Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Mirai has a 312-mile range, which is more impressive than even the battery-powered Tesla Model S. In addition, the U.S. EPA revealed that it rated 67 MPGe on its test cycle, making it superior to all gasoline-fueled models available in the U.S. It is even better than the Prius hybrid.
The Mirai, which has a base price of $58,325 (excluding incentives), is expected to begin selling in California this fall. Its power comes from sending hydrogen gas via an electrochemical fuel cell to run an electric motor. The announcement of the Mirai’s fuel economy rating and range was made by Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz at the Aspen Ideas Festival, a once-a-year event attended by business and political heads in Aspen, Colo.
He said that similar to how customers were introduced to hybrid-electric vehicles through the Prius, the Mirai will be the start of a “new era of efficient hydrogen transportation.” Toyota takes pride in what it achieved with the Mirai having a bigger range than the Model S. From 2012 to 2014, Toyota had bought its electric powertrains from Tesla to be used on the limited-edition Toyota Rav4 EV.
Their bond was broken after Tesla CEO Elon Musk referred to hydrogen fuel cells as "fool cells." Last January at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Musk described hydrogen cars as “extremely silly.” Tesla has been working for its electric cars to offer sufficient range on one charge.
The 85D, which is the Model S variant with the longest range, is capable of being driven 270 miles on a single full charge of its 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack. However, fans of electric cars contend that there are lower costs from electricity compared to hydrogen.
EVs are also easier to build. On the other hand, let’s consider the environmental impact. David Reichmuth, a senior engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that the Mirai’s carbon footprint is similar to that of the Model S when it starts selling in California.
He estimates that the Mirai’s carbon emissions figure is equivalent to that of a gasoline car that returns 86mpg. In comparison, the Model S 85D offers 82mpg and the Model S 70D delivers 94mpg due to its more compact electric motor and battery pack.
There’s a requirement in California that at least a third of its hydrogen has to originate from renewable sources like solar power instead of from fossil fuels. According to the state, about 46% of its hydrogen will be from renewable sources soon.