Test driving Toyota's hydrogen-powered Mirai
Form, it’s often said, follows function. A tiger shark slices through the water with astonishing speed and efficiency. A manta ray glides with nearly imperceptible effort. The all-new Toyota Mirai not only draws attention, but also elegantly captures large amounts of air to feed its advanced hydrogen fuel cell system.
“The Toyota Mirai stands out with a truly unique form and shape. As one of the first available production vehicles powered by hydrogen – and that emits only water vapor – it’s fitting that Mirai’s stylists created a look that follows the rules of natural design, a celebration of the elements and environment,” says Rick Ching, president, Servco Automotive. “The look is provocative, purposeful and practical. And unlike anything else on the road today.”
The Mirai FCV’s bold front end design incorporates large grilles that draw in oxygen for the energy generation process, while also providing cooling for the advanced fuel cell stacks. Distinctive, ultra-thin LED headlights sweep into the sculpted hood, leading to a profile that evokes the flowing shape of a droplet of water.
“Central to the styling of Mirai was the phrase ‘Oxygen in, water out,’ which is expressed in the flowing doors and sculpted fenders,” adds Ching. “The roofline also appears to float, adding a sense of lightness to the roomy Mirai cabin. The rear utilizes a catamaran` shape, representing water flowing under and through the water, while the large trapezoidal-shaped, LED taillights emphasize the wide, powerfully stable stance.”
The Mirai’s futuristic look and elegant functionality continue inside, with a sophisticated, sculptural interior design highlighted with comfortable seating for four and a large center instrument cluster.
“Toyota’s longstanding leadership in ergonomic design is felt throughout the interior with a natural sense of comfort and control, as if custom-fit to the driver and passengers,” Ching says.
There is also beauty in what you don’t see – the extensive, engineered-in safety structure. The fuel cell system’s three-layer carbon fiber hydrogen tanks have undergone extensive testing, including being shot with high caliber bullets, to ensure their durability in a crash. In the event of a major accident, there are multiple safety systems in place to protect the tanks and overall vehicle.
“The Mirai is a beautiful addition to our local roads and landscape. Powerful, natural and pure in form and function,” sums up Ching.
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