We still wonder why Toyota is insisting on hydrogen fuel-cell (FCEV) technology at this stage of EV development in the market.

The 2016 Toyota Mirai has tanked due to the scant availability of charging stations, but the automaker remains adamant as Lexus prepares to potentially replace it with a high-output FCEV before the turn of the decade.

Given that the response to the Lexus LC 500h was overwhelmingly positive, Toyota’s luxury arm is aiming to extend the LC-FC concept into a FCEV sedan that is designed with confident and sporty handling.

lexus-lf-fc-concept-04

Besides that the sedan will feature driving assistance technology that include speed adjustments, lane keeping and shifting management, and other forms of help for highway driving. In the cabin there are gesture-based controls with a system that can analyze the state of the driver through sensors and calibrate itself to fit his or her needs.

Though some may have an issue with the design inspired by the LC-FC concept, it is surely better than what the Mirai offers in terms of styling. Will FCEV technology succeed by moving to the premium segment?


6 Comments

James Martellotti · February 22, 2016 at 8:01 pm

As a proud Mirai owner, I must say I just love the car. 5 minute refills, 330 range (that’s actually how far I drive between refills, and it still shows 20-25 miles left). The stations available simply need to be considered, not a problem for me so far. The all electric Toyota, is a dream to drive; quiet, smooth and well enough power. It and the FC vehicles really need to to be promoted. They very well may be the future. Once there is an abundance of fueling stations, which their will be, there isn’t really much of a down side is there?

Bob · February 22, 2016 at 9:46 pm

“here isn’t really much of a down side is there?”

The cost of hydrogen comes to mind. Have you figured out why Toyota is giving away free hydrogen for the first two years yet? Might it be that they are hoping people won’t look into how expensive the car will be to fuel after two years?

Joel · February 23, 2016 at 4:02 pm

I found it to have more road noise than other cars, and stuck with too much Toyota technology that doesn’t work well. (Navigation, voice recognition, adaptive cruise control) It really seemed that, aside from the fuel cell aspect, the car was stuck using old technologies.

The other potential downside is how the hydrogen is sourced. Unless it’s coming from a renewable source, or otherwise clean technology, the benefit it negligible.

Samuel H. · February 23, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Has anyone compared a Toyota Mirai to a 2016 Chevy Volt yet? If not, they need to. That would highlight the fact that current PHEV and EV technology is FAR better in every way to current HFCV (hydrogen fuel cell vehicle) technology. The Volt cost about half as much, they both seat 4 adults, the Volt has more cargo capacity, much better acceleration and handling, is about twice as efficient, AND you can go almost anywhere you want with it (*not offroad capable). Why on earth do we need HFCVs if current PHEVs are much less expensive, much more efficient, and better in every other way?!

Both technologies are advancing quickly. The difference is that an H2 powered car (not an EV) has little to no advantage over a high efficiency gas or deisel powered car, is worse than a Prius-like hybrid, far worse than a PHEV like the Volt, and incomparable to a BEV which (like the PHEV) can be conveniently fueled at night in the comfort of your own home which means always waking up to a full “tank.”

James Martellotti’s experience with the his hydrogen powered car is atypical. Green Car Reports wrote an article on the struggles that many early adopters of HFCVs have to face: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1099082_ca-fuel-cell-car-drivers-says-hydrogen-fuel-unavailable-stations-dont-work

At a cost of $2 million a pop, H2 stations do not make financial sense for anyone involved. There is novelty to the science experiment that is the HFCV, but I do not support the wasting of tax payer dollars on what has proven to be a very cool but wasteful endeavor.

    Bob · February 23, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    If Toyota or other car manufacturers believe in FCEVs then they need to do what Tesla has done and build the refueling stations. Taxpayers are already subsidizing Mirai sales. Let Toyota figure how to create the hydrogen infrastructure without asking for more taxpayer help.

Mark · February 24, 2016 at 10:38 am

I may be a new owners with less than a 1,000 miles under his belt, but my experience with the Mirai matches that of James Martellotti. I challenge Joel’s assertions as an experienced owner of both a Prius and a Lexus LS600h. The Mirai is a joy to drive.

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