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Toyota Mirai: The day after the electric car - voila! Car


Highlights: The Toyota Mirai is a luxury hydrogen-powered car. It has a range of 260 km and a price tag of 64,000 euros. It is available in Germany, which has more than 100 hydrogen refueling stations. The Mirai was tested by Yatir Davidovitch of Walla! He gave it a score of 8/10 and said it was a very impressive car. But he also said that the price was too high and the range was not as long as electric cars.

In Germany, you can already enter a Toyota dealership, pay the price of a BMW 5 Series, and leave in a hydrogen-powered car. In fact, it is a tram that produces its own electricity. And how does she travel?

Mirai. Large on the outside, but not on the inside (Photo: Walla!, Yatir Davidovitch)

Price in Germany:64 thousand euros
Competitors:Hyundai Nexo
We liked:Quiet ride, range, technology, saves the world
We didn't: spaciousness, performance, trunk, purchase and use price, limited gas
station network Score:8/10
After a 200
km drive, a refreshment stop was obvious. The fatigue has already begun to take effect and it's nice to grab a popsicle and a bottle of drink on the way. Next to the road station on the Autobahn is also a charging station for electric cars, but the tram I arrive with hasn't even reached half its range.

Actually, even if I really wanted to charge now, you can't connect a charging cable to the Toyota Mirai. Toyota's electric car is hydrogen-powered, which means it drinks a completely different fuel and emits mostly water.

The dimensions and price of a luxury car, and hydrogen refueling is still much more expensive than electric charging (Photo: Walla! system, Yatir Davidovitch)

Hydrogen has been talked about for many years as the next thing, there have also been several attempts in the past. But while hydrogen has continued to be talked about, electric battery technology has soared, making the use of a battery-based car available to many customers. If they live in small countries.

In Europe, for example, life with a battery-based car is still not simple. Traveling between big cities such as Munich and Frankfurt, Paris to Lyon or Rome to Milan will force car drivers to stop for half an hour and that's if they don't have to return on the same day. Interstate travel will become a long hopping lineup. All this before you add into the equation the cold winter, when even a car with a particularly impressive range will find it difficult to drive at highway speed over 350 km until the battery, or range anxiety, tries its owner to the nearest position.

And here I am and the Mirai closing a 260 km drive and the tank is far from over. When it starts to empty, we will enter one of the more than 100 hydrogen refueling stations deployed in Germany and fill the tank in a few minutes.

At the gas station, an elderly German comes up to us and expresses his opinion about the car and other things. A lover of heavenly nations is not, but a lover of technology he certainly is. Before advising us to get rid of Jerusalem and buy Australia and Africa (because we have money), he enthusiastically says that hydrogen technology is the future and that the German government missed the train. Someone apparently forgot to tell him what Toyota's charming representative in Germany told us. This is the second largest country in the number of hydrogen stations and even small cities, like the one from which this article was written, have an H2 station.

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Cockpit. Quality materials (Photo: Walla! system, Yatir Davidovitch)

A first meeting with the Mirai reveals a very impressive car. Its size from side to side is 5 meters long, it is very wide and quite low, sparkling 20-inch wheels complete a performance that very few people manage to ignore. The dramatic dimensions of the sedan give the feeling that this is a luxury car.
But the interior dimensions don't really indicate exceptional interior space.

And here we begin to touch on the less successful sides of hydrogen technology. The fuel cell in front, which turns hydrogen into electricity, takes up a huge area, so large that you can play ping pong on the hood. Another byproduct of the technology are huge hydrogen tanks that take over every good part of the cabin. The clearance in the front is good but in the back the legroom and head will limit high. The trench in the center of the vehicle will make traditional drive ducts in all-wheel drive vehicles feel dwarf.

The trunk also sacrifices itself to donate a few more liters to the hydrogen tanks. The result is a charging capacity of only about 320 liters. For the sake of comparison, the volume of hydrogen tanks is 142 liters and they carry about 5.6 kg of hydrogen.

The sitting position is very low. In front of the car drivers there is a digital instrument cluster and a large multimedia screen that stretch along the same horizon more or less and stand high. This gives you the feeling of sitting deep inside the vehicle and the generous width – almost 1.9 meters – feels even wider. The materials are of very high quality, at least in the fully equipped test vehicle and the equipment is abundant.

The trunk of a Toyota Yaris, because of the volume taken from the hydrogen tanks (Photo: Walla! system, Yatir Davidovitch)

Travel comfort and road handling are reasonable. The Mirai is soft and handles familiar disruptions well. An encounter with potholes on a highway or a series of urban disruptions moves it more than desired. The soundproofing also doesn't meet the high standards of cars of its size. The road behavior feels more like a regular car and less like an electric one. It has an excellent grip, a slight tendency to lean and extend a line in a very subtle and predictable way. Driving pleasure? Not in this generation.

The truth is, the undersigned's first drive of a hydrogen-powered car was a fascinating experience. On the one hand, it's an electric car. The exemplary silence on the part of the engine is even softer than conventional electric cars. The power availability of the engine, which we will expand on shortly, is also good starting at zero rpm. With 30 kg the car has no particular problem keeping up with the traffic.

On the other hand, you quickly discover that the regenerative braking mode doesn't work like in an electric car. It is very weak, makes it impossible to drive one pedal, and it disconnects immediately as soon as you return to the hydrogen pedal. Maybe it's right to call it a gas pedal here?

The reason for the different braking behavior is the fact that the battery in the car is tiny. Since electricity in Mirai is generated on demand from the right foot, there is no need for a complex and heavy storage system. Therefore, the battery and braking system function like a hybrid car rather than an electric car.

Another side effect is much higher power consumption compared to an electric car. This is obvious because there is no charging system that uses the braking energy, so the electricity you take out will not come back. Perhaps because of this, and to reassure those who are used to electric cars, the energy measurement is in kilograms per 100 km and not in kilowatts. When you need electricity, the refueling or refueling process will be fast. Stops to fill a hydrogen tank took us about two to four minutes on average. And not only is the fast-acting filling rate very impressive.

In the test drive that took many hundreds of kilometers, the large hydrogen car easily offered a range of 500-600 real kilometers. On the fast and long journeys on the Autobahn at an average speed of 120 km/h, the range has been reduced to 450-500 km. In Israel, where it is difficult to find a place where it is possible to travel continuously for more than 15 minutes at a constant speed of 120 km/h, range will definitely not be a problem.

The problem at the moment is infrastructure and price. A kilogram of hydrogen costs about 55 NIS in Germany, so a full tank costs 309 NIS. In relation to diesel-powered cars or economical gasoline cars, this is a significant gap, certainly when driving on a very highway. Hess doesn't talk about the electrifying gap. Even the hydrogen filling stations have not yet even grown a beard for themselves. A station that worked one day stopped working the next day, another station went out of use a few days apart, so the infrastructure is not reliable enough yet. With emphasis on the last word.

Under the long hood, Toyota chose to install an electric motor that provides fairly solid performance (Photo: Walla! system, Yatir Davidovitch)

And then there's the engine story. 182 horsepower on 2 tons sounds on paper like the exact opposite of a sporting experience. To be honest, in most situations we encountered the car never felt slow or powerless. It bypasses well, is determined enough to go up acceptable ascents and is not afraid of switching to "eco" mode. On the other hand, the company claimed that the car does not accelerate hard enough, and this is after a week with the 1.0-liter turbocharged Ford Fiesta. So performance probably isn't the forte of this Toyota. Not the plus but not a dramatic minus. The issue is that additional power requires a larger propulsion system, and as you probably understood in the current Mirai, there is not even more room for a grain of semolina.

The last point, of course, is air pollution. The Mirai itself is the cleanest car you can drive today. It emits no pollutants, and its water emissions at the end of the trip will only do good for the environment. In addition, it does not have a huge battery whose manufacturing process led to quite significant environmental damage. So on paper, it's a very, very environmentally friendly car. The issue here is that pollution is created in the process of generating electricity. Hydrogen compression and storage are energy-intensive processes. And the extra process on the way now creates quite a bit of pollution, unless hydrogen is produced using renewable energy, or nuclear.

In the face of similar cars of similar size and price, it is very difficult to get excited about the Mirai. It is very crowded, not comfortable enough and isolated. She has no hair-raising performance or exciting road behavior. And it's very expensive, something like the BMW 5 Series, or the Lexus ES.

Heralding the hydrogen revolution? Time will tell (Photo: Walla!, Yatir Davidovitch)

But judging the Mirai by such standards would be as dumb as seeing the way things have been conducted in the State of Israel over the past year as the norm. Mirai is the future. It is the harbinger of a greener world. In this sense it is reminiscent of other revolutionary cars.

The technology within this Toyota is in its infancy. In light of the development of technology around us, it can be assumed that in the coming years the efficiency of electric motors and hydrogen-based energy generation systems will improve, strengthen and shrink. Then, we are likely to see smaller, more economical and more spacious hydrogen cars. It is logical to assume that then the price of hydrogen will also drop and if hydrogen production is done from renewable energy, then the real solution to pollution and emissions will come from hydrogen-powered cars.

For Israel, a country where there is now only one hydrogen filling station in the north and plans for only three more, the Mirai is not scheduled to arrive. The technological revolution it is curating will only be appreciated in 5 or 10 years. Then we can determine whether it is a world-changing car like the Toyota Prius and Tesla Model S or an experiment that was ahead of its time and failed like Better Place's Renault Fluence or the Chevrolet EV1. Time will tell. Until then, it's hard not to be impressed by Toyota's impressive daring and determination to move in a completely different electric direction.


On the technical side: Toyota Mirai

Engine, Propulsion: Fuel cell that turns hydrogen into electricity, rear
Power (hp): 185 Torque: 30
Transmission:Automatic, Direct
transmission Battery: 1.2 kWh

Dimensions:Length (m):4.975 Width (m): 1.885

Height (m):1.47
Wheelbase (m):2.92
Trunk (liter):

Performance (manufacturer):Acceleration 0-100 (sec):9 Maximum speed (km/h): 175 Driving range:650 km Hydrogen consumption:116 km per kg Safety:European crash test score: 5 out of 5 stars Active safety:

Autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure correction, automatic
high light

3 years or 100 thousand km per vehicle, 10 years or 240 thousand km for the propulsion system

  • Car
  • Car Tests


  • Toyota
  • hydrogen
  • Fuel cell

Source: walla

All tech articles on 2023-06-16

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