Home » The Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Car Is A Fascinating Waste Of Money: Trade-In-Tuesday

The Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Car Is A Fascinating Waste Of Money: Trade-In-Tuesday

Trad In Tuesday Mirai Yt Ts2
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I drove a hydrogen car for the first time in my life a few weeks back, and it was awesome for the first 10 minutes. That’s the amount of time I had in the 2018 Toyota Mirai that someone had traded in to our sister company (Galpin Volkswagen) before I had to head to one of the 58-ish filling stations in the entire nation. Luckily, I’m LA based, so I had a station nearby, but unluckily, what I learned upon arriving at that filling station completely ruined the car for me. Here, allow me to explain.

For the third installment of Trade-In-Tuesday, we take a close look at a hydrogen-powered 2018 Toyota Mirai, traded in to Galpin Volkswagen and then sent to Galpin’s huge maintenance facility referred to simply as “Raymer.” That’s where I had my first look.

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It’s a decent looking car; it reminds me a bit of a Prius or maybe a Camry or Avalon — it’s unabashedly a newish Toyota:

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The Mirai has a lot of the same qualities you expect out of any other vehicle from the brand: decent build quality, a well-engineered ride, good safety tech, etc. The interior is a decent place to spend time, with nice light-colored vinyl seats, and two-tone interior trim panels; the cabin comes with all the tech I’d have wanted in 2018, when the car was new:

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There’s only seating for two in the back, presumably due to packaging constraints associated with the powertrain (I’ll get to more on that), but those two seats looked spacious, even if they were covered in some kind of strange purple liquid:

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All of this is to say that, while I may have initially seen a hydrogen car as some kind of futuristic Jetsons-like hovercraft, the reality is that the car felt very normal when I first hopped in. Here, check out my review — the third episode of Trade-In Tuesday:

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As you see in the video above, things continued to feel normal when I hit the start button and started driving.

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The Mirai is comfortable, and drives like an electric car because that’s exactly what it is. It takes oncoming airflow, steals the oxygen, mixes it with hydrogen stored in its tanks, and from that creates electricity that it sends to a 151 horsepower electric motor at the front of the car.

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The electricity production happens at fuel cell stack, which — counter to what I say in that YouTube video — is actually not under the hood. This is the Power Control Unit, which, according to Toyota “decides when to use stored energy from the battery or to draw energy directly from the fuel cell stack. This is part of what makes Mirai so energy efficient, and is based on the proven Toyota hybrid PCU found in Prius.”

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You can see the Power Control Unit on the left side of the image below. You’ll notice that the two hydrogen storage tanks are under the rear seat and below the trunk (just aft of the rear axle), while the actual fuel cell is under both the front seats:

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The small 1.6 kWh Nickel-Metal Hydride battery in elevated in the trunk area:

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Here’s a nice system overview:

Mirai Infographic

Here’s a top view:

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And if you’d like some close-ups of the hardware, check out these carbon fiber/fiberglass/plastic tanks:

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Here’s a closer look at the Power Control Unit under the hood:

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Here’s the electric motor that drives the front wheels:

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Here’s the fuel cell stack that converts the hydrogen and oxygen into electricity to feed the battery:

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Here’s the four-phase “boost converter” that is hooked to the front of that fuel cell stack. Its job, per Toyota, is “[bring] voltage to 650 volts. Driving at a higher voltage makes more efficient use of the motor, giving Mirai a power output equivalent to other hybrids in Toyota’s portfolio”:

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And here’s the baby battery pack, whose role Toyota describes thusly: “The battery allows for regenerative braking and also assists during high-power demands like accelerating — improving total system efficiency and fuel economy. Like the motor, the battery is sourced from proven Toyota hybrid technology”:

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So now that you have a basic overview, and that we’ve established that it basically drives like a front-wheel drive electric car (albeit a fairly slow one, at 151 horsepower and over 4,100 pounds), it’s worth noting some things that make it a bit less compelling. The weird child-like scream that happens when you hammer the accelerator pedal is the least of anyone’s concerns, though it’s worth noting, since Automotive News once penned an entire article on how surprisingly not-silent the electricity-propelled car is, with the site writing:

The whirring kicks in when the driver punches the pedal for quick acceleration. It is reminiscent of the motor-assist in the Prius hybrid. But in the Mirai, it is actually the hydrogen pump working overtime to flush more hydrogen through the processing stack to ramp the car up to speed.

The clicking, which can grate like a noise-vibration issue, comes from the hydrogen fuel injector, which feeds the fuel from the high-pressure hydrogen tanks into the pump.

The clicking speeds and slows in time with your foot on the accelerator.

Both sounds emanate from just under the rear floorboards where the mechanisms are housed. Engineers said they are working on ways to better muffle the sounds.

To me, this “WHEEEEE!!!!” sound that I heard every time I punched the accelerator sounded like a small child having the time of its life, maybe on a roller coaster or something. But again, this was the least of the issues with the car: The biggest issue with the car is refueling. And you don’t have to take my word for it, because I spoke with a longtime Mirai owner named Micheline:

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“First of all, I lovvvveee the car. I completely 100 percent love the car, BUT it has some pros and cons,” Micheline began, saying she scored a smoking hot deal on the 2017 model back when she picked it up just before the pandemic. “They give you the offer of free hydrogen gas…it last me for three years…it just recently changed maybe two months ago, so my credit is done so now I’m actually paying for [hydrogen].”

When I asked how bad it was having to pay for her own hydrogen, Micheline responded: “It’s horrible. I’m going to probably trade this car in.” Then she showed me her fuel pump. Just look at this thing:

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Almost $110! And for how much range? Well, according to Toyota, the 2017 Mirai can drive 312 miles per tank, but Micheline says she does lots of highway driving, so she expects to drive only 240 before having to refuel. Now, let’s do some math.

The average cost of gasoline in California is $4.50 a gallon. That means Micheline essentially paid the equivalent of 24 gallons of gas. If she’s expected to only go 240 miles on 24 gallons of gas, that’s the same thing as driving a 10 MILE PER GALLON VEHICLE.

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Image: Chevrolet

Yes, you read that right. Micheline is paying as much per mile as she would be if she drove a big, smoky, 1975 Chevrolet Square-Body pickup truck. That’s just utterly ridiculous.

Also slightly ridiculous: She has to put on gloves to take the often-frigid hydrogen fueling nozzle out of her car:

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I went on to fuel up my car, since I didn’t want to leave Galpin in a lurch. I put $7 into it, figuring that would make up for the maybe 20 miles that I’d driven. In reality, the range on the car ended up lower than when I’d started! I don’t get it.

I will say that, as expensive and unpleasant as the whole refueling situation is, that quick-connect fitting between the hose and the car is quite satisfying to mate together:

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In the end, what we have is a damn fine car let down by — for the most part — infrastructure. The car rides great, its 151 horsepower is adequate, the cabin is quiet aside from the screaming child, and the whole package feels modern and safe. The pedal is responsive, the seats are cushy, there’s plenty of room — there’s a reason why Micheline started our conversation with “First of all, I lovvvveee the car.” It’s a great car!

But $110 to go 240 miles is egregious, and so is having to park your car for weeks when the hydrogen stations aren’t working.

Even though there’s an awesome “H2O” button on the left side of the dashboard that release steaming water onto the road below, and even though there’s clearly a lot of engineering behind this machine, it’s impossible to overcome this big of a drawback.

 

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All Images: Toyota or The Autopian (unless otherwise noted)

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Turbeaux
Turbeaux
22 days ago

First off, I want to say that I am not a fan of video, and even I love these. Secondly, I think the music is too loud on not just these, but all Autopian YouTube videos.

Would it be uncouth to list the trade in value? Either way, keep it coming with the interesting trades. It’s great seeing David learn about these cars.

Mostly Harmless
Mostly Harmless
24 days ago

I think hydrogen is part of the mix, especially for heavy duty trucking. But the price of hydrogen won’t work without some sort of subsidy. The US along with Germany are 2 of a small number of countries investing in this.
https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/biden-harris-administration-more-than-90-million-for-hydrogen-infrastructure/

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
24 days ago

It’s way worse than your quick calculation shows, as according to my research a full tank holds 5.6kg of Hydrogen. So this was about half a tank. Cost-wise that’s similar to getting 5mpg!!

During my digging I saw that as recently as 2021, prices were around $13/kg in CA. Still was almost $70 a tank but the $15,000 fuel card went a lot further. If you actually got 360 miles per tank that would be about 75k miles of free fuel. At current prices it’s only 25k miles of free fuel.

2manybikes
2manybikes
24 days ago

Arrrrr matey, but the two hydrogen storage tanks be not “aft” o’ the rear axle, they be abaft o’ the rear axle, or “forward of” in yer landlubber speech.

Myk El
Myk El
24 days ago

I hope the straw hat returns eventually.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
24 days ago

“ the cabin is quiet aside from the screaming child”
I’ve seen that movie- taken that vacation…

Duke Woolworth
Duke Woolworth
24 days ago

If I fell for one of these, my license plate would have to read HNDNBRG.

Chronometric
Chronometric
24 days ago
Reply to  Duke Woolworth

I would get OHUMANITY

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

OHUMANT

Chronometric
Chronometric
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Thank you. Yeah that’s what I meant.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
24 days ago

Hmmm… Whenever I read this sort of article, “It Has So Many Problems! It Will Never Work!” my eyes tend to gloss over, and I get so bored by the middle of the complaint list that I just go on to the next article.

Yeah, hydrogen powered vehicles aren’t ready for prime time… yet.

Give it a minute.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

Its already taken all day…

Chronometric
Chronometric
24 days ago

This is good Autopian. And thank you Micheline, you’re a good sport.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
25 days ago

The other potential elephant in the room; those tanks. What is their useful lifetime? Do they periodically need to be recertified like other high pressure tanks? CAN they be recertified? How much would it cost to replace them should they become unserviceable?

If somehow the answer to all the above is forever, never, n/a, and nothing then I think its best to Prius swap it and run it on CNG.

Last edited 25 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
25 days ago

Most industrial H2 is stripped from Natural Gas (called “Blue Hydrogen”), not created from electrolysis of water. The manufacturers like to talk about how green H2 is but it’s a lot less appealing when Blue Hydrogen is used.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

Methane is constantly being generated renewably. You’re doing it right now so you yourself are living proof methane can be made greenly and that green is extended to any hydrogen made from it.

Larger amounts of methane coming from garbage dumps and sewage farms should not be vented as is into the atmosphere, it should be burned one way or another. The question is whether it is worth the losses going through the hydrogen route vs just burning it directly in a generator to meet local needs for electricity vs just flaring it if the volume is small enough that a generator isn’t worth the bother.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
23 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Almost nobody realizes the issue with methane hydrates and climate change either. Both undersea, and in the permafrost.

Cow burps and farts. That’s what they focus on. Scatology.

SMH.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

IIRC those methane hydrates aren’t going anywhere unless the ocean deeps of the world heat up quite a bit. By the time that happens we will have much bigger problems. Like swimming.

The permafrost…yeah, that’s a problem.

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
23 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Many years ago, I was construction manager on an expansion of a large sewage treatment plant. In the project scope was a generator that ran off the gas from the digesters. It worked, but since there was no agreement with the local utility to buy the power, the power was only used to run the plant and as soon as they found an excuse to shut it down, they went back to flaring the gas.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

Better to flare it than just let it go.

Still you’d think they could have sold the gas.

Beacio_mo
Beacio_mo
25 days ago

2 things. The 1st gen Mirai is definitely a great commuter, especially for the price. Agreed though that hydrogen stations suck, consumed by greed and raising their prices to not even be competitive with gas.

Point #2, my dad drove a 1979 C10 with the 350 as a commuter for a solid decade and that thing regularly got 15mpgs. In conclusion, we should all drive C10 pickups instead of Mirais.

Saul Springmind
Saul Springmind
25 days ago
Reply to  Beacio_mo

The world would be a better place with more C/Ks

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
25 days ago

Not if you’re stuck behind them 🙁

Saul Springmind
Saul Springmind
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Just more time to enjoy the glory that is the GM squarebody!

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago

I find the stench too distracting.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
25 days ago
Reply to  Beacio_mo

Even at those prices, I’d be very surprised if those hydrogen stations were even covering their expenses. There’s what, 12,000 hydrogen cars registered in California? A town of 12,000 people might only have like 3 or 4 gas stations in it, but California has 57 hydrogen stations that population has to support.

R Rr
R Rr
25 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Not to mention that hydrogen slowly leaks out of the tanks, so whether you have Mirai drivers refueling or not, the station will have to refill its tanks periodically.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  R Rr

I don’t know how much of a problem that would be. Stationary tanks I’d think would be better insulated and thicker than those on a car where size and weight are at a premium. The station can also better actively cool LH2 if its stored that way on site. Hydrogen may not sit around that long anyway.

The energy consumption needed to store, pump and pressurize that hydrogen between arrival and dispensing vs other forms of energy carriers may be higher. Dunno if its enough to affect the overall picture much though.

https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/how-hydrogen-filling-station-works

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
25 days ago

The second gen Mirais look much better. Gen 1 looks like hammered shit. I’m unreasonably fascinated by these cars but I just don’t see it catching on. I think it’s cool Toyota is experimenting though. Please do one of these if someone ever trades a Nexo into Galpin.

Also that lady was awesome. She was so comfortable talking about the car I thought it was staged.

Last edited 25 days ago by PresterJohn
Beacio_mo
Beacio_mo
25 days ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

I agree, gen 2 looked better but the interior room is terrible. The second row is basically useless, comparable to a GR86 backseat.

Greensoul
Greensoul
25 days ago

This generation of Mirai looks like a pissed off deep sea creature.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
25 days ago
Reply to  Greensoul

To be fair, you just described virtually every car made since then.

Erik McCullough
Erik McCullough
25 days ago

Firstly, let me tell you that I love this new feature, and the cars you’ve selected and how you’ve gone through them. Secondly, this is why I subscribe to Autopian — it’s these kinds of interesting factoids that I am curious about, but not curious enough to go find out, all put together in an entertaining package! Entertaining meaning the writers who share a lot of personality, and then the comments written by all like the mysterious purple liquid and 120 miles of rage! Keep Trade-In Tuesday going!

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
25 days ago

Now that’s some high quality H2O!!!
I always thought it would be cool to get one of these eventually since it’s different and to spite the EV fanatics

Harmanx
Harmanx
25 days ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

I’m an EV fanatic and, given your antagonism to me, hope you buy many Mirais to spite me.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
25 days ago
Reply to  Harmanx

It wasn’t to you, it was to all the fanatics in general (which happens to include you ha ha)
Ok, I’ll buy a lot of them then eventually

Space
Space
25 days ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

You shall be to Mirais as David is to Jeeps. And with the depreciation it won’t break the bank. You just need to build your own hydrogen generator.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
25 days ago
Reply to  Space

Ok, I’m on it!

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
17 days ago
Reply to  Space

Generating it is pretty straightforward, if inefficient. Compressing and chilling it is harder.

Harmanx
Harmanx
25 days ago

In the end, what we have is a damn fine car let down by — for the most part — infrastructure.

EV infrastructure gets a lot of flak, but it exists in some form pretty much everywhere. True, it might just be trickle-charging from a 110 outlet while visiting grandma, but you can’t get gasoline — even a trickle — anywhere but gas stations. (And you sure can’t get it for free via panels on your roof.)

It’s somewhat possible to make hydrogen at home, but good luck with that. It really needs dedicated infrastructure that barely exists — and that infrastructure depends on inefficient systems in making it, storing it, and transporting it.

As for the oft-maligned L3 EV charging locations — those are getting much more plentiful and much better all the time (esp with NACS opening all Tesla chargers to all next gen EVs).

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  Harmanx

“It’s somewhat possible to make hydrogen at home, but good luck with that”

Make it? That’s easy. Pressurise it? Liquify it? That’s a lot harder.

Last edited 24 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Harmanx
Harmanx
23 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Right — that’s all I meant!

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  Harmanx

I figured as much 😉

Younork
Younork
25 days ago

I have a lot of experience using hydrogen-powered vehicles. I worked in a warehouse for two years where every piece of power equipment (200+ forklifts, pallet jacks, and everything in between) was powered using hydrogen. For a facility that ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the combination of very little downtime (compared to EVs), and not running propane in a refrigerated warehouse made them perfect. To those concerned about fueling in the cold, I can attest that these work fine when fueling at about 35 Fahrenheit but I cannot speak to fueling when colder. To me, hydrogen-powered vehicles seem to make the most sense in a situation where the vehicle is (1) a fleet vehicle, so the fleet owner can have their own hydrogen infrastructure at base, and (2) a vehicle that is not being parked overnight where a standard EV would work better. This leaves warehouses as the easiest implementation and perhaps over-the-road trucking. For more information, look into PlugPower.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  Younork

So what was the problem with propane? If it was the temperature one could solve that by using a portion the combustion waste heat to keep the tank and fuel lines at the optimum temperature.

Younork
Younork
23 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Fumes in a food warehouse

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  Younork

Propane is one of the cleanest burning fuels around, clean enough to use in a camper stove. That’s a problem for you? Was the ventilation that bad?

Younork
Younork
22 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Some vs none, I’m sure Walmart did a cost analysis

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
22 days ago
Reply to  Younork

I suppose. Even so hydrogen forklifts and humans both need fresh air so there has to be good ventilation, more so than with non air breathing electric forklifts. I assume these hydrogen forklifts are ICE rather than fuel cells as those need high temps and light loads to work efficiently.

Maybe the beancounters didn’t like the charging times but I would be surprised if there were no electric forklifts with swappable batteries to negate the charging issue. Maybe the cold hurts battery performance too much.

Younork
Younork
20 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

The company that makes the system is called PlugPower, I’m sure their website can tell you more. We did not have any BEVs in the facility used for production. Maintenance had a couple of BEV utility carts, but all the forklifts and pallet jacks were Hydrogen.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
20 days ago
Reply to  Younork

Thanks for the info. Looking at their website I do wonder how much cherry picking is going on.

They claim a time savings of 13 minutes/shift due to the difference of 2 minutes of H2 fueling vs 15 minutes of battery charge time. How realistic is that? Are shifts done with 2 minute turnarounds or would those 15 minutes happen regardless?

Speed loss. 14% slowdown over half the battery charge. Thats strange given FCVs are notoriously slower than their BEV counterparts. To really prove the point they should show their HFC forklift is faster overall than a battery forklift, slowdown or no.

They also claim 7% more warehouse space thanks to no battery storage but that ignores the volume of the huge hydrogen tanks and pumps. That also assumes on site battery storage.

No PPE required… Again ignoring the gloves people are using to fill HFC vehicles. But you’re probably wearing gloves anyway in a cold storage warehouse so that may be a non issue. Should that hydrogen tank breech due to a failed seal, well that could be a problem.

These forklifts use HFC so they will be a lot more efficient than HICE power. Still about 40% of the energy in that hydrogen is going directly into heat out of the FC vs almost none in an electric forklift. In a refrigerated warehouse that is going to increase the load on the cooling system vs battery forklifts. HFC probably yields about 1/2 the heat load of propane or hydrogen in ICE power though.

Zero emissions. Nope. 95% of hydrogen is made from methane which makes a lot of CO2. The delivery trucks run on diesel. Electric forklifts can be charged using on site generated solar. Hydrogen is only “zero emissions” if you squint really really hard with your fingers in your ears.

Lower operational costs. Possible but other commercial hydrogen vehicles such as busses, trains and trucks have a lot higher maintainence costs and downtime than their gas or diesel counterparts. The pumps tend to be a lot less reliable and a LOT more expensive than a wall outlet too. But of course YMMV.

Of course this is all outside your control. You have to work with what you’re given. The most you can do is make snide remarks at company meetings if you so choose. I would.

Younork
Younork
18 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Sorry I’m late by two days, I’ll try to go point by point

–         The time saved is when you need to refuel/recharge/exchange battery in the middle of the shift. Also I would assume if they can charge the machine in 15 minutes they would not have enough charge stations to charge every machine (upwards of 60 machines per shift) simultaneously, which likely means someone would need to baby sit the machine while it charges.
–         The speed of these machines is limited to 8 mph anyway, so speed loss doesn’t really matter, acceleration also isn’t an issue because the limiting factor is not tipping over an 8ft pallet of blue berries.
–         The Hydrogen fuel tanks are outside the building and lines are run on the ceiling to individual fuel stations, our warehouse had three stations.
–         The only PPE required was gloves (which they provided) and closed toe shoes, from what I’ve read if there is a breach it goes boom, but that’s about it because the hydrogen escapes so fast. Furthermore, the tanks are very well protected. There was also several sensors all around the fuel pumps which would stop of they smelled (their words, not mine) any hydrogen, that never happened in my time there.  Concerning safety, I would rather use a HFC machine over a Lithium machine, but I have no real issue using either. It was less messy then filling a car with gas, no hydrogen ever touched the air, unlike gasoline.
–         Yes they produce heat, but not a noticeable amount.
–         Zero emissions *Inside*
–         The Plug Power unit fit into the same slot on the machine as a changeable battery pack would. If a unit was down it would simply be swapped out by a Plug Power rep. I believe the entire thing ran on a lease/subscription model which meant Plug Power had their own corner of the shop where they took care of their own stuff.
–         I had zero reason to make snide remarks, the machines were: reliable, quiet, equally as fast, easier to refuel, and to my mind less dangerous. Lead Acid batteries have acid, and Lithium burns for a long time. But I would have used any of them as I liked this job, and Walmart took safety the most seriously out of any job I’ve ever had. I also don’t have a particular interest in exchanging several hundred pound batteries when the alternative is plugging in a hose for 3 minutes while a machine pumps hydrogen.  Walmart was after employee efficiency as we were the most expensive things in the building, and they did the math and decided to go with PlugPower.   To be quite frank, I do not understand why you are opposed to this technology; both ways have been used for years and have the safety issues have been ironed out long ago.  To me it sounds like you are looking for reasons to not like this technology. 

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
18 days ago
Reply to  Younork

Thank you for responding. I was looking to know why hydrogen works for you when it fails so many others. Like the Mirai in the OT.

Since you asked I see hydrogen as having too many inherent problems to be useful in any but a few niche applications such as yours. I have gone back and forth with shameless hydrogen shills on this and other websites for years and gotten nothing but hype and promises that never went anywhere. So yes, I’m skeptical. I have good reasons to be.

If you interpret my questions as looking for reasons to not like the tech its because everything I have found points to hydrogen in general as an enormous squandering of resources that could be better used elsewhere. I see it as a ploy by the coal and gas industry to green wash fossil fuel use while making it even less efficient (see Australian brown coal to Japanese hydrogen deal, steam reforming of methane, etc). Hydrogen even makes renewable energy considerably less efficient with a 40% overall turnaround efficency or less using ICE compared to 90%+ for batteries.

I find hydrogen’s benefits are often grossly misrepresented (most abundant element in the universe, highest energy density by weight, renewably) while its inherent shortfalls are downplayed or outright ignored (no significant natural reservoirs, very difficult to store LH2 in the long term without active cooling or venting, terrible energy density by volume, embrittlement, lack of infrastructure, pressure vessel lifetime, pressure vessel weight, pressure vessel shape, precious metal catalysts, the sketchy mining of those metals, emissions, etc)

To be fair progress has been made. Pressure vessels in particular. Infrastructure too. But less progress has been made in efficency, zeolite storage, and other very important areas that are critical to make it actually work.

For instance almost all hydrogen is less green than the fossil fuels it’s made from. Unfortunately the very first market that needs to be satisfied is not transportation, it’s industry. Industry needs hydrogen, there is no substitute. The amount of energy required to meet the worlds industrial hydrogen needs is greater than all the renewable capacity of the US, including all its hydroelectric. Until that is accomplished AND that lost renewable power capacity is replaced with more renewable capacity its pointless to even think about using it for transport except for niche applications such as yours. Its simply more efficient to use batteries or to use fossil fuels directly.

Younork
Younork
17 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I’m with you, I doubt we’ll see a competitive road HFC vehicle any time soon.

  • I don’t want to say I’m immune to marketing (no one is) but I find it hard to believe that anyone sees through blatant greenwashing anymore.
  • Perhaps I came across as a shill, but I legitimately find the tech fascinating, and the implementation in warehouses cool. Furthermore, the reason I like the tech does not necessarily come from its greenness, although I did appreciate the lack of fumes in the warehouse. I’m just happy to explain an application where the tech truly does make sense.
  • Lastly, and perhaps a bit off-topic, I recently traveled to a major South American city, and I think there is something to be said about limiting individual vehicle emissions, even if that means moving the emissions someplace else. People drive their cars where they live, and to be polluting where you live is awful. If the production plants (be it electricity for EVs or Hydrogen plants for HFCs) were moved to less populated areas and the cities switched to vehicles that polluted less, a lot of people would benefit.
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
17 days ago
Reply to  Younork

“I find it hard to believe that anyone sees through blatant greenwashing anymore.”

Hang around, you’ll meet them.

Agreed to your points except on the relocating emissions. That makes it too easy to sweep them under the rug or blame foreign poors (look how clean our modern city is! All that filth blowing in MUST be coming from those dirty rural poors!!)

Younork
Younork
16 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Fair enough, thanks for the chat, really made me think.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
16 days ago
Reply to  Younork

Me as well. I do like to get a better picture of where hydrogen IS a good solution and there’s a lot to like for cold storage loaders.

I think at some point batteries will be a stronger contender if for anything less waste heat, lower operating costs and global emissions but it sounds like for now hydrogen is OK.

Younork
Younork
14 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I hope Toyota’s solid state batteries don’t turn out to be total vapor ware

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
14 days ago
Reply to  Younork

That would be nice.

Autonerdery
Autonerdery
25 days ago

Fun (?) fact, the only V12 car I’ve ever driven was a BMW Hydrogen7. It was a second-gen model, based on an E66 760Li, one of roughly 100 built. BMW took the stock V12 and modified it so that it could run on either gasoline or hydrogen—yes, it was an internal combustion hydrogen car. By the time I drove it (very slowly, into the museum where I worked at the time), the hydrogen tanks had been disabled, so it was running on gas only.

Anyhoo, this Mirai is most certainly not the “decent-looking” one, that would be the current model, as long as you’re not staring down the baleen whale face. This one is the fugly “bloated Prius” version.

Marc Fuhrman
Marc Fuhrman
25 days ago

Very cool that you were able to bump into another Mirai owner while filming this, she seemed like a pretty cool person!
If I could make one suggestion with the videos though, could you please tone down the music a smidge? It seems loud compared to the rest of the audio. Otherwise I’m really liking the series so far!

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