2021 Toyota Mirai Fuel-Cell Concept Previews Sexier, RWD Production Model

Toyota has revealed the 2021 Mirai Concept, essentially a production-ready preview of the second iteration of the brand’s hydrogen fuel-cell electric sedan that will go on sale in select markets in late 2020.

The original Mirai that debuted in 2015 had many things going for it, including being the first production hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) offered for sale to retail customers in North America, but desirability was not one of them.

With the new model, Toyota is rebooting the series with a more coupe- and Lexus- (and less Prius-) inspired design, while surprisingly ditching the first Mirai’s more common front-wheel drive architecture for a sportier rear-wheel drive setup, all in the name of creating a more desirable car.

Yoshikazu Tanaka, Chief Engineer of the Mirai, explains: “We have pursued making a car that customers feel like driving all the time, a car that has emotional and attractive design appeal, as well as dynamic and responsive driving performance that can bring a smile to the faces of drivers,” he said .“I want customers to say, ‘I chose the Mirai not because it’s an FCEV, but because I really wanted this car, and it just happened to be an FCEV.’”

Also Read: Fuel Cell Car Prices Will Match Hybrids Within A Decade, Says Toyota

The production nature of the 2021 Mirai is evident from the down-to-earth interior too, which for the most part, avoids the excessive and off-putting design language of its predecessor. Aside from the standard 8-inch digital instrument panel and the Toyota Premium Multimedia infotainment system with a 12.3-inch high-resolution TFT touchscreen, there will also be an available digital rear-view mirror displaying images from a camera.

Under the skin

With a similar footprint to the Lexus GS, the second-generation Mirai rides on Toyota’s global RWD platform, which should make it a lot more engaging behind the wheel. It also promises to deliver a 30-percent increase in range exceeding 390 miles (~630 km) between refueling, said to have been achieved by an improvement in fuel cell system performance and increased hydrogen storage capacity.

Unlike regular electric cars, the Mirai generates its own electricity onboard from hydrogen and oxygen, emitting water as the only byproduct. A big advantage over conventional battery-powered cars is that a fill-up takes only about five minutes at an SAE-conforming hydrogen fueling station, which sounds great until you consider that there’s only a handful of places that offer hydrogen – for now, at least. That’s why currently, Toyota only plans to sell the new Mirai in California and Hawaii, though it said that there are new stations planned for the Northeast and other areas.

We’ll know more at the end of the month when Toyota brings it to the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show that runs from October 24 through November 4.

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  • Leconte Dave

    Too bad it’s not electric…

    • Bo Hanan

      Agree it should be electric.

    • Ben

      Why? What’s wrong with hydrogen?

      • Astonman

        It takes electricity to make hydrogen fuel. It then gets transported to the stations like gas. Then you go to a station to buy it. Why not just have that electricity be available straight to a battery of a car – at home. You’re basically cutting the middle man.

        • Thando_Gqabaza

          Because globally most countries don’t have clean electricity

          • Astonman

            There’s one argument for it. But “first” world countries dictate car design – I can see them building vehicles which can swap and do both.

        • Ben

          Making hydrogen at the actual station would seem like the logical solution to that.

          • Astonman

            I believe there was a test for that and something happened that was not good. I don’t recall exactly… will have to check on it.

        • realposter

          because in most of the world outside the US – people who live in cities live in crowded ones where they don’t all have a garage to charge their car.

    • PhilMcGraw

      It would actually be quite easy for Toyota to make this into an electric vehicle considering fuel cell vehicles are essentially electric cars that just utilize hydrogen in order to make it. They would essentially just need to replace hydrogen fuel packs into batteries.

  • Bo Hanan

    100 x’s better than the previous car.

  • driv3r

    Well done, Toyota. Huge improvement of the current generation Mirai.

  • Honda NSX-R

    Ugly duckling to swan

  • Ben

    Outside of the ugly nose, everything else looks pretty good, very similar to the LS500

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3967b00723d49540ad9bdf7ffa87f90000a08ec8c8180e03ffeb52ede47c6e05.jpg

  • Yooke36

    Toyota did a great job

  • Merc1

    It’s a reworked Lexus LS lol.

    M

    • PhilMcGraw

      Actually, just going off of the dimensions it’s almost certainly in line with an Avalon instead of an LS.

      Avalon is 195.9 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, 56.5 inches tall, and has a wheelbase of 113 inches.

      The LS is nearly a foot longer in both length and wheelbase than this concept.

      • Merc1

        Oh ok. Well if not in chassis, it looks like a blunted LS.

        M

      • Merc1

        Welp it’s RWD so it’s clearly not based on the Avalon and the design says muted LS so I’d guess it’s based on a shortened version of that platform.

        M

  • What a glow up!

  • JRP

    Yaris in the front, GS in the side, Supra in the back. What a fun car.

    I like it.

  • charlotteharry57

    So, this too moves upmarket. Please tell me what isn’t moving upmarket these days. Oh, the carmageddon, when it arrives, will be such fun.

    • Thando_Gqabaza

      Don’t worry, American brands will still be there at the bottom end of the market

    • realposter

      because new energy vehicles are very difficult to make any profit on (maybe Porsche might be the first to do so)…. so they have to be expensive

  • Dennis Scipio

    This looks pretty good.

  • DM

    I like it! It’s giving me some Kia Stinger vibes. I’m glad Toyota realized that hybrid/fuell cell cars don’t need to be ugly like the Prius or current Mirai.

  • SteersUright

    Cool.

  • boo boo the fool

    I saw a video saying this car was unveiled in greensboro, nc… does that mean nc is getting hydrogen stations?

  • IT LOOKS LIKE A SLIGHTLY LESS UGLY SUPRA SEDAN.

  • atomiccow

    If this was a BEV instead of a hydrogen vehicle, I’d be interested!

    • realposter

      why? these have longer range and fill faster… the only issue is there are few stations

      • Alduin

        Until his battery runs out of juice as a HFC flys past him on the road and he regrets buying an EV now wishing he bought a HFC in the first place lol.

        • Dude

          Why are your running thorough multiple threads crying about EVs? Is sad and childish. If an EV molested you or something go get a therapist. Attacking people just for mentioning them only makes you look stupid.

      • Bart

        Oh, I wish that lack of stations would be the only issue about FCEVs.

        • realposter

          well that’s the biggest issue and the toughest to solve

      • atomiccow

        Few for some, but none for most.

        • realposter

          which is why it won’t be sold everywhere

    • Alduin

      Why? You’re an idiot. Go ahead and drive a pointless low range anxiety EV while Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars will go as far as gas cars. Have fun in your battery depleting machine EV. HFC is the future not EV.

      • atomiccow

        A BEV is an inconvenient vehicle but still a useful vehicle. Provided where you live has an outlet to charge it, it can move, but maybe not as far as you need it to go. Most places in the world have no hydrogen available at all so you won’t even be able to get your car to move. Hydrogen may be the future eventually, but certainly not now.

        I live in Toronto and see countless EVs daily, but I’ve never seen a hydrogen EV here. Toronto is a major city and it still doesn’t have a hydrogen supply station so, realistically, hydrogen EVs are not currently viable in most parts of the world.

  • Leconte Dave

    Hydrogen could replace gas engine cars someday . And electric cars as an alternative

    • Alduin

      EV’s will be obsolete.

  • Baeyoung ❂

    Wow, that is a beauty, I like the side profile

  • Bash

    This is a new Toyota that o actually love!

    • :/ Yurr

      You dont like the new Highlander?

      • Bash

        No, the last gen is nicer. Again that could be only me.

  • Alduin

    I hope fuel cells really take off. Then EV’s will be pointless.

    • realposter

      nah – they can both survive – like diesel and regular gasoline

      • Alduin

        Why? EV batteries deplete over time you don’t have that problem in a HFCV. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle. I hope Toyota and Honda plans on making more HFC cars. Hyundai had a Tucson,Honda with the Clarity HFC.

        • Holmer_k

          You have your choice and they both have their downsides. Fires from batteries or explosions from compressed hydrogen in a bad accident.

          • Alduin

            I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to fix that.

        • Alex87f

          With how few HFCVs there are on the market, there might be a slew of potential issues with them we don’t know about yet.

          It’s an interesting solution that addresses range anxiety, but it comes with added complexity, weight and cost. And it uses a fuel which isn’t quite industrialised yet.

          I’m eager to see how these will do, but let’s not jump on the hype train too early!

          • realposter

            fuel cell vehicles are much lighter than battery electric. much lighter

        • realposter

          because battery technology will improve – just like fuel cells. it’s nonsense with the either/or… personally i’m more partial to fuel cells- but that doesn’t blind me… just as i said – diesel and regular petrol co existed for almost a century

    • Both are fundamental to each other – hydrogen cars are EV drive trains essentially, hence the name ‘FCEV’, just minus the battery.

      • realposter

        well hydrogen cars do have a battery – just a much smaller one…. which makes them lighter.. that’s why trucks are looking more toward hydrogen

  • marc wsm

    EV’s are pointless and don’t provide the range that professional people require. I can easily do 500 mile in 1 day and ev”s cannot do that but hopefully hydrogen will answer this problem

    • Alex87f

      You’re an edge case though. Not all manufacturers have to provide solutions that each answer all use cases on the market. That’s why there are plenty of different technical solutions out there.

      Just because it doesn’t work for your special use case doesn’t mean it’s pointless.

      • marc wsm

        Yet diesel and petrol work for everyone

        • Alex87f

          From a pollution and global warming standpoint, they don’t. Not by a wide margin.

  • AMG44

    LS500’s prettier cousin

  • biturboism

    Very Japanese dash, in a good way.

  • enthusia

    Looks really good and that interior looks production ready. Hopefully it will be this sleek in production form. I will say though, for some reason, the front gives me Ford Fusion vibes, I don’t know why

  • xrnzaaas

    the window line should’ve been a little bit higher, but overall it’s a very nice looking car

  • Mike anonymous

    This Is The Toyota That I Love. Different, Forward Thinking, & Smart In Regards To Propulsion, Mobility, & Design. Hello Mirai. Hello Future.

    未来 (Mirai) in Japanese Means Future, & The 2021 Mirai Is Most Certainly It.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/822f753b06a9a1853c50e40e1debe4a45cad4cb26ad905bc114d5182e8d18b5c.jpg

    Many who many know me, understand that I am a greatly passionate of design as a whole. To Be Honest (As We Know This Is Just About (If Not) A Pre-Production Model Built To Gage Public Interest), This is the best & most exciting production/upcoming-production vehicle I have seen from Toyota (Apart from the recent “LQ Concept” & “GR Super Sport Concept”) this decade if not this century.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/72ab303d10c4b1b7be6c78c5f6fe3b3f84097065d395b0042ee7211210b5501c.jpg

    It’s design isn’t edgy, there are no creases to implicate a ‘line’ in design, it (for the most part) is a very pure and organic design very reminiscent of the Mid-To-Late-2000s’ Era of design, Infused with a Modern-Japanese spirit. Very clearly it is based on the Lexus LS, and is set to become the flagship of the Toyota brand (in regards to sedans at least) which I believe to be an incredibly smart move.

    The Mirai from the start was never intended to be a niche vehicle, but rather something that could be mass produced and be quite big for Toyota overall. I personally rather liked the front end of the first generation, although design was not the problem for the Mirai, rather it was it’s price.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5ce49eee79154f7fdbb9a945183a478f3a243c611c9ecf5a20d2e12a2f97d42a.png

    If Anyone has ever been within the first generation Mirai, it is a lot nicer than it looks in photographs, but it’s biggest problem was the “Why would I want this, when I could get something more, for a similar price”, Leading it to be bought by those who generally cared more about the environment than ‘ease-of-use’ or ‘personal-style/luxury-for-price’.

    Toyota seemly having heard the complaints, has given the Mirai new life with a plan to show the world what Toyota can really do.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2b9142d4c9170942e078dc108480941bc4c59d17e5976923b23c5446af297d12.jpg

    I do not want to drag on too long, but with all that has been said noted, I will state this: Toyota knows what their are doing, making Hydrogen a desirable (key word desirable”) option for the public is a smart move to bringing HFCEVs to the market.

    Over 20 years in the making, The Mirai is looking to be more than simply the future of HFCEVs vehicles from Toyota, but of what to look forwards to from the Japanese automaker themselves… So Toyota, Here’s to Your 未来.

    • MarketAndChurch

      I agree, and I love the fact that Toyota is no longer letting its typical hybrid/electric customers keep them from appealing to the broader market, which, as Tesla has proven, and Porsche will go on to prove, wants an attractive hybrid/EV.

      For the longest time, hybrids and electric cars largest selling point was looking different and quirky so that its customers can broadcast to the world how “green” and responsible they are, and it’s refreshing to see that hybrids/electric cars will not be spared, but in fact, given some of the best possible design cues a manufacturer can give it.

      • realposter

        Only the Model S is good looking.. The other two Tesla models are not

        • MarketAndChurch

          I like the model 3, I think its not only a sharp-looking car, but better looking than any other EV in its class.

        • Сафиуллинь-Мухамед Рамазанов

          Agree on that

  • Dennis James

    Just look how a RWD platform allows for a pleasing design and great proportions.

  • ctk4949

    Is there a screen attached to the left vent??

    • Leconte Dave

      Yes

  • Mike anonymous

    ICE-Vehicles, E-Vehicles, Alt-Propulsion-Vehicles; Accidents can happen. We can always do Our best to prevent them, but they wouldn’t be called ‘accidents’ otherwise.

    • Holmer_k

      I’m glad we agree. Eventually a tank of hydrogen will rupture on some unfortunate soul and the damage will be far more destructive than an ev battery fire. That’s the trade off with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

      • realposter

        and once upon a time everyone said gasoline cars would never be safe because they would always catch fire.

        • Holmer_k

          You apparently haven’t read through the whole thread. It may be rare, but it happens, even to new toyotas sometimes as the link in the post I sent to Alduin above shows.

          • realposter

            and gas cars used to catch fire… it’s called advancing technology.

          • Holmer_k

            Are you brain dead?

  • jon4uu

    Here in California fuel cell vehicles are not uncommon. If you’ve never followed one on the freeway, they are quite annoying. About every 30 seconds they eject about a cup of water onto the road surface. It’s like following a car that is using it’s windshield washer or one of those roach coaches where some one is using the kitchen sink inside. I can’t imagine driving down the freeway with 100’s of these cars in front of me. Maybe it would solve our water problem…

    • Bob

      Sounds like they should dispurse that water differently instead of just throwing it onto the road.

      Back when paraffin was a hit, they would throw away that revoltingly volatile petrol because they had no use for it.

  • J-Triumf

    Eww, this is actually a lot less attractive, if anything. That needlessly long front just looks terrible. How about we kill the outdated notion that car needs to be freakishly imbalanced rearward to be considered “attractive” or “sporty” instead?

    • Seats & a steering wheel

      Are you serious? That’s one of the sleekest sexiest sedans to be shown in a long time. The current Mirai is one THE ugliest cars ever!

      • J-Triumf

        Nothing sleek about that concept at all, the front is way too long and the general shape is bland and generic. The fact that people are praising it feels all kinds of backwards and regressive. And the current Mirai isn’t that bad, it at least has a proper aerodynamic shape and more balanced proportions.

  • it does look better, but i’m not sure about the price hike.

    they’ll probably get better praise for this car, but less overall sales..

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