Everyone does it. Some more often than others, but no one further than Toyota. We’ve all pushed the limit of what it means to drive on empty, but Toyota set a new Guinness World Record with its Mirai fuel-cell electric sedan.
The company pushed every last drop, if you will, out of the Mirai driving 845 miles on a single 5-minute fill of hydrogen. In the process, it set a new record for the “longest distance by a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle without refueling.”
It set the record during the course of two days: Aug. 23 and 24 during a round-trip tour of Southern California. Clearly this is no simple feat. If you run out of gas, you can walk to the station get a gas can, fill it up and walk back to your car. Even in California, finding a hydrogen refueling station isn’t as simple as rocking up to any old BP station.
“In 2016, the Toyota Mirai was the first production fuel cell electric vehicle available for retail sale in North America, and now the next generation Mirai is setting distance records,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president, Toyota Motor North America.
“We are proud to be leaders of this exciting technology, which is just one of a growing lineup of zero emission vehicles in our portfolio.”
Stretching the hydrogen
The new record was set by Wayne Gerdes, a professional hypermiler, and Bob Winger, who set out Aug. 23 from the Toyota Technical Center in Gardena, California, which is home of the automaker’s fuel cell development group, under the watchful gaze of Michael Empric, an official Guinness adjudicator.
The duo traveled south to San Ysidro and then north to Santa Barbara cruising through Santa Monica and Malibu beach along the Pacific Coast Highway. They returned to TTC that evening and logged 473 miles with only two driver swaps that day.
The next day, Aug. 24, consisted of more local driving loops, where they pushed through 372 more miles of morning and afternoon rush hour traffic on the San Diego freeway between Los Angeles and Orange County until the Mirai had no more hydrogen left and coasted into TTC with a grand total of 845 miles driven. Empric, along for the entire ride, said it was an important milestone for the technology.
“The Toyota Mirai’s journey without the need to refuel showcases the power of fuel cell electric technology,” he said. “This technology and the design ingenuity by the team at Toyota led to a history-making moment.”
By the end of the trip, the Mirai consumed a total of 5.65 kilograms of hydrogen and passed a total of 12 hydrogen stations along the drive routes without refueling. The Mirai was driven mainly during rush hour traffic in temperatures between 65 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit. It emitted zero pounds of carbon dioxide, where a standard internal combustion engine vehicle would have emitted about 664 pounds of carbon dioxide over the same distance.