2016 Toyota Mirai: Hydrogen Highway vs. Tesla Supercharger Network
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 26, 2016
As far as road-tripping is concerned, our 2016 Toyota Mirai can only go where there are hydrogen filling stations. I recently described a clump of them in the LA basin and another cluster that serves the San Francisco area. There's also a lone station in a place called Coalinga that links these two regions, and another up near Donner Summit on the way to Lake Tahoe.
Turn back the clock to late 2012 and you'll see a map with just six Tesla Superchargers in more or less the same places. At the time, we marveled at how these revolutionary quick-charge stations would enable us to drive our newfangled 2013 Tesla Model S all the way to Lake Tahoe and back. Think of it!
You can see where this is going. Today's Hydrogen Highway is eerily similar to those early days of the Tesla Supercharger Network, and that realization recently prompted Jay Kavanagh and me to concoct a friendly contest. It's the 2016 Toyota Mirai versus the 2016 Tesla Model X, hydrogen versus electricity, fuel cell versus batteries. It's the Hydrogen Highway versus the Tesla Supercharger network.
Place your bets.
The destination: the Basecamp hotel in South Lake Tahoe. The rules: both cars will leave our Santa Monica offices with a full tank or battery (as the case may be), and Jay and I will travel along the same 487-mile route that's served by both networks.
The competing Coalinga stations are close enough for a stare-down across the parking lot, but we're not likely to see each other, because each of us will be free to run at whatever speed seems most prudent for the vehicle we happen to be piloting. And none of the other stations we'll hit will be nearly as close together as they are in Coalinga.
We've got some ideas on how we might change things up on the return leg of the contest, but we plan to see how it all unfolds on the trip north before we make any decisions.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing