Autocar Reviews 2015 Toyota Mirai

APR 14 2015 BY MARK KANE 53

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai interior

Toyota Mirai interior

Autocar prepared a short review of the Toyota Mirai, which will enter the European market in September.  The article begins with the question “does it make sense?“, but there is no answer.

As we already found from other sources, interior quality stands at higher level than in Prius.

“The surface quality of the plastics seems higher than that which you’ll find in the Prius and the large central touchscreen feels right when you’re seated in the car, even if it looks odd in photographs.”

The Mirai with 113 kW / 335 Nm electric motor drives like other electric cars with smooth and silent acceleration, although you can feel its weight of over 4,000 lbs (1,800 kg).

“For a keen driver that is the problem with many of the new breed of electrically driven cars. Unsurprisingly, they all have a similar character.

They all have very smooth and almost silent drivetrains, a substantial chunk of torque from standstill and pretty brisk acceleration up to the 50-60mph mark. It’s not that these cars are characterless, more that they are all surprisingly similar to pilot.

The Mirai is no different. On the brief drive we had in a production version of the car, it was everything mentioned above. It did, perhaps, feel its weight a little (the torque and power figures are on the low side for a car weighing over 1.8 tonnes), but it felt well pinned down and rode well on Japanese roads.

The low-down weight (the Mirai is well-balanced front-to-rear) does give the car a little bit more agility than you might expect and it is keen to respond to inputs at the wheel.”

Autocar notes that the Mirai is a huge technological achievement of practical, useable series-production hydrogen fuel cell car, but on the market it would be nothing more than just a competent car.

At price of £56,000 in UK ($83,000) it will not be easy to convince customers to go for this hydrogen car.

source: Autocar

Categories: Toyota


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53 Comments on "Autocar Reviews 2015 Toyota Mirai"

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There is no doubt that the Mirai is a well built car, with high grade materials and impeccable quality and reliability throughout, including the hydrogen/electric drive train.

And naturally the electric drive train will provide the same smooth and responsive performance as would any electric car.

But that is really not the point. It’s about whether the entire infrastructure needed to create, store and distribute hydrogen makes any sense, both economically and practically. Unfortunately the more fuel cell cars that arrive with positive reviews of their capabilities as a product, the more this key question will be avoided.

Anyone can build an excellent fuel cell car, as a car, but who is brave enough to point out the emperor has no clothes.

The US already produces enough hydrogen to fuel 20 to 30 million FCEVs. There is a robust hydrogen industry all over the world.

Getting it to the pump is merely a “last mile” problem and new stations are coming on line every month!

The technology is settled…Hydrogen won!

I’m assuming this is sarcasm because the alternative is horrifying.

Funniest line of the month.

Not sarcasm, astroturfing.

Dr. Miguelito Loveless


New stations are promised every month. Promises cost nothing to make, so they will keep promising new stations every month for the forseeable future.

Yeah, words are cheap, but hydrogen stations cost about 2-2.5 million dollars to build.

Who’s paying for these and when will the owner see this paid of and start to make a profit on a fuel that can’t be much more expensive than gasoline currently is… Or people won’t see the need to switch.

Global Carbon Taxes are coming.

Hydrogen is a carbon fuel.
It will NEVER be cheaper then solar.

The World Will Not Ignore Climate Change, just so you can build this Dead End.

Mr. Bailo, what is the supposed retail price of hydrogen going to be in gasoline gallon equivalent?

ALso, what is this excess hydrogen currently being used, and in what facilities is this hydrogen most economically manufactured?

I was under the impression that most chemical processes generating hydrogen were reused economically at the same facility? No?

Nobody wants to spend $5000 on an EV charging station that can be bolted to the side of any building. I’m sure they are just lining up to pay millions for a hydrogen station that has the same footprint as a typical gas station.

In reality, exiting gas stations will add hydrogen fueling. They already exist and will he obsolete otherwise.

Gas stations won’t be obsolete until well beyond 2050. It’ll take at least 10 years for them to feel noticeably less revenue from plugins.

H2 has only about 5 years to catch on before EVs and PHEVs steamroll it into a niche market. The H2 movement most certainly cannot count on gas stations to make H2 take off.

When GM builds the Bolt in two years, no one will go to get gas station, except for Coffee and Donuts.

That only solves the location. You will have just as much (if not more) expense converting a gas station to a hydrogen station.

Yeah agreed. While I don’t fully understand the reason for the hydrogen compressor (I would think it would just be easier to ship liquid hydrogen and let the pressure build up naturally, in an expandable storage tank, but whatever), I’ve seen the ads for prospective “GE HYDROGEN” filling stations, and the COMPRESSOR COMPLEX takes up 20-30% of the real estate of the stations. Might be fine for a rural area but what about confined lots in the cities? Takes alot more juice than a small service station does also, but then they have, what? 1,500,000 per station allocated. I just wonder what this is going to do to the unsubsidized price of the fuel? ALL big H2 promoters seem to get very silent when I keep asking the question, “Who suspposedly is going to PAY for all of this”? Not in my town.. We’re poor and getting poorer. As you say Jello, no one wants to spend $5000 (and in New York State, the buisness gets a $2500 tax credit on that so the real cost is only $2500), and businesses STILL don’t want to spend that tiny amount of money. To me H2 doesn’t make sense since I have… Read more »

The compressor is required because it has to be at 10,000 PSI in the tank of the fuel cell car.

Understood, but that also could be accomplished by self-boiling hydrogen; no compressor needed.

GE’s supposedly new CNG home refueler works by liquifying methane. The boiling methane makes the 3600 psi required.. No 4 stage compressor needed.

I thought the same concept could have been used with H2.

Gas stations already makes more selling coffee and other stuff than selling gas. If they put up a bunch of fast EV chargers they would be able to continue operating and probably sell more coffee.

The Volt made this concept OBSOLETE in 2010.

The fact that Toyota shareholders are Burning Money on this Dead End kind of shows the end of Toyota.

Lol, only the last mile problem left to solve? You do realize that the last mile tends to be the most difficult and expensive issue for just about any industry, right? It’s great if we can produce hydrogen at volume in centralized industrial locations, but it does absolutely no good if we can’t get it to drivers, the vast majority of whom won’t be willing to drive thirty miles out of their way to fill-up.

I don’t think it really matters how many positive reviews their are. Remember how many awards the Volt got (Green Car of the Year, Car of the Year, European Car of the Year…) At the end of the day, no one wants to buy a new and out there idea based on reviews. They will simply look around them and realize- Geez, not only is this out there and expensive, but where am I going to get this filled up? If EVs couldn’t catch on like wildfire, there is no prayer for hydrogen cars, no matter how glowing the press might be.

Dr. Miguelito Loveless

Huh? How is a Volt going to get filled up? At the gas station or plug it in.

I don’t think this question is going to be avoided. Just look at the flak the media has been shooting at EVs, calling them “coal-powered cars”, and how that they really don’t help the environment (in certain regions).

You think they’re going to pass up the opportunity to call them out on producing extremely expensive CNG-powered cars? I highly doubt it.

“Does it make sense?“ NO!

It had better be a well built car, since it’s hand built in the same factory that the LFA was built it.

What is LFA?

The Lexus LFA was Toyota/Lexus’s halo car. It was a $375,000 low volume handbuilt carbon fiber supercar built in the same factory the Mirai is being built in.

Only has 4 seats…. deal-breaker, LOL

Maybe they’ll add a fifth seat for the person willing to straddle the hydrogen bomb. 😉

I didn’t realize it was only a 4 seater. It looks like a fairly big car with enough room for 5 seats and it doesn’t have a tunnel battery like the Volt, so I’m not sure why they did that. Also, apparently the rear seats don’t fold flat (looks like the battery is located there).

It’s billed as a more upscale Prius, but seems far less practical. I guess hydrogen car packaging still has huge disadvantages.

This is the car I’ve always wanted. I insist my next car be a hydrogen FCEV.

Thought: why don’t car rental companies, near major airports, buy a Mirai or an ix35 so people who want to try it for a few days or a week can.

Many airports are already using hydrogen in some capacity and they have the facilities so a pump could easily be added. Yes, you’d have to stay in range, but it would be a great way to “prime the pump”!

Well Mr. Bailo, I think you’ll greatly enjoy your new H2 vehicle.

However, for those of us who have to pay 100% of the cost of our new vehicles, we would like to know the refueling cost, and, related to this, how much infrastructure we taxpayers are going to expected to chip in.

> a pump could easily be added…

This line reminds me of one of my daughters favorite questions whenever I tell her how easy one of her tasks is going to be.

Do you mean your “easy” or my “easy”?

JB, if you are considering $2.5 – $5 million and at least a year of permitting “easy” then yeah it’s “easy”

Now make money from it. Not so “easy”.

My daughter says basically the same thing…

“Your easy or my easy.”

If EV enthusiasts can assume an almost breakthough level decrease in the cost of batteries, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that hydrogen fueling stations, which do not require any advancement in scientific understanding, will drop in price with volume. We’re talking an increase of five orders of magnitude–from ten stations to 100,000.

And who is going to start the ball rolling by investing in hydrogen stations with nearly zero hydrogen cars on the road, and thus no demand? Asking entrepreneurs to risk millions, likely billions or even trillions in building out infrastructure for fueling when there is no actual demand is NUTS. They’re going to risk that money on the slight possibility that hydrogen cars might catch on and pay off their investment someday? Lol. No, car companies like Toyota are going to lobby like crazy to have our tax dollars go to pay for this crap with as little investment as possible coming from them.

At least electric cars can take advantage of existing electricity infrastructure to refuel. And EV enthusiasts don’t need to dream of the day batteries are sufficient to make EVs practical, that day is here now, unlike hydrogen. Charge at home, wake up with a full tank and ready to go. Not everyone can charge at home, which makes them poor candidates for EVs, but many can. Not every car is suitable for every person, so EVs don’t have to be suitable for every person either.

The costs of hydrogen production continues to drop. Like it or not, it will be a large part of energy storage in the future.

how? 95% of hydrogen is made from natural gas and the price of that hasn’t dropped

And most NG comes from dirty poisonous fracking!

It takes energy to make hydrogen. Takes additional energy to compress it into something useful for a vehicle (try 10,000 psi). Seems like a waste of energy, to create an energy carrier, just to use more energy to store that energy, and then be able to use it.

Do you not see the inherent problem with hydrogen?

Just use the electricity spent to make it, and put it directly in a battery. No conversion losses, fracking, or dangerous waste chemistry from stripping it out of petroleum.

Non-Problem solved. Move on…

It’s not about efficiency, but cost. Creating gasoline by growing plants from the sun over millions of years, waiting for it to turn into oil, transporting and refining it, only to burn it in a car and waste 70% of it isn’t efficient either. But nobody cares because it is effectively free.

Will hydrogen be cheaper than electricity as an automobile fuel? Hard to say. For the price of one gigafacory you can install 2500 hydrogen stations. Similarly, solar will soon be cheaper than any other form of electricity. At that point, it’s not clear that battery storage will be cheaper than hydrogen storage–though the latter is less efficient, it is much cheaper. Paying less for storage means more solar panels.

“For the price of one gigafacory you can install 2500 hydrogen stations.”

This seems to be fairly arbitrary and apples to oranges. It’s sort of like saying for the price of building a factory that can produce 500,000 automotive fuel cells a year you could install 100,000 fast charging EV stations.

“Paying less for storage means more solar panels.”

Conversely one could argue that for EVs you pay more for battery storage but would need less solar panels which aren’t free and also have a cost in CO2 output during production.

You are correct, but it won’t be in transportation. Much of the US and Europe sees heat waves in the summer that require high electricity use for a few weeks per year.

When H2 cells get down to $200/kW (still not good enough to compete with ICE), they’ll take over seasonal peaking from $500-1000/kW gas turbines. They’ll also take over backup power at many companies.

Batteries will only handle daily peaks.

Wow. You seem to be ignoring the constant improvement in solar, and the grow out of solar world wide.

Hydrogen isn’t needed and is already dead.

H2 stations will come, but at the expense of tax payers, the auto industry lobbies hard trying to convince states and federal govs of the hidrogen way, plus big oil wants to use oil and ng to produce their green fuel at the hands of consumers.

The real question is, is Toyota Mirai better than 80 000 dollar Toyota-Lexus or Tesla Model S?

Ok, lets start to compare with seats. Mirai has 4, Model S has 5+2… ah, no need for more 🙂

The Mirai weighs almost as much as the Model S but only has 1/3rd of the engine power…

Only a fool would buy a fool cell vehicle.

I’m surprised it’s so heavy. At 4000 pounds, it weighs more than a LEAF.

You notice on these articles there are industry shills who say “How Great the world would be if we only had H2 cars to drive!”, but then go dead-silent when asking who is going to pay for it, and why, oh why do they expect huge numbers of people to flock to these vehicles? Unless they basically give the cars away, or cancel your income tax burden if you buy one (I guess its rather like that in California with the ZEVS these things accrue), I don’t see people in any large numbers purchasing these things. They might have a chance if EV’s didn’t exist, but every year, there are more and more ev’s sold, so that the installed base of EV’s is growing very rapidly. There is the concept of being “Late to market”. This H2 thing is rather like trying to market Living Room AM Radios, when the current model in vogue is a surround-sound theatre system with subwoofer. If there were No ev’s, then h2 cars would have a fighting chance. But EV’s do exist and are not going away. H2 cars are too little, and, at this very late date, MUCH TOO LATE. EV’s are here… Read more »

I’m not sure they could have designed an uglier center console.

The Mirai looks like a car had sex with a boat, and lost. I’m in two minds on hydrogen – on the one hand – it’s clearly aimed at the large petrol companies keeping the business model currently in place, of continuing. Folk buy a car and then they have to visit a petrol station to refuel. Governments can tax it. It can employ people to staff service stations and mechanics etc will still have something to work on. Canyons of sugar and fat can still be sold to people when they refuel. There’s still money to be made for various groups of people. The cars are still electric and they are emission free. It makes sense on that level. That verses – buying an battery equipped electric car. Folk buy a car. It recharges with minimal cost from a grid connected private home or costs nothing via solar panels on the house. True. There aren’t many charging stations at the moment in Australia. There weren’t many 1915 either. But there will be, and they’ll be solar powered. Folk will still spend money at stations with canyons of fat and sugar where young folk will be employed to staff and… Read more »