Toyota’s first hydrogen fuel cell car hasn’t exactly flown off the shelves, but the company aims to change its fortunes with the redesigned 2021 Toyota Mirai. It looks radically different than the car that came before, is based on a rear-wheel drive platform, but still uses hydrogen as its power source. The second-generation model will go on sale in late 2020. When it does arrive, Toyota says it will “deliver a significant evolution” on the Mirai we know now.
That’s certainly true when it comes to the looks. While the old one looks as quirky as the Prius, it’s not styling that has aged particularly well. The 2021 Toyota Mirai looks totally different, however. It sports a longer, wider, lower coupe-like profile. It has a drastically revised front end, as well as slim LED taillights around back. Chief engineer Yoshikazu Tanaka said of the new model, “I want customers to say, ‘I chose the Mirai not because it’s an FCEV, but because I really wanted this car.”
Apart from the shift in appearance — which TFL’s Tommy Mica says looks like an Audi A7 — Toyota is targeting a 30 percent increased range from the current Mirai. Taking lessons from the first model, the company says it will improve fuel cell system performance and hydrogen storage capacity. Right now, the current Toyota Mirai manages 312 miles on a tank of hydrogen.
Unlike the old hatchback version, this 2021 Toyota Mirai is rear-wheel drive. Beyond that, Toyota hasn’t disclosed any information on powertrain changes over the current model. We should know more about that later this month, as the car officially breaks cover at the Tokyo Motor Show. According to Toyota, the new design should be more rigid and aerodynamic than the previous generation.
Inside, the 2021 Toyota Mirai sports a broadly similar layout to the first generation. However, everything’s been updated, with an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster placed in front of the driver. It’s flanked by a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Toyota also fit standard navigation and a 14-speaker JBL sound system as standard equipment.
As this is just a prototype for now, some minor elements may change before it reaches production. No pricing information is available yet, but the current Mirai isn’t exactly cheap. Prices for the 2019 model start at $58,500 and it’s mainly on sale in California. The Golden State is currently the only part of the country that has reasonable infrastructure for hydrogen cars. Beyond one station in Connecticut and another in Honolulu, the network of hydrogen stations needs to dramatically expand before the Mirai is available nationwide.
Still, with a rear-wheel drive platform and an electric drivetrain, we’re looking forward to driving the 2021 Toyota Mirai. Stay tuned for more updates!