Toyota Mirai To Test, The Japanese Hydrogen Car
We tested the Toyota hydrogen car, the Mirai. It reached the market in 2015 ahead of its time. It equips a fuel cell that generates electricity by reacting hydrogen with oxygen. Know it thoroughly with our article.
The Toyota Mirai is a “hydrogen” car, what does this mean? That it is an electric car that the electricity it uses to move it is obtained from a fuel cell in its interior, which generates electrical energy thanks to a chemical reaction, the result of joining hydrogen with oxygen.
Right now we are in a stage in which many manufacturers talk about many of their electric cars and their alleged involvement with the environment, others begin to communicate that they are working on future hydrogen cars although they are not marketed in our countries, such as the Audi A7 h-Tron or Hyundai ix35 FEV that we tested in 2015 or the newly launched Hyundai NEXO. Toyota started the development of fuel cell technology in 1992 and after more than 20 years of work they bring us this model.
Probably you have never met a Mirai even though it was presented in 2015 since it is not marketed in our country. This is due to the nonexistent infrastructure that we have to date. There are only 6 hydrogen eras in the national territory: one place in Zaragoza, in Huesca, in Puertollano, in Albacete and two in Seville. In other European countries, in the United States or in Japan, it is marketed because they do not have this problem. If it were sold in America, even without knowing the purchase aids that would apply, after taxes the amount can be higher than 81,000 dollars. It would not be a popular car in terms of price, but at the environmental level, it is a great advance.
The Toyota Mirai On The Outside
With 17-inch wheels, the most attractive part of its body is undoubtedly the front, with a few LED front light clusters very affiliated and generous air intakes. The “Fuel Cell” logo on the front wing refers to the fact that it equips a fuel cell that allows it to move.
Its body is bicolor and its blue color contrasts with the black tones present in the roof and its three pillars. From the side view can be seen as the roof has a very nice fall to the eyes but as we will see later negatively affects habitability.
The rear wheel arch has been slightly enlarged, the rear part does not show any exhaust pipe – it has one to dislodge water as explained below – and split rear pilots, with a braking line that runs along the entire side of the tailgate.
The capacity of the same according to approved data is 361 liters, a reduced capacity for its length, something common in hybrid or electric vehicles that reserve part of the trunk for your power system or batteries.
Luxurious space for four
It seems that the interior of the Toyota Mirai has been studied so that when we mount in it, it transmits a certain peace and harmony. They have used light and dark colors alike, mixing with each other, topped by plastic details reminiscent of metal. There is also leather on the seats and front of the dashboard, some trim strips finished “black piano” which has been printed a kind of mesh or pattern to convey a greater sense of development and therefore quality. The steering wheel and the front seats are heated.
That it is a “hydrogen car” does not mean that its interior is revolutionary, since, in essence, we find the same elements as in any other vehicle, although some of them have particularities. In the upper part of the dashboard, we find the instrumentation in a horizontal, fully digital layout, which shows the cruising speed, typical data of the onboard navigator and the flow of energy.
Under it in a nearby position to be manipulated by our hand, since it is tactile, the screen of the 7-inch multimedia system, This system integrates Bluetooth, navigation and functions like any other entertainment system although it lacks compatibility with Android and Apple Car Play (the system was launched in 2015 next to the car)
The level of the gearbox is under the front air vents, in a higher position than you would expect, next to the air conditioner that has a tactile interface, both to adjust the temperature and to select the air circulation programming or adjust the air flow. It looks like buttons but in reality, they are buttons that activate to the touch, as if it were the screen of our Smartphone.
In the rear seats, the white color envelops us completely thanks to the finish of the rear seats, the door panels, by the backrest of the front seats as well as the roof. There is not a very generous glass surface but it is very bright.
The Toyota MIRAI Technique
If we could see through the body panels of the Toyota Mirai as if we had X-ray glasses more than a car we would look like a rolling laboratory because it has an electric motor, two hydrogen tanks, a fuel cell, and a battery.
The electric motor generates a maximum power of 154 HP to the front axle and is on it. The fuel cell is under the front seats and is responsible for linking the oxygen with the hydrogen that houses in their tanks and reacting them generating electricity, responsible for feeding this model, and water, which is evacuated through a conduit in the back as if it were an exhaust pipe.
The hydrogen is stored in two tanks; one is under the rear seats and one on the rear axle. The total capacity is practically 5 kilos of hydrogen. Finally, we have the nickel metal hydride type battery that acts as a separator between the boot and the rear seats, has a capacity of 1.6 Kwh and belongs to the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which is marketed in the US.
The battery’s mission is to collect the excess energy produced by the fuel cell or the regenerative braking energy. It is also responsible for feeding the vehicle in the first meters of displacement when starting the march, and when we demand a lot of energy it supports the fuel cell in solidarity to send electricity to the front axle engine.
Driving a Hydrogen Car
With the almost 5 kilos of hydrogen that the Toyota Mirai can store in its tanks, its approved autonomy is 483 kilometers. Unlike electric cars, which require a lot of time to recharge their batteries, refueling can take between 3 to 5 minutes.
As a good electric car is extremely silent, it does not transmit vibrations and when we accelerate hard we hear a small whistle reminiscent of the operation of some appliances. Especially in phases of acceleration until we reach the desired speed and silence reigns again, lightly made up by the aerodynamic sound at high speed (yes the day is a bit turbulent) and by the rolling sound coming from the tires and/or of the state of the road.
For this sensation of silence to be clearly noticeable by its occupants Toyota has used acoustic glass in all the windows including the windshield, has used insulating materials and absorbents between different parts of its body, engine cover and fender in addition to locating the rear view mirrors optimal to reduce wind noise.
Performs 0 to 100 in 9.6 seconds and can reach a maximum speed of 178 km / h, are not particularly relevant data assessing the type of the model. It offers two driving modes that can be selected by pressing two buttons next to the lever of the automatic transmission.
Approved data Toyota Mirai
Acceleration 0-100 km / h 9.6 seconds
Maximum speed 178 km / h
Weight 1,850 Kg
Extra urban consumption 0.8 Kg / 100 km
Urban consumption 0.69 Kg / 100 km
Average consumption 0.76 Kg / 100 km
The first of these is called ECO and slows down the reactions of the vehicle, especially the sensitivity of the accelerator since it prioritizes the energy maintenance of the model to achieve greater autonomy. The Power Mode is the opposite; to step on the accelerator will show us all its power because the fuel cell and battery will send all their energy to the electric motor responsible for moving our vehicle.
Apart from the positions R N D the lever of the gearbox that functions as a selector, offers a BR mode that corresponds to the engine brake in a traditional vehicle. In this case, the regenerative braking is more effective although it decelerates the vehicle noticeably, so that part of recovering energy can be useful if the driver wishes to reduce the speed without touching the brake pedal. Also in descending sections, we can recover a lot of energy while keeping the speed of the car constant.
At the level of active safety, the Toyota Mirai includes adaptive cruise control, the Pre-crash Safety System, blind spot control, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic light control and inadvertent lane change alert.