Electric vehicles have gained a larger market share in recent years. While hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles haven’t gained as much traction, one leading automaker aims to change that. Toyota’s Mirai five-passenger sedan and the prototype Hilux represent a pivot. Although the company’s focus is generally shifting toward hydrogen trucks for the time being, that doesn’t mean now isn’t the time to start looking into hydrogen cars. We’ll look into recent developments and help you determine whether a Toyota hydrogen car is worth it (or if you’re better off buying a standard used Toyota in Los Angeles).

Developments in Automotive Hydrogen-Based Technology

There aren’t many hydrogen fueling stations, but Toyota’s Mirai still shows potential (more on it soon). While the automaker hasn’t given up on hydrogen-powered passenger cars, it’s shifting more focus to commercial vehicles. It has been developing compact hydrogen tanks and fuel cells that are similar in size and shape to an electric vehicle (EV) battery. The goal is to use the technology in a range of different models.

So why should you consider a Toyota hydrogen car over an EV? Hydrogen vehicles are currently much more expensive. However, they refuel much faster and have longer ranges (but solid-state batteries being developed by Toyota have longer ranges than hydrogen models and comparatively efficient charging times). 

About the Toyota Mirai

The Mirai takes less than five minutes to charge, ranging from 10% to 80% (compared to a solid-state battery car that can charge in 10 minutes). Solid-electrolyte batteries expected to hit the market in a few short years promise to have an impressive range of 1,200 kilometers (or about 745 miles) on a single charge. By comparison, the 2023 Mirai XLE has a manufacturer-estimated range of 402 miles and the 2023 Mirai Limited has a range of 357 miles.

Other perks of the Mirai include:

  • Durable Fuel Tanks: The hydrogen tank is reinforced with carbon fiber. This increases durability, stability, and the potential for safe long-term fuel storage.
  • Robust Motor: A 182-horsepower Toyota hydrogen engine generates 221 lb-ft of torque, so going from 0 to 60 mph can take just 7.4 seconds.
  • Good Mileage: The XLE trim’s estimated city mileage is 76 mpg equivalent (MPGe) and the Limited trim gets up to 67 mMPGe during city driving.

The Toyota Mirai’s electric powertrain contains a fuel cell that uses hydrogen to generate electricity. Hydrogen is the smallest element. It easily fits into compact cells and is usable at a relatively low pressure. Inside the fuel cell, electrons from hydrogen atoms are combined with oxygen to produce electricity. The only byproduct is water.

About Toyota’s Hilux Prototype

In 2023, Toyota unveiled a prototype hydrogen fuel cell EV in England. The Hilux represents a push toward carbon-free mobility. It is a pickup truck with a zero-emission powertrain that is based on the Mirai’s. Producing no emissions except water, the vehicle stores hydrogen in three high-pressure tanks. It has a range of 600 kilometers or roughly 373 miles. 

All the while, cabin space is maintained by positioning the hybrid battery, which stores electricity generated by the fuel cell, on the rear load deck. Prototype construction began in June 2023 and several vehicles were expected to be built by the end of the year to begin rigorous testing. Pending evaluation, a production model could be introduced later in the decade.

How Do I Fill Up a Hydrogen Car?

A hydrogen fuel pump operates similarly to a standard gas pump. It has a nozzle that fits in the vehicle’s fueling port. Once hydrogen is pumped in, it fills the carbon fiber-reinforced tank. In some cases, the tank can fill in about a minute, while going from empty to full takes about five minutes. 

Are Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Cars Safe?

After investing much time in testing, Toyota ensures hydrogen-powered vehicles are as safe as any other type. Hydrogen has no known polluting effects. The Mirai’s polymer/carbon-fiber tanks absorb a great deal of energy compared to steel, so they are more crash-resistant. Fuel valves close automatically if hydrogen detectors find a leak or collision sensors detect an impact.

Can Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars Harm the Environment?

If any hydrogen escapes, it evaporates into a low-pressure, non-combustible gas. Therefore, hydrogen fuel cell cars don’t pollute the atmosphere. They don’t produce noise pollution either. Creating the fuel is also environmentally safe.

Purchase a High-Quality Used Toyota at Hawthorne Auto Square

A Toyota hydrogen car is a relatively new concept, but you can find low-mileage popular models on our lot. Toyota cars are known to last for many years, hold their resale value well, and have excellent safety ratings and gas mileage. We offer used Toyota Corolla, Camry, Tacoma, Prius, Sequoia, Highlander, and other Toyota vehicles. To shop for a used Toyota in Los Angeles, have your questions answered, and apply for flexible financing, visit our dealership or call (866) 707-7664.