by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 28, 2016
It's 7:05 am as Jay and I climb aboard our mounts and back out of our respective parking spaces. At 7:07 am we're lined up outside the building, waiting for the first traffic signal of the trip to turn green. I'm piloting the 2016 Toyota Mirai and Jay is behind the wheel of our 2016 Tesla Model X. Both cars are filled with their respective fuels and headed for an eventual rendezvous at the Basecamp Hotel in South Lake Tahoe.
We merge onto the 405 freeway and maneuver ourselves to the carpool lane. For now we're queued up line astern, but we're bound to lose sight of each other once we reach a predetermined photo-op point on the outskirts of the LA Basin and start running at whatever speed each of us deems most prudent.
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.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on August 31, 2016
What's different is the price. Hydrogen is ridiculously expensive.
Or it's free!
Let me explain.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on August 26, 2016
In response to my last post, a commenter pointed out our 2016 Toyota Mirai lives in a bubble. That's absolutely true. The state of California is pushing hard for hydrogen development, so that's where the main action is.
The effort is being shaped by the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), an organization that describes itself as "a collaboration of auto manufacturers, energy companies, fuel cell technology companies and government agencies." Their plan: develop and commercialize the technology with the goal of making it financially viable at some point down the road.
To do that it is necessary to have cars on the road and stations to refuel them. Many lessons must be learned. Everyone needs to see that it really can work. This has been going on in the background for some years with CaFCP member fleet vehicles and private pumps.
The Mirai and those that will soon follow represent the beginning of the next phase: private customer cars and public refueling stations.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on August 18, 2016
Our 2016 Toyota Mirai is a unique machine powered by an unfamiliar fuel — hydrogen. How far can it go? What is the consumption like? These are among the many questions we wanted to answer.
Let's get started.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on June 10, 2016
Attention Air Products, Inc — get your act together.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on April 25, 2016
Our 2016 Toyota Mirai is a very complex machine. Easily the most technologically advanced car in our fleet. Does that mean it's a pain to refill its carbon fiber hydrogen tanks?
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on April 8, 2016
With sales starting late last year, the 2016 Toyota Mirai qualifies as the first fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle (FCHEV) available for public sale in North America. That's a big deal. The technology has been simmering in the background for a couple of decades, but Toyota has now reached the point where it feels comfortable selling it outright.