2021 Toyota Mirai Could Get Over 400 Miles Of Range

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - December 10, 2020

Before the end of last year, Toyota introduced the all-new Mirai hydrogen car. The stunning, second-gen model introduced a new design, a rear-wheel-drive platform, more high-tech features, and an updated powertrain that would have a range of 400 miles. That’s a large boost of 88 miles from the first-gen model. While that's an impressive figure for a fuel-cell vehicle, Automotive News, citing an official press release from Toyota, claims that the vehicle actually has a range of 528 miles.

The 2021 Mirai officially went on sale earlier this week in Japan and will go on sale in the U.S. this month. Consumers in Europe will have to wait until next spring to purchase the vehicle. When the hydrogen-powered vehicle goes in sale in Europe, it will have a range of 528 miles. That’s a lot more than Toyota's initial figure of roughly 400 miles of range, but, and this is important, the new figure is using the WLTP cycle. That tends to be far more optimistic than the EPA’s testing.

The WLTP cycle was introduced in 2017 as a replacement for the NEDC. The main objective of the WLPT cycle, at least when it was introduced, was to test vehicles in more realistic situations. The WLTP system tests a vehicle for 30 minutes at an average speed of 29 mph and a distance of 14 miles. The maximum speed the test hits is 81 mph. The test includes four dynamic phases, with 52% of testing taking place in a simulated urban setting and 48% occurring in a suburban setting.

The way the EPA tests its vehicles is a little different. An electric vehicle is tested once it’s sat overnight with a full battery charge. Once that’s happened, EVs are put through different driving cycles that include two important ones: the UDDS and the HWFET. The former is a cycle for urban settings, while the latter mimics driving on the highway. The UDDS cycle simulates city driving by allowing the test vehicle to get up to speed and then back down to zero. The HWFET cycle sees a vehicle get up to speed and then fluctuate between 30 to 60 mph. The EPA doesn’t provide specific speed averages for its tests.

Toyota Mirai

With that rough overview of the two major tests out of the way, the EPA puts an EV through multiple UDDS and HWFET cycles in what’s called the Multi-Cycle City/Highway Test Procedure. The EPA conducts its Multi-Cycle City/Highway Test Produce until the battery has been completely depleted. The number of miles an EV has covered is its preliminary range figure.

Once the car’s battery is completely out of juice, it’s plugged into a charger so the EPA can measure exactly how much electricity was lost during the test. After getting this number, the EPA does some math to give a vehicle an official MPGe rating.

With the WLTP and the EPA covering different distances, emphasizing different driving environments (WLTP focuses on urban driving, while EPA skews toward highway driving), and testing vehicles at different speeds, it explains why the two get such different figures. Since every car is different and the tests vary drastically, there’s no way to say to definitively state what the mileage difference between the two typically is. For consumers in the U.S., the EPA’s testing is a more accurate source.

Still, while the Mirai will certainly not have the same 528-mile range when the EPA completes its testing on the vehicle, the WLTP’s range is a good sign for consumers. The Mirai should have a range above 400 miles on the EPA’s cycle, which is an improvement over the automaker’s initial figure. If the 2021 Mirai does manage to get over 400 miles on a single tank of fuel, it will beat the Honda Clarity (360 miles) and the Hyundai Nexo (380 miles).

If anything, we think the lack of available hydrogen stations will be the main factor for consumers that are interested in purchasing the model. Currently, the majority of hydrogen fueling stations in the U.S. are located in California and Hawaii. Hydrogen stations are expected to open up in the Northeast in the near future, which would expand availability a bit, but the real limiting factor for consumers will be finding a place to fill up their Mirai.

Learn more about the 2021 Mirai »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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