- Toyota is a leading car manufacturer which has now branched out into electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
- Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are an alternative to gas and battery-powered cars, using a hydrogen engine to convert oxygen into electricity and producing water vapor as the only by-product.
- Toyota’s Mirai is a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, while the bZ4X is an electric vehicle.
- The Mirai has a longer range and faster refueling time, but the bZ4X offers more convenience with more charging options and availability of charging stations.
EVs are green alternatives to gas-powered cars, but they are not your only option. Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) are an alternative to both gas and battery-powered cars.
These vehicles use a hydrogen engine to convert oxygen into electricity, producing water vapor in the process. An electric motor then powers the vehicle in a way that is similar to electric vehicles. Yet, despite the low environmental impact of hydrogen cars, they are not exactly popular.
Find out why in this comparison between the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai and the electric Toyota bZ4X. Let’s dive right in!
Toyota Mirai vs. Toyota bZ4X: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Toyota Mirai||Toyota bZ4X|
|Powertrain||182 hp||201 hp|
|Acceleration (0 to 60 mph)||9.1 seconds||6.4 seconds|
|Top Speed||106 mph||99.4 mph|
|Range||Up to 402 miles per charge||Up to 252 miles per charge|
|Charging Speed (10% to 80%)||N/A||30 minutes|
|Refueling Speed||5 to 7 minutes||N/A|
|Cargo Capacity||9.6 cubic feet||27.7 cubic feet|
|Number of Seats||5||5|
|Wheel Size||19”, 20”||18”, 20”|
|Year of Release||2014||2022|
Toyota Mirai vs. Toyota bZ4X: What’s the Difference?
One of the first automakers to focus on environmentally friendly technologies, Toyota is a pioneer in the hybrid and hydrogen vehicles world. The company debuted the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in the world — the Toyota Prius — back in 1997. In 2014, after 22 years in the making, it introduced the Mirai. A year later, this model became the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.
The focus on these alternative technologies came at a cost, though — Toyota is one of the last automakers to enter the EV market. The company released its first electric vehicle, the bZ4X, in 2022. Now at its second edition, Toyota’s electric SUV promises to become a crowd-pleaser. But how does it compare to the Mirai?
Let’s find out the advantages and drawbacks of each model.
The main difference between the Toyota Mirai and the Toyota bZ4X is the technology. The former is a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle that draws hydrogen from a pressurized tank and fuses it with oxygen to produce electricity. This electricity powers up an electric motor that drives the vehicle in a process similar to that used by standard hybrid cars. However, the only by-product of the fusion process is water, which is expelled into the environment through an exhaust pipe.
The Toyota bZ4X is an electric vehicle. EVs have simpler systems than hydrogen and hybrid cars — they run on electricity stored in a battery. There are no additional engines or systems that produce electricity on the go, which means that you have to stop and charge the battery when it’s drained. Typically, this requires careful planning of routes and calculation of ranges so that you don’t run out of power in the middle of nowhere.
However, considering that hydrogen refueling stations are not as common as the public charging stations — and that you can also charge the bZ4X at home — Toyota’s electric vehicle has an advantage.
Beyond technology, the Mirai and the bZ4X belong to different vehicle classes. The Mirai is one of Toyota’s most stylish sedans, but it only comes in front-wheel drive variants. The bZ4X is a compact SUV. Its looks are rugged compared to the Mirai, but you can choose from front-wheel and all-wheel drivetrains.
The choice of drivetrains is not the only advantage the bZ4X offers. Another pro is the ampler cabin space and generally more comfortable ride. You also get more cargo space from the bZ4X compared to the Mirai.
Considering the similarities between hybrid and hydrogen systems, one might think that hydrogen cars have gas-like performance. As far as the Toyota Mirai and the Toyota bZ4X are concerned, though, the latter wins.
Toyota’s electric vehicle packs 201 horsepower, which is enough to get it from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.4 seconds. With 182 horsepower, the Mirai is slightly less powerful, and it gets to 60 miles per hour in a leisurely 9.1 seconds. This car’s only advantage over the bZ4X is the top speed, which reaches 106 miles per hour. Toyota limits its bZ4X to 99.4 miles per hour.
Range and Charge Time
The greatest advantage of the Mirai is its superior range compared to the bZ4X and other electric vehicles alike. On a full hydrogen tank, this car has a range of up to 402 miles. This is almost two times the bZ4X’s range, which doesn’t exceed 252 miles per charge. However, both cars have a similar fuel economy of around 75 MPGe combined.
Unlike the bZ4X, the Mirai doesn’t need charging, but instead refueling at a hydrogen station. The process is similar to refueling a gas car, with the tank filling up in about five to seven minutes.
Charging the bZ4X from 10 to 80 percent takes around half an hour at a fast-charging station. At Level 2 stations, the battery can go from drained to fully charged in around nine hours, but it can take over 30 hours to charge the battery at a standard household outlet. So, if you need a longer range and fast refueling, the Mirai is your best bet.
The Mirai and the bZ4X come from the same automaker, and their infotainment systems are similar. Both cars feature 12.3-inch touchscreens compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A difference is the 7-inch digital gauge found on the bZ4X but not on the Mirai.
However, the Mirai stands out with its impressive 14-speaker JBL audio system, which comes as standard. The bZ4X comes with a six-speaker system as standard, which can be upgraded to a nine-speaker JBL system on the Limited trim.
All other functions are similar and include wireless charging for mobile phones, cloud-based navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Toyota bZ4X wins the comfort round thanks to its spacious cabin and generous cargo space. The 5-passenger SUV offers ample legroom both at the front and at the back. Compared to other Toyota cars, this model also offers generous headroom at the rear, while the 27.7 cubic feet trunk fits four suitcases seamlessly. The main downside is the absence of a glovebox, which Toyota replaces with an empty storage space underneath the central console.
The Mirai comes with a glovebox and a standard storage compartment inside the central console. However, it has a smaller trunk capacity of only 9.6 cubic feet. The sedan design, with a lower profile, also reduces headroom for the rear passengers. Taller adults may find it difficult to sit on the back seats for long periods of time.
To make up for this downside, the Mirai’s Limited trim comes with add-ons designed to increase comfort. Some perks include a moonroof, three-zone automatic climate control, and heated front and rear seats.
Safety-wise, both the Toyota Mirai and the Toyota bZ4X rank high in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s crash tests. Both cars include all modern safety features as standard, including automated emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure and lane keep assistance, and adaptive cruise control.
Another difference between the Toyota Mirai and the bZ4X is the price. The former is more expensive, with a starting price of $49,500. However, this price includes up to three years of complimentary maintenance and a purchase incentive of $15,000 worth of free fuel.
The bZ4X’s price starts at $42,000 and includes two years of complimentary maintenance but no fuel incentives. This isn’t exactly surprising, considering the elevated cost of hydrogen compared to electric charging, but it does give the Mirai an advantage.
Both the bZ4X and the Mirai may qualify for tax credits of up to $7,500. The Mirai’s main disadvantage is its limited availability — this model is currently only available in California.
Toyota Mirai vs. Toyota bZ4X: 6 Must-Know Facts
- The Toyota Mirai is a fuel-cell vehicle that uses a hydrogen engine to create the electricity needed to power up the car.
- Toyota offers $15,000 worth (up to three years) of free fuel with the purchase of a Mirai.
- The bZ4X is Toyota’s first fully electric vehicle. This model is built on the same platform as the Subaru Solterra.
- The Toyota Mirai is offered as a FWD car. You can choose from FWD and AWD drivetrains on both of the bZ4X trims.
- The bZ4X is larger and more comfortable than the Mirai. However, the Mirai has more elegant lines.
- The Mirai is more expensive than the bZ4X, but both vehicles may qualify for federal tax credits of up to $7,500.
Toyota Mirai vs. Toyota bZ4X: Which One Wins?
The Toyota Mirai and the Toyota bZ4X both have their pros and cons. The former has a longer range, and refueling it doesn’t take up more than 10 minutes. This vehicle is completely green, as its only by-product is water. Even if it is more expensive, the fuel credit makes up for the extra cost and you may be able to claim tax credits.
However, the Toyota Mirai is only available in California. If you live elsewhere and want an eco-friendly car, the bZ4X is the better choice. Toyota’s electric SUV might also be a better choice if you need a family-friendly vehicle or one with all-wheel drive. While Toyota doesn’t offer free fuel vouchers for this model, the tax credits that you might be able to claim and the lower MRSP can help you save on the purchase.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Bhakpong/Shutterstock.com.