The Toyota Mirai is the acknowledged hydrogen ammunition corpuscle car of all time. Back its barrage in 2015, it has awash over 11,000 units worldwide. Today Toyota announces the adapted 2021 version, which has been radically redesigned with the aim of affairs ten times added than the original, and potentially putting hydrogen ammunition beef aback on the map for the zero-emission approaching of transportation. But Toyota hasn’t gone anywhere abreast far abundant with the amend to accomplish this.
The new 2021 Toyota Mirai, on track.
First, let’s alpha with the positives. The aboriginal Mirai was a abstruse masterpiece. Toyota is to be agreeably commended for packing so abundant addition into a new car and catastrophe up with a actual drivable, adequate agent application a new ammunition type. It’s not actual fast by today’s battery-electric agent (BEV) standards, but the 312-mile WLTP ambit was actual absorbing in 2015, and it’s still aggressive today. The Tesla Archetypal S 90D of that era could alone administer 294 EPA afar (346 NEDC miles). The Mirai’s £66,000 aboriginal amount (but about $58,000 in the USA) wouldn’t accept seemed so abrupt aback then, either, with the Tesla Archetypal S 90D costing £92,000 (it amount about $91,000 in the US in 2015). So the 2015 Mirai would accept seemed like a contender, decidedly as new activity agent buyers bristles years ago were still absolutely anxious with eco-credentials, and potentially accommodating to pay for them.
The aboriginal Toyota Mirai was a nice drive, but looked like a big Prius. (Photo by Mustafa … [ ] Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Fast advanced to the appendage end of 2020 and a car destined for absolution in 2021. The new Mirai is a above upgrade, but times accept afflicted considerably. This is no incremental update, though. There are some familial exoteric similarities, but area the aboriginal Mirai looked like a aggrandized Prius, the 2021 adaptation is a abundant sleeker and added adorable proposition. It’s lower and is now rear-wheel-drive rather than front-wheel-drive, which will accommodate bigger active dynamics. Toyota has diminished the ammunition corpuscle and put it beneath the hood, rather than the advanced seats, which reduces berth babble and is a above acumen why the car is lower.
The banderole affection is that there are now three hydrogen containers rather than two, accretion the accommodation from 4.6kg to 5.6kg. Coupled with greater drivetrain efficiency, the new car has 30% best ambit – so about 400 miles. It additionally has a little added power, with the ammunition corpuscle carrying 128kW and the amalgam array topping this up so the electric motor can bear 134kW (180hp). This is 30hp added than the aboriginal Mirai and agency the new car can hit 62mph in 9.2 abnormal rather than 9.5 seconds.
The new 2021 Toyota Mirai has a absolutely redesigned hydrogen ammunition corpuscle drivetrain.
The botheration is, alike if the new Mirai is a above abstruse redesign inside, that’s aloof not acceptable abundant for today’s EV market, which has able appreciably back 2015. Toyota talks about the Mirai actuality affable to drive – but there are affluence of BEVs from Nissan, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, and about every maker of BEVs that are faster in a beeline band and acutely dynamically accomplished. The ambit is good, but the Tesla Archetypal S Long Ambit Plus already beats it, and the Tesla Archetypal 3 Long Ambit comes abutting at 360 afar WLTP, which isn’t far off. In a brace of years, there is acceptable to be a lot added BEVs that can administer 400 afar or more.
Toyota could accept countered this by authoritative the 2021 Mirai abundant cheaper, and its amount is 20% lower than the aboriginal model. But this still agency a amount arctic of £50,000 in the UK, and apparently added than $45,000 in the USA. This puts it absolutely in the aforementioned area as the Tesla Archetypal 3 Long Range, which is a abundant added agitative car in every way. The Polestar 2 can’t bout the ambit of the new Mirai but is additionally a actual affable drive. Hydrogen’s analgesic affection is declared to be five-minute refueling like accepted deposit ammunition cars. But a Tesla Archetypal 3 Long Ambit alone takes 20 account on a Supercharger to recharge to 80% – hardly abundant time to grab a snack, and not an impediment to long-distance biking area break every few hours are acute for safe driving.
There still aren’t actual abounding hydrogen refueling stations, decidedly in the UK.
This brings us to the added big albatross in the room: the ammunition antecedent itself. I’ve discussed this a few times before, adorable at the disability of hydrogen and the actuality that BEVs now accept an insurmountable lead. To summarize, if you anticipate there aren’t abundant charging credibility for BEVs, try refueling a hydrogen car – decidedly in the UK, area there are aloof 10 refueling spots in the absolute country. Whereas Tesla additionally invested in the basement to abutment its new activity cars, Toyota is abrogation this ancillary to somebody else, which is creating a absolute chicken-and-egg situation. Which aggregation is activity to install hydrogen stations with no cars? And who is activity to buy a new Mirai with boilerplate to refuel it?
Hydrogen is additionally actual costly, and alike admitting Toyota expects prices to bisect in a few years, that would still accomplish ammunition corpuscle cartage (FCEVs) added big-ticket to run than BEVs. Most hydrogen is still fabricated from deposit fuels (“blue” or “grey” hydrogen), and alike with carbon abduction that agency FCEVs fueled from this accumulation aren’t as blooming as a BEV powered by renewables. It is accessible to accomplish hydrogen by electrolyzing water. But the plants to do this are abundant added big-ticket than a allegation point, and the electrolysis action is abundant beneath able – about three times beneath than a BEV. It’s not actual blooming to decay two thirds of the supplied energy.
The new 2021 Toyota Mirai is a handsome car, but it’s not abundantly agitative to accomplish hydrogen … [ ] ammunition corpuscle cars desirable.
In summary, although the 2021 Mirai is about absolutely activity to be a actual nice car – abundant smoother to drive than the original, which was already good, with abreast accessories and a added adorable actualization – it won’t be the car that makes FCEVs the accessible best for your abutting new activity vehicle. If it had Tesla-beating achievement and range, or a abundant cheaper cost, or was backed by a big advance appear installing the all-important refueling basement (and finer all three), it ability accept been in with a chance. This isn’t to abatement hydrogen as a potentially important agency in added forms of transportation. But for claimed new activity cars, in bristles years’ time we will not all be active Toyota Mirais. We’ll be active array electric vehicles.