Driving your ‘H Car’ in a lockdown Aussie

As long as you live near a refuelling station, driving a hydrogen-powered car is brilliant. They’re silent and sleek. They’re good for the environment (I mean the emissions are literally just water), and even more than with a Tesla, you feel like you’re part of some exclusive club.

The only time a hydrogen car might be a bit of a liability is, say if your entire state went into hard lockdown, the company that lent you the car shuts down their headquarters for the week meaning there is no way to return it or get your old car back, and the only refuelling station in the whole state is now behind a locked security gate. In that case, you might be forced to incessantly ration your driving time, constantly checking the fuel gauge, paralysed by the fear that you will end up stranded in the middle of nowhere with no earthly way to get the car moving again.

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But, like, as long as that doesn’t happen it’s amazing.

A few weeks back I was offered the opportunity to drive around one of only 20 Toyota Mirai hydrogen-powered cars in the country, and of course I jumped at it. Partly because I have a keen interest in sustainable transportation, and partly because my current car is 27 years old and has lichen growing on the roof.

In retrospect, owning possibly the worst car in Australia did perhaps skew my opinions of the Mirai a bit. As I slid into my new ride I was ecstatic, not over the cutting-edge environmental innovation, but because this car had Bluetooth audio. Game-changing.

Speaking of that innovation, the car works by feeding hydrogen gas through a fuel cell stack where it is combined with oxygen in a way that produces electricity used to power the motor. There are no carbon emissions at all, and the only waste product created in this process is a little trickle of water that you empty by pressing a button on the dash. Apparently, you can technically drink this, but Toyota says not to,

I’m not going to lie, driving this thing feels slick. You can barely tell when the car is on because the motor is so silent and it has high-tech radar cruise control that will even slow down and speed up for you in traffic. The car looks and feels expensive (mostly because it is), and I know its 0 to 60mph time (7.4 seconds) is nothing compared to the Tesla Model 3 (3.3s), but it certainly beats my hunk of scrap metal (7.4 minutes on a good day).

The voice controls feature was patchy, and I never fully trusted the in-built navigation maps, but overall you can’t deny this is a nice, high-tech car.

Although I really loved driving the Mirai, I am struggling to see how this will ever catch on in Australia.

Source: The Guardian.

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