The original hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Toyota Mirai was hailed as a landmark achievement for alternative fuel vehicles and clean mobility back in 2014. Now, a second-generation model is about to be launched featuring even more advanced powertrain technology.
At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show (October 23 to November 4) the Japanese automaker will unveil the latest Mirai, which boasts an extended driving range of 30% now good for 300 miles as a result of improved fuel cell design and larger hydrogen tanks. It also benefits from the same fast refilling as before and only pure water being emitted.
Since it was first introduced, Toyota has sold around 10,000 Mirai, and in an industry where the majority of OEMs are looking at pure battery electric vehicles, it has shown that hydrogen as a fuel source is a viable and sustainable option, that negates the limitations of plug-in battery power’s range and charging times. However, the infrastructure is the only hurdle. There are far more electric vehicle charge points than hydrogen refilling stations, yet Toyota says it has busy at work developing the infrastructure for hydrogen fuel in key markets worldwide.
It’s not just upgrades under the hood either. The new Mirai has a face-lifted exterior design with sleek lines and taut bodywork finished off in a specially-created blue paint finish. The interior also benefits from being built on its new TNGA platform where a re-working no offers five seats instead of the current model’s four.
Yoshikazu Tanaka, the new Mirai’s chief engineer, said: “We have pursued the goal of making a car that customers will feel they want to drive all time, a car that has an emotional and attractive design and the kind of dynamic and responsive performance that can bring a smile to the driver’s face.
“I want customers to say ‘I chose the Mirai not just because it’s an FCEV, but because I simply wanted this car; it just happens to be an FCEV.’ We will continue our development work focusing on that feeling, and we hope that with the new Mirai we will be a leader in helping realize a hydrogen energy society.”
The new Mirai is scheduled for launch in 2020, initially in Japan, North America and Europe.