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Toyota Mirai concept revealed for Tokyo motor show

12 October 2019

Toyota's Mirai fuel-cell sedan has been revealed in concept form, ahead of its complete redesign for the 2021 model year. A 12.3-inch infotainment screen dominates the dashboard, an all-electronic instrument panel resides behind a very sporty-looking steering wheel, and there's an abundance of copper-coloured trim accents, leather upholstery and contrast stitching to add a luxe sheen.

The previous Mirai's Prius-like body has been replaced with a somewhat more traditional, but also more elegant saloon shape.

The new Mirai Concept is built on Toyota's latest TNGA platform and features dramatic new styling, including a revamped front with a bold grille and a sweeping, coupé-esque rear.

Something to look forward to: Toyota's refresh of the hydrogen fuel cell Mirai looks to go the way of the company's upmarket Lexus division.

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"Unfortunately, despite years of education efforts, hydrogen cars are still a mystery to most people", said Jackie Birdsall, a senior engineer at Toyota's R&D center in Gardena, Calif. Toyota even claims that the cabin is now even quieter. A digital rearview mirror will also be offered on the redesigned Mirai.

Of course, the Mirai is still a fuel cell electric vehicle.

'We have pursued the goal of making a auto that customers will feel they want to drive all time, a vehicle that has an emotional and attractive design and the kind of dynamic and responsive performance that can bring a smile to the driver's face, ' said Yoshikazu Tanaka, the new Mirai's chief engineer. However unlike with an ICE, the only emission from the Mirai is pure water. Their biggest drawbacks are that hydrogen refuelling stations are rare and the gas is highly combustible.

The next-generation Toyota Mirai will go on sale globally next year, though an Australian release is far from being locked in.

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Nonetheless those advantages have been diluted by the reality of the larger FCEV ecosystem.

Let's not pull punches: The first-gen Mirai looks like the unfortunate spawn of a Prius and a Dustbuster. Toyota now only sells the Mirai in a handful of dealerships in the U.S., because there are only a relatively small number of locations where hydrogen fuel is actually available.

Japan's biggest automaker has been developing fuel-cell vehicles for more than two decades, but the technology has been eclipsed by the rapid rise of rival battery-powered electric vehicles promoted by the likes of Tesla Inc TSLA.O .

The first Mirai - which means "future" in Japanese - debuted in late 2014, but availability in the USA has been limited to California and Hawaii.

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Toyota Mirai concept revealed for Tokyo motor show