2019 Toyota Mirai: it’s not easy to be a pioneer
Intro: The story is based on true events besides the parts where it’s truly fiction.
Where do I find hydrogen? HEY PPL where is the nearest FCV station? Who? What?
Clicking to the infotainment system that
doesn’t work. In this case you have to read the manual to understand how it
works and how you should act when you see THIS!!! (low
fuel hydrogen panic).
Sure, reading books is very engaging when you do have time (which I don’t have)
… And here’s what he did yesterday.
And after all of this, to make your day even better let me tell you where it all began.
5.59 am call “Yes, Toyota Mirai?! Ok we’ll do it.”
You still in bed and right around 9am you wake up… “hey they’ve dropped the keys” and with the big smile I’m saying – “Ok, let’s go places”.
When first electric cars showed up on the market most of us were skeptical because it’s hard to imagine everyday life without the proper station infrastructure. If something new and exiting showing up in the American car industry it’s always popping up in California. Therefore, there it’s basically the only one state (for now besides Hawaii) where you can walk in to the SPECIFIC Toyota dealership to buy Mirai.
So let’s talk about looks. Yes, it does remind you a very famous Prius where now the ugliest part of the car is this rear side that does look like “two cars were put together.” For the record, Toyota calls it “an aerodynamic shape.” The rest of the exterior is very well done, and the car looks good overall with this Atmospheric Blue Metallic color and futuristic-looking LED headlights that do job quite good during the night time.
By this time you’ll wonder how the heck you’ll be refueling this car? And I’m not going to lie: sometimes it could be challenging to find the station (like this one), since they are typically hidden, and sometimes I wish to have those stations online to be able to use the app and see if any of those are currently down. On the plus side, it’s quite enjoyable to skip the traffic, using carpool when you’re looking for an FCV station. (wink)
So, how hydrogen vehicles work?
When you’re refueling, hydrogen gas gets to the fuel tanks where it’s stored.
The front air box delivers air to fuel cell stack to mix oxygen with the hydrogen to get a chemical reaction that allows you to get power (electricity). Now, more simple stuff – you have electrical engine upfront that produces 151 hp and 247 lb.-ft of torque. It moves this Mirai forward with ease, and with the regenerative braking you get those 66 MPGe (city or highway). You can get around 315 miles on each refuel and instead of emission it will be “pissing” the clean water trough the tail pipe.
How much it costs to refuel?
Vehicle MSRP – and like Prius in the first 3-4 years it wasn’t cheap to own but if you’d like to be environmentally friendly your choices for any vehicle would probably going to be around $50-60k. Only Hyundai, Honda and Toyota has one FCV model currently on the market and it can kick the butt of electric vehicles since it only takes 5 minutes to refuel instead of 30 minutes on a fast charger that gives you less than 200,000 miles (graphics: sorry Tesla). Toyota currently offers 3 years or $15,000 to refuel your Mirai using fuel card so consider the price of the vehicle like the price with the fuel upfront + $5000 CA tax credit and HOV sticker to skip the traffic.
When you’re looking at the safety and tech aspects in the Mirai – you’ve got Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 that includes Pre-Collision with Pedestrian Detection, very annoying lane alert with slow lane assist. Auto high beams, Dynamic Radar Cruise control and blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.
Inside you don’t get this “cheap environment-friendly feel” like you can find in some electric cars where they’re trying to bring the costs down. Glossy black front dash with the climate-control screen, very comfortable and good quality seats. I was truly surprised to find such a good “luxury” rear seat. How it feels? …..
Driving – I would love to seat lower but the raised “Prius” style dash can’t let them to let you go lower. Seat slides back when you’re exiting the Mirai. And to be honest, I would get one of those with the white interior.
It’s so quiet to drive that sometimes you even forget to turn the car off when you park. It’s not slow by any means for over a 4,000 pound vehicle. WE DO 0-60 test. (9 sec by Toyota)
There is a few things that already need to be improved. First and foremost, Toyota should stop doing those ugly green lights from the past. Make these two screens into one and put the lights aside. It will make Lexus and Toyota vehicles better and I promise this will result in the better interior feel. Especially, airbag yellow light.
Telescopic steering wheel should be able to more forward to get a better sitting feel for a taller person. And yes, no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay in the vehicle that has wireless phone charger and powered by hydrogen? C’mon Toyota. It’s time to do something with this Entune infotainment.
Driving is very fun. You try to crack a 100-point score on ECO mode and between power and ECO there’s a huge difference on power delivery. Very soft suspension. It does clear most of the curbs and I can assure you it’s so good when it comes to the comfort that can be compared to Lexus LS 500 when you’re talking about driving feel.
Outro: Toyota has done some tremendous work when it comes to educating everyone and people like me about possible future of the automotive industry. On their website I’ve learned that 1st hydrogen generator was built by Francis Thomas Bacon that was producing 5kW of power out of the fuel cell generator. NASA powered its on-board electronics for the spacecrafts in 1950-1960s. Hydrogen was used in forklifts in the 60’s and German navy submarines in early 2000’s. It all comes down to one simple fact that we all already know: Hydrogen fuel is here for almost a century. We all want to get a better future for this planet, and it was never easy or cheap to be a pioneer. But nevertheless, the world will eventually push forward – as it was already done multiple times in the past, with Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Bell, and others. If you are one of the progressive, open-minded folks, I encourage you to spread the word out and keep going because world is filled with “the same cars” polluting the atmosphere, and in the end of the day a better alternative like this Mirai would mean a better future for all of us.