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10 Tidbits About the 2016 Toyota Mirai

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/12/2015 Erick Ayapana
10 Tidbits About the 2016 Toyota Mirai

The 2016 Toyota Mirai is months away from arriving in U.S. showrooms and until now only a couple staffers have had a chance to drive Toyota’s new fuel cell vehicle. That changed earlier this week when Toyota paid a visit to our office with two Mirai prototypes, giving us the opportunity to kick the tires and get behind the wheel. Here are 10 things we learned from the visit.

Brought to you by Two Decades of Development

Toyota actually began researching fuel cell vehicles around the same time it started developing its hybrid system. The automaker readily admits that fuel cells could overtake hybrids in the future, which is why it is committing to both technologies.

2016 Toyota Mirai visits Motor Trend© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Toyota Mirai visits Motor Trend

Drives Like a Prius

One thing we quickly observed from the driver’s seat is that operating and driving the Mirai isn’t much different from a Prius. It’s relatively quiet, aside from the occasional muffled noise from the compressor that feeds air into the fuel cell stacks.

Zero Profits For Now

One significant breakthrough was reducing the cost of fuel cell technology by a whopping 95 percent, contributing to the Mirai’s a relatively affordable price of entry. Despite that, Toyota will lose money on every Mirai it sells and will continue to do so for at least a few years, much like it did during the Prius’ infancy.

Carbon Fiber Tanks

The automaker designed a carbon fiber loom that produces the car’s two hydrogen tanks. Toyota is no stranger to carbon fiber looms, as it also developed the loom used for the Lexus LFA.

300-Mile Range

The tanks store five kilograms of hydrogen, and each kg is enough for about 60 miles of range. That gives the Mirai approximately 300 miles of range.

Five-Minute Fill

Refilling those tanks isn’t much different from a car powered by traditional fuels, which means you’ll spend about five minutes at the pump. One of Toyota’s top priorities is to improve and increase hydrogen infrastructure, and it estimates that at least 20 will be operational in California by the end of this year. Toyota’s ultimate goal is to have a station no longer than a six-minute drive away for Mirai customers.

Just in Case

For peace of mind, the Mirai comes with full roadside assistance. Toyota will either send a truck to refill the tank or tow the vehicle to a station.

Why the Long Face?

The Mirai’s mug is definitely polarizing, but those massive air vents do serve an important function. Since the powertrain requires lots of cooling, there are no fewer than five radiators, including two for the fuel cells and one for the electric motor.

Backup Power Generator

The Mirai will be offered with a kit that essentially turns the sedan into a backup generator for your home. The socket is accessible from the trunk and Toyota says the Mirai could power a typical home’s essentials for about a week.

Could be Yours This October

The Mirai is slated to arrive in showrooms this October, starting in California before expanding to other States. For now, Toyota expects to sell 200 by the end of the year. An estimated 3,400 units should be roaming U.S. roads by the end of 2017. The 2016 Mirai will cost $57,500 (before credits) and a leasing program will make the sedan available for $499 a month.

Photos Credit: Brian Vance

2016 Toyota Mirai visits Motor Trend© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Toyota Mirai visits Motor Trend
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