make it the best fuel in some undeniably interesting ways. But many of those same properties make it difficult to work with. Ironically, gasoline is very suitable for widespread usage as a fuel…if you completely discount the environmental impact of extracting oil and burning it.

            Anyone worried about the fiery dangers of a battery should be curious about the explosive properties of hydrogen. Gasoline is far less explosive than hydrogen (and batteries – with some fiery downsides – are safer than gasoline).

            1. Mike777 says:


              Difficult to make hydrogen and store it. Hydrogen isn’t a source of energy, you can’t mine it, you can convert something else to hydrogen, like methane, but then you lose energy in the process. Hydrogen from water( in a global drought? ), is extremely inefficient. Hydrogen from methane gives you No Help with global warming, it actually makes things worse. As methane wells typically leak like sieves.
              Hydrogen must be compressed to store sufficient energy, which requires energy.
              The energy to do all this could be used to directly run an EV from a battery, and get you Twice as far.
              Hydrogen likes to leak.
              Hydrogen has a general problem of metal embrittlement, so you need special tanks.
              Hydrogen leaks as an invisible gas.
              Hydrogen is extremely flammable with an invisible flame.
              Right now hydrogen is a loser vs. current batteries, not to speak of the battery chemistry in the coming solid state batteries.

          2. Braben says:

            You can find biased articles one way or the other. But I just don’t see an alternative if we want an energy storage solution that is comparable to gasoline in terms of range and speed of refueling.

            Fossil fuels are finite, extraction methods like fracking harm the environment, and we need to bring down CO2 emissions. Batteries are too heavy and recharging times are too long; what might work for a small amount of high-end luxury cars is not necessarily scalable to the mass market.

            I don’t know if hydrogen will be successful or not. All I’m saying is that it’s way too early to tell. Until then, we need to explore all possible avenues.

        3. >>>> a medium-range battery plus a fuel cell for long-range travel might still turn out to be the best solution <<<<

          You answered your own question… hydrogen with a real battery (that can be recharged with a plug or inductively) will drive almost exclusively on batteries.

          So, the actual use of the MEGA expensive hydrogen station with a mega expensive fuel cell on board will be drastically reduced. But, those hydrogen bits still cost a fortune, and are still 1/3 the energy efficiency of batteries.

          High cost, low use equals not viable.

          That infrequent long distance trip can just as easily be done with a very competent DC quick charge network and cars with 200-300 miles of range.

          Simple, and ready to implement today… and exactly what Tesla is doing.

          1. Mike777 says:

            Exactly. The Volt has made the hydrogen car OBSOLETE.

            The Tesla has destroyed any reason for hydrogen.

      2. Martin T says:

        I sat in one in japan in April and it’s typical of the enclosed interior feel.

        Prefer my Volts Spacious feel – but that is from history of cars owned previously, so claustrophobic is not my first desire….

        Look it’s ok and I enjoy the interior presentation and unusual exterior (at least is bold and gutsy vs GM 2016 beige copy of market quo)

        The problem is this vehicle should have been a long range plug in – NOT a Government Fuel company Appeasement Hydrogen Fuelled one.

        This I why I don’t support it and counter act it at every opportunity even though I appreciate Toyota’s efforts in progressing EV’s of any description.

        Plug in’s are the future – Hydrogen is just another crazy “side-show” that hopefully will fail sooner rather than later – which it will.

  2. Gsned57 says:

    How much is Toyota loosing per car? Not including the non recurring already sunk I can’t believe they are making these for a profit. Even if they are I don’t want to subsidize the refueling network.

    1. Mike777 says:

      CAARB is funding the whole thing. Huge Taxpayer scam.

      1. Jelloslug says:

        CARB is planning on spending millions to help build hydrogen stations. Imagine how many DC quick charge stations you could build with that kind of money.

      2. The funding for hydrogen infrastructure is an act of the California state assembly:


        • Extends ARFVTP through January 1, 2024
        • To transform California’s transportation market into a diverse collection of alternative fuels and technologies and reduce California’s dependence on petroleum.
        • Invests up to $100 million per year in the ARFVT Program
        • New hydrogen provisions
        • •
        Designates up to $20M per year to hydrogen infrastructure. Goal is network of at least 100 hydrogen stations
        Air Resources Board and Energy Commission to work collaboratively to assess pace of fuel cell vehicle deployment in California

        Hydrogen Infrastructure Funding (PON-13-607)
        California Energy Commission (CEC) awarded $46.6 million for 28 new stations, one mobile refueler, and O&M support (July 2014)

        Hydrogen Development Projects
        Station Funding
        • $81.5 million for 51 stations
        • Expected to be operational by October 2015
        • Goal: Fund 100 Stations by 2020 Other Funding Activities
        • AC Transit Fuel Cell Bus Station – $3m
        • California Department of Food and Agriculture Division of Weights and Measures (Retail Dispensing Fuel Standards) – $4m
        • UC Irvine STREET Model = $1.5m
        • SCAQMD Regional Readiness – $299,360
        • Funded ZEV Position at GOBIZ

    2. Lensman says:

      Gsned57 said:

      “How much is Toyota [losing] per car? Not including the non recurring already sunk I can’t believe they are making these for a profit. Even if they are I don’t want to subsidize the refueling network.”

      Keep in mind Toyota is a Japanese company. Japan is pushing the “hydrogen highway” a lot harder than California is pushing “fool cell” vehicles.

      There are lots of subsidies available, both in Japan and the U.S. CARB states.

      Big Oil is also helping, at least with promoting and advertising “fool cell” vehicles. One suspects they might actually be partially funding Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai under the table to develop these. I don’t have any evidence that’s actually happening, but certainly the motive is there, and certainly Big Oil has massive profits which they could easily use to fund the development of FCEVs.

      Cui bono? Who benefits?

  3. Nelson says:

    I hope this car is added to the monthly plug-in Sales scorecard even though it isn’t a plug-in.

    NPNS! SBF!

    1. Jelloslug says:

      Just tack 300 to the total number of cars sold at the end of the year, that’s all that will be available.

    2. Lensman says:

      Altho fuel cell EVs are indeed EVs, InsideEVs’ Plug-in Sales Scorecard is for exactly what it’s labeled: For plug-in EVs.

      FCEVs don’t deserve to be on that table any more than the non-plug-in Prius does, and for exactly the same reason. In both cases, all the car’s miles come directly or indirectly from fuel, not from electricity charged thru a plug. And altho California is (as I recall) requiring that 30% of the hydrogen fuel has to come from renewable sources, that still leaves 70% to come from reforming natural gas… gas primarily sold by Big Oil companies.

      1. Three Electrics says:

        I don’t understand–a huge percentage of the U.S. electrical grid runs on coal. Do you advocate counting only EVs that run on wind and solar directly?

        1. Sometime, perhaps in my lifetime, electrical power will be all green. Even my “coal consuming” EV today will slowly transform into the green machine, without any modification! We will find that the actual electric cost will ultimately fall. Places with abundant green power, like Washington state, are at 6.5 cents per kWh, while the rest of the US averages about 12 cents.

          Hydrogen, on the other hand, first and foremost can NEVER be cheaper than an electricity, because it uses several hundred percent more electricity (plus something else) to produce. And, it will always be cheaper to produce with fossil fuels than with electrolysis. Which means that hydrogen will be on the fossil fuel highway for a VERY long time, perhaps as long as there are fossil fuels.


          Electricity = cheaper and greener with time, always cheaper than hydrogen

          Hydrogen = either grossly more expensive with fossil fuels or ridiculously more expensive with electricity production

  4. AddLightness says:

    Wow this review is as boring as the car lol 😛

    In all seriousness the fact that this car can make its electricity on-board is awesome. Some day the technological barriers preventing mass adoption will be broken. Until then BEVs are the next logical step, and should be able to co-exist peacefully with FCEVs as both technologies mature.

    1. Jelloslug says:

      It does not “make” electricity, it just turns the hydrogen that was converted from electricity back into electricity.

      1. Anon says:


        Two stage conversion to power the vehicle should be => 20 percent loss; not including storage, transport and additional energy used to compress hydrogen to 10,000 psi.

        Anyone got better numbers for this level of energy inefficiency?

        1. liberty says:

          The most efficient way to make hydrogen is from natural gas, maybe you get 80% efficiency there. Then you need to pump it up and chill it, that should take about 3 kwh (lets say that is renewable for grins so we don’t have to convert. That means 33.7kwh/80%+ 3kwh = 42 kwh natural gas and 3 kwh renewable electriity for a gge, that probably goes 60 miles (my guess). Say we are using old ccgt @40% efficiency to fuel a tesla 70d at 101 mpge. (42*40%+3kwh)/33.7*101 = 59 miles. Ofcourse we could use more renewables or newer more efficient ccgt power plants, but a mirai will be about as efficient as a tesla, if it gets the ideal mix of natural gas and renewable electricity. Ofcourse a mirai doesn’t perform as well as a bmw i3, which is 23% more efficient than that tesla.

          1. Lensman says:

            liberty said:

            “…a mirai will be about as efficient as a tesla”

            Far from it. Even if you ignore the massive inefficiency of generating the hydrogen fuel, and all the energy-losing steps in between generation and actually getting it into the car, the fuel cell itself is only about 50% efficient at converting chemical energy in the hydrogen into electricity.

            So even if you ignore the massive inefficiency in producing, compressing, storing, moving, re-compressing, and dispensing the hydrogen, the Model S is still far more efficient in its well-to-wheel energy efficiency.

          2. Liberty thanks for the comparison.
            We are really excited about the Mirai being another alternative , to internal combustion engines. We think there will be a number of solutions: hybrid. Electric. Plug ins. Clean diesels. And clearly Fuel Cell.
            I happen to live off the grid, so my electricity is pretty clean. As u know, not the case with most…
            The initial source will be CNG, and we are really encouraged with all the sources for Hydrogen , moving forward.
            Pleased to be a small part of the progress. Water out the tailpipe is pretty huge for us. Thanks. LACG

        2. HVACman says:

          For electrolytic-H2:

          Electricity>H2 via electrolyzer = 85% max efficiency

          H2 (low pressure gas)> (high pressure gas in FCV tank) = 85% max efficiency

          H2>electricity to the FCV motor controller via fuel cell = 55% msx efficiency.

          Net total H2 cycle wire-to-motor controller efficiency = .85 X .85 X.55 = 40% efficiency.

          EV wire-to-motor-controller efficiency typically is about 80-85%. So the answer is that FCV’s with electrolytic H2 use at least twice as much electricity as a BEV for the same power to the wheels. A major energy penalty for fast-fill convenience. This will not be an affordable convenience in the post-carbon world that FCV’s supposedly are targeted to serve. Conclusion: FCV = DOA

        3. Lensman says:

          The usual estimate for hydrogen fuel generated via electrolysis is 75-80% loss of energy by the time it gets into the FCEV. Keep in mind most of the losses are not in the generation, but all the steps afterward: Compression, moving, storing, moving again, storing again, re-compression at the dispensing station, and dispensing into the car.

          With reforming natural gas, the efficiency is theoretically not quite as bad, but not by much.


      2. David Murray says:

        And yet I could make the same arguments about hydrocarbons. Energy was used to form the oil (sunlight) and we’re turning those hydrocarbons back into energy.

        1. Lensman says:

          But nature provides the chemical energy for free. Humans don’t have to pay for it; it’s already there.

          Contrariwise, using hydrogen from renewable sources means the fuel is just an energy carrier, not a source of energy. In that scenario, humans have to provide — and pay for — 100% of the energy.

          This is why hydrogen made from reforming natural gas is slightly more efficient; with natural gas, nature has already provided the energy. The problem there is that it’s still massively inefficient to power a car that way, because of all the complex steps needed after the gas is reformed into hydrogen, and also because hydrogen itself is so difficult to work with, leaking past all seals and requiring very high compression because of its very low energy density in an uncompressed state.

          Petroleum has a much higher rate of return, a much higher ROEI (Return On Energy Invested), because it’s much easier to work with. A much higher rate of return from the viewpoint of energy invested and also from the viewpoint of money invested. That makes gasoline and diesel much less expensive to produce and to buy, and the ease of use (easy dispensing with a room temperature liquid, no compression required) makes gas/petrol stations much less expensive than hydrogen dispensing stations.

    2. Lou Grinzo says:

      There’s an aspect of HFCVs that doesn’t get nearly enough attention, and it’s a fairly subtle point: We will be hard pressed to generate enough zero carbon electricity to meet our needs, so turning water into hydrogen and oxygen is a luxury we can’t afford.

      I’m sure most people who read this site know that for a given amount of electricity you can drive three times farther in a BEV than in a HFCV. But as we come under more and more environmental pressure to decarbonize all parts of our economy, the race to clean up our electricity generation will become a very big deal.

      But even beyond that, the only way HFCVs can compete with BEVs for the vast majority of drivers requires massive breakthroughs in cost performance, even if you assume that batteries mysteriously stop improving, something I don’t think anyone is predicting. Sometime between 2017 (arrival of the first “200 mile EVs”) and 2020 HFCVs will have to either pull off a technological miracle or shuffle off the stage.

  5. Jelloslug says:

    So wait, you can only lease them? I though all along that Toyota was saying that you can actually buy them right from the start.

    1. Mike777 says:

      They’ll be crushed in 3 years when the CAARB credits end.

    2. liberty says:

      Toyota says you an buy them, but … $57,500 less $5000 tax credit will mean that only an idiot would buy instead of lease, unless they really want it, and don’t want it crushed, you are paying a lot more. Toyota says it expected less than 10% to buy when it thought the price would be $8000 cheaper.

  6. ffbj says:

    Just toeing the party line. It’s great that he is off the grid, too bad he can fill up his car in 4-5 minutes but not at home, he has to go to one of the very few hydrogen stations, which only exist in So Cal. Funny that he neglects to mention the lack of places to fill up. Odd that that he would leave out that most important feature.
    Of course it would take 4-5 hours to charge up an ev at his house, but depending on where you live you might have to drive an hour to find a hydrogen station. Just another example of Toyota’s efforts to get people to accept this boondoggle.
    Tesla also has no exhaust, as do all pure ev’s. Tesla has a solid undercarriage so that is not unique.
    Other obvious oversights are that he did not mention free hydrogen for three years from Toyota. Is this guy supposed to be a salesman? He is personable enough, but personality is not enough to sell this Lemon.

    1. Jelloslug says:

      The 4 to 5 minutes has already been “extended” a bit by the Hyundai Tucson fuel cell drivers that have had their cars for a few months.

      1. Nick says:

        It takes about 10 mins to fill a 14gge CNG tank from some 3600 psi stations. The faster you fill, the less total CNG you can hold, since the gas heats up.

        I don’t know how applicable to H2 fuelling these anecdotes are.

        1. Lensman says:

          Quite applicable. The energy loss due to pressure loss when the hydrogen is dispensed from the truck into the station’s holding tank, and when dispensed from the holding tank into the car, are part of why H2 is so massively inefficient as a fuel, and why it’s so expensive by the time it actually gets into the car and pressurized highly enough to be useful.

          This is just two of those energy-losing physical problems with hydrogen fuel; problems which hydrogen fuel advocates want to hand-wave away, and pretend that somehow future inventions will cause to magically disappear.

          1. jelloslug says:

            Temperature also plays a big part. In southern California it’s not going to be that big of an issue but in places with seasons it could make those 5 minutes into 20.

    2. Anon says:

      Lemon? Mmm. Think I’ll have me some ‘o dat freshly squeezed Frackogen. 😉

      1. sven says:

        Have some lemon mirai pie with your frackogen. They go together! 😀

    3. Mike777 says:

      Drive 20 minutes to station, charge 5, drive 20 minutes home.
      My math says 45 minutes.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:


        Very funny. A very good point!

      2. no comment says:

        of course, you could own a Tesla model S, in which case this is how the “math” would work out:

        drive 20 minutes to the supercharger station, charge for 60 minutes, drive 20 minutes home.

        my “math” says that’s nearly 2 hours.

        1. A Tesla Supercharger (or any DC charger) is pennies on the dollar compared to ANY hydrogen facility.

          There could be a DC charger on ever street corner long before hydrogen gets off the ground.

          Plus, you clearly don’t understand the overnight charging dynamic for EVs.

          1. no comment says:

            i do understand overnight charging, what you clearly don’t understand is that the Tesla model S does not have infinite range, and there are conditions (albeit not common, i would expect) where you would need additional range for local driving, especially in cold climate areas. if you lived in a major metropolitan area, you would realize that it is very easy to drive well over 100 miles in a day without leaving the area.

            1. I live in one of the largest metro areas… SoCal.

              Yes, I can and do travel HUNDREDS of miles in a day to return home. So, your comments even seem more bizarre when you’re exchanging comments with somebody who lives this DAILY.

              I don’t have gasoline, hybrid or hydrogen cars. I’m 100% electric. Ubiquitous DC fast charging makes driving hundreds of miles per day possible.

              That is available now, and quickly expanding. The cost per DC charging station is PENNIES on the dollar of the cost of hydrogen stations.

              EVs are efficient, with low cost infrastructure compared to ANY of the competition, and available now.

              1. I’ll add that I’ve traveled 100,000 miles on EVs without a Tesla Model S or Roadster. It doesn’t even require 250 mile range cars to travel hundreds of miles per day WITH ubiquitous DC quick charging.

                1. Last add… you’re clearly just trolling this. If you’re driving a Plug in hybrid, and your experiences are this poor, perhaps a hybrid is not for you?

                  Maybe it’s time to cut the strings binding you to gasoline, and it’s close cousin, fossil fuel derived hydrogen?

    4. no comment says:

      on the other side of the coin, if you find yourself away from home and you need more range, in a BEV, even if you find a charging station, you’re going to have to hang around for a lot more that 4 or 5 minutes to recharge.

      the other problem with BEVs is that even if you do home recharging, you are only going to get a certain number of miles per day from home charging. if you drive more miles/day than you recover from home charging, you could eventually find yourself in a predicament in which you can’t drive your BEV on some days and you will need to use an alternative vehicle.

      1. Lensman says:

        Given the very small number of H2 fueling stations, odds are you’d spend a lot more time driving to one that you would spend waiting on the EV charger.

        And seriously, are you still trying to spin that FUD about using more electrons per day than you can get by slow charging, “no comment”? The only way that ever happens in real life is if you’re limited to Level 1 charging and it’s so cold outside that the car uses all the energy just keeping the battery warm. In other words: If you live where it commonly gets below 20° F in winter, then make sure you have a Level 2 charger.


        1. no comment says:

          i actually own an electric vehicle, and like most people who own electric vehicles, i use a level 1 EVSE.

          during the winter, an overnight charge (about 10 hours) gets me about 22-25 miles of range because during that time of the year, that’s how much range i get from a full charge when operating the heater in “eco” mode. this isn’t a problem with the Chevrolet Volt, because there is a backup generator. if i had a BEV, it would be another matter altogether. now, you might say: “never buy a BEV without having a level 2 EVSE”; and while i can agree with that, such a requirement significantly limits the servable market for BEVs.

          1. Lensman says:

            I certainly don’t agree that the requirement for a Level 2 charger significantly limits the future market for BEVs. Most new homes have a 220 outlet for an electric dryer and/or an electric stove, and running another line into the garage isn’t much of an expense if done during construction. Heck, our garage already had one when we moved in, and this house was built circa 1985.

            Sure, a lot of older houses will require expensive upgrades to install a L2 charger. But looking to the future, it will only get cheaper as EVs become commonplace, and an EV charger somewhere in the garage or carport or on the side of the house becomes standard.

            Similarly, I don’t see that running a 220 volt line to charge points in a parking lot, enough for one charger per 4 stalls, will be expensive enough to suppress the market. In the long run that’s going to be much, much cheaper than continuing to buy gasoline every week!

          2. Nonda Trimis says:

            hmm – I dont think the average of 450 for a level 2 home station is much of a deterent – our power company gives you a rebate for the cost of the level 2 charger

  7. Ontario Leaf says:


    1. Jelloslug says:

      If this car would have come out in 2005 it would be spectacular, now, not so much…

  8. kubel says:

    Hydrogen confuses me. Hydrogen would have made a good progression from gasoline to electricity in a gasoline-scarce and battery-scarce economy about 15 years ago.

    But none of these events happened, and on top of that, Hydrogen came to the party late. Why are companies investing money into a technology that they know has been Betamaxed? Actually, we all know it’s because of government. But any manufacturer could build a 300-mile BEV for less than $57,000 these days and still make money.

    The only advantage I can see is that Hydrogen refills quicker, but I don’t necessarily view that as being more convenient. I would rather recharge my car slowly in my garage while I’m asleep than quickly by driving to a remote refueling station and babysitting a pump.

    1. David Murray says:

      I’m not sure I’d use the betamax analogy. Betamax was actually superior to VHS in just about every way. Other market forces caused it to fail.

      1. JeffD says:

        How about HD-DVD? It would have been OK had it come out sooner, but Bluray had enough time to make the improvements needed to beat HD-DVD.

        1. Lensman says:

          Same objection to that analogy. HD-DVD was a functional format, it just couldn’t compete with Blu-ray.

          Hydrogen fuel is a non-starter because it’s physically impossible to find a relatively inexpensive or easy way to go thru all the physical steps needed to get it into the car in a highly compressed form.

          Or to put it more succinctly, hydrogen fuel is too expensive to be practical, and always will be.

          1. sven says:

            “Hydrogen fuel is a non-starter because it’s physically impossible to find a relatively inexpensive or easy way to go thru all the physical steps needed to get it into the car in a highly compressed form.”

            I wouldn’t say it’s physically impossible. I guess you never heard of ultrahigh-pressure electrolysis. But alas, they are still working on commercializing the technology.



    2. Lensman says:

      I found it quite interesting to read recently that the projects for development of fuel cell cars and robust EVs began at about the same time at Toyota and possibly other auto makers. It was only recently that auto makers figured out how to make fuel cells cheaply enough for mass production… if Toyota’s partially hand-built fuel cells can be properly called “mass produced”.

      Seems like continuing to develop “fool cell” cars is throwing good money after bad at this point, but clearly there are other financial forces pushing Toyota (and Honda and Hyundai) to continue down this dead-end path.

  9. Gibber says:

    I have always liked the science but I’m still disgusted with the waste of energy.

  10. Nicholas says:

    Be sure to see his electric Porsche charging in the background 🙂

  11. David Hunter says:

    How would the water purge work in winter when it is below freezing?

    1. no comment says:

      this is a very good point, as water drips from the car as you are driving, surface tension is going to cause a thin layer of water to adhere to surfaces in the drainage path. over time, that “thin” layer will grow thicker and could conceivably form an ice dam eventually which could block the ability of the car to exhaust water.

    2. jelloslug says:

      Only sell them in Southern California.

    3. sven says:

      I can’t see why they don’t use some of the heat generated by the fuel cell to heat the small amount of water until it evaporates.

      In the winter, I constantly see ICE cars that aren’t yet warmed up spewing a good amount of water out of their exhaust pipes.

  12. Ryan says:

    This is going to be an embarrassing failure by Toyota… 3000 cars/year by 2017? And no foreseeable increase in production after that? How far behind are they going to be when they realize they’ve failed?

    1. David Murray says:

      Good point. By 2017, Tesla, GM, Nissan, BMW, and maybe even Ford will be so far ahead of Toyota with Plug-in cars it won’t even be funny. The only possibility Toyota has at this point is to pull a rabbit out of their hat with the next Prius PHEV. if the next generation has much better EV range and performance, then at least they’ll have one product pointing in the right direction.

    2. no comment says:

      given the number of auto makers who have started development work on FCEVs, i don’t expect that you would see the plug getting pulled on this after just a year or two. the fact of the matter is that *EVs, in general, have yet to prove themselves to be commercially viable. the interest in FCEVs is because they offer the potential for long range and quick refill; which is an important feature if EVs are to gain general market acceptance beyond the EV enthusiast community.

    3. Lensman says:

      I think Toyota is making it pretty apparent it doesn’t believe in its own hype pushing “fool cell” vehicles and denigrating PEVs. The fact that Toyota admits it has no plans to ramp up production of FCEVs past 3000 per year makes it pretty clear they don’t believe it will be a success.

      Perhaps Toyota plans to take strategic advantage from the inevitable failure of trying to market “fool cell” vehicles. Perhaps they’re already planning a few years ahead, when they can point to their Mirai, and say to CARB “See! We tried to sell zero-emission vehicles, we even promoted and advertised them heavily, but the public didn’t want them! So you’ll have to let us keep selling as many gas guzzlers as we want to.”

      If that happens, Toyota will judge the Mirai project to be a rousing success. Just not a success in the way we usually think of marketing cars.

      1. Braben says:

        “The fact that Toyota admits it has no plans to ramp up production of FCEVs past 3000 per year makes it pretty clear they don’t believe it will be a success.”

        A few years ago you could have claimed that Tesla don’t believe in EVs since they only built 2500 Tesla Roadsters. Of course the Mirai is primarily a platform to test and develop new technology that Toyota plans to use in other vehicles as well.

        1. Lensman says:

          Certainly not. Tesla said from the very beginning that their plan was to push forward with a series of cheaper models, and to ramp up production with each new model, as the per-kWh price of batteries continues to come down. That’s been their mission statement, and aside from the sideways development of the Model X on the Model S platform, that’s the plan Tesla is following.

          Contrariwise, as quoted in the article above, a Toyota engineer says “Going beyond 3,000 vehicles a year would require a breakthrough in the way they are manufactured.”

          1. Braben says:

            So? Toyota very likely has a similar strategy for the fuel cell technologies. And they need a breakthrough just like Tesla needs a breakthrough to be able to build cars that normal people can afford.

            1. Three Electrics says:


          2. sven says:

            Toyota is already started work on the next generation of the Mirai and a second FCV.

      2. Three Electrics says:

        That’s pretty bizzare spin on the situation given that Toyota has recently boosted production. Now it looks like BMW is planning their own FCEV for 2020: http://news.yahoo.com/bmw-aiming-fuel-cell-production-car-2020-120822573.html

  13. This guy is gushing – the Mirai is clunky aerodynamically. What about the compressors? It has emissions where the hydrogen is produced, and when it is compressed.

    You have to manually open the drain?

  14. ModernMarvelFan says:

    A Toyota salesman…


    Not surpringly…

  15. Goaterguy says:

    “Mike Sullivan of LAcarGuy fame, and who owns Toyota of Santa Monica and Toyota of Hollywood”
    His opinion can be taken with a grain of salt as he has economic interest in the sale of this vehicle.

    1. no comment says:

      the guy is clearly a car salesman, so you can trust what he says about as much as you can trust any car salesman, who has an economic interest in having you believe what he says.

      quite honestly, fuel cell technology issues aside, i am hard pressed to see what the market would be for this car. if you think the BMW i3 is ugly, what do you have to say about the Toyota Mirai? and the Mirai is much more expensive!

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Not speaking directly on my thoughts on the product itself, but Mike really isn’t a typical “car salesman” by any stretch – although he is clearly wanting to sell as many cars as possible, and 95% of the time that would be an easy connection/assumption to make.

        I think you would be hard pressed to find another dealership group owner as progressive and open-minded as Mike (and willing to invest a lot of capital without much prospect of a decent return) to new/’greener’ technology – whether that be Hybrid, EV, PHEV, or fuel cell.

        1. no comment says:

          i don’t know the guy but i don’t see anything in the video that contradicts the premise that he is enthusiastic about promoting “green” technologies in the automotive market. as you state, this isn’t going to be a high volume business. so why would a high volume dealer spend time on the car if he didn’t feel a general commitment to the product concept?

          that said, anytime i hear someone say right out of the gate: “this is the most important launch that i have seen in the 39 years that i have been in this business”, it comes across as sounding like a bit of puffery.

  16. ModernMarvelFan says:


    It doesn’t take any air in, but it needs to draw oxygen in…

    This guy is full of self conflicting statements.

    And he is so excited about Mirai “peeing” in the parking lot.

  17. Lensman says:

    “So, the Toyota Mirai, and really fuel cell technology found in any other manufacturer’s current offerings, pose no real threat to the plug-in electric vehicles of today.”

    In other news, steam-powered cars pose no real threat to the gas guzzlers of today.

  18. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I guess Toyota didn’t learn any lesson from Honda’s Clarity FCEV…

    Maybe Toyota is hoping that it can do what Prius did to Insight… 2nd to the market but does way better.

    Well, Toyota does have a “cult-like” following among some people in California, but I seriously doubt they would follow the $57K price tag and out of way fueling stations…

  19. Michael says:

    I too am surprised by the hype of this car given that Honda did this 4 years ago with the Clarity. Such a shame to see Toyota take so many steps backwards, I really used to love them. Long live the days of the 22R.

  20. John Hollenberg says:

    This FCEV (or any other, for that matter) is in no way a “green” vehicle. For the foreseeable future it will be powered almost exclusively by fossil fuels. Contrast that with my 2011 Leaf, which is powered by 100% renewable energy.

    1. Three Electrics says:

      Well to wheels, FCEVs emit less than half of the greenhouse gasses of an ICE when the hydrogen is produced using natural gas. That counts as green to me.

    2. sven says:

      California requires 33% of transportation hydrogen to be made from renewable resources, but currently 46% is made from renewable resources.

      Do you charge directly from your solar panels during the day or do you charge at night using grid electricity that is mostly generated from burning fossil fuel. Generating some solar electricity during the day that goes to the grid doesn’t mean that the power you use at night to charge your LEAF is solar power. You’re just reducing (net zeroing) your electric bill by offsetting the grid electricity that you use with the solar electricity that you generate.

      1. FSJ says:

        Sigh. So tired of this tired argument. He’s also net-zeroing the fossil fuel emissions by reducing the output of the grid generators during the day. So it counts. It’s the same as only charging off solar during the day, on a dollar basis, an emissions Basis, a CO2 Basis, everything. In my case, on a sunny day I’m directly powering 6 houses on my block from 10-2 at least. That’s a lot of decreased emissions from the power plant that I get to claim.

        1. sven says:

          No it’s not. You’re counting the renewable solar power twice. It already counted as part of the grid mix. If the guy who generated the solar powered electricity during the day then counts the electricity he uses at night as solar powered electricity, the you have to subtract all the solar powered electricity provided by EV owners from the grid mix, making the grid appear dirtier. Then those EV owners without solar panel on their homes are charging on a dirtier grid, because according to you EV owners get to count all their night time charging as if it were generated by solar electricity.

          So which is it? Is solar electricity generated by EV owners not included in the grid mix because EV owners get to claim it as their own up to the amount it takes to fill their EVs, or is it included as part of the grid mix?

          1. FSJ says:

            The carbon offset is the same regardless, and that’s really what this is all about.

            1. sven says:

              If that’s really what this is all about, then isn’t the carbon offset the same for hydrogen made by solar and wind powered electrolysis?

              1. FSJ says:

                I’m not talking about hydrogen. I’m talking about plugging in electric cars on solar power. You can’t plug in a Mirai. Besides, for a given amount of carbon offset solar power, you can go twice as far in a plug in car as you can with hydrogen. So it’s not the same.

  21. PVH says:

    As it seems there is a substancial loss of energy into producing hydrogen it seems right now BEV is a better option but for sure we need higher density energy battery. I remember a presentation by Straubel about incremental improvement in Li-ion batteries energy density of (was it ?) 6-7% per year. The Model S battery is 2011 technology, where is the Model S (Model X) with an improved battery then ? Hope it arrives soon.

  22. Pete says:

    Toyota biggest mistake… Give us the car we want Toyota, an affordable battery electric car like Leaf or Volt with.

    1. no comment says:

      keep in mind, for an automobile to be commercially viable, “we” has to be more than EV enthusiasts.

  23. jim seko says:

    The cost of hydrogen is currently between $12 and $14 per kilogram. There is hope that price can come down to $8 to $10 per kilogram.http://its.berkeley.edu/btl/2014/spring/hydrogen

    The average cost of gasoline in 4he us today is $2.80 per gallon and the average cost of electricity is 12.5 cents per kiloWatt-hour. Assuming the Mirai gets 55 miles per kilogram of hydrogen the fuel cost per mile is:

    1. Mirai:22 cents. 2. Cadillac Escalade: 16.5 cents. 3. Toyota Prius: 5.6 cents. 4. Nissan Leaf: 3.75 cents.

    1. Don’t start bringing facts to this issue!!! Calling all hydrogen cheerleaders… ATTACK!!!