This is the future of cars: The Toyota Mirai Sedan Concept
We've all heard the excuses on why electric vehicles are a terrible idea. And whether or not you are a fan of electric vehicles, you've most likely accepted that they're the future. But maybe now it's time to accept a new kind of future: FCEVs. Take five minutes to allow me to show you the future with the Toyota Mirai Sedan Concept.
The car you see above is the Toyota Mirai Sedan Concept which is seemingly the successor of the current Toyota Mirai, and what a beautiful successor it would be. Both the current generation Mirai and the concept are FCEVs, or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles. And that's what I believe is the future. FCEVs are quite foreign to a majority of you guys, so here's a brief explanation and step-by-step process of how everything works.
So let's say you just bought a piece of the future, the Mirai, and you need to it fuel up. Instead of using environment-polluting gas or waiting 30+ minutes to charge your EV, you feed your FCEV with hydrogen, which only takes roughly 5 minutes. (take a moment to let that sink in). The hydrogen gas then travels through a carbon-fiber-reinforced tank (take another moment to let that sink in). And at this point, you are most likely very confused about how hydrogen can possibly be fuel, and the answer is Oxygen. As the hydrogen is going to the fuel cell stack, Oxygen is entering from the grill and also makes its way to the fuel cell stack. From that point, a chemical reaction occurs, creating electricity, which is sent to the engine, and water, which is sent out the exhaust.
So what else do we know about the Mirai?
Surprisingly, there's a lot of things we actually know about the new Mirai. We know everything about the drivetrain other than horsepower and torque numbers, as we went over above. What I didn't mention is that the Mirai will be rear-wheel drive, a first for electric cars. Furthermore, the current Mirai is only available in California, because Toyota only built hydrogen Pumps in California, but hopefully with the next generation Marai that will all change.
By looking at the top picture, you can tell that the design seems to be what the offspring of the Avalon and Supra would look like. The rear lines look extremely similar to the new Supra, while the front looks a lot like the Avalon. And as for the inside of the car, it's really sleek. The goal of the interior design was to look futuristic while keeping an edge over what automakers are currently doing. Personally, I think the inside really suits the Mirai Sedan Concept well. The interior features two screens (one for the gauge cluster, one as a touchscreen), a touchpad, and an otherwise very simple yet stylish interior.
Finally, it's time to cover everything money-related. More specifically, fuel pricing, which is both a positive and a negative. According to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, "hydrogen fuel prices range from $12.85 to more than $16 per kilogram (kg), but the most common price is $13.99 per kg (equivalent on a price per energy basis to $5.60 per gallon of gasoline), which translates to an operating cost of $0.21 per mile." In short, hydrogen costs a lot more than gas or electricity. To compromise, automakers, including the Mirai, offers 3 years' worth of free hydrogen gas, so you don't need to pay the incredibly high prices. During these three years, automakers will try to figure out how to make hydrogen gas cheaper, with a goal of 10$ per kilogram, which is still a lot of money. What's also a lot of money is the current Mirai. The Mirai costs $58,500, which is crazy money for a Toyota with zero emissions.
As you saw above, the future is expensive, but that doesn't mean that in a couple of years it still will be. The more that automakers like Toyota develop FCEVs, the more they will become cheaper. Furthermore, the zero emissions will drive sales up as soon as more hydrogen Pumps make themselves available. FCEVs are the best cars for the environment, and they have a really promising future.