The fuel-cell vehicle Mirai is an extremely innovative car which is powered by hydrogen energy. The Mirai is a car that adds a new page to the history of automobiles as there have been no hydrogen powered commercial vehicles before it.
I am very happy to have an innovative car such as this being marketed in the generation that I am living in; and as a Japanese it gives me great pride that it was made by a Japanese manufacturer.
The Mirai is quite large for a car if you think about it. Using it in Japan subjects it to certain constraints as it has an overall width that exceeds 1800mm. It is also quite heavy. I was surprised since its 1850kg weight is roughly 300kg heavier than what I arbitrarily expected to be approximately the same as the hybrid vehicle Camry and SAI.
The motor utilizes a power of 113kW/335Nm to pull this body; a performance that is quite surprising if you are going to consider its weight. It has the trademark of an electric motor with its instantaneous torque build up during takeoff. It has a quiet and smooth performance which feels similar to that of when you step lightly on the accelerator on an electric car.
It produces various sounds which are unlike that of electric cars when you step harder on the accelerator. You can get that feeling of making the car run, especially through the sound of the blower when it sucks in air. There is a certain charm to its quiet performance but its driving feel is also excellent.
Its FF driving system is what gives it its heavy weight as mentioned above. Compared to the usual FF vehicles however, the Mirai has a lighter setup with its 57.8% front load. Also, Its front and rear weight balance is excellent.
Not only that, the heavy fuel-cell stack is equipped in the lower portion of the center of the car. This is related to the lowering of the center of gravity and it has become a car with an excellent balance in that sense.
That’s why it has a comparatively agile performance despite it being a large heavyweight sedan. You can get a performance which feels unhampered by its weight as it has reasonably excellent maneuverability during twists and turns.
Naturally, it has a tendency to understeer to a certain extent at corners since it is an FF; however, it has a very good performance overall even though it is different from that of a sports car, that is because the settings of the VSC side skid prevention device was made to intervene early.
The vast future is opening up to the fuel-cell vehicle, but there are still various issues before arriving at that stage. A particularly large issue is the maintenance of its related infrastructure; this is something that can not be resolved by the car manufacturer. I want to pay close attention on how the fuel-cell vehicles and its related infrastructure will continue to spread from now on.
â– 5 Star Rating
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Hiroshi Matsushita | Car Critic
Born in 1951 in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture. He is former journalist for the car industry and editor of a car magazine before becoming a freelancer. He is known for his strength in economical discussions related to car and money such as tax, insurance and miscellaneous expenses. He writes an online diary almost every day.
(Translated by Michael Sabaldan)