Toyota is gearing up to have a memorable showing at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. We’ve previously reported that a next-generation 86 coupe will be one the main attractions along with its twin, the Subaru BRZ. However, the automotive juggernaut has also revealed that an all-new Mirai will be making its debut too.
It still remains a concept car, unfortunately, and one that seems very much inspired by the Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES at the front while its fastback roofline and pert rear end seem to be heavily influenced by the new A90 GR Supra. No complaints here.
These styling changes are far from accidental as one of the main briefs for the all-new Mirai was for it to resonate at an emotional level in a way its predecessor did not, evidenced here by its low H point, sleek lines, 20-inch alloys, and unique multi-layer blue paint finish.
Happily, Toyota say that the finished version of this 2nd-gen Mirai will be ready for sale in 2020 and will not deviate much from this prototype. Make of it what you will, but one cannot ignore how entirely different it looks from the original, which adopted a somewhat outlandish take on the Prius formula.
As before, the standout feature on the Mirai is its advanced hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. The automaker’s résumé in alternative propulsion tech is one of the most prolific in the industry, pioneering breakthroughs in hybrids, range extenders, high compression combustion, and hydrogen fuel cells; and the first Mirai was most impressive on a technical level.
With the second-generation car, which seems to also have some upmarket ambitions, Toyota says that another leap is at hand, targeting a 30 percent increase in the Mirai’s driving range through various improvements in the fuel-cell system and the use of larger on-board hydrogen tanks.
For reference, according the EPA’s test rating, the original car was capable of 502km before needing to be refuelled, making the claimed increase resulting in a possible 650km of driving between fill-ups. Impressive.
Built on Toyota’s latest rear-drive modular platform, the the new Mirai delivers upon a high degree of body rigidity for improved agility and responsiveness. The FCEV powertrain, in addition to being capable of additional range, has been developed to take full advantage of the car’s newfound dynamics.
Expect smooth and linear responses to handling and power delivery, ideal for a belt on winding roads but with ample reserves of power even on a highway cruise.
"We have pursued the goal of making a car that customers will feel they want to drive all time, a car that has an emotional and attractive design and the kind of dynamic and responsive performance that can bring a smile to the driver's face. I want customers to say, 'I chose the Mirai not just because it's an FCEV, but because I simply wanted this car; it just happens to be an FCEV.' We will continue our development work focusing on that feeling, and we hope that with the new Mirai we will be a leader in helping realise a hydrogen energy society.” - Mirai chief engineer, Yoshikazu Tanaka.
In tandem with the all-new Mirai’s launch next year, Toyota plans to expand upon the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure on a global scale, extending the relationships with governments and private industry to fast-track the development necessary to support widespread adoption of FCEV zero emissions vehicles.