Toyota Mirai Survives German Torture Test

What happens when you drive a Toyota Mirai 16 hours a day for 107 days in the middle of winter in Germany? According to Electric Cars Report, the answer is — nothing. The test started on 21st September 2015 and finished on 10th February 2016. During its 100,000 kilometer journey, the car was refueled nearly 400 times with just over 1000 kg of hydrogen, its tires changed twice, and its front brake pads replaced. No mechanical breakdowns were reported.

Toyota Mirai

The test was conducted on behalf of Toyota by KJ Tech Services of Hamburg. It created a route in and around Hamburg that included city streets, rural roads, and the German autobahn, which is famous for having no speed limits. Eight drivers worked in two shifts per day, six days a week. “The Mirai performed excellently with no mechanical breakdowns,” said KJ Tech Services Project Manager Patrick Hake. “The fuel cell operated with 100% reliability. This was also the case during a week in which the outside temperature dropped to minus 20 degrees Centigrade, when no problems with cold starts were reported.”

The eight drivers found the interior of the Mirai was comfortable and attractive. (Fortunately for them, they did not have to look at the outside of the car 16 hours a day.) They liked the luxurious feel of the leather seats and steering wheel. There was plenty of headroom for even the tallest driver. The Mirai handled curves well. Its responsive steering made it easy to maneuver. They also said the car had adequate power for passing or getting up to speed after stopping for traffic lights. Acceleration was smooth with no jerkiness.

The drivers filled the Mirai’s tanks with hydrogen themselves after being given a short explanation of how hydrogen refueling works. The process is little different than filling a conventional car with gasoline or diesel fuel. Refueling took just three minutes, on average.

What can we learn from this test? The Mirai is reliable, comfortable, and a pleasure to drive. But it is safe to assume the entire distance traveled during the test used fuel from only one refueling station in the middle of the route. So if you want an expensive sedan that can only be driven in circles close to where you live, the Mirai is the perfect choice. In 20 or 30 years, when the landscape is dotted with hydrogen stations and the price is half what it is today, it may even make sense to buy one.

Photo credit: Electric Cars Report

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.