Mirai deputy chief engineer Ryotaro Shimizu said the company is looking for more “emotional designs”
Inside, apart from the enthusiast-like Lexus-style interior, the biggest change is that the main display is no longer contained in the center console. Driving the first Mirai (for that matter, the current Prius), you need to look too far off-road to see the GPS display. Now, the screen is installed next to the dashboard and is tilted to suit the driver, which will make it easier to use.
In the original Mirai, there was some free space at the leg level between the driver and the passenger, but in the updated model, there was actually a partition wall. It was filled with trash cans and a mobile phone charging pad, but it was changed mainly to leave room below for a longer centralized fuel tank. At the very least, it should provide enough space for grocery stores and stores so that taxi drivers (a major customer of Mirai) like to be on standby when they are driving around.
Toyota also wants to eliminate the concept that the new Mirai will handle, Gracefully As its predecessor. Driving enthusiasts are often blamed for the Prius’s slow handling and the feeling of disconnect from the road. The new Mirai has a rear-wheel drive unit with a multi-link suspension, which is a more sporty option than the front-wheel drive priority model. In addition, the centrally installed hydrogen tank means that the center of gravity of the car is lower and the body is stronger. Toyota said the weight distribution is close to 50:50. Don’t expect it to handle like a car, but it might feel a bit like driving a cruise ship.
Shimizu added that you should feel a “very good kick” when you step on the gas pedal, which shows that acceleration has also improved.Toyota also added something called “Active Sound Creator”, which is a built-in fake engine noise to help drivers understand the condition of the car, because Mirai is designed to Impossible to be quiet In its own.
Unless Toyota can shrink the most cumbersome elements of the car, it will be difficult to make Mirai more spacious. The fuel cell. The 114kW unit of the first car occupies 33 liters of space and dominates the engine compartment. Toyota boasted that the fuel consumption of the new model has been reduced by 9 liters to 24 liters, but the efficiency has increased by 10%. Despite its smaller size, it can still output 128 kW. Not only is it smaller, but there are fewer cells in the stack, from 330 to 330.
This allows Toyota to install larger hydrogen tanks that extend along the floor of the car. It is connected by two smaller tanks, one under the rear seats and the other under the trunk floor. The overall effect is that the fuel capacity has been increased from 4.6 kg to 5.6 kg, and combined with the new fuel cell, the range has been increased by 30%.
If you drive wisely, the offer range of the new Mirai is about 650 kilometers (or 403 miles), enough to cover the distance between Tokyo and Osaka. Of course, the current pandemic means that journalists cannot test any of these claims in the real world. It may take a while for people to actually drive.
Toyota sometimes makes its marketing arrogant several times, and this habit is fully reflected here. The company calls the new Mirai a “negative emission” vehicle because it can filter the air passing through the fuel cell. The filtration process can remove up to 100% of the particles, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide in contact with it. As far as Toyota is concerned, this car can purify the air while driving, and the display on the screen can even tell you how many adult breaths you have washed while driving.
The company describes this hybrid electric vehicle as “self-charging” in the same way as this skew logic.On the one hand, these cars toll its have Batteries, but this is mainly achieved by burning fossil fuels that emit carbon emissions. Similarly, here, a Mirai’s new car has burned carbon in its structure, and until most of the hydrogen is produced through renewable energy, it is not a carbon neutral fuel. In general, electric and fuel cell vehicles are much cleaner than gasoline-powered vehicles, but these easy-to-debunk truths have no benefit to fuel cell vehicles (or any type of clean car).
The retail price of the new Mirai will be about 20% lower than the first version. The list price of the first model is about $60,000, so you can expect to drop to around $50,000 now. However, you still need to live close enough to the hydrogen station to keep it running. In the United States, this is limited to parts of California and parts of Hawaii. A private collector who wants to sit in a garage alone is not conducive to the company’s mission to raise awareness and demand for hydrogen cars.
Except for some high-profile individuals and public institutions, most of the 11,000 first-generation Mirais were handed over to fleet operators and taxi companies. This is the advantage of hydrogen: it is as clean as an electric car, but the refueling time is about five minutes. Many German taxi companies specifically use some Mirais as their fleet to ensure that their new cars do not stay in the charging bay for several hours a day.
The first Mirai and its fuel cell were hand-made to order in the same small workshop where the Lexus LFA (short-lived supercar) was made. Today, Toyota has the capacity to mass produce cars and their batteries, and the production of fuel cells can now be completed in a few seconds instead of about 15 minutes ago. Therefore, the company’s goal is to increase global sales tenfold. It hopes that Mirai will be as transformative as the second-generation Prius at the beginning of this century.
However, the infrastructure to support cars such as Mirai is not yet complete. In the United States, there are only 45 hydrogen refueling stations: 43 in California, 1 in Connecticut and 1 in Hawaii. In Germany, there are 87 stations, while the UK has 13 and France has only four. At the same time, Japan has about 127 hydrogen refueling stations, but the Japanese government stated that it needs to approach 900 hydrogen refueling stations nationwide. But for most people, due to lack of infrastructure, it is impossible to even consider buying a hydrogen car.
Japan may be Toyota’s homegrown company, but the country’s strong support for hydrogen goes beyond supporting its local champion. The country has been struggling with energy independence for some time, and has historically needed to buy oil from external sources. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, the country’s energy self-sufficiency rate dropped to single digits. The country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has formulated a plan to import hydrogen produced in Australia on a large scale, thereby reducing its dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The purpose of the 2020 Olympics is to showcase hydrogen, the Olympic hydrogen flame, the hydrogen-powered Olympic Village and hydrogen fuel cell buses bring people to the event.
The rise of electric vehicles also hindered Toyota’s ambitious plan to replace gasoline with hydrogen. The company has basically ceded the small car market to electric car manufacturers, because you have not been able to make a fuel cell small enough to fit urban cars. Despite all its experience in this field, Toyota is still preparing its first batch of appropriate “pure” battery electric vehicles. As for hydrogen, Toyota’s focus seems to be on the heavier, longer-distance car market as well as trucks and trains. Here, battery weight and price issues are not so serious, and hydrogen becomes a viable energy source.
“Mirai” in Japanese translates to “future”, and some people hope that the age of hydrogen is coming. In the United States, President-elect Biden promised to “produce carbon-free hydrogen from shale gas at the same cost” using renewable energy as part of his clean energy work plan. The UK recently pledged to spend up to 500 million pounds to produce up to 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen for use in “industry, transportation, electricity and households.” At the same time, Japan has been investing in hydrogen production for the past six years, and its cost is expected to drop to a level where public subsidies are no longer needed.
However, none of this can promptly help Toyota Motor to sell the 100,000 Mirais that it plans to produce in the next few years. For this reason, the number of clean hydrogen production stations and facilities has increased significantly. Toyota has not given up on hydrogen fuel cells, but it is not clear when the world will be fully prepared for FCEVs such as Mirai.