Toyota led the world with the introduction of the hydrogen-powered Mirai in 2014 – a model that has spearheaded global awareness of how a clean and sustainable society built around hydrogen energy might be achieved in the future.
Now we are getting ready to take our advanced zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technology to new heights with the second-generation Mirai. First seen at last year’s Tokyo motor show, the striking new four-door has now been shown in a new guise at the Kenshiki Forum in Amsterdam.
Scheduled for launch in 2020, initially in Japan, North America and Europe, the new Mirai will be much more than an eco-car, showing how its FCEV technology is no barrier to creating a vehicle that is rewarding to drive and beautiful to look at.
Efficiency is still a critical area, and we are targeting a 30% increase in driving range through improvements to the fuel cell system and use of larger on-board hydrogen tanks. There are now three tanks – one long, two short – which together increase the fuel capacity by around one kilo of hydrogen compared to the current model.
New Mirai: immediate impact
Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the new Mirai, said: “We have pursued the goal of making a car that customers will feel they want to drive all the 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 choose the Mirai not just because it’s an FCEV, but because [they] simply wanted this car and it just happens to be an FCEV. We will continue our development work focusing on that feeling, and we hope that the new Mirai will be a leader in helping realise a hydrogen energy society.”
The exterior design of the new Mirai creates an immediate impact, with low lines, elegant proportions and taut bodywork rolling on 20-inch diameter wheels.
The interior has been conceived as a simple, modern space with a comfortable ambience which exudes the feeling that this is a car that’s genuinely enjoyable to drive and travel in. Key elements include a 12.3-inch centre display and an instrument panel that wraps around the driver. The platform and intelligent packaging allow for five seats, instead of the current Mirai’s four.
The fact that the new Mirai is constructed on Toyota’s latest rear-wheel drive modular platform – itself engineered to accommodate a hydrogen fuel cell from the start – has given the development team the freedom to craft a more emotional, head-turning design. It also gives the new Mirai a higher degree of body rigidity and a lower centre of gravity, which contributes to greater agility and responsiveness, and therefore more nimble, rewarding handling.
As well as extending the potential driving range, improvements in fuel cell performance endow the new Mirai with a smooth linearity between driver inputs and vehicle responsiveness. The handling is light and easy on winding roads, while highway driving produces an exceptional sense of power at all speeds.
|New Mirai preview model – outline specifications|
|Overall length (mm)||4,975|
|Overall width (mm)||1,885|
|Overall height (mm)||1,470|
|Driving range||Approx. 30% greater than current model|