This week, Toyota pulled the wraps off the new 2021 Mirai, boasting an impressive 30% increase in range thanks to a new and improved fuel cell stack paired with slightly larger hydrogen storage tanks. The new tanks have a total of 122.4 liters of volume and can hold about 5 kilograms of hydrogen when full.
Introducing the 2021 Toyota Mirai
The 2021 Mirai brings a much larger, less UFO-like build to market that feels more like a luxury Lexus than a compact Prius knockoff. For now, Toyota isn’t sharing many of the details about the new Mirai other than the exterior design and a few powertrain specs. Under the hood, the Toyota Fuel Cell stack again uses a polymer electrolyte fuel cell that boasts a power output of 114 kilowatts. It achieves this by combining 370 individual fuel cells stacked in line to achieve the optimal output.
Power from the fuel cell can be directed straight to the electric motor if needed or to an onboard nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery. This is the same battery chemistry that Toyota built its class-leading hybrid Prius family of vehicles on.
Its output is nicely paired to a 113 kW / 151 hp electric motor that won’t wow current battery electric drivers, but comes with the same high torque rating — 335 N-m / 247 ft-lb of torque. Unfortunately, the implementation results in a very economical 0–60 mph time of 9.0 seconds. Toyota wasn’t offering up any drives of the new Mirai at this point, but the first-generation Mirai drove a lot like the Prius, but without the vibrations from the petrol engine starting and stopping. The low center of mass of the heavier Mirai keeps the vehicle pinned to the ground and contributes to the slower 0–60 time.
A Beautiful Zero-Emission Vehicle … With No Place To Fuel Up
The car will, curiously, come to market without a clear plan to increase the fueling station network that is required to refuel the hydrogen-powered vehicle. The move, or lack thereof, relegates fuel cell vehicles to the same nebulous purgatory they have lived in since the Mirai was first introduced in 2015. In that time, the public hydrogen fueling network in the US has been isolated to the hardcore zero emission vehicle (ZEV) standard state of California, which to date is only home to 38 of the stations.
Most of these stations are first-generation hydrogen fueling stations with daily capacities in the 150 kilograms per day range. Toyota confirmed that while the ramp up of new stations over the next few years might not look impressive, each of them includes newer fueling tech that can handle upwards of 500 kilograms of hydrogen production per day. If fully utilized, that is enough to fill 100 of the 2021 Mirai per day. That’s not going to change the world, but it’s a large step in the right direction for Toyota and the other FCEV manufacturers.
We will keep our eyes peeled for the full specs and the interior of the new Mirai in the flesh at the LA Auto Show next month, but until then, have a look at some photos from the reveal event in Greensboro, North Carolina, earlier this week. Disclaimer: Travel and accommodations for CleanTechnica to attend the reveal event were paid for by Toyota.
All images by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica
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