When the Toyota Mirai first went on sale in Japan in late 2014 and later in the U.S. and Europe, it wasn’t the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle available to consumers. The Mirai was the first FCEV available in significant volumes and also to purchase rather than lease. Aside from extremely limited access to hydrogen fueling stations, the Mirai’s biggest problem was that it was quite hideous. Toyota has just revealed a second-generation Mirai that may well be the best looking sedan it has ever built and it goes on sale in late 2020.
Honda grabbed the honor of being first to market with an FCEV years earlier than Toyota with the FCX and then the FCX Clarity. But those were only available in tiny volumes with only about 200 Clarity’s built-in total over several years and only leased. Toyota has sold almost 10,000 Mirais since it launched.
The second-generation Mirai is moving from a Prius based front-wheel-drive platform to a new premium rear-wheel-drive platform that is significantly larger. It will be three inches longer and wider with five inches more wheelbase. That makes it similar in size to the Avalon.
Most importantly, the new Mirai has a sleek new profile with a better integrated face that connects to the rest of the contemporary Toyota design language while still meeting the cooling needs of the fuel cell. Given that Toyota has shifted this car to a premium rear-drive platform with looks to match, it seems unlikely that the price will come down substantially from the current $58,500 starting price, but customers might be more inclined to pay for a car that looks the part.
Few technical details have been provided yet about the Mirai other than that the range is projected to increase by about 30% through a combination of a more efficient fuel cell system and additional hydrogen capacity. The current Mirai has an EPA rating of 312 miles so the new one should approach 400 miles.
That added range should help offset the still very limited number of hydrogen fueling stations. Toyota expects some stations to finally start opening in the northeast U.S. soon and hopefully the hydrogen supply issues in California will be resolved as well. The 2021 Mirai should be publicly shown at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show and the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.