Toyota to unveil second generation Mirai concept at Tokyo Motor Show

The 2021 Toyota Mirai is built on a rear-wheel drive platform

"We hope that with the new Mirai we will be a leader in helping to realize a hydrogen energy society", comments Toyota. Then, in 2015, it debuted the Mirai, the first production hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) offered for sale to retail customers in North America (Mirai means "future" in Japanese).

Enter Toyota. The company which occupies an eponymous city in Japan has, for almost 30 years, been developing hydrogen-powered vehicles.

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, Reuters noted. The carmaker claims that its performance has improved and its range has increased by 30% compared to the previous-generation vehicle.

Hydrogen cars are an interesting proposition compared to fully battery-powered cars and gasoline vehicles.

More FCEVs are planned to enter the market over the next few years, as the cost, size and weight of fuel cell systems continue to decrease and the fueling infrastructure grows. "The good news is that fuel cell technology is gaining momentum around the world", she said. But there's still more to do, including replacing platinum with cheaper synthetic materials, said Shawn Litster, a mechanical engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University. The current Mirai is endlessly intriguing, but at £66,000 - or £750 a month - it's well into early-adopter money, for a 152bhp hatch that doesn't really feel like an early-adopter product. The company showed a near production-ready model to reporters this week in Greensboro, but wouldn't say when the auto would make its official public debut.

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

Unlike a traditional internal-combustion powertrain, the hydrogen fuel-cell works by generating electricity by a chemical reaction with no associated emissions aside from water vapour.

The first-generation car's oddball looks, $58,500 sticker price and cramped interior made it a hard sell for dealers.

This "Mirai Concept" is in the final stages of development and previews the specs that will be coming to the commercial model expected to launch late next year.

The new model has had a sleek overhaul with a longer wheel-base to improve stability and a low-slung chassis. With its 114 kW drive, the current model has a standard range of over 500 kilometres. Obviously, the new Mirai is larger and wider than the previous model.

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