Car & Driver’s Instrumented Test Of 2016 Toyota Mirai
Car and Driver’s test drive review begins with fun – “The first fuel-cell car you, or people richer than you, can buy.”
That’s a clear reference to the extraordinary price of $57,500 ($45,500 after deducting ~$13,000 in incentives – via mostly Toyota in absence of previous government program) or $499 per month/36 month lease option, with $3,649 due at lease signing.
Toyota covers hydrogen costs and scheduled maintenance, so let’s get back to feedback on the car.
Charging refueling at $0.25 per mile!
They tested Mirai for two days covering over 400 miles. Despite there being only 20 hydrogen stations in California, the long range of Mirai was sufficient to never experience range anxiety.
In total, they visited 7 stations nine times and finally we discover the cost of hydrogen. Of course, Toyota covers the cost by providing access cards or codes for the first three years, but this is an important fundamental matter to see if FCV is a viable proposition.
Car and Driver averaged 56 miles (90 km) per kg and said that it would cost $0.25 per mile ($0.15 per km). That’s based on price at one of the stations – $13.99 per kilogram ($6.35/pound).
According to the article, $0.25 per mile translates to nearly four times the cost of driving a Toyota Camry hybrid. Comparing this price to EVs would be horror, as all-electric cars would save over $10 every 60 miles.
The question is what will hydrogen prices be in the longer term as $0.25 per mile seems to mark death on arrival?
On the road
Toyota Mirai raises interest due its controversial design. Acceleration probably should be considered as sufficient.
“Moving on, we raced a gorgeous Porsche 912 from a stoplight . . . and won. At the next light, we offered a rematch. After calling the Mirai ugly, the Porsche driver declined with the excuse that he had only 60 horsepower on tap.”
“While the Mirai’s ability to reach 60 mph in 9.4 seconds and 80 mph in the quarter-mile is adequate to keep up with the Priuses and pool cleaners’ pickups, it’s unlikely to accelerate any enthusiast’s heart. When you nail the right pedal, there’s a gentle moan and the nose rises eagerly, providing a false sense of acceleration. But with only 152 horsepower propelling a Camry-sized car weighing more than two tons, this is no Tesla.”
Besides its long range, there are other positives like comfortable drive experience, silence, crisp steering response and a nicely tuned suspension.