The 2022 Toyota Mirai boasts outputs of 182 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque thanks to a hydrogen fuel cell
It has up to 647 kilometres of range.
It starts at $54,990 in its base XLE trim.
The Mirai is in a class of its own. It serves as one of the very few ambassadors of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles. And as some of you may know, unless you live in California, hydrogen is hard to come by. With that said, the Mirai does make a point in terms of range, weight, and effectiveness when filling up or driving in colder climates.
Impressively, Toyota decided to keep the sedan format for this model, which could be a disadvantage in the North American market. However, given the scarcity of sedans within the industry, we certainly don’t mind! The Mirai still received select modifications for its new generation, making it easier on the eyes and more powerful compared to the outgoing model, while increasing its range.
The Mirai sits on the same platform as the rear-wheel drive Lexus LS sedan. It is offered in two grades: the XLE model, which begins at $54,990 and the Limited version, which begins at $76,750. Both differ in terms of equipment, but also in terms of range.
We took the 2022 Toyota Mirai for a drive on the California coast, where it belongs more than anywhere else.
A Plush, Comfortable Drive
The Mirai basically drives like your traditional electric car. After all, the hydrogen only replaces the battery, but the drive units are exactly the same as the ones you would find in any other EV. Hence, the Mirai dishes out the entirety of its torque at low rpms, providing not riveting, but very adequate accelerations off the starting line.
Once you get to the freeway, that’s when the Mirai’s excitement begins to diminish. You’ll understand immediately that the 182 horsepower might be bit low for the size of this car at higher speeds on the highway. Even though it is lighter than the gas-powered Lexus LS, it still tilts the scale at 4,250 lb.
In terms of handling and overall experience at the wheel, the Mirai provides a Lexus-like ride with a strong emphasis on comfort, but not so much in terms of excitement.
Inside, the Mirai features all the bells and whistles that you will find in any Toyota/Lexus cars. Impeccable assembly quality, yes, but also a 12.3-inch infotainment screen that is standard for both variants. Both models also share most of Toyota’s active safety systems. In the top Limited trim, rear seat passengers get heated and ventilated perforated SofTex seats – which are very comfortable.
How Does it Work?
So far, the Mirai essentially offers what any other Toyota/Lexus car provides. But the technology underneath is quite unique. The Mirai is equipped with three tanks that can carry 142 litres of hydrogen. These tanks feed the hydrogen fuel cell, which creates electricity when combined with the oxygen in the air. That power is then sent to the rear wheels through an electric motor. The Mirai also has a 1.8 kWh battery, similar to that of a hybrid vehicle, which can harness the energy from regenerative braking. The range is also impressive at as much as 647 kilometres for the XLE variant and 575 kilometres with the Limited trim. This range also comes with another perk. If you can find a source, filling up with hydrogen only takes three to five minutes. For us folk in colder climates, hydrogen is much less subject to Mother Nature’s coldest forces, hence the range doesn’t drop as much as with a battery-powered electric vehicle.
The Hunt for Hydrogen
The big downside with hydrogen is still availability. In fact, in Canada, there are only five active stations at this moment (four in British-Columbia and one in Quebec). Governments are indeed dumping much more capital into charging infrastructure at this point, with a fraction of allotted funds going towards developing the distribution side of things with hydrogen.
There are also safety concerns with the chemistry side of things, as hydrogen is a highly explosive substance. However, Toyota says that its carbon-fibre-lined tanks are safer form impacts than any gas tank. With an eight-year/160,000 km warranty on the hydrogen fuel cell system and related components, the manufacturer doesn’t fear backing them up either.
Despite numerous bumps in the road, Toyota is fighting to the teeth to keep the hydrogen dream alive and, when the music stops, the it should have a chair to sit in and be ahead of the game in terms of technology. That is, if that ever happens.