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Toyota claims 502km range for hydrogen Mirai

Going the distance: Toyota claims its hydrogen-fuelled Mirai sedan is the club-house champion for driving range among green vehicles.

Hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Toyota Mirai EV tops 500km under United States test

Toyota logo1 Jul 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

TOYOTA is claiming a zero-emission driving range record for its Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car in the United States, saying it can cover 502km on a single fill of hydrogen under the American EPA test.

The company says the Camry-sized Mirai sedan, which is already on sale in Japan and goes on sale in California in the third quarter of this year, is the first electric production vehicle to top the 300 mile (482km) range.

However, electric-vehicle specialist Tesla claims on its Australian company website that its battery-powered Tesla S 85 can achieve “up to 502km” – the same as the Mirai.

Confusingly, Tesla’s American website says the same Tesla S variant can do 270 miles (434km) on the EPA five-cycle range test, and 295 miles (474km) on a 65 miles per hour (104km/h) driving range test.

The Mirai figures appear to be produced according to the EPA test, with Toyota calling them “EPA-estimated performance figures”.

Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz said the Mirai – Japanese for future – marked the next step in the electrification of the automobile.

“Just as the Prius introduced hybrid-electric vehicles to millions of customers nearly 20 years ago, the Mirai is now poised to usher in a new era of efficient, hydrogen transportation,” he said.

As GoAuto has previously reported, Toyota Australia has no plans to introduce the Mirai until a hydrogen refuelling network is available.

The Mirai’s powertrain, which converts hydrogen to electricity and emits only water vapour, is rated at 67 miles per gallon (3.5 litres per 100km) on the EPA combined fuel consumption test “equivalent”.

The Mirai’s fuel-cell stack delivers electricity to a 1.6kWh nickel-metal hydride battery, which in turn powers a 113kW/335Nm electric motor driving the front wheels.

Much of the drivetrain is borrowed from Toyota’s hybrid cars, to save cost. It is said to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just over nine seconds.

The twin hydrogen tanks are made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic, storing hydrogen at 70MPa.

The Mirai is based on the FCV concept unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo motor show.

The production version made its debut at the 2014 Los Angeles motor show last November, just before it made its showroom entry in Japan in December.

Just 700 Mirais will be produced this year, before output is ramped up to 2000 units in 2016 and 3000 in 2017.

California has been chosen for the debut of the Mirai in North America because of the availability of hydrogen fuel on the west coast.

But because potential owners might, like EV owners, suffer a form of range anxiety, Toyota is promising both free fuel for three years and roadside assist with an “expedited towing service” and “trip interruption reimbursement at a maximum of $500 a day” for up to five days.

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