By Mark G. McLaughlin
The Toyota Mirai is the car of the future – and the reason Toyota gave it that name, as “mirai” means future in Japanese. The technology behind this hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle is extraordinary, but there is more to this sharp vehicle than what lies beneath the hood. The Mirai is packed with numerous innovative design features which enhance its performance, safety and comfort.
A drop of water with wheels
The Mirai has been described as looking like a drop of water with wheels. The water drop design was intentional, and not merely because it is evocative of the source of the hydrogen from which it draws its power: water. The Mirai’s smooth water-drop contours make sense aerodynamically as well as visually, as they reduce drag and increase efficiency.
Oxygen in, water out
The Mirai has a large, attractive front grille with two additional, stylishly configured large openings that together bring in oxygen to mix with hydrogen in the stack of fuel cells and air to cool the system. The only byproduct other than electricity from the chemical reaction in those cells is water vapor, which is released with a touch of a button. The EPA rates the Mirai as a zero-emission vehicle.
Enhanced Hydrogen security
The hydrogen that fuels the Mirai is stored in tanks located outside the cabin – thus eliminating any concern of leakage of the gas into the passenger compartment. Hydrogen sensors also provide notification of any damage to the tanks which result in a leak and which will shut the main stop valves. The tanks themselves are strong and durable and mounted so as to be protected in the event of a collision.
Full Safety Suite Standard
The Mirai has a full safety suite, standard, on board and built into the very core of the car. Carbon reinforced polymers incorporated into the vehicle’s structure limit damage by absorbing and dispersing impact energy from both front and rear collisions. A full post-collision safety system is on-board, including dual front side-mounted airbags, front and rear headbags, and a 4-wheel ABS with emergency braking assist. The Mirai also comes with Toyota’s Blind Spot and Lane Departure Warnings Accident Avoidance System, complete with front and rear parking sensors.
A car truly built for comfort
The Mirai is proof that a car can be powerful, practical, and environmentally-friendly and still offer a comfortable ride. JBL Premium Brand speakers come standard, as do eight-way power front seats with adjustable lumbar support. Other comfort features include a heated tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and an adaptive cruise control with manual controls on the steering wheel.