Now that the first hydrogen filling station has been opened in Belgium, and our government plans to open 20 extra stations in Flanders by 2020, which means that any person in Flanders will be able to tank hydrogen within a radius of 25 kilometers, is a test drive with the Toyota Mirai really indicated.
Together with the Hyundai ix35 FCEV, the Toyota Mirai – which means ‘future’ in Japanese – constitutes the whole rather small fuel cell car market in Belgium. But Toyota is clearly convinced that hydrogen will be the fuel for the future. The Mirai is world’s first fuel cell car – i.e. an EV driven by a fuel cell – which is to be taken into mass production by 2020. The environmental friendly car is clearly designed to be made in large numbers.
The Mirai is quite futuristic, inside as well as outside. The asymmetrical dashboard with true scifi styling with black lacquered touchscreen and central console has the look and feel of a smartphone. With its 4,89 meters, the Mirai is also slightly longer than the class average. This means ample room for driver and passengers fore and aft, but the luggage space is rather limited due to the presence of one of the two 60 liter hydrogen tanks. They store the hydrogen under a pressure of some 700 bar (complete refuelling takes only 3 minutes), good for an official range of some 550 km, which boils down in practice to some good 400 km.
Many parts of this front wheel drive Mirai are new, but some components are borrowed from present production models. The gearlever for instance is quite reminiscent of the one built in the Toyota Prius, The driving experience is also quite similar. The maximum torque is, in typical EV style, immediately available, which means that this sedan really pulls away when one pushes the throttle a bit deeper. The Mirai is comfortable as a limousine, with noise being very well suppresed and the car is also very silent at cruising speeds. The noise one hears under acceleration stem from the chemical plant in the belly of the car which seems to hiss and pump away. The fuel cell actually generates electricity resulting from a chemical reaction between the oxigen from the outside air and hydrogen, and one clearly hears this. When acclerating heavily, this Mirai sounds like an speeding electrical bus.
Although the car is very aerodynamic, it feels and actually is quite heavy. Neverteless, its feels quite agile on curvy roads, due to the low centre of gravity with both fuel tanks sitting just above the rear axle beneath the seats. The Mirai is quite sensitive to crosswinds and steers very light. Just like battery powered EV’s, the Mirai is in Belgium exempt from any registration and road tax. She emits only a few drops of water, which you could actually drink, although we did not try this.
Engine: electric motor and fuel cell.
Power: 155 HP
Weight: 1925 kg.
Boot capacity: 255 liters
Consumption: 0,76 kg Hydrogen/100 km.
Emssons: 0 g/km.
Price: 76.900 Euro.