Toyota Mirai Gets EPA Rated At 67 MPGe, 312 Miles Of Total Range

JUL 5 2015 BY MARK KANE 129

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai

Toyota announced that 312 miles of range makes the Mirai the longest driving range zero emission vehicle on the market.

Well, someone would need to use about 100 kWh of batteries to achieve 300 miles of range in a pure electric car (Tesla 85D has 270 miles of EPA range). Totally doable.

The second number released by Toyota is use of energy: 67 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge). That’s only half of some BEVs. Nissan LEAF is rated at 114 MPGe. Plug-in Prius is rated at 95 MPGe (50 using only gas).

In other words, on average, Mirai will struggle to beat event the Plug-In Prius, if electric mode is used often.

Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz said:

“Toyota realized in the early 90’s that electrification was key to the future of the automobile.  Just as the Prius introduced hybrid-electric vehicles to millions of customers nearly twenty years ago, the Mirai is now poised to usher in a new era of efficient, hydrogen transportation.”

Toyota intends to cover costs of hydrogen and normal factory scheduled maintenance for early adopters:

“Toyota has matched the Mirai’s impressive performance with an equally impressive ownership experience.  In addition to outstanding range and fuel economy, Mirai drivers will enjoy a comprehensive, ownership experience offering a range of world-class services, including:

  • Three years’ worth of complimentary fuel [1]
  • Three years complimentary Safety Connect and Entune, including hydrogen station finder app.
  • Three years of 24/7 customer call support.
  • Mirai Complimentary Rental Experience for seven days per year for three years.[2]
  • ToyotaCare[3], our standard no cost service plan and roadside assistance, is enhanced for Mirai and offers:
    • No cost scheduled maintenance for three years, or 35,000 miles, whichever comes first[4].
    • No cost enhanced roadside assistance[5] for three years, regardless of mileage, including expedited towing service and trip interruption reimbursement at a maximum of $500 per day for up to 5 days per incident.[6]
  • 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on key fuel cell vehicle components including the FC stack and power control unit; FC hydrogen tanks; hybrid battery pack and ECU; FC air compressor, boost converter and ECU; hybrid control module (power management control module); and hydrogen fueling ECU.[4]

Beginning this summer, California customers can request a Mirai by visiting  Customers are encouraged to visit today to sign up for more information and notification of exact Mirai order request launch timing in the coming months.

[1] Complimentary fuel for 3 years or $15,000 maximum, whichever comes first. Fuel program starts after receipt and activation of fuel card; fuel card is nontransferable.  Fueling must be done at approved SAE certified stations.
[2] The seven complimentary days per year will expire after each year and any unused days will not carry over.
[3]  ToyotaCare covers normal factory scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. 24-hour roadside assistance is also included for two years, regardless of mileage. Valid only at authorized Mirai Fuel Cell dealers in the continental United States. See dealer for details and exclusions.
[4] Covers normal factory scheduled maintenance and is valid only at authorized Mirai Fuel Cell dealers in the continental United States. See dealer for details and exclusions.
[5] Does not include parts and fluids.
[6] Trip reimbursement covers interruptions that require the Toyota dealership to keep such vehicle overnight and such Covered Vehicle is at the time of such disablement more than fifty (50) miles from the residence of the owner of the Covered Vehicle. See an Authorized Mirai Fuel Cell dealer for details and exclusions.

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129 Comments on "Toyota Mirai Gets EPA Rated At 67 MPGe, 312 Miles Of Total Range"

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Another thing to keep in mind about “range” is that the Mirai can’t fill up at home. So it has to be driven to a station to fill up, and the driven back home. So unless you are lucky enough to have a hydrogen station directly in the path you are driving, you are going to lose some range (and time) to go fill up.

Now look at the Brilliance of GM Management.

The Volt:
1) Better mpg
2) Lower Price
3) Fill up’s at home, electricity average of 12 cent per kWh, or even cheaper fill up from your solar panels.
4) And Better Looking to boot.

You have to hand it to them, they KILLED the Hydrogen Car.

what FCEVs give you is long range emission free driving with refill times that are comparable to the time that it takes to fill a gas tank. Tesla can achieve long range emission free driving but the disadvantage is recharge times that are long compared to the time to refill a gas tank. that’s why auto makers are investigating FCEVs.

the brilliance of the Volt is that it replaces most gasoline driving but has a range extender so overall driving the Volt is as convenient as driving an ICE.

The hydrogen comes from methane, so there’s no emissions free anything, and it’s 100% less efficient.

It’s emission-free at the point of use, just like a BEV. And just like a BEV, the source of that fuel may or may not be clean.

In other words, unless we are going to discard the term “zero emission” altogether, it’s fair to describe an FCV as zero emission.

There is no “may or may not” about it, 95% of H2 is produced by SMR ( Depending on where you are in the country, the electric grid is significantly greener than than and getting greener every year.

Spider-Dan said:

“It’s emission-free at the point of use, just like a BEV. And just like a BEV, the source of that fuel may or may not be clean.”

You’ve got two choices with hydrogen fuel:

1. Use a source which is only about twice as expensive as gasoline… which means using natural gas, which is merely trading one fossil fuel for another, thus is a long way from “clean”.

2. Generate hydrogen fuel on-site using solar power, and actually get “clean” energy. But in doing so, make the supply much too limited and expensive (about 4 times the price of gasoline) to ever be practical. As an example, the pilot publicly accessible hydrogen dispensing station in California, which generates hydrogen fuel on-site, can only fill about 10 FCEVs per day. (The average gas station services ~1100 gasmobiles.) That’s using a station which cost $2 million to build.

So, Spider-Dan, the bottom line is this: While it is possible to generate “clean” hydrogen fuel, doing so is much to energy-intensive and costly to ever be done in sufficient quantity for FCEVs to replace significant numbers of gasmobiles.

Sorry birds, but taking an extra 20 minutes to charge an electric car is just too inconvenient.

Wind farms kill magnitudes more birds than oil spills.

That seems like wind turbines are kind of noise when it comes to bird deaths, not really a big factor.

bp oil apill was probably a bigger problem for birds, since it killed large numbers in a area, but again small comapred to cats and towers just like wind turbines.

So don’t post the bs against wind turbines unless you want to get rid of cats, and the internet runs on cat photos (although my dog will chase them cats away, and save some birds, he can’t do it alone.

“That seems like wind turbines are kind of noise when it comes to bird deaths, not really a big factor.” Wind turbines are not noise when it comes to bird deaths of protected species. When was the last time a house cat killed an adult eagle or condor? I’m pro-wind power and pro-renewable energy, but at the same time I don’t believe that we should give the wind power industry carte-blanche to site and operate wind farms without regard to mitigating bird deaths, especially protected species. David Yarnold, the CEO of Audubon Society, said “Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check. It’s outrageous that the government is sanctioning the killing of America’s symbol, the bald eagle.” In 2013, U.S. Interior Department loosened restrictions designed to reduce the threat from wind farms that annually kill dozens of federally protected eagles. Owners of wind farms may now extend for as long as 30 years permits that EXEMPT them from federal regulations against the accidental killing of protected eagles. The Associated Press has documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute such cases and its… Read more »

Sorry troll, Oil REFINERIES kill the most birds.

And humans too.

I don’t kill birds!

Hey jerkwad, do you have any sources to backup your misinformed opinion?

Nice. Here is one for you:

Who’s the bigger jerk, the jerk who makes an assertion (regardless of wether or not it’s baseless) or the jerk who resorts to personal attacks and name calling?

Didn’t the jerk who made the baseless assertion (Mike777), start the personal attacks and name calling by calling me a troll?

Perhaps, (and I just noticed it) but j**kwad is a bit more harsh and mean spirited than “troll.” Everyone’s been called a troll at some point. It’s becoming one of those meaningless insults that gets lobbed at anyone who disagrees with them.

My apologies. I had a rough day at work, the subway was delayed making for a exceptionally crowded ride, and I had already surpassed by daily quota for turning the other cheek.

These snippy/snarky hydrogen FCV article comments can bring out the worst in us. I just have a different philosophical outlook than most posters in InsideEVs: I think EV and FCV can coexist, and that the success of EVs doesn’t require or depend on the failure of FCVs. One size doesn’t fit all. I’m technology agnostic with regards to cars as long as they are ZEVs. In the past I’ve driven a CNG vehicle, so filling up with a gas doesn’t bother me. I live in NYC where I currently charge my Volt at night in my garage, even though it works out cheaper to drive on gasoline due to NYC’s extremely high electric rates. I’ve also lived in apartments/condos/coops where I had to street park and couldn’t charge overnight. I realize that there are millions of people in NYC who park on the street and for whom overnight charging will never be an option.

No worries. We’ve all had those days! 🙂

I don’t always agree with you but I can see your point and the issue with parking anemic urban areas like NYC. San Francisco has a similar problem (albeit on a much smaller scale). I would just have a different approach for urban areas like NYC and SF that doesn’t involve a car at all. But that is for a topic for a forum other than this one.

It seems all the critiques are probably right, I am a huge fan of GM’s Volt/Bolt and Tesla. But I hope the Mirai is somewhat successful to get us off our addiction to oil and OPEC.

And better performance

Hehe yeah, this Toyota Mirai thing is kind of a hard sell with me, not withstanding the glowing commercials InsideEvs always gives it..

They must love the car, because to me this thing is as much an EV as a CNG or LNG vehicle is a ‘plug-in’, with the cng more so because usually the home compressor is electric.

But for the (seldom mentioned) price, I think my former Tesla Roadster beats this thing as to real value, and there’s very few cars I can say THAT about.

SO what is Hydrogen going to be priced at when finally they don’t give it away any longer? The last figure I heard was around $8 a gallon, and, as you mention, you have to waste more miles for the privelege of finding a station to pay $2/quart for.

i don’t criticize insideevs for reporting on FCEVs. with the number of automobile manufacturers who are researching FCEV technology, it is not a technology that should be ignored. sure, it might not pan out, but then there is no guarantee that lithium-ion battery technology will either.

that said, i think that the path to *EV technology will be an evolutionary one and that a necessary first step will be the PHEV. so there is plenty of time to explore what might turn out to be technological dead ends.

Not criticizing Jay Cole here because he’s a stand-up type of guy.

But to lift Toyota advertising copy and print it verbatum, rightly or wrongly, is the definition of a commercial.

I’m interested in the vehicle ‘from a distance’. Of course it would be far more instructive if someone could get ahold of one of these things, put 30,000 miles on it, and tell us all the things that break.

I don’t agree with you on this. Does InsideEVs report on FCEVs? Yes. However, based on their past posts, I’d rate their opinion on FCEVs to be one of skepticism over the technology and its place in an EV world. They post on it because it is a technology some automakers are researching, Toyota more than anyone else. Toyota even seems to have abandoned plug-in technology all together.

Toyota even seems to have abandoned plug-in technology.

SMH. Didn’t I say that?

Also, your “Range” is dictated by a hydrogen network of 20 stations. This is probably the stupidest solution to transportation ever conceived.

I don’t know if I’d call it that per se, but I do believe that if it ever gains any market share, it will forever remain a niche market and will require them to be a plug-in FCEV that uses the Fuel Cell as a range extender. I can tell you with absolute certainty that any car I ever get from now on will have a plug. If I ever go back to a gas only ICE, its either because Toyota managed to kill BEVs and other plug-ins with a massive propaganda blitz that scared the public away from them, or because I want to drive a stick shift.

even if you had a battery EV that used FC for range extension, you would still need to have a fairly extensive hydrogen refueling infrastructure; you can’t make people have to drive 20 miles for a fill up.

Agreed, which is why it would remain niche. Because of the cost of refueling infrastructure, hydrogen stations will never be as ubiquitous as gas/petrol stations are today. And this is not a technology that can achieve cost reductions through scale. You will likely see a very small number of hydrogen refueling stations along highways which is why having a plug-in FCEV with a significant AER will be necessary (we’re talking Volt level of 50+ miles).

However, I strongly suspect that the future will be owned predominately by gas PHEVs/EREVs, with BEVs taking up a niche and FCEVs (and their prerequisite plugs) taking an even smaller niche. Turns out that oil will not be the scarce resource we all thought it would be.

I still hope, however, that the automobile itself will be a niche and that the future of transportation will be mostly dominated by human power (bikes), hybrid human and electric power (e-bikes), and rail systems (trams, streetcars, rapid transit, high speed rail). But I fear that it won’t.

my point is that there isn’t much point in having a FCEV as a range extender to a battery system because if you had the extensive hydrogen infrastructure you wouldn’t need the battery.

And my point is that hydrogen infrastructure will never be that extensive because of the cost.

Hyundai managed to sell 70 of its “fool cell” vehicle in the first year of sales. No doubt Toyota, with all the advertising it has done for FCEVs, will exceed that by, oh, simply dozens. 😉

But here’s hoping that Toyota will be as disappointed with its sales as Hyundai is. Auto makers should not be rewarded for putting dead-end technology into production, nor rewarded for practicing wholesale lying and greenwashing to promote a dead-end technology.

Lensman, Very Well Said & It’s All True!

there thing is that there are several other auto makers who are investigating FCEVs, not just toyota. i would expect that toyota is fully aware that FCEV is a “not ready for prime time” technology; i suspect that the mirai is a testbed vehicle much as bmw put out testbed vehicles prior to offering the bmw i3.

i assure you that if FCEV technology doesn’t prove commercially viable, it won’t be because of “hating” by elon musk fanboys. my feeling is that it is more important to test as many avenues as possible, especially since electric vehicles is an early stage technology at present, so there is no “established” market base to protect and there is no momentum preventing experimentation with alternative modes of *EV implementation.

Hydrogen has been tested. It is a total failure against BEVs or PHEVs (range).
No business case is even possible given that hydrogen fails on the prime directive – to get off fossil fuels.
To boot it fails on ALL other levels with no prospect of success:
– cost
– safety
– efficiency
– infrastructure
– convenience
– complexity
– storage space losses

Didn’t Toyota say they are only going to make 300 of these things? They are all hand built at the LFA plant. All seems like a distraction and waste of tax dollars for these million dollar stations.

Actually, according to the link Acevolt posted below, hydrogen fuel stations that get their hydrogen as gaseous hydrogen via tube trailer delivery are million-dollar stations. Hydrogen fuel stations that make their own hydrogen onsite via an electrolyzer or a steam methane reformer are actually multi-million-dollar stations. The two hydrogen fuel stations that get liquid hydrogen delivered cost about the same as stations that get gaseous hydrogen deliveries, but one station costs $2.5 million because it has 3 to 5 times the capacity, being able to fuel 70 vehicles per day.

Well Sven, of all the places in the world where a hydrogen powered vehicle may be somewhat practical, I’d wager NYC and westchester county, with their Confiscatory Electric rates and not too shabby Natural Gas prices, probably makes more sense where you live. But I’m still not sure this Mirai is the vehicle. Seems more like a ‘first try’. Of course, it will be interesting to see how long all that new terribly complicated technology lasts, and how many miles you can go before everything has to be flushed.

I think a good test bed or niche would be the taxi fleets in large metropolitan areas where the cars are driven 24/7. In NYC most of the taxi medallions are owned by companies which lease out their cabs to drivers for 12-hour shifts, so long range and fast refueling are important to drivers. Hydrogen fueling stations could be installed at or near the taxi garages in Queens for fast refueling at shift change. Despite some very generous incentives, the NYC electric taxi (LEAF) trial has had a very rocky road, because of limited range and long recharge times. Time is money when you’re leasing a cab, so are lost fares because of inadequate range. The city is having trouble finding drivers for the trial and retaining drivers who become part of the trial. See linked stories below.

Personally, I don’t care if the taxis are EVs or hydrogen FCV, as long as they are zero emissions. My main concern is that the air that I breath is cleaner.

Yeah, If I’m reading you correctly its a shame GM didn’t take an Impala-sized vehicle and make it into a Plug-in vehicle.

The volt has been deemed too small for general taxi use.

That way, the occassional ‘dead’ battery wouldn’t interfere with the taxi driver’s ‘business plan’ (he could keep on driving), – use mostly electricity, and only have a minority of his driving using gasoline.

One question I’ve always wondered:

In view of NYC’s COnfiscatory rates, why don’t people use New York State approved Solar or Micro-CHP Net metering solutions? Or does Consolidated Edison have an informal ‘hit man’ squad?

A plug-in probably wouldn’t be too desirable, because at current electric rates and gasoline prices in NYC it’s cheaper to drive a plugin on gasoline. And you still have the problem of not having time to recharge during the 3pm daytime shift change; the taxis come in swap drivers and leave. But you’d be able to recharge if the taxi in not used on the weekday overnight shift. The Chevy Impala Hybrid, on the other hand, should prove to be very popular. Former Mayor Bloomberg tried make a regulation that all future taxis must be exclusively one model, “The Taxi of Tomorrow” (a modified extended wheelbase ICE Nissan NV200). But since the law required a hybrid option, the NYC Taxi & Limo Commission relented and allowed medallion owners to purchase a hybrid as an option, at least until Nissan comes out with a hybrid NV200. I think the roomy 48mpg Chevy Impala Hybrid will be purchased in droves by taxi fleet owners. It’ll be less expensive to purchase than the pricey Taxi of Tomorrow. Also, maintenance time and costs will be lower mainly because of the regenerative brakes. Fleet owners don’t care about MPG per se, since the drivers who… Read more »

Haha Sven, thanks for providing the ‘Citi Limits’ articles.

The surprizing conclusion from the test trials:

A). Neither the Leaf nor the S are viable as Taxi’s.

B). The only successful electric Taxi is the BYD (!!!)

THese hydrogen cars are somewhat interesting, but my religious objection to them is that they are much TOO COMPLICATED for any beneficial results.

CNG cars make much more sense to me, since more of the initial fuel is put to beneficial use, its overall efficiency even higher than electric cars fueled by natural gas during the winter season.

And here in Western NY, my natural gas cost is unbelievably cheap, whereas 15 years ago it was about 60-65

“…(cont).. 60-65 % of the cost of electricity, whereas now, my marginal (incremental) cost including all taxes and fees of one additional centum cubic foot of natural gas is under $0.4595. That works out to under 1.57 cents/ kwh by heat content, even assuming 1000 BTU/Cubic foot (its actually a percent or 2 better than that). With electricity being around 14 cents/ kwh around here 24/7/365, that works out to being around 11.2 % of the price of electricity. I would assume the numbers in Westchester County are even more compelling for CNG. There seems to be so much wasted heat in the process of making hydrogen, and then wasted electricity or gas compressing it. Even electrolysis seems to effectively waste much heat, since it is always mentioned how much more economical it is to utilize electricity to directly charge a battery, as opposed to the very large amount used to make hydrogen. So gas-engine-driven CNG compression, or even electric motor CNG compression (which may also be generated from solar, wind, or a colocated CHP natural gas fired electric generator, in my area would provide very low cost fuel for a CNG vehicle. And yet, for the first time in… Read more »

CA CARB credits for hydrogen should be RESCINDED.


Unlike burning natural gas in a power plant to make electricity to power EVs, steam reforming natural gas to make hydrogen to power FCVs does NOT generate any nitrous oxides that cause smog, any sulfur oxides which cause acid rain, or any particulate matter which cause cancer. Since CARB’s mandate is to reduce pollution and harmful emissions, not just to reduce global-warming CO2, CARB will not be rescinding CARB credits for hydrogen anytime soon.


You killed that strawman dead. Nice work!

Unless you can convert sunlight to hydrogen fuel at $4/watt (and dropping) this technology is a dead end.

To be clear: $4/watt of PV, not per watt of total electricity generated.


CARB just killed the $2,500 BEV rebate and $1,500 PHEV rebate for wealthy Californians who earn more than $250,000, but left intact the $5,000 fuel cell rebate for wealthy Californians. Sven is short for Svengali! Just sayin’. 😀

Unfortunately what you said is not true. Steam reformation of natural gas needs heat and the heat is supplied by burning natural gas, so there is the same issue of Nox and sulfur oxides:

That’s steam reforming as it’s done by the petrochemical industry, which of course would use natural gas for process heat to make hydrogen for refining crude oil. For producing transportation hydrogen, can’t solar thermal and the H2 produced by steam reforming be used to provide the process heat? The net amount of H2 produced would be less, but no natural gas would be burned and thus no CO2 would be emitted.

Most reformers will likely just use natural gas as heat since that is a fuel it is using already and it helps the economics. Solar thermal may be possible, but it may defeat the point of going with SMR (to save money), and adds more complexity to the system (might not be possible in all sites).

Apart from the cost of solar thermal, which is considerable, solar thermal technology does not achieve the temperatures necessary for steam-methane reformation (SMR). SMR requires temperatures on the order of about 1000 degrees C while solar thermal only gets you about half that temperature on a hot summers day (average temperatures are closer to 300 C). Solar thermal power towers could get you there, but the market is not favoring that technology anymore. Most of the power tower plans in California are being changed to traditional trough based solar thermal, Solar PV, or scrapped all together. Stirling dish solar thermal is facing a similar problem. Every single solar thermal plant also requires auxiliary NG fired boilers to keep the heat transfer fluid warm throughout the night and on days with no sun. They also produce power that is quite a bit less than a natural gas fired boiler because of the lower temperatures. Given the high temperature needs for SMR, solar thermal won’t cut it.

Sven: Nice how you left off the parts about the air pollution and groundwater water contamination caused by fracking for the methane that you would use for hydrogen and that NOX emissions are associated with diesel not gas and that hydrogen requires fuel to compress it and transport it. False argument. The only way to get off fossil fuels is to get off fossil fuels.

Jim: Nice how you left off the parts about the air pollution and groundwater water contamination caused by fracking for the methane that power plants use to create a WHOPPING 53.9% of California’s electricity that is used to charge EVs, including Teslas at superchargers. You didn’t honestly think that California’s electricity mix was 100% renewable, did you? You can see a pretty pie chart of California’s electricity mix in the link below. Pay particular attention to the 53.9% slice that is natural gas generated electricity! Jim said: “NOX emissions are associated with diesel not [natural] gas. . .” Jim, maybe you slept through chemistry class in high school and college, but NOx is a byproduct of the combustion process that happens at natural gas plants when they burn natural gas to make electricity. The nitrogen comes from the air we breath, the same air that is used in the combustion of natural gas to make electricity. But don’t take my word for it. Here is what the EPA has to say about the subject: “The emissions from natural gas-fired boilers and furnaces include nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), volatile… Read more »


You’re probably thinking of SOx, not NOx. Natural gas most certainly does have NOx emissions, though considerably less than most other fuels. That is why the NG Honda Civic could get the silver “ZEV” HOV sticker in California.

Actually, it’s coal fired power plants that produces high concentrations of SOx, NOT Natural Gas plants.

Methane (natural gas) is produced at refineries which have tons of nasty emissions including NOx, SOx, volatile organic compounds, etc. Refining is really a much dirtier process than power generation with natural gas.

You could argue that SMH at the refinery is different than the other stuff (i.e. petrol) generated in a refinery, but there is no practical way of breaking down the emissions on a per fuel basis from a refinery.

kdawg asked:

“Didn’t Toyota say they are only going to make 300 of these things?”

Now that you mention it, yeah, I think there was an InsideEVs article saying Toyota could make a maximum of only about 300 per year.

Rather less than all the hype, innit? :-/


I think Lord Voldemort put it best, when he said: “Abomination…”

All the lifeless punch of a Prius, coupled with a MPGe rating that’s slightly better than their ICE Hybrid. Wow.


This is totally surreal.

Next future Toyota vehicle is what? A thermoacoustic generator car but running on coal provided free for 3 years!

It is time to stop this now and get serious on a real electric car with perhaps a direct free piston generator to extend range, but let’s have a “hold there” on this hydrogen non-sense. It just doesn’t fit with tomorrow and car. Try it in rockets and direct reduction Iron, it is a way better fit.

I don’t understand Toyota’s fascination with these things. The infrastructure required to produce, transport and store the fuel is ridiculous. Getting hydrogen from fossil fuels makes absolutely no sense and using electricity to break apart water to create hydrogen to be used as an energy storage and delivery device is just too complex and wasteful.

I am not a fan of this technology, but there is one station in California that creates Hydrogen from Solar and one that creates Hydrogen from waste gas onsite:

It would probably be more efficient just to charge EV batteries than covert solar power to Hydrogen.

Let me know when the remove the fuel cell and fit a decent battery 🙂

I still wouldn’t want it. It is hideous. The Nissan Leaf is 100 times more attractive than this thing.


Me either! Even if Toyota were to see the light and go BEV, they would still botch it by giving it lousy performance and ugly styling.

I think this is a fair assessment of the technology. From the comments and the article I get:

1) Longer range than BEV’s
2) About as efficient on a long journey as a PHEV and a lot less efficient than a BEV
3) Zero tailpipe emissions
4) No need to be able to charge at home
5) Very limited infrastructure
6) Technology at an early stage of development
7) This is a threat to Tesla’s business model and government subsidy programs.

I am not a massive fan of FCEV’s but we don’t have time to hang around and wait to see if Tesla’s model works before trying something else. 6000 vehicles globally is dipping a toe in the water. Maybe this technology will never be competitive but turning off the innovation taps is a whole heap easier than turning them back on so while we wait for the next battery breakthrough that might never happen why not give this technology a go. It’s at a much earlier stage with far more room for improvement than the battery.

Just_Chris said:

“This is a threat to Tesla’s business model and government subsidy programs.”

This isn’t any more of a “threat” to Tesla Motors than someone trying to build and sell steam cars again.

“I am not a massive fan of FCEV’s but we don’t have time to hang around and wait to see if Tesla’s model works before trying something else.”

I’m all for trying other things, but trying to develop a tech which the basic laws of physics and economics prove is much too inefficient to ever compete, is no more sensible or promising than beating your head against a brick wall. Actually, even less so; there is the faint possibility that the brick wall will give. The Laws of Thermodynamics, and the economic realities of EROI, are immutable.

your knowledge obviously exceeds the collective knowledge of all of the auto companies that are currently researching FCEV technology.

Your knowledge obviously does not.

no i do not claim to know more than do the auto makers. but what i do know is that auto making is a commercial activity and the purpose of commercial activity is to sell products. what i think that auto makers realizes is that, notwithstanding the criticisms of elon musk fanboys, if drivers find the 30-60 minute recharge times of BEVs undesirable, those drivers won’t want to buy BEVs, which means that the auto makers won’t be able to sell product. that will cause auto makers to seek to develop a product that people will want to buy.

the reason why auto makers are exploring FCEVs is not because of some crazy “conspiracy”; the reason is because the FCEV offers features that are desirable to drivers that current BEVs don’t. at present, neither BEVs of FCEVs are viable substitutes to ICEs so, not surprisingly, sales volumes of these alternates will be relatively low. but the goal is to develop a zero emission vehicle that offers a set of features that provide a viable migration path away from ICEs.

What you say might be true in a universe where all variables are static, but we already know battery tech increases by about 7-8% each year, solar costs are dropping like a rock, and hydrogen fuels takes multiple times the amount of energy to produce as electricity.

“no comment” said:

“…auto making is a commercial activity and the purpose of commercial activity is to sell products.”

In general, yes. But when it comes to making and selling “fool cell” cars, the few auto makers spending money to do that have other motives.

And it’s not like this hasn’t been pointed out numerous times, “no comment”. To quote Popular Mechanics:

The current hydrogen push has less to do with consumer demand than with government incentives that treat fuel-cell vehicles (FCV) as equal to or better than electric vehicles. In California the combination of 300-mile range and fast refueling gives fuel cells the maximum available zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) credits. That makes it easy for a manufacturer to meet the state’s ZEV mandate with fewer cars. On the federal level, both FCVs and EVs get an EPA credit multiplier of 2.0 beginning in 2017, which means that sales of either type of car confer a disproportionate benefit on the ledger for an automaker’s entire fleet.

ALL of this stuff, including BEVs, is driven by government incentives. my question is: what’s wrong with that?

For my part, I don’t have a problem with FCEVs AND BEVs receiving incentives. My problem is that both CARB and the Fed EPA are stacking the deck in favor of FCEVs despite the obvious fact that FCEVs are far less efficient, hydrogen production is dirty (and will stay that way for the foreseeable future), and fuel cells as well as refueling stations are extremely expensive (and will continue to be for decades).

Government agencies seem to care more about the interests of big business and dirty energy than they do about the greater good, and stacking the deck in favor of FCEVs is one of the many symptoms of that.

The auto companies are well aware of all this.

The auto companies are motivated by CARB’s lucrative credits and all the research funding for hydrogen, nothing more.

of course the motivation for automakers to develop low emissions vehicles is driven by regulatory considerations. that’s true in europe as well. that’s why the EV1 was developed. what’s wrong with that? i think that the policy reasons for government to drive automakers to develop lower emissions vehicles are good.

Yes Lensman is right.The auto companies that are developing hydrogen like Toyota and BMW are wrong. Th e laws of physics and thermodynamics always win

in commercial activities, the desires of the marketplace often win. there are a lot of seemingly superior technologies that didn’t make it in the marketplace for various reasons.

And who determines the “desires” of the marketplace?

Short answer: A bunch of rich white dudes in Wall Street.

South Korea and Japan do not have enough energy, renewable, fossil or anything else. they are always going to need to import energy. If they want to get off fossil fuels what are the options? Uranium in heavily populated nations is not as popular as it used be for very obvious reasons, what other zero carbon options do they have? We will see if hydrogen is the right fuel but chances are it will be a fuel that is transported from countries with surplus energy to those who are energy starved. As fuel to energy efficiency goes fuel cells are as good as it gets so the choice these nations have is build the power station (probably a fuel cell) at the dock and distribute the power or put the power station in the car and distribute the fuel.

” If they want to get off fossil fuels what are the options? ”
You mean besides solar, wind, waves, burning household waste, hydro (as in dams)?

Japan and South Korea both import over 90% of their energy. Yes they can do more with renewables no they can’t get to 100% RE. They are both doing amazing and impressive things in their energy sectors but you can’t power a nation on dreams.

Bob is right, the solar and wind potential of Japan are enormous, not to mention the literal geothermal stove they are sitting on.

“If they want to get off fossil fuels what are the options?”

Why is it that few consider the most obvious outcome? That we will go back to living as we did for thousands of years before we found fossil fuels?

Um, er the past looks really cold and wet. I am also not keen on manual labour, can’t we move to a future where we all drive twizy’s and live closer to work….. Perhaps go more vegetarian?

Warren asked:

“Why is it that few consider the most obvious outcome? That we will go back to living as we did for thousands of years before we found fossil fuels?”

Dude, maybe you want to live in a culture with no electricity, no modern medicine, no indoor plumbing, and no modern sewer systems.

But no, even you don’t really want that, do you? I notice you’re still using your computer. Why don’t you practice what you preach?

BTW please don’t compare or lump together the laws of physics with the “laws” of economics it makes those of us who understand the former feel dirty.



Just_Chris said:

“BTW please don’t compare or lump together the laws of physics with the “laws” of economics it makes those of us who understand the former feel dirty.”

In general I agree with you, but an EROI (Energy Return On Investment) analysis is just a different way of doing an energy audit. It’s an economic analysis based on principles of physics.

in a commercial activity, the most important economics question is: can i sell this thing? when it comes to EVs, the number of EV enthusiasts is too small to support a viable mass market automobile, so you have to answer the question from the standpoint of the non-EV enthusiast.

The efficiency numbers for BEVs are for optimal temperatures. A BEV’s efficiency plummets when the temperature drops to below freezing. Plus there is an added substantial drain on the battery from having to use a resistive heater, or to a lesser extent, a heat pump if so equipped. I think the efficiency of a FCV would not be affected anywhere near as much by frigid temperatures as a BEV, and the FCV would use waste heat from the fuel cell reaction to warm the cabin without taking a hit on efficiency.

Likewise, operating in very hot temperatures also diminishes a BEV’s efficiency. I don’t think high outside temperatures would have any affect on the efficiency of a FCV, but I’m not sure.

An FCEV is still an EV: Fuel Cell > Battery > Motor

The temp-related challenges remain the same.

The FC stack operates at 80 deg C what ever the T outside, you’ll get 300 miles range in the winter and the summer, probably less in summer if you use the ac

Don’t you need to use more energy to hear the incoming air to keep the stack at 80 degrees?

All of the other issues which affect any vehicle in low temp still apply (denser air, less efficiency in transmission and reduction gears, etc).

That just means the FC fills the battery at a steady state, the battery is still powering the motor. In cold weather you will still have the same hit to range.

A fuel cell does not produce a lot of waste heat

But they do corrode and metal directly exposed to hydrogen gets embrittled, as it slips between atoms and leaks.

The repair costs should be AMAZING…

This is not an ideal “energy carrier” to use in cars.

They produce a lot less waste heat than a ICE but much more than a battery. Hydrogen embrittlement is not an issue if you select the correct materials.

The physical nature of using hydrogen safely, feeds directly into the build and usage costs. Sure, you can electroplate the hydrogen components with gold, silver, etc, to extend component longevity– but that’s pricey. And just how long / reliable will this continue to be 5 to10 or more years out???? And coatings still wont solve leaky / corroding fittings or valves.

The matter this planet was made out of, was baked out of hydrogen inside a progenitor star. This is why the material is so hard to control as a fuel carrier– it easily re-combines with most metals and causes all kinds of engineering problems.

Hydrogen will not cause corrosion in the normal sense of the word it causes issues by entering the lattice. Metals like Titanium are particularly prone to this type of effect but steel is just fine and it is what most gas bottles are made of. Hydrogen is not an unknown material over 60 million tonnes of it is produced globally for fertilizer, explosive and petro-chemical industries. The challenge is to get the fuel cell cheap enough and to get the refueling infrastructure in place at a reasonable cost – tanks and pipes are pretty well understood. IMO what we are debating with batteries vs fuel cells is battery – giga-factories / increasing in mining to get the metals for the battery (cobalt, graphite and manganese are common but if you want to put 50-500kg of these materials on every driveway in the world you’ll need a bigger mines) vs hydrogen – less manufacturing issues but fuel production and distribution issues which then lead to either more natural gas being used or a massive amount of RE needing to be found. Both models stack up in terms of “are they possible”, my preference is batteries but there has to be a… Read more »

Just_Chris said:

“I just can’t see everyone driving an EV, even if they did 200 miles on a charge. Don’t get me wrong these cars will make a massive difference but they will not be the end of the petrol industry. We need a more diverse portfolio of technologies…”

No, we just need some method of storing electricity which can be charged quickly and repeatedly without significant degradation, and which is cheaper and has better tolerance for temperature extremes than current batteries.

Claiming that EVs will not make gasmobiles obsolete is like claiming, in the days before the Model T Ford, that there is no way the horseless carriage will replace the horse.

that is a bad example: EVs vs. ICEs are not like automobile vs. horse and buggy. as far as the driver is concerned an ICE and an EV are the same: they both get you from point_a to point_b in the same way. so there is no substantial differene in core function. the problem for EVs is that the ICE is more reliable and convenient over a wide range of driving scenarios.

Doesn’t generate a lot of waste heat? Not as much as an ICE, but it certainly does generate a lot. Fuel cells are about 50%-50% efficient in converting the energy in the hydrogen to electricity. That means that 45% of the fuel energy must be dissipated as heat. A 100 kW fuel cell fully loaded requires 181 kW of input fuel, which means 81 kW or heat rejection, or about 279,000 BTU’s per hour. FCV’s have a big radiator, I’m sure, to keep it cool and probably use some of the waste heat to heat the passenger cabin, similar to an ICE.

Yep. The Japanese have even installed over 50,000 residential hydrogen fuel cells that extract hydrogen from the natural gas supply using a fuel processor. These fuel cells provide some/most of the residential unit’s electricity, and use the waste heat to provide all the hot water (using the built in hot water unit) and as a backup heat source. They generate 200 to 750 watts, have a 95% efficiency (Low Heating Value – LHV), and have an operating life of 60,000 hours.

It’s only 95% efficient if there is a thermal heat demand matching the heat rejection. In residential applications, there will be huge portions of time where there is a mis-match between power requirements and thermal requirements, driving the net efficiency a lot lower. A lot of expensive thermal storage would be required to balance the loads.

Stationary fuel cells are optimally used by industries that operate 24/7 with simultaneous constant thermal and electrical loads that can absorb all the instantaneous output.

The Sierra Nevada Brewery is one example. They have a 1 MW NG fuel cell system that powers a good chunk of the brewery plus provides most of the brewing process heat.

(you’ll have to enter your birthdate to gain access to their website.

Mobile hydrogen fuel cells on vehicles make no sense compared to EV’s, but natural-gas-based stationary fuel cells replacing gas-fired boilers in a co-generation-configuration can make a lot of sense.

That’s why the FC in Japanese homes is only 700 watts, it is designed to match the thermal hot water load not the electrical load.

Hydrogen as a transportation energy carrier is a cool science project, but so was woodgas. So lets add it to the list of technologies that we’ll probably only use if we are on the losing side of a world war, and let’s move on to the real winners- Battery Electric Vehicles.

Looks like a teenager bolted a badly designed body kit to a Chevy Cobalt. It’s just hideous. It’s like they told the designers to look at the Nissan Leaf, then make it 3x uglier. I don’t get the ridiculous looks or the useless drivetrain.

Dear Toyota,
Mot meaning to be a troll or anything, but please feel free to let us know when you have the I-95 corridor covered with Hydrogen filling stations.

Until then, it’s just a long range neighborhood vehicle.

Believe it or not, there are people who drive from Boston to Miami.

Mirai has the same design vocabulary as the newest Camry, and we can assume, new Prius. Expect to see more of this. Eventually you won’t think of it as a new look.

Note #1:
“fuel card is nontransferable”

I’m assuming all current stations are the free variety. If you sell the car, the new owner won’t be able to refuel.

I read on another site, that the stations tend to be offline frequently, requiring 1 owner to fill up when their gauge was 1/2 full, in case they had to find a working station.

A very good (and very recent) article on the economics of using hydrogen as a transportation fuel, written by an actual hydrogen fuel cell researcher, can be found at this link:

He doesn’t go deeply in the economics, only a very general picture comparing SMR with generation from wind (basically saying SMR will be primary method in US, in Europe it could be wind because of cheap renewable energy). He does not list any $/kg numbers which is critical for economics comparison.

“Well, someone would need to use about 100 kWh of batteries to achieve 300 miles of range in a pure electric car (Tesla 85D has 270 miles of EPA range). Totally doable.”

The other option is a ~1-3 min. stop at a SuperCharger for a Model S (85) to exceed 300 miles, without worries (or driving slow). Adding 30 miles is not a big deal when charging at 3-400 miles per hour!

In the USA there are more places for a Model S to stop after going 300 miles … superchargers vs. hydrogen fueling stations.

How many destinations can a Mirai reach traveling 500, 1000, or 1500 miles from home? How many can a Model S reach, traveling from the same address?

67 MPGe?

So, that’s like a Prius, right?

Wow. Huge improvement there, for only 3x the cost.

What an astounding waste of time and engineering effort.

Wouldn’t waste any time or money with it, would test drive it but highly doubt its better than electric

67mpge? Not much better than my Volt (combined with gas and electric)

I can drive my Volt to Lake Tahoe and back, but I can’t do that with a Mirai…

Since the Volt is rated 98 MPGe, your Volt is considerably better than the 67 MPGe Mirai.

I have to admit, I’m surprised by the honesty of this rating. I expected the methodology of the MPGe rating to be inflated to look better than plug-ins.

Thats exactly my view also MMF. THe GM PHEV’s use existing technology and existing low priced infrastructure (‘gas stations’) to handle weekend – jaunts , and are fully electric the rest of the time.

I don’t see the need/or/desireability of creating a whole new infrastructure, before the reliability of Hydrogen cars longterm has even been proven.