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The 2022 Mirai, a True 400 Mile Range


One of the questions FCEV owners are presented with by those who are unfamiliar with hydrogen fuel cells is what kind of range a person can expect to get if she or he were to buy a FCEV.  Sometimes I can see people inwardly cringing at the anticipation of hearing an answer that will be so surprising it will result in a laugh or two accidentally escaping their mouths.  Regardless of who is asking, though, when I say what my Mirai’s true range is the person almost always sighs with nearly palpable relief.  As if I just gave the person the news that she or he was accidentally diagnosed with a terminal illness, and now the person has 40 more years of life to look forward to.

Officially the 2022 Mirai in the XLE trim is rated to have a range of 402 miles.  Luckily, and to my own genuine pleasure, I have discovered that the real range of my Mirai is a true 400 miles, and I get the sense that my FCEV is capable of going even further than that between refills.

Of course, there are always a few things to be careful of when it comes to the driving performance of any vehicle.  First is the Mirai’s air conditioning system, which will quite happily slurp up electrons as if they are going out of style.  Thus far it seems like my FCEV’s driving range takes about a 20-50 mile hit when I use the air conditioner.  While that is not great it certainly is within an acceptable usage envelope.

Elevation climbs are also something to be aware of.  A rise in elevation will impact the possible driving distance, but not to an unacceptable level.  Going from sea level up to over 7,000 feet in a 95-mile drive will result in utilizing about 40% of the available fuel on a warm day with at least two occupants in the vehicle.  Doing that same drive on a hot day with the air conditioner running will take another 5% of the available fuel.

On the flip side, going up a 2,000 ft incline over the course of 8 miles will hardly impact the fuel supply, which is positive since BEVs dislike inclines whether it is 7,000ft over 95 miles or even just 1,000 feet over 6 miles.  Yet, when it comes to driving distance, even in mixed terrain the Mirai tracks very close to the 400 miles range.  I spent one afternoon driving over 212 miles in the Sierras and used 55% of the available fuel.

Happily it is also worth noting that FCEVs handle increases in elevation with indifference when it comes to torque.  Unlike internal combustion engines that become more unhappy the higher in elevation they go, the Mirai always instantly gives 100% of its torque at sea level and at 8,000ft.  This is especially useful when it comes to passing trucks and other vehicles that use internal combustion, because getting around them feels effortless in a FCEV.

I am now into my fourth month of FCEV ownership, and it still feels like a dream as I drive along knowing that the only emissions my Mirai produces is water vapor!  I continue to enjoy many moments of tranquility even when I am stopped at a red light, at least until a loud, polluting, and ugly vehicle with a gasoline or diesel engine pulls up next to me.  Then I am reminded that we need even more hydrogen fuel cells in the world, and we need people who know how to work on them.  This is why Horizon Educational’s selling of hydrogen fuel cell stacks and its educational programs, like the H2GP, remain essential to a world that is still transitioning to the efficiency and clean power of hydrogen fuel cells.

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