When the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle went on sale in late 2015, U.S. buyers had the option of buying it outright for $57,500 or leasing one for a hefty $499 a month for 36 months, with $3,649 due at signing. The Japanese automaker has since reduced that lease rate to $349 a month for 36 months ($2,499 due at signing) for the car’s 2017 model year.
The sticker price remains unchanged, unfortunately, but the Mirai is still eligible for the available $8,000 federal tax credit and $5,000 California rebate.
The only update to the 2017 Mirai is the addition of a new exterior color called Atmospheric Blue, meaning it still comes with three years of fuel and three years complimentary Safety Connect and Entune.
Production of the Mirai continues to be very limited, so don’t expect to be able to just walk into any Toyota dealership and buy one. In fact, there are currently only eight dealers in California that are authorized to sell the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
Hyundai Nexo Has Best Range Of Any Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle
Hyundai used the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as a stage to announce that its new Nexo fuel cell vehicle now offers the longest driving range of any fuel cell vehicle available.
With a driving range up to 378 miles (609 kilometers), the hydrogen-powered SUV can travel further than any of its direct competitors, handily beating the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity‘s range of 300 miles (483 km) and 80 miles (129 Km), respectively. In fact, Hyundai says it delivers the same range as a regular, gasoline-powered car.
Filling the Nexo’s tank takes only five minutes. By comparison, a regular EV would get about 81 miles (50 km) worth of charge in the same time on even the best and fastest chargers.
Considering the sparsity of hydrogen stations anywhere in the world, the long driving range and fast refueling help make the Nexo a more compelling vehicle for those early adopters capable of affording one.
Hyundai Nexo Fuel-Cell SUV Shoots For Hydrogen Car Future
Unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Hyundai Nexo is Hyundai’s second-generation fuel-cell, hydrogen-powered vehicle, succeeding the Tucson FCV.
The Fuel cell vehicle segment is in an even more fledgling state than regular EVs, but Hyundai is confident that hydrogen is a viable alternative to gasoline and pure battery-powered electric vehicles.
Based on a new dedicated vehicle architecture that’s just over 10-inches longer yet lighter than the Tucson FCV’s, the Nexo has a driving range of 370 miles (595 km), a improvement of 105 miles over the Tucson. There’s also more power thanks to a 120 kW electric motor, giving it a 3-second faster 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time of 9.5 seconds.
An improved fuel cell system layout with the battery being relocated to the trunk in addition to a 6-inch longer wheelbase means more interior room for passengers and their cargo.
Hyundai was sure to address the start-up issue with FCVs in cold climates — the Nexo can be started in just 30 seconds following overnight temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Nexo is one of 18 eco-friendly models that the Korean automaker will introduce by 2025. It plans to use fuel-cell powertrains in sedans, trucks and buses.
Toyota Admits Elon Musk Was Right About Fuel-Cell Vehicles
Toyota has admitted that Tesla CEO Elon Musk was correct to be skeptical about hydrogen fuel-cell technology being the best bet for zero-emissions vehicles.
Referring to proponents (not just Toyota) of FCVs replacing gasoline engines, Musk once boldly and unabashedly said “Fuel cells should be renamed ‘fool cells,’ they are so stupid.”
Yoshikazu Tanaka, Toyota Mirai chief engineer, recently told in an interview that “Elon Musk is right — it’s better to charge the electric car directly by plugging in.”
Tanaka statement suggests Musk was only partially correct in his dismissal of FCVs. Yes, the company believes some customers will prefer the comparatively quick refill time provided by conventional electric cars, but it still sees a niche for hydrogen in the grand scheme of things.
That’s Japanese humility for you…
Do you think there is a place for hydrogen cars in our electric future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.