Sleeker, sportier 2021 Toyota Mirai previewed by concept

Sleeker, sportier 2021 Toyota Mirai previewed by concept

Toyota has completely ditched the Prius-like styling for a completely new look.

It's fair to say the first-generation Mirai was fiendishly clever; it's also fair to say that its design was an acquired taste.

The completely redesigned hydrogen-powered fuel cell sedan is Toyota's latest attempt to revive demand for a niche technology that it hopes will become mainstream. One that you might actively want to park on your drive.

While much of the buzz in the alternative fuel world is about battery-powered electric vehicles, some brands are continuing to develop other... alternative alternatives.

Toyota has been able to achieve that by switching to an all-new platform compared to the current auto.

The second-generation Mirai is built on a rear-wheel drive platform, a major departure from the original front-wheel drive version in terms of design.

A big 12.3-inch main display sits proud atop the dash, flanking a large digital instrument display behind the steering wheel.

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Perhaps most compelling, Toyota says the 2021 Mirai should be more engaging on the road.

"I want customers to say 'I chose the Mirai because I simply wanted this vehicle, and 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 to realize a hydrogen energy society", Yoshikazu Tanaka, Chief Engineer of the Mirai, said in a statement.

Toyota plans to sell 30,000 units of the "21 Mirai in its first year and is working to increase its presence in the US" Northeast market through infrastructure expansion.

The company plans to increase sales of hybrid cars and SUVs in the U.S.to 25% of deliveries by 2025, up from about 9% today.

Fuel-cell technology may be in its infancy compared to battery technology, but many experts believe that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, rather than replacing BEVs, will coexist alongside them as part of a wider answer to the issues facing internal combustion engines. The only byproduct of that process is water, meaning hydrogen vehicles don't expel harmful emissions. At least if the 2021 Mirai drives as well as it looks, that might be something that more people want to see changed.

Unlike the original auto, which used a version of the Corolla "New MC" platform, the second generation is more closely related to the Toyota Crown's TNGA-N platform.

The first Mirai - which means "future" in Japanese - debuted in late 2014, but availability in the USA has been limited to California and Hawaii. Toyota now only sells the Mirai in a handful of dealerships in the United States, because there are only a relatively small number of locations where hydrogen fuel is actually available.

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