Toyota Mirai 2

The new alternative 
to the electric car

You probably have already heard about hydrogen cars, fuel cells, electrolyzers and so forth. You even have probably seen some hydrogen pumping stations around. What all this jargon entails is a whole new world of possibilities in becoming carbon emissions free and fossil fuel independent.

The company that has more cars on the road and is doing the greatest effort to promote its fuel cell cars in California is Toyota. It has a track record for disrupting the market with innovation, so it has recently launched its first mass-market hydrogen car, the Mirai (US$57,500). This model’s name, whose meaning in Japanese is “future,” is fast becoming a powerful force in the battle for tomorrow’s roads. The Mirai sedan can drive 300 miles on a full tank and be refueled in about five minutes, instead of needing to be plugged in overnight, making it an easier fit for the typical commute.

Think of the Mirai as a small power plant on wheels. Instead of drawing energy from a battery like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, the all-electric Mirai makes its own. A hydrogen car consists of a non-vibrant silent electric motor that provides the same energy efficiency and response rate as any existent electric car. The main difference between an electric car and a hydrogen car is that the electric car’s energy supply is provided by a battery, whereas the hydrogen car is producing the electricity with what is called a fuel cell. The fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water. The oxygen comes from the surrounding air and the hydrogen from a storage tank within the car. When both elements combine, electricity, heat and water are generated. The electricity is used to feed the motor, and the only byproduct is water mist expelled through the exhaust pipe.

As any other fuel, hydrogen must be produced, stored and delivered to the fuel station and then dispensed. Nowadays, the most common source of hydrogen generation is from oil or gas processes, although there are other greener alternatives, such as the use of electrolyzers that split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen with zero emissions.

In Orange County, so far, we have eight hydrogen stations located at UC Irvine, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Lake Forest, San Juan Capistrano, Orange and Anaheim. Furthermore, Newport Beach is becoming a hub for the development of this innovative technology. Companies such as H2B2 have chosen Newport Beach as its headquarters. The company, with more than 15 years experience, has 20 engineers and professionals specializing in the manufacturing of PEM electrolyzers that can start or stop the production of hydrogen in a matter of seconds. This peculiarity makes them unique and ideal for the integration with other renewable energy sources.

Today, Toyota offers reasonable lease options and great “green” tax rebates for the Mirai. For example, one of the incentives includes a three-year supply of hydrogen up to a maximum of $15,000, to compensate for the current high price of hydrogen.  The price is coming down steadily, and soon there will be many hydrogen cars on our roads due to the abundance of hydrogen fuel.  Will you be driving one of them?

Mirai is available at Toyota of Orange, 1400 N Tustin St., Orange, CA 92867.

For more information about H2B2, 
please call 949.432.3017 or email