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Could Hydrogen Really Replace EVs? The Toyota Mirai Thinks So

On the surface, the Toyota Mirai looks like any other luxury sedan that can also pass off as a Lexus with its surprisingly sleek design but underneath it might be more complex than a supercar. The Toyota Mirai has flown the flag for hydrogen-powered cars since 2014 and in its second-generation form, it has already sold in sizeable numbers. As a switch to EV looms large upon us, alternative forms of mobility must be looked at. Namely, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

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Image: Toyota

Unlike EVs, the Mirai refills its hydrogen tanks in just few minutes while the range is an impressive 650km. Hence, no chargers or even range anxiety plus in its new generation form, the Mirai gets three tanks to store hydrogen instead of two. All that hydrogen is then combined with oxygen by the fuel cell stack and that generates electricity to power the drive motor.

The result? The only tailpipe emission is clean drinkable water. Behind the wheel, you are blissfully unaware of such complexities as the Mirai drives just like an ordinary electric car with the same silence and performance. Actually, scratch that, the Mirai isn’t as quick as a Tesla or some of the other powerful EV sedans since its modest power out is enough for gentle cruising at best.

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Image: Toyota

However, the character of the car thrives of that since at heart, the Mirai is a wannabe Lexus while clutching a science project. It still handles better than other near 5-m long cars and its 50/50 weight distribution would make sports cars happy let alone a big luxury sedan. The new platform for the second generation Mirai enables it to have a roomier cabin too and that helps to make it a better case for itself as a practical family daily. The cabin is also quite luxurious with two massive screens staring at the driver along with a heads-up display plus a 14-speaker JBL audio system as standard.

Unlike the first-generation car, the new Mirai is a better effort as a well-rounded premium sedan and the increased range makes it a lot more practical now. However, hydrogen filling stations are scarce in all markets and that makes the Mirai a car for strict early adopters.

Currently, Australia has a Toyota Hydrogen Centre in Altona but for mass adoption, the whole infrastructure needs to be established before many can think about taking the plunge. All in all, the second generation Mirai gives us a glimpse of how hydrogen can be a viable source of mobility in the years to come.

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Image: Toyota

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Image: Toyota

Toyota mirai review

Image: Toyota

CONTRIBUTOR

Somnath Chatterjee

Somnath Chatterjee is an experience car journalist and automotive expert. His supercar reviews, interviews and industry features have appeared in global publications such as Upscale living, Robb Report and Yahoo Lifestyle Asia. Somnath specialises in luxury and lifestyle-oriented features with a focus on automobiles, aviation and luxury. He also holds a Post Graduate in International Business from the University of Dehli.