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Coming to Grips with Hydrogen Fuel Economy - 2016 Toyota Mirai Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited August 2016 in Toyota
imageComing to Grips with Hydrogen Fuel Economy - 2016 Toyota Mirai Long-Term Road Test

We've been keeping a close watch on the fuel consumption of our hydrogen-powered 2016 Toyota Mirai, and we've seen high highs and low lows.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • ... and yet not a single dollar sign in the entire article. Here's a thought. Don't talk about MPG Equivalent. Talk about total cost and divide by range and come up with cost per MILE. So, I'm guessing from the picture that a fill up cost you $40.23 (or would've if Toyota wasn't covering the bill)?

    So, if you put it 2.4 kg (like the picture shows) and get 100 miles per 1.8 kg that means that you went about 133 miles, right? So, according to my math it would've cost you $0.30 per mile.

    So... at around an average of $2.40 a gallon in LA it would be like getting 8 miles per gallon. Yes, 8 MPG. Or, compare it to say a 40 MPG car (being conservative) and it'd be like paying $12.10 a gallon.

    Feel free to correct my assumptions and check my math, but that seems pretty absurd. Oh yeah, "the price will come down" maybe down to as low as $4 a gallon equivalent. Makes lots of sense.
  • bolotiboloti Posts: 47
    What I don't understand, is that all this technology and cost is needed to increase the efficiency by 10-20% compared to Toyota's own Prius ? If you look at EV's, most of them get 100+ MPGe equivalent. Which is at least 2x as efficient as best gas hybrids. Range-wise (~250 miles) EV's are there, and price-wise - almost here.
  • gslippygslippy Posts: 514
    "And although hydrogen cars are still in their infancy, finding a station hasn't been too much of a problem."

    Spoken so casually, yet there are 29 H2 filling stations in the entire country:
    http://www.afdc.energy.gov/locator/stations/results?utf8=✓&location=&fuel=HY&private=false&planned=false&owner=all&payment=all&radius=false&radius_miles=5

    I don't fault you for living where you do, but it's a bit of a bubble when it comes to dealing with the realities of the rest of the Continent.
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    @kirkhiles: I used simpler math (I think) to end up in the same place. $40.23 for 2.419kg = $16.63/kg. If they are averaging 56.7 miles/kg that is $0.29/mile.

    A Prius averaging 47.6 MPG, so at $2.40/g that is $0.05/mile.

    I still think that hydrogen cars like the Mirai should be the car of the future rather than plug in electric. But from a cost/mile perspective it makes zero sense at this time.
  • @kirkhiles: I used simpler math (I think) to end up in the same place. $40.23 for 2.419kg = $16.63/kg. If they are averaging 56.7 miles/kg that is $0.29/mile.

    A Prius averaging 47.6 MPG, so at $2.40/g that is $0.05/mile.

    I still think that hydrogen cars like the Mirai should be the car of the future rather than plug in electric. But from a cost/mile perspective it makes zero sense at this time.

    Yeah, that is simpler. My understanding though is that Hydrogen Fuel Cells just fundamentally use a whole lot of energy to create. There are no huge gains to be made to reduce that cost. no matter even if we had 1,000+ (or a million) stations out there. Fuel will likely never be cheaper than $3.50 per gallon equivalent (if my understanding of the technology is correct).

    Electric is clearly the future and that will tie in perfectly to self driving as soon they will be fleets of automated taxis taking you to and from work and everywhere you need to go.
  • Way to yell out the punchline as the comedian is setting up the joke! ;)

    I decided to tackle the range and refueling parts first and separately because 1) these are key issues to the early adopter EV crowd, which is important because 2) hydrogen cars are being pitched to those folks as a more "normal" green car/EV alternative in terms of range and refueling.

    But cost is coming next, believe you me. We have recorded every penny we've paid (and continue to do so) so we can delve into that issue. But there is a twist.

    Nah, more like I'm the guy crunching the numbers in the Time Share presentation wanting to know why the numbers don't work out well. LOL.

    I thought the fuel was completely covered by Toyota. Is it not?
  • throwbackthrowback Posts: 445
    Are there any hydrogen stations outside of the LA-SF corridor?
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 451
    edited August 2016
    gslippy said:

    "And although hydrogen cars are still in their infancy, finding a station hasn't been too much of a problem."

    Spoken so casually, yet there are 29 H2 filling stations in the entire country:
    http://www.afdc.energy.gov/locator/stations/results?utf8=✓&location=&fuel=HY&private=false&planned=false&owner=all&payment=all&radius=false&radius_miles=5

    I don't fault you for living where you do, but it's a bit of a bubble when it comes to dealing with the realities of the rest of the Continent.

    Totally agree. This is a car in a bubble. But nobody is trying to hide that fact. Toyota will only sell one to folks that live in the area covered by the stations being built. This is partially a demonstration project. But the bubble is pretty big -- it's two bubbles, in fact -- when you consider this: the combined population of the LA Basin and the Bay area is greater than that of some countries. And it is possible to drive between those two bubbles because of the car's range and the location of the Harris Ranch station.

    Our car lives in the southern bubble, and the number of stations is manageable based on where they are and the number of cars currently trying to use them.

    It's worth noting that Tesla's supercharger network only consisted of 6 similarly-located stations in California when we first gout ours in early 2013. As I recall we marveled at being able to drive all the way to Lake Tahoe! But look at them now!

    Hydrogen will not roll out that fast, of course. Electricity is already everywhere, so something like a Supercharger station is a matter of finding a host and building a station. Hydrogen infrastructure is a long ways behind. They're currently trucking it to stations. (Come to think of it, that's how gasoline stations are supplied). It's mostly a matter of making the stuff cheaply and cleanly from a well-to-wheels standpoint, and that's still a major sticking point.

    Toyota's move is a long-range plan realizing that this chicken-egg problem needs cars on the road to get the ball well and truly rolling to answer questions like: Can the vehicles do the job? and; Do they satisfy customers? If people like the cars, then people will figure out ways to improve the hydrogen part. But everyone involved is thinking decades ahead here. They're talking about the NEXT hundred years of the automobile. Time will tell if this fuel has legs but, as they say, you've first gotta walk...

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    I'm still advocating for an Edmunds 24-Hour Endurance Test of a "typical" gas four door sedan, the Hydrogen Cell sedan, All-Electric Sedan, diesel sedan, and hybrid sedan. Get a route figured out, one that includes filling stations for all types, and just run them for 24 hours, then let us know total distance traveled, total fuel costs, etc. Mainly, I'm interested if things like the increased mileage capability will off-set the long charge times on the all-electrics.
  • I have seen a few Mirai (Mirais? What's the plural?) here in the Bay Area. About a month ago in a restaurant parking lot in Santa Clara I saw a uniformed Deputy Sheriff get in one. It wasn't marked, so it could have been his personal car, but I was wondering if the county has some deal with Toyota to have them in their fleet. It will be interesting to see if this market grows.
  • There's a couple around the Irvine/Lake Forest area (probably you guys running around here again?) and people look at it and the '16 Prius next to it and probably wonder what the designers were drinking while designing these vehicles.

    The process for obtaining the hydrogen will probably never be cheap due to the purification, certifications, and HazMat issues (it is a rolling tank of hydrogen after all), and the fact most processes to obtain the hydrogen (and purify) need a LOT of electricity.

    ... starting to think if someone did a breakdown on the actual "green" score it would fall closer to the bottom of the list below hybrid or even diesel. On the plus side, at least it doesn't need heavy metal laden hybrid batteries... oh, wait... the "stack" looks to be hybrid batteries.
  • greenponygreenpony Chicago, ILPosts: 531
    To Dan's point, it is important to think decades ahead. Think of it as a research project. Petroleum reserves will run out one day, so the more alternatives we cultivate now, the more options we will have when petroleum is replaced as the dominant fuel.
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