Toyota has big plans for its upcoming Mirai fuel-cell electric sports sedan, whose official debut is about a month away. With it, the Japanese giant wants to see a increase in the number of Mirais sold around the world, which currently seems a bit far fetched given how unpopular FCVs still are as passenger cars.
But Toyota is convinced the Mirai has what it takes to convince buyers, especially since it has a newfound
‘ Focus on building more emotional appeal through design and driving quality, in addition to the Mirai’s eco-performance. ‘
In a recent press release about the new Mirai, Toyota talks about all the characteristics that should make the car appealing to buyers. Firstly, it’s interesting that it’s being proposed as a rear-whee drive sports sedan – there have so far not been any mass market sporty FCVs, and with its 50:50 weight distribution, so this makes the Mirai quite unique.
This new Mirai will have front and rear multilink suspension, replacing the more basic MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension of the current model. This should improve road holding, comfort and it should reinforce the sporty feel that Toyota is trying to convey with this model.
Toyota also points out that the fuel cell system itself has been shrunken down – it is smaller and lighter than before, and the electric powertrain also features fully revised components compared to what the manufacturer previously used. Furthermore, with the use of the modular GA-L platform, the manufacturer is able to add an additional (third) hydrogen tank that can boost the car’s total range to around 650 km (403 miles).
Maximum power output of the vehicle will also be increased, from 114 kW (152 horsepower) to 128 kW (171 horsepower). The on-board lithium-ion battery pack is now smaller, and it has a higher voltage than before (310.8 V versus 244.8 V before); it actually weighs less than before too (wight has dropped from 49.6 kg to 44.6 kg).
But is Toyota really expecting to sell ten times as many new Mirais? Well, it seems convinced that the fact that the new car will be around 20 percent less expensive, in combination with all of the above will be enough to make it attractive. On paper it all sounds quite good, but it’s going to have a hard time battling it out with the sea of new and very capable battery electric vehicles on the market already, especially since there are far more charging stations than there are hydrogen filling stations around the world.
In fact, the current Mirai FCV is only on sale in California and Hawaii right now, specifically because other areas lack the necessary refueling infrastructure. Even so, Toyota seems convinced it is on to a winning formula and it will be very interesting to see how the new Mirai will be greeted by buyers and the automotive press.