Toyota (NYSE:NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the US and North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands. The new Mirai model boasts a longer driving range than its predecessor and completely redesigned fuel cell stack and hydrogen tanks, the company said.
The completely redesigned hydrogen-powered fuel cell sedan is Toyota's latest attempt to revive demand for a niche technology that it hopes will become mainstream. Toyota started testing two Mirai fuel cells in an electric Class 8 semi-trailer truck in the Port of Los Angeles in 2017 as part of Project Portal. The only byproduct of that process is water, meaning hydrogen vehicles don't expel harmful emissions. What this means is a sportier driving feel with particular emphasis on handling, which is a good thing to have in a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The automaker has previously said fuel cells should match hybrids in pricing by the end of the next decade. In the US, only Toyota, Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. sell fuel cell-powered passenger cars - and only at a handful of dealers due to the scarcity of hydrogen stations.
Toyota presented the first Mirai generation in 2014. The platform accommodates different vehicle sizes and also front-, rear- and all-wheel drive configurations. The dash is largely clear of buttons as numerous usual controls have been moved to an 12.3-inch touchscreen display.
"I want customers to say 'I chose the Mirai because I simply wanted this auto, and 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 to realize a hydrogen energy society". For example, the second Mirai moves from an independent platform onto the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), designed from the outset to host several drive forms.
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This latest generation of Mirai also has a larger hydrogen capacity, and a target 30-per-cent increase in driving range.
Toyota is one of the very few automobile companies to invest heavily in hydrogen fuel cells and says that it's spent $1 million an hour on R&D of this technology. A roughly five-minute refueling time is comparable to traditional internal-combustion vehicles, and much faster than a BEV would take to charge.