The Toyota Mirai is a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) that runs on hydrogen and emits only water. It is one of the few cars on the market that can offer a zero-emission driving experience with a long-range and a quick refueling time. The 2024 model year brings some new features and updates to the Mirai, making it even more attractive and competitive in the electric vehicle segment.
What is a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle?
A fuel cell electric vehicle is a type of electric vehicle that generates its own electricity onboard from hydrogen instead of storing it in a battery. A fuel cell is a device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and water. The electricity powers an electric motor that drives the wheels, while the water exits the tailpipe as the only emission.
The main advantages of a fuel cell electric vehicle are:
- It has a longer range than a battery electric vehicle, as hydrogen can store more energy per unit of weight than batteries.
- It can be refueled in minutes, similar to a gasoline vehicle, unlike a battery electric vehicle that can take hours to charge.
- It does not depend on the availability of charging stations as long as hydrogen stations are nearby.
- It does not suffer from performance degradation or capacity loss over time, as batteries do.
The main challenges of a fuel cell electric vehicle are:
- It is more expensive than a battery electric vehicle, as fuel cells and hydrogen tanks are costly and complex to manufacture.
- It has a limited availability of hydrogen stations, as the infrastructure for hydrogen production, distribution, and dispensing is still underdeveloped.
- It has a lower efficiency than a battery electric vehicle, as some energy is lost during the conversion of hydrogen to electricity and the compression of hydrogen to high pressure.
What is New for the 2024 Toyota Mirai?
The Toyota Mirai was first introduced in 2015 as the world’s first mass-produced fuel-cell electric vehicle. It was redesigned in 2020 with a sleeker, more elegant, and more spacious body. The 2024 model year brings some minor changes and improvements to the Mirai, such as:
- A new Elemental Silver exterior color option, available across all trims.
- A new Beyond Zero badge, highlighting Toyota’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality.
- An upgraded Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 package, which includes advanced driver assistance features such as Traffic Jam Assist and Proactive Drive Assist.
- A new Digital Smartphone Key feature allows the driver to unlock, lock, and start the car using a compatible smartphone.
- A new FCEV badge indicates that the Mirai is a fuel-cell electric vehicle.
The 2024 Toyota Mirai is available in two trims: the base XLE and the premium Limited. The XLE starts at $51,000 and offers a 402-mile range rating, while the Limited starts at $68,000 and offers a 357-mile range rating (these prices are estimated). Both trims come with a $15,000 fuel credit and 21 days of complimentary vehicle rentals.
How Does the 2024 Toyota Mirai Perform?
The 2024 Toyota Mirai is powered by a 153-horsepower electric motor that delivers a smooth and quiet ride. The Mirai can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds, which is not very fast compared to other electric vehicles but adequate for everyday driving. The Mirai has a top speed of 111 mph, which is electronically limited.
The Mirai has a rear-wheel-drive configuration, which improves its handling and stability. The Mirai also has a low center of gravity and a well-balanced weight distribution, thanks to the placement of the fuel cell stack under the hood, the hydrogen tanks under the seats, and the battery under the trunk. The Mirai has a curb weight of 4,255 lbs, which is relatively heavy for its size, but not noticeable in normal driving conditions.
The Mirai has a four-wheel independent suspension system, which provides a comfortable and compliant ride. The Mirai also has a variable-ratio electric power steering system, which offers a precise and responsive steering feel. The Mirai has a four-wheel disc brake system, which includes a regenerative braking feature that recovers some of the kinetic energy and converts it into electricity.
How Does the 2024 Toyota Mirai Compare to Other Electric Vehicles?
The 2024 Toyota Mirai is one of the few fuel cell electric vehicles on the market, along with the Hyundai Nexo and the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell. The Mirai has a longer range than both of them and a more luxurious and spacious interior. The Mirai also has a more distinctive and attractive design than the Nexo and the Clarity, which look more conventional and bland.
The Mirai hydrogen car also competes with battery electric vehicles, such as the Tesla Model 3, the BMW i4, and the Polestar 2. The Mirai has a longer range than the BMW i4 and the Polestar 2, but a shorter range than the Model 3. The Mirai also has a slower acceleration and a lower top speed than all of them. The Mirai has a more expensive price tag than the Model 3 and the Polestar 2, but a similar price to the i4. The Mirai has a more refined and elegant interior than the Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2, but a less sporty and futuristic interior than the BMW i4.
The Mirai’s main advantage over battery electric vehicles is its quick refueling time, which can be done in minutes at a hydrogen station. However, the Mirai’s main drawback is its limited availability of hydrogen stations, which are currently only found in California and a few other states. The Mirai is also less efficient than battery electric vehicles, as it consumes more energy per mile.