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2017 Toyota Mirai: Car of the Future in California Now


Published: Thursday, August 31, 2017 | 6:05 PM

2017toytoamirai475The Toyota Mirai essentially operates as an EV, it has an electric motor and stores energy in a battery. But the mode of producing the electricity is different, instead of requiring charging from an electrical source, the Mirai uses hydrogen gas that produces electricity via a fuel cell. The only byproduct is water.

You may be wondering where you can fuel the Mirai? In Pasadena we are lucky; we have two fueling stations within easy driving distance: one in South Pasadena and one in La Canada. Refueling is a bit confusing at first, or at least I found it to be. You’ve got to make sure you have a good connection and whereas, with gasoline you turn on the pump and then use the hand lever to start pumping, with hydrogen you press the hand lever to lock the pump in and then turn on the pump. Once you get that down, it’s a cinch.

The Mirai gets about 312 miles on a full tank of fuel which out-does most EVs and fueling takes mere minutes, compared to hours with conventional charging. But if you are going on a trip outside that 312 miles you will have to plan carefully because there is not a hydrogen refueling station on every corner. The good news is that there is a website (www.cafcp.org), that will give you a pretty comprehensive list of all the fueling stations within your driving area.

2017toyotamiraiintThere is only one trim on the Mirai, since it is still in limited production and California is the only state where they are sold. The Mirai comes pretty loaded with keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, a navigation system, premium audio, eight-way power-adjustable and heated seats and a heated steering wheel.

The electric engine produces 151 horses and 247 lb-ft of torque. It is plenty fast enough for average driving but in freeway situations it’s a bit sluggish. EPA estimates for the Mirai are 67/city, 67/highway and 67/combined MPGe.

Outside, the Murai is all angles and the inside brings forward that futuristic look with it’s gauges and climate controls. Seating is comfortable with plenty of adjustments and heat for all four seats. Trunk space is cramped due to the fuel cells.

Driving the Mirai is like driving an EV, engine noise is minimal or non-existent and the cabin is relatively free of road noise. The ride is smooth but you will feel larger road imperfections. Steering is steady, if not tight and acceleration is good.

Want to leave less of a carbon footprint but want something that has more range and quicker fueling? Give the 2017 Toyota Mirai a test drive.

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