Toyota Previews Sleek New Second Generation Mirai Ahead of Tokyo Motor Show

The 2021 Toyota Mirai's new platform allows it to be lower longer and wider than its predecessor

In Japan, Toyota is doubling down on vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The dash is largely clear of buttons as numerous usual controls have been moved to an 12.3-inch touchscreen display.

It's fair to say the first-generation Mirai was fiendishly clever; it's also fair to say that its design was an acquired taste.

Toyota believes the new Mirai model marks a big step forward for the vehicles, and the potential of a hydrogen society. The new Toyota Mirai doesn't look to change that. Future buyers can also expect more power than the current Mirai's 153 horsepower, Toyota promises. A camera-based rear-view mirror will be available, along with parking assistance and Qi wireless charging for your phone.

Toyota has been slower than its peers to embrace electric vehicles, citing uncertain demand in key markets including the USA and technical hurdles that limit battery range and recharging times.

Toyota has been developing fuel-cell vehicles for more than two decades, but the technology has been eclipsed by the rapid rise of rival battery-powered electric vehicles promoted by the likes of Tesla.

The new Mirai can drive about 560 miles on a full tank. The ministerial meeting on the technology, attended by ministers and delegates from more than 30 nations, regions and organizations, pledged to introduce 10 million FCVs, trucks, buses and other hydrogen-powered systems globally, as well as 10,000 hydrogen refueling stations, over the next 10 years.

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"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", Yoshikazu Tanaka, Chief Engineer of the Mirai, said in a statement.

The company plans to increase sales of hybrid cars and SUVs in the U.S.to 25% of deliveries by 2025, up from about 9% today.

Fuel cells split hydrogen molecules to create an electric current that can power a motor. Toyota isn't revealing any specific figures yet, but says the second-gen Mirai should offer more performance and a more dynamic feel from behind the wheel.

Nonetheless those advantages have been diluted by the reality of the larger FCEV ecosystem.

The original Mirai was not much of a looker. Right now that means you're basically limited to select spots in California or Hawaii. Details about the powertrain, performance and efficiency are slim for now, but we do know that the 2021 model will feature a new generation of Toyota's fuel cell that is more efficient than the current technology.

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