In 2015, Toyota introduced the Mirai as the first production hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle available in North America. Now, Toyota is introducing the second generation of the Mirai with a new look and updated technologies.
There’s a good chance you’ve never even seen a Mirai, unless you live in California since it’s the only state where you can buy or lease one. It’s not that Toyota doesn’t want to sell you a Mirai if you live somewhere else, but that there just isn’t anywhere else that has the hydrogen fueling station infrastructure to support the Mirai.
That’s a challenge, but don’t forget there was a time when it was tough to find a place to charge a plug-in electric vehicle. Now there are charging stations at the local mall, airports, office parks, and pretty much everywhere. Only California and Hawaii have hydrogen fueling stations today, but there are already plans for stations in the Northeast and other areas in the United States.
The Toyota Mirai was introduced as a front-wheel drive sedan, but for 2021 it becomes a rear-wheel drive vehicle with a coupe-like design. This new Mirai is lower, longer, and wider as well as being more aerodynamic. It’s sleek and modern with an upscale appeal. Toyota hasn’t announced official numbers, but it’s targeting a 30-percent range increase with the new Mirai, which is another significant change.
Inside, there’s more room for passengers with a clean and uncomplicated design. Toyota wants this to be a luxury car so in addition to a roomy and comfortable interior, it’s also quieter. There’s a standard 12.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen with a 14-speaker JBL sound system for a premium experience and an available digital rearview mirror.
Unlike a plug-in electric, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles don’t need to plug-in and charge, which takes time and planning. Filling the tank with hydrogen takes about five minutes, so it’s as quick as filling your gas tank. Unlike your gas-powered car, which produces harmful emissions, the only byproduct with hydrogen is water.
Today’s go-to alternative fuel choices are largely hybrid and plug-in electric. Toyota is continuing to invest in hydrogen fuel cell technologies, which may one day make them a viable choice no matter where you live.