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Second-Generation Toyota Mirai Reaches 845 Miles on a Single Hydrogen Tank

People still feel amazed by the Lucid Air achieving 520 miles of range on a single charge. Toyota probably figured that out when it invited Wayne Gerdes to do the same for the second-generation Toyota Mira. The professional hypermiler put 845 miles (1,360 kilometers) on the odometer with a single hydrogen tank, mostly on rush-hour drives. Although it may seem weird, that’s far from it.
Second-Generation Toyota Mirai Establishes World Record Running 845 Miles on a Single Hydrogen Tank 17 photos
Second-Generation Toyota Mirai Establishes World Record Running 845 Miles on a Single Hydrogen TankSecond-Generation Toyota Mirai Establishes World Record Running 845 Miles on a Single Hydrogen TankSecond-Generation Toyota Mirai Establishes World Record Running 845 Miles on a Single Hydrogen TankSecond-Generation Toyota Mirai Establishes World Record Running 845 Miles on a Single Hydrogen Tank2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai2021 Toyota Mirai
Rush hours are awful for combustion-engined cars. Although they may be stuck for a long time in the same spot, their engines have to keep running to feed the air-conditioning and other systems in the vehicle working. Even hybrid cars need to fire their engines every once in a while in these situations. In an electric vehicle, either powered by batteries or a fuel cell – such as in the Mirai – that does not happen.

Traffic will eventually penalize the hydrogen tank or the battery pack, but not in the hands of a hypermiler. Gerdes certainly controlled all parasitic drainages to make the Mirai travel as far as it could. Driving during rush hour, he ensured low speeds, which are electric ranges’ best friends.

Being very efficient machines, electric cars spend more energy dealing with situations in which more power is genuinely required – in other words, keeping high speeds and trying to beat aerodynamic drag.

You may think that this is obvious and that this is also the case for combustion-engined vehicles. Well, it is not: they spend a lot more energy in urban driving than at highway speeds.

The explanation relates to time. Until the stop-start system and ISG (integrated starter-generator) were invented, combustion engines had to be working from the start until the end of any journey. The longer the car is in any situation, the more fuel it burns, regardless of how far you go. Stop-start helps to cut fuel consumption, but not to the point that a car spends less fuel on the city instead of on highways.

The Mirai works precisely like a BEV (battery electric vehicle). The only difference is that it gets its electrons from reverse electrolysis, which combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity and water as a byproduct.

Gerdes and Bob Winger spent two days with the car to validate their world record. On August 23, they left the TTC (Toyota Technical Center) in Gardena, California, and went to San Isidro, Santa Barbara, then back to the TTC. That made them run 473 mi (761 km).

On August 24, they took the San Diego freeway between Los Angeles and Orange County in the morning and the afternoon, which led them to add 372 mi (599 km) to how much the 5.65 kg of hydrogen in the tank could make them drive. The tank was sealed by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS, which certified the world record.

With that, the Mirai defeated the Hyundai Nexo. On April 26, 2021, Brendan Reeves set the world record for traveling on a single tank of hydrogen after running 551.5 miles (887.5 km) from Melbourne to the Australian outback. Reeves was quite happy with his record, but it did not last for long. 

The Mirai has an estimated EPA range of 402 mi (647 km). Achieving 845 mi shows both the talent of Gerdes and Winger in extracting the most miles from these cars, but not only that. It also hints that urban traffic may lead owners of this Toyota FCEV to have much better numbers than those EPA presents. On Hydrogen Day, that’s welcome news.

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