2016 Toyota Mirai: “Do Not Refuel After 2029”?

SEP 2 2015 BY JAY COLE 96

Does The Toyota Mirai Have A Built In Expiry Date?

Does The Toyota Mirai Have A Built In Expiry Date?

Now that the 2016 Mirai has arrived in the United States, we have been seeing a lot of reviews on the fuel cell car from Toyota,  such as this one entitled “The first fuel-cell car you, or people richer than you, can buy” by Car and Driver.

Original Press/Japanese Toyota Mirai Cap-Back Information (click to enlarge)

Original Press/Japanese Toyota Mirai Cap-Back Information (click to enlarge)

And it’s a good test drive by the outfit overall, who were also accompanied by Toyota engineer Jackie Birdsall.

The reviewed covered all the basics; the fairly thin fuel cell infrastructure in California, the car’s nice driving dynamics, the actual cost to refuel the Mirai, and specifically how to refuel it.

However, what caught our eye (well, actually it caught InsideEVs’ community member sven’s eye first), is the back of the filling door while it was being refueled.

And while we have heard about this warning label before in passing, we have never actually seen it, as earlier cars and promo shots were of the original Japanese concept cars, not US retail ones.



“DO NOT REFUEL AFTER 2029/11” Warning On Fuel Door (Portion of Photo Via Car and Driver)

We assume this has something to do with the lifespan of the hydrogen containment system inside the car.

The question is whether or not the car can be re-certified, or tanks/systems replaced, in order to continue driving the Mirai past this date  – and more importantly for how much?   Especially given the vehicle is now 14+ years old, or if the Toyota Mirai effectively has an expiry date of 14-odd years?

Editor’s note:  We assume the Mirai tanks have a 15 year certification rating before the car is manufactured, so the consumer receives that maximum amount of useful life – minus the time it takes to ship and then sell the Mirai.

As a point of interest: The average car on US roads lasts about 11.5 years, with the higher priced/more exclusive cars lasting proportionally longer.

Car and Driver, Hat tip to sven!


Categories: Toyota


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96 Comments on "2016 Toyota Mirai: “Do Not Refuel After 2029”?"

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Is that a first? A car with an expiration date? haha
Man, what a trainwreck the Mirai is.

“Man, what a trainwreck the Mirai is.”

Let’s not equivicate FCV’s with railroad disasters. This is more like “what a Hindenberg”.

I hear a new ad jingle –
Oh, what a feeling, Toyota.
Oh, the humanity, Mirai.

#this #amazing #ohthehumanity

A car with an expiration date. Wow. Consumers gonna LOVE that.

I doubt the expiration date is on the whole car. It’ll be on the hydrogen system. In all fairness ALL cars have ‘expiration dates’ so to speak. EV’s have a point where they need a new battery. ICE’s have a point where the engine and hundreds of other moving parts need an overhaul.

It is going to be uneconomical to change the hydrogen tank and affiliated hardware on a 15 year old Mirai.

So it will go to junkyard to be salvaged for parts.

have these rolling bombs even been crash tested?

Depends on the design, but you’re probably right. The tanks probably can’t sit on the bottom, nice and accessible like skateboard-style EVs (Tesla, etc.).

Ah yes, but the hydrogen tanks would have to be replaced (like BBQ tanks) and the fuel cell stack would have to be replaced due to hydrogen embrittlement of the metallic separator plates and the whole thing recertified. $30,000 +

BEV would still have 70-80% battery left or a brand new one for $100/kWh ($2,400 for a Leaf) for another 15 years.

You’re not familiar with the Chevrolet Citation?

That is a short life span. I believe that
11.5years is the half life of the average american car.

Ah, funny thing averages. If the average is 11.5 years, does that mean that a large majority of cars last between 11 and 12 years, thus averaging to 11.5? Or does that mean half of all cars last a really long time (20+ years) and the other half a really short time (less than 5)? This is why I like using a median or a mode. The median is useful because it throws out the outlier numbers that can screw up the average and the mode will tell you the most commonly occurring numbers. Put the two together and you get a better picture. In this case, the median and mode could tell you how long the typical American car lasts.

Sorry, that was a bit OT. 🙂

I don’t think it would be off-topic to mention that it would be a lot more informative to show a bell curve of the data. That would immediately show if there’s much difference between the median and the mode… even to the great mass of humanity that doesn’t know the difference, or care.

I’d like to see a bell curve. All I could find was a curve of the average age. It has been increasing over the years, so a future car w/a mandated 14 year lifespan isn’t good.

(Click here to open fully in new window)

The problem is actually in the data collection. Nobody actually knows how long cars last. The only data that is collected comes from state vehicle licensing agencies. And all they know is what year each of the cars are that they have current license registration for. The states don’t actually know when cars are junked or taken off the road. They just don’t have any licensing on a car if the license isn’t renewed.

Then DOT does the math and produces an average that they report. This would roughly be the half-life, so cars now last around 23 years (but of course we won’t know how long brand new cars built this year will last until 23 years from now…..)


Maybe that is when Japan’s hydrogen subsidy ends.

LOL! 😀

As I keep saying: What happens when the world figures out that hydrogen as a motor vehicle fuel (and spare me the annoying “it’s an energy storage medium not a fuel” pedantry) is a Very Dumb Idea and filling stations start closing, stranding drivers. A subsidy to buy a car or open a fueling station doesn’t guarantee that the cars will always be there to support the stations, or vice versa.


Toyota claimed initially Hydrogen fueled vehicles will be more popular and profitable than the Prius hybrid.

I find that very hard to believe. Areas of the country already have strained infrastrucure during the winter time supplying Natural Gas to Voraciously hungry Electric power plants, a big mistake in my view, but then I’m in the minority on that issue.

I simply don’t see how any significant amount of H2 is going to be derived from natural gas around the east and west coasts, seeing as the current infrastructure is fully utilized.

Pure EV’s and PHEV’s make much more sense to these eyes since there is plenty of low cost electric ‘fuel’ available overnight, plus it should ultimately lower the overall cost of electricity for everyone since there can be more sales, without *ANY* infrastructure changes.

Counterintuitively, Central Stations’ Longevity is GREATER, and overall efficiency is HIGHER, if substantial numbers of evs (I’m thinking millions) were trickle charged overnight at around 900 watts per car, as I do with both of mine.

“Oh The Humanity~”

Bill, here it is for all to review. Department of Energy’s Alternative Data Center shows a total of < 13 Hydrogen (H2) Public Fueling stations in the United States as of 09.02.2015.

This total has been holding steady since November of 2014.

Link Goes To DoE Alt Fuels Data Center-


As noted above, at $2,000,000 per station, as proposed, mostly funded by US Tax Payer monies to promote the products of foriegn company's Toyotam Honda and Huyndai.

Link Goes To Fleets And Fuels Dot Com-




Thomas J. Thias




The most Industry subscribed to News, Information and Opinion/Interactive Channel on Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Energy Storage and Electric Fueled Vehicle's on Twitter


I expect this is when Toyota’s supply of free hydrogen to users ends.

Heh; the caption is incorrect; its 2029, not 2019!

The free supply is only for 3 years. After that it ~$100 a tank.

That makes no sense. The subsidy costs them money. They would WANT to promote people buying fuel after the subsidy ends, not discourage it.

Who is “them”?

The “free fuel” subsidy for Mirai owners costs Toyota money. Also taxpayers, since California and other states are foolishly using tax money to fund building hydrogen fueling stations, at about $2 million apiece… and maintaining them.

Who does selling the hydrogen fuel benefit? Big Oil & Gas, since 95% of commercially produced hydrogen comes from natural gas. The only other beneficiaries I can think of are the manufacturers of the expensive equipment used to build hydrogen fueling stations, and the construction companies building them.

Selling hydrogen fuel certainly doesn’t benefit Toyota. Neither does it benefit the general public, drivers, the State of California, or other CARB States.


5th Element?

This is much ado about nothing. Pressurized tanks like CNG tanks and this case hydrogen cannot be re-certified hyrostatically.

Tanks will simply be replaced. The label in question is similar to those on CNG vechicles.


And if hydrogen’s market ceiling is that of CNG’s (and I’d place it much lower), then it’s certainly not an issue. But if the goal is much broader market acceptance, then it is an issue.

I have no idea what a tank replacement costs, but I would guess it will be a lot more than, say, a $300 repair. If Toyota doesn’t include one free tank replacement (for the original owner), they’re making a tactical mistake.

The entire train, from the original hydrogen synthesis plant, through distribution, storage, and sale, to the tank, lines, and fuel cell stack, suffers from hydrogen embrittlement to various degrees.

This is related to, but not the same as fatigue cycling of Natural Gas tanks- it’s far worse. Methane isn’t smaller than the atomic lattice of the structures trying to contain it.

Yes, same for all pressurized vessels (including your barbecue propane tank).

But it is a significant cost that has to be factored into life cycle costs for a hydrogen vehicle. Even if you lease the tank depreciation has to be factored into the residual value.

QCO said:

“Yes, same for all pressurized vessels (including your barbecue propane tank).”

A backyard barbecue propane tank is a low pressure vessel. It’s certainly not pressurized to 10,000 PSI!

The posts on InsideEVs predicting that a “fool cell” car’s pressure tank developing a leak will result in entire city blocks being blown up are ludicrously over the top, and scientifically impossible. There simply isn’t that much energy present in a “fool cell” car’s tank. Not compression energy, not chemical energy; not both of them together, by several orders of magnitude. But suggesting the danger isn’t any greater than a low-pressure propane tank leaking is almost as unrealistic.

Good link!

Uh . . . that is certainly NOT nothing. So you have to replace the tank? That can’t be cheap.

And other parts of the high-pressure chain. There is no “tank replacement,” the car is written off.

There are items in all cars that wear out: engines, batteries, etc. Why is this so much different? Can it be more than the cost of a battery in a hybrid car? Our Prius had about 220k miles when it threw a battery code. Cost about $450 to have someone go in and replace the bad cell (just one). Replacing the whole thing was around $3500 IIRC.

Question for the Fuel Cell folks is how long the fuel cell itself will last, and how much it’ll cost to repair/replace?

That would be my question too. Replacing a fuel tank, even a high pressure fuel tank, shouldn’t be that expensive, altho you’d probably want to replace all the seals at the same time, so it would likely cost a bit.

Replacing the fuel cell stacks should be a lot more expensive, and if I understand it correctly, those do wear out, and probably in a lot less than 14 years.

But hey, the good news is that this boondoggle won’t last anywhere near 14 years. It probably won’t be even three years before the State of California realizes what a waste of money this is, and most of the (hopefully few) taxpayer-funded H2 fueling stations will be closed, because they’re too expensive to run and maintain.

“how long the fuel cell last”

Ask Schwarzenegger how long it took him to blow his cell stack.

Hydrogen embrittlement

Even if the tanks are high-pressure carbon-fiber, the metal in lines, fittings, etc. might have to be replaced.

^This^ I think it’s important to know that even though the replacement of the HPH tank is expected and can even be dismissed as trivial, what does that mean for the rest of the lines and hoses servicing the vehicle. If all the supply lines and valves need replacing at that time, you can be certian it will exceed the value of a 14 year old car of almost any type.

Thirded. This is not a tank issue, and does not go away with tank replacement. This is an issue with EVERYTHING that sees hydrogen, to varying extents.

This happens to CNG vehicles as well.

Once the tanks expire, they are normally scraped. The cost of replacing the tank far exceeds the value of the car at that point.

I had a CNG powered 2005 E350 which was in great shape and ran strong with just under 100k miles on her. The cost of replacing the tanks was in the 5 to 10k range, and more importantly there was no one around here who would do it.

Having to get rid of that car was a huge disappointment, and showed one of the big downsides of CNG powered vehicles.

Yep that’s correct … just got a bi-fuel 2014 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (gasoline/CNG). And inside the CNG refill door there’s a similar sticker that states the CNG tank “expires” in 2027. So this shouldn’t be anything new and frankly makes sense. With that many pressurization/depressurization cycles one would expect to see material fatigue and the potential for failure. Toyota might have some plan for refurbishment/replacement of the tanks, but it’s probably not that important for them right now; not as important and getting folks to actually BUY the thing.

Short story … this really isn’t a story since this is typical for vehicles that use pressurized gasses.

It’s a big story if the Mirai has a major part that MUST be replaced after 15 years, especially if replacement cost is more than the value of the car, as with the CNG car discussed above.

How reliable is the fuel cell stack going to be? Will that also be toast after 15 years? They also have the hybrid battery to maintain or replace.

Oi, I appreciate the lucky Mirai owners contribution to the advancement of science and technology, but I wouldn’t touch one with a ten foot pole.

Gimme a Volt or a Leaf or any of the other good EVs available on the used market for a third of their original purchase price.

I don’t appreciate the gullible Mirai owners who set progress back, by failing to grasp basic thermodynamics.



Summary from the C & D article:

Buy a Mirai –
Spend $58K.
Fueling limited to select spots in California. Half will be closed.
Spend $0.25 per mile for fuel that is all natural-gas derived.
No option for home refueling.
Mediocre performance

Or….buy a 2016 Volt.

Tough choice!

And that is why they’ve only managed to get a 1000 buyers after offering them for 2 months. Not exactly like the long wait lists for the early Volt & LEAF.

Those are interested consumers, NOT the same as buyers (only a fraction of those will likely qualify, and only a fraction of those will proceed as a buyer).

Looking at this objectively (I’m not fan of FCEV) I really don’t see this as being a problem. Think about it, that is 14 years from now. I bet most of our EV and PHEV will need new batteries after 14 years. So if you have to replace something like a fuel tank in an FCEV after 14 years, that’s not really that big of a deal.

Besides, they will probably be on their second fuel cell stack replacement by then.

I wonder if they’ll even be able to find that door to check the expiration date when that 10,000 psi tank lets go.

It would be hard to believe that Toyota didn’t build in all sorts of bells and warning horns that let you know its time to replace the fuel tank.

Also, all the pressurized systems on vehicles I reviewed were designed to prevent catastrophic failure. Basically, they would fail by leaking instead of letting go all at once. Not that a hydrogen leak is anything to sneeze at. (But oxygen systems always scared me more than hydrogen. Weird stuff could happen in oxygen systems that could result in catastrophe.

Tut! Tut! Randy.
We do NOT refer to 10,000 PSI. It’s 700 Bar.

10,000 is a big scary number.
700 – not so much.

Until you tell them that 1 Bar = 1 Atm. Then that might give them some pause…

Unless they don’t know what Atm means. . .

Simple: 1 Atm = 1 x the pressure of the Atmosphere at sea level = ~ 14.7 PSI & PSI = Pounds per Square Inch, So – that means a Tank with 100 Square Inches of surface area is under a pressure of 100 x 14.7 = 1470 Pounds of Pressure, but a tank with 1,000 Sq. In. of surface area has 14,700 pounds of force trying to take it apart, multiplied by 700 = 10,290,000 or over 10 million pounds of force being exerted on the tank walls!

Have fun with your new Millionaire Vehicle – the one with a million pounds of force trying to get free! 🙂

With Tank Sizes of 60 and 62.4 Litres – http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/international-automotive-scene/158552-japan-report-toyota-mirai-hydrogen-fuel-cell-car-toyotas-safety-technology.html – we can determine the pressures tying to escape when filled to 10,000 PSI (700 BAR).

Hydrogen FCV fans have always criticized BEVs for having batteries that degrade over their lifetime and count that against their life cycle cost (while conveniently sweeping under the rug that fuel cells degrade also). Given the tank also has a mandatory expiration date, it would appear FCVs would be worse in this area. While a BEV will have less range as it ages, the battery is still usable.

Fuel cell vehicles have a battery to wear out too.

I’d expect the power inverter on FCVs and EVs to wear out like they do on home PV systems after about 10 years.

EV power electronics have a better chance of lasting a very long time than home inverters. Home inverters are “on” 8,760 hours/year, or 90,000 hours in 10 years, typically actively operating about half of that time. Vehicle drive electronics will put in about 2,400 hrs/120,000 miles (10 years of driving time). Also, vehicle power-electronics are usually liquid-cooled, not air-cooled. It’s the peak heat that kills the electronics, not the hours.

Good points.

Because of the oil stains?

Keep flailing, pal. Keep flailing.

What are you yammering about?

I think it is just consequent:

Nowadays you also have to replace some stuff that’s under the hood on a regular basis (I have even seen cars that had a second motor), why not add the tank to that list?

It’s a great idea, and the people that own a car workshop will be happy due to even more customers.

Replace “car workshop” with “dealer service department.” Then you’ve got it! 😀

As above, this is not limited to the tank. Hydrogen embrittlement flows down through the entire fuel system, down to the membrane stack.

The tank replacement is way beyond 8 year 100,000 mile warranties on PHEVs and BEVs. Why would Toyota care? This is just one more difference between conventional and alternative fuel vehicles.

A total non-issue. The car will be scrap before then anyhow. Even if it was still in good shape and the owner wanted to keep it going, then it could be repaired/restored.

The main problem will be that the hydrogen revolution will have died and the re-fueling stations closed.

Just add this to the list of why hydrogen cars don’t make sense.

The EV community has been waiting for battery technology to catch up with expectations. And, when it does, internal combustion engines and hydrogen fuel cell cars will finally be past tense.

LOL! 🙂 🙂 🙂

A car with an expiration date! The idea of a mass produced “fool cell” car keeps looking worse and worse… which frankly, I didn’t think was possible. There ought to be some marketing equivalent of absolute zero…

The clocks starts ticking on brand new gas storage tanks the second they are initially certified and the date of certification is stamped on the container. So the date on the fuel flap should be the date physically stamped on the storage tank.

This brings up an interesting conundrum. Who is going to enforce this? With welding gasses and CO2 tanks, the person filling the tanks are the ones who will turn you away and tell you your tank has to be re-certified before it can be filled again. They have to do this as a condition of being a supplier.

But if people are filling their own Hydrogen tanks, who is going to stop somebody from continuing to fill for another 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

Will there be Ralph Nader style stories in 15 years about non-certified rolling time bombs?

I would expect that the Mirai’s ECU would prevent a H2 fueling pump from filling or prevent the Mirai’s fuel cell from running after the certification date, and the ECU would give out dashboard warnings as the end of the certification period approached. The ECU would have to be reflashed and reset by a Toyota dealer if they install a new fuel tank.

And by reading the oil stains.

If the car’s computer itself is expected to do the enforcement, then I expect the hackers will have plenty of time to override that.

From the Mirai owners manual:

The hydrogen-related components (such as the tanks, pipelines, etc.) have
expiration dates established by law. Vehicles with expired hydrogen-related
components must not be used. The hydrogen-related components must be
replaced with new ones if their expiration dates have passed. The expiration
date is written on the inside of the fuel door as the limit date of filling.
Consult any authorized Toyota dealer or repairer, or another duly qualified
and equipped professional.

Hey never thought about this : but my CO2 tank in aluminum has to be re-certified every 5 years (10 years for an iron tank).

But this is not a huge problem : I can re-certified my tank every 5 years for a small fee. In the case of the Mirai, you’ll have to remove the tanks from the car, and I have no idea what will be the result after 15 years.

…AND the main line, and the regulator, likely any gasifier/fumigator, and possibly more until the hydrogen partial pressure reaches some sufficiently low level. In other words, the car will be written off, as repair costs exceed any practical vehicle residual.

Great Catch, though obvious in retrospect to anyone who’s been turned away for a propane tank exchange or refill. It’s already economically impractical to restore most cars of the modern era, say from the late 1980’s onward, but the the Mirai and CNG vehicles have forced obsolescence! No surprise this new pursuit of mandatory vehicle retirement comes from the Japanese, who are accustomed to a bureaucracy that pushes their domestic used cars out to scrappage or export via onerous inspections, taxes and fees. American automakers supposedly learned the pitfalls of planned obsolescence from… the Japanese?

Planned obsolescence… Ugh. Wouldn’t want this monster either way. Not even if I could afford this ‘mass market’ car.

11.5 years what a throw away onceler society. I have computers that are running past that age and they work fine.

As for my cars I have had 20 year old cars that run fine. Even ten years from now I wouldn’t mind replacing parts on the family truck when it pushes past 20 years old and I have a electric car.

LOL Watt a joke


The hydrogen storage tanks cost about $3,500 each. There are two in each Mirai.

The hydrogen fuel cell stack is also life limited.

First time posting here…as an owner of a Honda Civic Natural Gas for years I had figured another negative of these fuel cell vehicles would be the 15 year lifespan of the tanks. CNG cars like the Honda Civic GX have tanks that expire after 15 years and CANNOT be re certified. These fuel cells will be the same. No re cert, they are to be trashed and replaced with brand new tanks.

Also if the compressors at the fueling station are not up to pressure you do not get a full fill. Something that I constantly deal with in the Los Angeles area.

As someone that drives 140 miles a day in Los Angeles it can be a pain with the low amount of CNG stations already built. So I can’t even fathom using the 4 stations for hydrogen built now (that I hear do not give full fills) and it is so dumb to spend money to build another infrastructure for hydrogen.

How much do you wanna bet that the label will be unreadable/faded/worn off before that time?

Anyway, this is not out of the ordinary for compressed tanks to have an expiry date.

How about “Warning this car requires 4x the energy required to simply produce electricity and put it in a battery. Most of that energy comes from fossil fuels.”

Seems a more accurate and pointed concern. #quitdickingaroundtoyota

When Toyota execs realize they’ve been snookered by the Koch brothers, they’re going to have a nervous breakdown.


Toyota could save themselves millions of dollars if they simply held a press conference and held up their middle fingers.

Most cars already have an expiry date – it is just not published, just cheap parts for so many cycles. Americans are the best at cutting done items that last too long in there testing.

But still the Hydrogen fuel cart is such an inefficient transfer of energy – which fool will buy one ? (unless your a museum)

Japan’s plan is to surround their island nation with floating fail safe nuke plants about 50 miles offshore. These will supply electric power to their resource poor nation. Off peak power will be used to electrolyze seawater and pump hydrogen to shore for storage and distribution. Maybe they are not as dumb as so many smug arm chair quarterbacks derisively conclude. Tey will be able to approach 100% utilization of invested capital.

More proof that these cars will be headed to the crusher as soon as the formerly great Yota can get them there. Off lease… to the crusher… accident… hand built cars cost too much to fix… to the crusher. Anyone who buys one of these dogs is wasting their money. Our state is wasting its money encouraging them and their infrastructure. MORE ROOFTOP SOLAR… More EVs and plug in hybrids… forget big oil completely.

Does anybody know if these high pressure tanks loose some of the hydrogen over time through diffusing? And how much is ist?