Toyota launches the Mirai again. The hydrogen car is better in all respects than its predecessor – unfortunately there is still a shortage of infrastructure.
Zero-emission cars are nowadays rage, vehicles that do not emit dirt while driving. But what about a car with minus emissions? A car that not only emits nothing, but even cleans the air while driving? Sounds like science fiction, but it’s reality: the new Toyota Mirai emits only elaborate filtered air and pure water in the form of steam. The digital cockpit even shows how much air the car has already cleaned – in our test car it was breathed by 88 people a year.
This is made possible by the hydrogen drive that Toyota introduced with the first Mirai in 2014 and launched on the Swiss market in 2017. The second generation is now with dealers, and it is much better in all respects. The fuel cell stack is about a third more compact and is now located under the front hood instead of in the floor of the car, the electric motor for the ride is now located on the rear axle, the three hydrogen tanks are divided deep into the floor of the car and hold a total of 5.6 kilograms of hydrogen, instead of 4.6 as before. The range increases by almost 30 percent to 650 kilometers in the WLTP cycle – a decisive improvement.
This new layout changes the driving behavior remarkably: The now rear-wheel drive Mirai is much more agile than its predecessor, is optimally balanced and is easy to angle due to its low center of gravity. The new fuel cell system also delivers 12 percent more power – and you can feel it: the 134 kW (182 PS) electric motor propels the 1.9-tonne sedan playfully, accelerates sharply from a standstill and does not give up in between sprints. The new Mirai is also much quieter: when accelerating, the electric motor is barely audible, the fuel gurgles every now and then, otherwise there is a pleasant silence while driving.
More space inside
The space is good, except for the trunk, which holds only 321 liters due to the setup of the electric motor and lithium-ion battery. And because the battery is installed behind the rear seats as in the old model, the rear seat can not fall – a clear disadvantage. But because the wheelbase of the nearly five-meter-long sedan has grown by 14 centimeters compared to its predecessor and the track is 7.5 centimeters wider, there is noticeably more space for the occupants. Three people can now sit in the back instead of two, with the middle seat becoming a penalty box due to the high central tunnel.
That it would be prepared for hydrogen mobility, Hyundai has also offered a fuel cell car with the Nexo. Unfortunately, there are only a few options for refueling: There are currently seven H’s in Switzerland2Gas stations are two more planned – compared to about 3360 gas stations for gasoline and diesel. But Toyota is expecting a rapid expansion of the infrastructure. “We want to sell ten times more of the new Mirai than of its predecessor, worldwide and in Europe,” says chief engineer Yoshikazu Tanaka. Only 18 of the first model generation were sold in Switzerland. But because the new one is cheaper from 59,900 francs, exactly 30,000 francs, can do everything better and looks a lot better, it will also sell better. But the new Mirai also does not provide the decisive breakthrough in hydrogen propulsion.