2017 Toyota Mirai fuel cell

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I’ve grown used to encountering the unexpected on my trips to junkyards, finding everything from a JDM Nissan Fairlady Z to a bullet-riddled Cadillac, from an episode of Mythbusters to a British tank. That said, I didn’t expect to find a four-year-old hydrogen fuel cell car more than a thousand miles from the only state they were sold in that year. It becomes the most recent scrap car I’ve documented, taking first place from the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage, now second.

I may have never heard of this car at a Denver-area jobsite because it isn’t listed in U-Pull – & – Pay’s online inventory (likely because it doesn’t. (there’s no Mirai in their data entry app) and the car’s distinctive grille is missing, making it look like hundreds of other 21st century sedans at a glance. However, the famous Grumpy Cat Racing of ’50 Dodge pickup road-racer suffered a broken steering column from Cadillac during the High Plains Drifter race in Colorado earlier this month and they sent a 50-mile crew to Aurora to find a replacement column. of a Prius (which allegedly has a built-in self-contained power assist package).

When you drive a 1950 Dodge pickup, you get good at improvising in the scrapyard, so I wasn’t shocked when I heard that the team had a Toyota electric assist column installed in their truck. truck. What made scaring me was the news that the column was from a Mirai fuel cell.

I had reviewed the 2019 Mirai Fuel Cell for Autoweek, and at the time I learned that these cars could only be bought in California and almost all of them were leased. So much the better, because all H2 gas stations accessible to the public in the United States are in California, with the exception of one in Hawaii (there is also one in Quebec). With a range of 312 miles per tank of the most abundant element in the universe, you’d be hard pressed to drive a Mirai in Denver.

2017 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell in Colorado junkyard, emblem - © 2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSupposedly there will be a hydrogen refueling station operated by Colorado State University in Fort Collins very soon and more such stations could appear in other Front Range towns by the end of this year. We’ll see.

2017 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell in Colorado junkyard, refueling - © 2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDenver car buyers, optimistic about the possible profusion of Stop-n-H2 stations, will soon be able to drop by Davidsons Motors in Colfax and buy this Mirai ’17 with just 56,478 miles on the clock. I enjoyed driving the Mirai (and the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell) on trips to California, as a fuel cell-equipped car is basically an EV with very long range and the ability to refuel just as quickly. than a gasoline car… but I won’t be the only one buying this local Mirai, despite having a source of junk nearby.

2017 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell in Colorado junkyard, engine bay - © 2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsHydrogen tanks, electric motor and batteries are long gone from it. So much for my plans to build a fuel cell Joseph Abboud Edition Buick Regal!

2017 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell in Colorado junkyard, interior - © 2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe dashboard was completely gutted, although much of the upholstery and trim remains.

2017 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell in Colorado junkyard, interior - © 2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe white SofTex seat fabric gets dirty quickly and retains dirt well, but these seats aren’t that bad (considering where the car is parked).

2017 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell in Colorado junkyard, left rear view - © 2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIf I had to guess the means by which this car got to Denver, I would assume that maybe an engineering company bought it in California, shipped it east for research, then sold. valuables before calling a dump to transport what was left.

While it looks like the rapid improvements in battery-electric vehicles coupled with the difficulty of getting clean hydrogen (and moving it) could make fuel cell cars a dead end in the market, Toyota is not giving up. not the technology.

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