Monday, 14 October, 2019

Toyota unveils revamped hydrogen sedan to take on Tesla

The 2021 Toyota Mirai gets an 8-inch digital combination meter as standard and it's available with a digital rearview mirror The 2021 Toyota Mirai gets an 8-inch digital combination meter as standard and it's available with a digital rearview mirror
Jean Garcia | 12 October, 2019, 22:43

Toyota Motor revealed a completely redesigned hydrogen-powered fuel cell sedan Friday in its latest attempt to revive demand for the niche expertise that it hopes will become mainstream.

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. Even a Back to the Future makeover couldn't hide the fact that it was never going to be considered handsome by conventional standards.

Let's not pull punches: The first-gen Mirai looks like the unfortunate spawn of a Prius and a Dustbuster.

Toyota declined to disclose a price for its new vehicle, merely saying that it would be available from late next year in Japan, North America and Europe.

The Mirai has always been a auto we've wanted to champion; fuel-cell vehicles are undoubtedly an important step towards futureproofing cars, but they're launched too rarely, priced too high and have a drastically poor infrastructure backing them up (in the United Kingdom at least). It has a long hood, an elongated snout, a large grille extending to the lower bumper, a longer wheelbase, and a curvy fastback roofline.

Toyota has been able to achieve that by switching to an all-new platform compared to the current vehicle.

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It features a 6.5 inch FHD+ AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate as well as a 16MP selfie camera housed in a waterdrop notch. The chipset is the same Snapdragon 730G with the same RAM and storage options including 6GB/8GB then 128/256GB storage .

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 auto. The overall design is more aerodynamic, as well. It features a 12.3in central touchscreen and a digital instrument display, with numerous controls moved to the centre of the dashboard. The sedan has a standard 8-inch digital combination meter, a standard 12.3-inch touchscreen, and an available digital rearview mirror.

Perhaps most compelling, Toyota says the 2021 Mirai should be more engaging on the road. That should be around 400 miles, which is incredible. More hydrogen stations are needed to promote the wider use of fuel-cell vehicles.

The next-generation Toyota Mirai will go on sale globally next year, though an Australian release is far from being locked in.

The company's near-term electrification goals in the US center on its gas-electric hybrid powertrains. A roughly five-minute refueling time is comparable to traditional internal-combustion vehicles, and much faster than a BEV would take to charge. When hydrogen and oxygen combine to create electricity, the byproduct is water.

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

Back in 2014 Toyota introduced its hydrogen powered Mirai saloon which acted as a catalyst for increasing global awareness for how a clean and sustainable hydrogen society may be achieved. Currently, they only feature in California and Hawaii. From some angles, it closely resembles the front styling of the Toyota Avalon, but the Lexus styling touches are more evident towards the rear.

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