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Tesla edges out Toyota for longest range zero-emission vehicle

Written by Andrew Dalton

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

We knew Tesla was revving up and adding range to its electric vehicle lineup, but now we have the EPA’s official word. The company’s top-of-the-line Model S P100D is not only quickest production car in the world, but it’s also the longest-running zero-emission vehicle with 315 miles of range — narrowly beating out Toyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell Mirai by just three miles.

While the Tesla might get you up to freeway speeds in a heartbeat, the Mirai will actually spend less time at the fueling station. According to fuel network True Zero, a Mirai will only spend four minutes at the hydrogen pump and, in an impressive feat of their own, the company set out to land a new Guinness World Record for most electric miles driven in a 24 hour period. By connecting the dots between True Zero’s fifteen fueling stations in California (and one in Tesla’s territory near Reno), the two companies put 1,438 miles on a Mirai in a single day. While that figure should do wonders for range anxiety, it still has to be confirmed by the good folks at Guinness.

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Andrew Dalton


  • So right now, you need to pump it back up but there will surely come a time when the “huge pumps” you mention are economically viable so it is a problem that will be overcome. The real problem with fuel cells is that it requires more energy to harvest the hydrogen than it yields to the vehicle and they use electricity to do that, making it less clean than an EV and more expensive to the end user. Still, I’d rather have a fuel cell car than an EV, although neither has anywhere near the appeal of good, old petrol.

  • why have one very large pressure tank? why not have multiple smaller that round robin through the empty/filling stages?

    It seems to me like that would be a more effective way to meet the goal of a faster fill.
  • 4 minutes to refuel is for the first car. Then the cascade tank has to be pumped back up to fuel the second car that can take quite a while. Or, you need one very large very high pressure tank to continuously pump up with huge pumps to feed the vehicles one after another. Hydrogen has no benefits.

  • Driving my i3 is cleaner using the dirtiest form of electrical power source (burning crude oil soaked baby seal carcasses with bellies full of coal nuggets) than driving an ICE car. Kidding, but only half.

    If power was generated 100% from coal, it’s still better because of the pollution controls on the power plant, efficiency at large scale generation, but mostly because my car uses roughly 1/9th as much energy per mile (as measured in joules) vs. a gasoline burning car. In our state, about 30% of our power comes from coal or natural gas, so I’m using roughly 1/9 of that 30% in fossil fuels, or about 3.3% compared to a gas-burner that uses over 90% fossil fuels (not 100% because of the whole ethanol thing.)
    True, there are efficiency losses in power transmission over distance and battery charging, but those are small compared to the efficiency losses in the refining of oil, transportation of gasoline, and waste heat produced when it’s used in the car.
  • It can’t be any less efficient and dirtier than burning coal to drive the production of the electricity that powers a Tesla.

  • That is the most ignorant thing I’ve read in awhile. Just because you understand only one way of producing hydrogen, doesn’t mean it’s the only way. You Elon musk worshipers with no real knowledge of chemistry or engineering entertain me.

  • Atleast, when a sustainable and inexpensive method of Electrolysis is invented we could potentially have an end less supply of Hydrogen, unlike fossil fuel or Lithium. Once everybody jumps on the Electric car bandwagon we will start running out of Lithium by the turn of the century, just like fossil fuels.

  • Now everyone go read up on how inefficient it is to produce the hydrogen. Burning BP oil soaked seagulls to start a coal fired nuclear factor built on a dormant fracking site is greener. And that’s not even counting the cost of trucking it to the stations.

  • Was Tesla’s numbers calculated when it was under control of Chinese hackers, or not? Opening the trunk, playing with the wipers, folding in the mirrors, and even applying the brakes could have a big impact on the resulting stats.

  • And just how much $$ will you also be spending to charge that expensive Tesla at home? Unless you want to spend all day charging it, you will have to pay to upgrade the outlet where you will be plugging it in. Is that expense added into the price of the car? Or is that an extra expense as it probably is.

  • Ah yes, the Mirage…er, Mirai. Not as fuel efficient as a Prius, less passenger and cargo room than a Prius, the same acceleration as a Prius, uglier than a Prius, can only be refueled at fourteen stations in California and one in Nevada, and all for only $32,000 more than a Prius. Run right out.

    Yes, once you have taken the LA freeway, average speed 11 MPH, to the nearest hydrogen fuel station it will only take you four minutes to put in the fuel and then hop back on that freeway for a total detour that only takes an hour or so of your time. Every time you want to refuel. Or you could just drive your Tesla home, park in your garage, attach a plug to your Tesla and go watch some football.
    The ONLY advantage hydrogen fool cell cars think that they have is speed of refueling, but since the refueling stations cost a million buck a piece and there will never be enough hydrogen cars on the roads to make them remotely close to being profitable ventures, hydrogen refueling stations will always be rare making their supposed advantage a huge pain in the rear disadvantage instead. To be as convenient as a gas powered car you need to have close to as many hydrogen fueling stations as there are gas, which is 13,500 stations in California alone. That would be $13.5 Billion dollars worth of hydrogen fueling stations just in California.
    Hydrogen is pre-obsolescent technology, obsolete before it is perfected or widely adopted.

  • Zero emissions at the car level. And it’s still 2-3 times more efficient than an engine even if the source isn’t green for the electricity. Also it gets cleaner, so as your source goes greener, so does your car. So yes, it does actually still lower emissions even if your source isn’t clean.

  • It’s ironic that you mention the source of electricity to count for EV emissions. Would you do the same for an ICE vehicle? Add oil extraction, refining infrastructure, transportation, storage and sales? Each of these contributes with some emissions to the mix. I think an ICE would fall waaay behind even if electricity is produced with the most pollutant source.

    Absolute zero emission vehicle is probably impossible as there are so many components that may have pollution associated with it, from fuel to tires, every material in the car, how the vehicle is produced, how it is sold, how it refuels, how it is maintained.. the list is too big.
  • Zero-emission rating for electric vehicles is bull, unless it’s guaranteed that it’s only charged with electricity that’s been produced using zero-emission methods, too. Otherwise it’s just trickery with shifting the burden of emission away from the vehicle, but not actually lowering it.

    And don’t even get me started about including the emissions of the manufacturing process of the vehicle and its fuel generators in the ratings.

  • And requires a massive infrastructure overhaul compared to electric. I’d like to see a Mirai do a cross-country trip like a Tesla did three years ago with only a fraction of the Superchargers in place.

  • The Mirai may only take 5 minutes to fill up, but that costs $75. Meanwhile the tesla would cost an average of $12 to fully recharge at home. I just don’t understand the Mirai, it costs more than an equivalent gas powered car, costs way more to refuel, and actually takes longer to refuel than a gas powered car.

  • No it doesn’t. The average American will barely ever have to use fast charging in their daily life. You charge the car at night like your cell phone.

    Requires no infrastructure upgrade.
  • Sort of like the massive petrol infrastructure we have in place. Recall back in the day people were too stupid to pump their own gas and had to have the station do it for them.

    The government doesn’t have to be involved, just like they aren’t in current gas stations.
  • Fundamentally, a 4 minutes fillup at a hydrogen gas station makes a lot more sense than a 30 minute chargeup (usually only to around 80%) at a fast-charging station, especially when you’re really not supposed to fast-charge regularly, since it wears down the battery. Unfortunately, I don’t see hydrogen ever getting any kind of toehold because of the massive expense of establishing a hydrogen gas distribution network to rival the current gasoline one.

  • Now we just need an EV with Hydrogen fuel cell range extender. That would be interesting I think. The biggest hand up over battery powered EVs, is that the fuel tank doesn’t have diminished potency. A battery, the most expensive part of the car, will go bad as you use it. This is not the case with Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The main issue, is fuel distribution network. I honestly think that a vehicle which can alternatively switch between FCV and EV depending on your needs would be the ideal solution. Having the option to switch between the two at will, would also be great. Sometimes, you may not want to use the battery and recharge it over and over, especially if you aren’t putting a lot of miles on it. Sometimes, you may not want to go to the fueling station because of distance and don’t mind the over night recharge times.

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