The most revolutionary vehicle on the market today looks like a smog monster. When Toyota unveiled the hydrogen fuel cell Mirai in 2014 as a 2015 model it was a bold move. As water is hydrogen power’s only byproduct it is cleaner than electric cars. That’s because some electricity in the US is still generated by coal. The technology overshadowed a few of the big negatives of the Toyota Mirai. Now a 2021 Toyota Mirai will debut.
Instead of making the Mirai appealing in an Audi or Porsche way it pursued a comical direction
The most obvious was where can you refuel a hydrogen-powered car? Infrastructure is virtually nonexistent. The other negative was its design. Rather than trying to make it appealing in an Audi or Porsche way it pursued an almost comical direction. The two huge nostrils and body sculpting might have appealed to some, but most found it less than compelling.
Other drawbacks include that because hydrogen is produced by steam methane reforming or other thermochemical or pyrolytic means it is expensive. When produced from natural gas there are high carbon emissions from the production. Compressing hydrogen is also expensive as is its transportation to filling stations. One final drawback is unlike EVs you can’t charge them at home.
The 2021 Mirai looks like a slightly updated Lexus LS 500 and it should
Now Toyota has announced the new Mirai will be unveiled in December. Toyota has floated around a concept version of the next Mirai. The production model should be extremely close to it. It looks like a slightly updated Lexus LS 500 and it should. It shares the LS 500’s platform. And being a Toyota it loses the massive hourglass grille which is a good thing.
Toyota has hung in there with the Mirai in spite of minimal sales. In the US yearly sales hover around 1,500 or so. With the announcement of the December reveal Toyota also said it would kick up production worldwide to 30,000. In the US it sells for $58,550 and we would suspect Toyota loses money on each one, though we are only guessing.
Toyota has improved the Mirai’s design but the dearth of hydrogen stations is still a problem
Though Toyota has improved the 2021 Mirai’s design, the dearth of hydrogen stations is still a problem. The range is only a tad over 300 miles, so your travel has to be planned around its limitations. Mileage is around 66 mpg of liquid hydrogen. Under 40 hydrogen fueling stations exist in California. Toyota received news last month an additional 123 stations throughout the state are being subsidized by California.
The hydrogen tanks have a three-layer structure of carbon-fiber and store the hydrogen at 10,000 psi. Hybrid components currently in production on other Toyota vehicles that are part of the Mirai system include an electric motor, power control, and main battery. Along with the hydrogen cells, there is a 1.6 kWh nickel-metal hydride pack. The hybrid portion of the Mirai is similar to the Camry hybrid.
The 2021 Mirai will offer three different trims that will range in price from the low $60,000 to just under $86,000 based on the recently announced prices in Europe.