New Toyota Mirai



​​Introduction

Toyota marks the next generation of electrically powered vehicles with the Mirai, a hydrogen car that produces only water vapour emissions. The world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle at that. It’s kinder to the environment whilst giving you the freedom to enjoy driving like you normally would. Innovative, efficient and responsive, ‘the Mirai’ is aptly named, as it translates from Japanese to English as ‘the future’.

Technology

There’s a dual 4.2” HD liquid crystal display, which gives you detailed information about the likes of the battery and the source of the power that’s driving the car at any point, and you can control it using the buttons on the steering wheel. When it comes to entertainment, Toyota’s Touch 2 with Go Plus multimedia and sat nav is displayed on a 7” VGA touchscreen and paired with a JBL Premium Sound System.

Performance

The Mirai takes in hydrogen via a pump (refuelling takes around 3 minutes) and oxygen from the front air vent into a ‘fuel cell stack’ to generate electricity, which is then used to power the motor and drive the vehicle. By using hydrogen in this way, the Mirai only produces water vapour from its tailpipe, allowing you to enjoy long distance zero-emissions driving. What’s more, the battery system reuses energy during acceleration and braking to increase its efficiency. This adds up to a range that is the equivalent of a petrol-engined car.


All of this means the Mirai does the 0 – 62mph sprint in 9.6 seconds and has a top speed of 111mph. Acceleration is smooth whilst yielding the power of electric for a comfortable, steady performance – it won’t blow your socks off but it’s performance also doesn’t suffer at the hand of hydrogen tech. The Mirai comes with three drive modes: Normal for everyday journeys; Eco to prioritise fuel efficiency; and Power to sharpen the accelerator response. Thanks to its low centre of gravity, created by the power units located under the car’s floor, the Mirai boasts handling stability and agility.

Design

At the heart of it, the Mirai is a four-door saloon. But with an ‘air to water’ side profile (representing the shape of a water droplet, say Toyota), striking grille design, ultra-slim headlights and 17” alloy wheels, it has an impressive appearance sure to catch eyes.

 

Inside, the focus on a seamless, flowing design and high-quality materials creates a refined, luxurious cabin – a step up from previous Toyota interiors. The snug seats have been specially designed to wrap around the body and help prevent fatigue on long journeys, providing great lumbar support. To top it all off, the cabin is almost silent thanks to the use of sound-absorbing and insulating materials. The position of the door mirrors and shape of the front pillars have even been designed to reduce wind noise.


There’s no denying that the Mirai has been built on attention to detail.The interior, however, tells a different story; an acoustic windscreen and silencers in the roof, dashboard and floor of the car help to create an almost silent and peaceful atmosphere in the cabin. This complements the already smooth and quiet nature of the hybrid powertrain, making for a comfortable driving experience – perfect for motorway journeys.Despite having to find room for a fuel cell stack and two hydrogen tanks, the saloon has a wide boot with a commendable 361-litres of space – although still smaller than what you’d find in a conventionally powered car.

Safety

There’s a whole host of driver assistance systems in the Mirai to help keep you safe on the road. Features include a Pre-Collision System, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Drive-start Control and Adaptive Cruise Control, amongst many others. An anti-theft alarm is also fitted, so you can sleep at night knowing your car is safe.

Verdict

The fact that Toyota have created and publicly launched a hydrogen car is commendable in itself, and there’s no doubt that the Mirai represents a piece of history in electrically powered vehicles. However, there are currently extremely limited opportunities for refuelling a Mirai. Hydrogen refuelling stations are few and far between in the UK, and those delivering the optimal 700bar of hydrogen pressure are even fewer. Today, the reality of owning a Mirai is not one filled with ease or convenience. But when the UK’s industry and infrastructure finally catch up, it could be a different story altogether.

Toyota Mirai 360° View