I'm a current subscriber to Car and Driver and the September issue had an article about the new Toyota Mirai. If you like all sorts of cars I highly recommend becoming a subscriber, it's the best car magazine out there. Anyways, I thought I list a number of interesting points from the article. The car looks extremely ugly, but in any other aspect it is nothing short of amazing:
PRICE: $58,325. Only a few years ago it costed Honda to make the FCX Clarity around $1 million to produce, and you were only able to lease that car if you lived in California. Just after a few years of the FCX Clarity, Toyota creates the Mirai that you can purchase for $58,325. Toyota spent 23 years and developed 5,680 patents which usually costs astronomical.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 57MPGe, to put this number in perspective, it costs $0.25 per mile to fill up, which is four times what a Camry Hybrid does. Having said that, Toyota will pay for the first three years for all the fill ups until they work on filling stations to make them more common.
FUEL RANGE: 270 miles. You need 1.46lbs of hydrogen to fill the tank.
SPECIFICATION: 152 hp, 247 lbft, 4,100 lbs
0-60pmh: 9.4 seconds
TOP SPEED: 108 mph
BRAKING 70-0mph: 194 ft
PRODUCTION: 200 units for this year, and 2,800 units for the next two years. I think you can only buy them in California for now.
TRANSMISSION: 1 speed direct drive
TIRES: Michelin Primacy 215/35R-17
OTHER FACTS: California currently has only 20 locations to re-fuel hydrogen versus 10,000 gasoline stations. You can use this car as a generator to provide electricity for your house up to a week. People are skeptical about the use of Hydrogen in cars; but they were skeptical about Hybrids and Electrical cars not so long ago as well.
I always wondered what happened to Hydrogen cars, about 15 years ago they were going to be the next big thing, the only thing going in was sea water (plenty of that around) and the only thing coming out was oxygen (no harm in that!)
By the looks of things, it's the epic cost and logistics that have put manufacturers off. Sounds like the kind of car rich people and celebrities are going to buy to "stand out" and be different, with those fuel costs and range, its not going to save anyone any money at the pumps.
In my opinion, compressed air hybrids are much better, it's a simple system that compresses air into a tank when braking etc, which can then be made to make the engine run, using no fuel. Peugeot made one recently and it did 140+ MPG!
I don't know any Prius owner that had to replace the battery yet. When I bought the Prius C, it came with an 8 year warranty on the battery and the battery supposed to last 10 years (depending on weather, driving conditions, etc.). The dealer said it costs $4,000 to replace the battery, including labour. I read on Jalopnik that some thieves are stealing Prius batteries in the US and it takes them about 15-40 minutes to remove, and they can get around $1,200 for them on the black market. They usually destroy the car while removing the battery.
A few Prius batteries had to be replaced under warranty because of manufacturing defects, but the same can be said about engines and transmissions on other cars. When things are mass produced, not every item coming off the line will be perfect, and some issues will get past QA.
Older Prii, with lots of miles, have had their battery replaced or refurbished.The owner of a non-hybrid of the same age with such wear and tear, would also be considering new/rebuilding the engine or transmission. Keeping any car running forever will mean putting money into it.
On to the Mirai, the EPA figures are 67mpge with a range 312 miles. Since a kilogram of hydrogen has nearly the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline, the car has a tank size of around 4.66kg. With hydrogen going for over $13/kg in California, it will take over $60 to fill an empty tank.
Considering the Mirai's performance specs and that it seats only 4 means that a Volt is a fair comparison vehicle. The Volt is cheaper, can cross the country using gasoline, and will be mostly to always zero tail pipe emissions for daily commuting. The Mirai is zero tail pipe emissions all the time, but can't leave Southern California.
The price may be a little over $50k, but that isn't the cost to make it. Which is likely more than a top end Tesla S. Toyota, and others, have made strides in reducing the cars' cost.
The cost of a FCEV isn't the big hurdle. It is the cost of building out any hydrogen infrastructure. It will be expensive for Japan, and extremely expensive for the US. For fuel cell cars to have a shot outside of small locales, they will need to use something, preferably a liquid, besides pure hydrogen for fuel.
Volvo has a diesel powered fuel cell that they designed to replace the ICE genset of long haul trucks and boats. These are used on trucks to power the driver's cabin utilities instead of idling the truck's engine.
The onboard reformer that frees the hydrogen from the fuel needs to get smaller before this will work on personal cars to move them with a fuel cell. This should happen in time, and the efficiency of a fuel cell over an ICE makes it that much easier to sustainibily switch to renewable diesel, gasoline, and/or alcohols.
It's another one of those cars that's too early for the infrastructure, by the end of this year, there will only be 15 hydrogen filling stations in the whole of the UK, and they are likely to be in the major cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham etc.
I don't know about you but they don't sell hydrogen at the gas stations near me... and the company that makes the hydrogen generator in the Marai video charges $40,000 - $120,000 for their units. So I got one of these :
Its the Dr Fission personal fission reactor. I got two to increase mileage on my car but a couple of these could fill a marai overnight. Or the big one in an hour or two DR. FISSION | Hydrogen Generators, HHO, Water Powered Cars
These make 300L of hydrogen for like 10 cents worth of electricity and some water.