The Toyota Mirai (Japanese for “future”) is one of the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to be sold commercially. By mid 2015 it be making global sales to Europe and USA.
The Mirai is purpose-built around a fuel cell stack that converts compressed hydrogen gas into electricity. The electricity, in turn, is stored in batteries and used to power a motor that drives the front wheels. The only emission that comes out of the tailpipe is water vapor. The car has a range of about ~482km on a full tank of compressed hydrogen, and refueling takes less than five minutes.
A lack of hydrogen fueling stations is one of the biggest hurdles for getting buyers to consider fuel cell vehicles, which is why Toyota also announced plans to partner with Air Liquide, a global producer of hydrogen and other gases, to develop infrastructure. All those buying one will receive 3 years of free hydrogen after the initial purchase.
Driving Range and Range Anxiety is a major concern for most drivers so the distance per recharge or refuel will be pivotal to success.
Fuel Cost are low for Tesla who offers free recharge at all of its supercharging stations, while charging at home costs Model S owners as low as $10 per recharge. On the other hand, Toyota has announced to offer free hydrogen fuel to Mirai owners for three years. After that, hydrogen fuel would cost Mirai owners the same as gasoline, according to the prevalent speculations.
Low refueling time for Mirai as the vehicle’s major advantage and success driver. It is expected that Mirai will be refueled in less than three minutes, which is same amount of time required to fill a tank with diesel or gasoline. In contrast, it takes almost 30 minutes to have the Model S recharged 80% at a supercharger station. Without a battery-swap program (approximately 3 minutes) the Mirai becomes more attractive.
It’s still too early to tell ..