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Toyota introduces second-generation Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle as design and technology flagship

For 2021, Toyota has fully rebooted the Mirai, originally offered in 2016, as a premium rear-wheel drive sports-luxury fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) with striking design, cutting-edge technology, more engaging driving performance and a significantly longer EPA-estimated range rating.


The 2021 Mirai is powered by the latest evolution of the brand’s advanced fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) powertrain. The new Mirai is one part of an electrification strategy that also includes Toyota’s current and future hybrids and upcoming battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Built on the rear-wheel drive GA-L platform that also underpins the larger Lexus LS sedan, the 2021 Toyota Mirai makes a major design departure from the front-wheel drive first-generation version. The body is lower, longer, and wider, with its bolder stance accentuated by standard 19-inch alloy wheels.

A more powerful fuel cell system provides a more engaging driving experience than its predecessor. The rear-wheel drive layout and four-wheel independent suspension deliver a sports-luxury sedan driving feel, with greater handling agility than before, yet also with a more comfortable ride. The RWD layout also allowed for increased hydrogen storage to boost EPA-estimated range to 402 miles (Mirai XLE grade), a 30% increase over the first-generation Mirai.

Still 650V as in the first Mirai, the next-generation fuel cell stack in the new Mirai is about 20% smaller and 50% lighter than the previous stack, and so fits easily under the hood. The new, smaller stack allowed the switch to rear-wheel drive.


In comparison, the first-gen Mirai was FWD, and the larger stack was placed under a raised section of the passenger compartment floor.

A compact, lightweight power control unit is now integrated with the FC stack case, further reducing overall system size. Relocating the air intake manifold and optimizing the gas channel separator electrodes and seals has resulted in a 12% increase in power output over the first-gen stack (128 kW, up from 114 kW). That translates to 182 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque vs. 151 hp and 247 lb-ft for the first-gen Mirai.

In the 2021 Mirai, a lithium-ion battery is smaller and lighter (98.3 lb. vs. 103.4 lb.) and has higher capacity than the nickel metal-hydride battery used in the first-gen model (310.8v and 4.0 Ah, compared to 244.8v and 6.5 Ah in the earlier car). The more compact battery package fits between the rear seat and trunk, and the trunk can carry 2-3 golf bags. Cooling air for the battery is silently pulled in from the cabin.

In the Toyota Mirai, compressed hydrogen fuel is stored in three 10,000-psi carbon-fiber-reinforced high-pressure tanks: one mounted longitudinally in the center of the car; another mounted transversely under the rear seat, and a third below the battery. The three tanks together hold about 11 pounds (5 kg) of hydrogen.

An electric air compressor pressurizes the intake air, and a water-cooled intercooler reduces the temperature of the compressed air before it enters the FC stack. A water-cooled oil cooler integrated with the air compressor helps to provide reliability.

The intake system is designed to mitigate noise, which will be virtually unnoticeable to occupants. The inlet design and sound-absorbing material in the air cleaner prevent air column resonance. By necessity, the intake air for the fuel cell must be purified; the electret air cleaner element captures ultra-fine particles (PM2.5), and a charcoal filter removes chemical substances. The resulting air released from the system is cleaner than the intake air.

The 2021 Mirai features more advanced user and safety tech, including Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+. This latest generation of Toyota’s driver-assist technology suite includes Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, automatic emergency braking, and Lane Keep Assist. In addition, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is standard on the 2021 Mirai.

The switch to a rear-wheel drive platform delivers a “twofer” in the 2021 Mirai. The new layout facilitates the coupe-like proportions and bolder stance. At the same time, the new platform allowed for a roomier cabin with more usable space on the inside and in the trunk.

The 2021 Mirai features a larger body with more passenger room. Wheelbase, height, length and width are all increased over the first-generation Mirai. Weight increases by just 176 lbs., yet weight distribution improves to near 50:50, and the center of gravity is lower to significantly enhance handling agility.

Operation of the FC system and battery is seamless. Normal initial acceleration uses battery energy, just as a battery EV would. After initial acceleration, it smoothly transitions to FC+EV operation, and then fully to FC power to the EV drivetrain when cruising. As a result, the driver feels a natural, linear response to the accelerator.

Like a Toyota hybrid vehicle, the FC also sends electricity to be stored in the battery, and the battery is also charged by the motor-generator during deceleration. Direct current from the battery is converted into three-phase alternating current for the FC air compressor and the electric drive motor. In the 2021 Mirai, a second DC/DC converter augments the main DC/DC converter to respond to the auxiliary load increase.

The Mirai provides excellent everyday driving performance, for example accelerating from 25 mph to 45 mph in 2.8 seconds. The driver can tailor the driving feel via the Drive Mode Select switch, which offers ECO, NORMAL and SPORT modes. NORMAL provides an excellent balance between driving performance and fuel efficiency. Selecting ECO mode prioritizes efficiency by optimizing air conditioning operation, while SPORT mode quickens accelerator response and tightens steering feel for a more dynamic driving experience.

As on Toyota Hybrids, Predictive Efficient Drive can learn repeatedly traveled routes to optimize charging and discharging of the battery to help maximize fuel economy and driving range.

Luxury Car Chassis. To make the second-generation Mirai its new sedan flagship, Toyota based it on the GA-L platform also used for the Lexus LS sedan. (The LS uses a larger version of the platform.) The change to rear-wheel drive and resulting new layout for the FC system and EV powertrain yield a near 50:50 weight distribution, versus 58:42 for the front-wheel drive first-gen Mirai.

The high-strength platform provides the foundation for superb handling agility and an exceptionally smooth, quiet ride. Laser screw welding and adhesive structure bonding, proven on many other Toyota and Lexus models, are among the construction techniques used to give the Mirai a truly premium feel on the road.

The suspension is completely new and fully befitting a flagship luxury-sport sedan. Sophisticated multilink suspension replaces strut-type front suspension and beam axle rear suspension used for the first-gen Mirai. Suspension geometry and stiffness provide highly responsive, direct-feeling steering. The result is a much higher level of handling precision, giving the second-gen Mirai a distinctly sporting feel to match its future-looking powertrain.

Active Cornering Assist engages the stability control to reduce understeer in certain cornering situations. Hill Start Assist Control, standard for both grades, allows smoother, safe takeoffs from stops on hills.

Electric power steering delivers quick response, with a tight 38.6-ft. turning circle for easy maneuverability. Both the XLE and Limited grades are equipped with 19 x 8-inch alloy wheels and 235/55R19 all-season tires. The Limited in addition offers optional 20 x 8.5-inch turbine-style Super Chrome alloy wheels with 245/45ZR20 tires.

Mirai Safety. Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ equips the 2021 Mirai to help avoid collisions or mitigate their impact. Also featured on other 2021 Toyotas, including the Camry and Highlander, TSS 2.5+ is the next phase in Toyota’s evolution of active safety systems. A number of functions that are part of the Toyota Safety Sense have been enhanced.

For starters, the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), features multiple enhancements. By enhancing the system capabilities, it is now possible for the system to help detect not only the vehicle ahead but also a preceding bicyclist in daytime and even a preceding pedestrian in low-light conditions. TSS 2.5+ also enhances the PCS w/PD system with intersection support. At intersections, the system may detect an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian when performing a left-hand turn and may provide audio/visual alerts and automatic braking in certain conditions. Additional PCS functions include emergency steering assist, which is designed to stabilize the driver’s emergency steering maneuvers within their lane while avoiding a preceding pedestrian, bicyclist or vehicle.

Each Mirai comes equipped with Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), which can activate the feature above 30 mph, have a system designed to perform vehicle-to-vehicle distance controls down to 0 mph and resume from a stop. DRCC also includes a new feature that allows for smoother overtaking of slower vehicles. If traveling behind a vehicle traveling slower than the preset speed, once the driver engages the turn signal and initiates steering input the system will provide an initial increase in acceleration in preparation for changing lanes; after changing lanes, the vehicle will continue acceleration until it reaches the preset driving speed.

Lane Departure Alert is designed to help notify the driver via steering wheel vibrations or audible alert if it senses the vehicle is leaving the lane without engaging a turn signal. When DRCC is set and engaged, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) is designed to assist the driver by providing a slight steering force to help center the vehicle in its lane using visible lane markers or a preceding vehicle.

Additional TSS 2.5+ features include Automatic High Beams, which detects preceding or oncoming vehicles and automatically switches between high beam and low beam headlights. Road Sign Assist (RSA), which is designed to recognize certain road sign information using a forward-facing camera and display them on the multi-information display (MID). With DRCC engaged and activated, RSA can also adjust speed up to the posted speed limit if driving slower or down to the posted speed limit if driving faster than posted.

In addition to the TSS 2.5+ system, to help Mirai drivers change lanes with confidence, Blind Spot Monitor is designed to help detect and warn you of vehicles approaching or positioned in the adjacent lanes. Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) can offer added peace of mind by helping to detect vehicles approaching from either side while backing out and alerting you with a visual and audible warning.

Two-Grade Model Strategy. Toyota will offer the 2021 Mirai in two grades, XLE and Limited, rather than only a top-of-line mono-spec version as with the first-generation model. The new strategy will make the Mirai accessible to a wider market.

The Mirai XLE grade has a starting MSRP of $49,500—$9,050 less than the starting MSRP of the outgoing 2020 Mirai. An Advanced Technology Package, which includes Bird’s Eye View camera, front and rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking and front seat foot illumination, can be added to the XLE for $1,410.

The Limited grade has a starting MSRP of $66,000, with optional 20” Super Chrome Alloy wheels available for an additional $1,120. Both the XLE and Limited grades have a Special Color price of $425 for Oxygen White, Heavy Metal, Supersonic Red and Hydro Blue (Limited only).

Mirai XLE grade will have a starting lease price of $499 a month, while the Limited grade lease pricing starts at $549 a month. Special launch incentives will be available when this next-generation Mirai first goes on sale, including special finance rates, retail cash back and launch cash back.

Each Mirai comes with up to $15,000 of complimentary hydrogen. Extended ToyotaCare, good for three years or 35,000 miles, will come standard with each Mirai. Other owner benefits include roadside assistance for three years (unlimited miles), an eight-year/100,000-mile FCEV warranty on key fuel cell electric vehicle components, a complimentary rental experience for up to 21 days during the first three years of ownership, and much more.



'The tanks are arranged in a “T” configuration, the longest running longitudinally and centrally beneath the vehicle floor, with two smaller tanks set laterally beneath the rear seats and luggage compartment. Together they can hold 5.6 kg of hydrogen, compared to 4.6 kg in the current Mirai’s two tanks. Their position contributes to the car’s lower centre of gravity and avoids compromising load space.'

I am not sure where the 'about 5kg' in the article comes from, but it is a bit more than that.


Test drives:


...capable of driving up to 402 miles on a tank of hydrogen...

All good tech innovations reported here, but the Achilles heel is what happens after the $15,000 of complimentary hydrogen is gone.

$16/kg x 5 = $80 for a fill-up that takes you 400 miles.
$0.20 per mile.

At $0.12 per kWh, a Tesla Model 3 will take you 3.44 miles combined city/highway, or about $0.035 per mile

At 15,000 miles per year, the Mirai fuel cost is $3,000
The Tesla Model 3 fuel cost is $525

Mirai fuel is $45,000 over 15 years
Tesla fuel is $7,875 over 15 years

Over 15 years, the BEV fuel cost savings is $37,125.
Net $22,115 after the $15k free fuel credit for the Mirai.

That’s enough to pay for 63.2% of the purchase cost of an entry level Model 3.

In some areas, electricity is as low as $0.05 per kW, especially off-peak time of use rates.

That’s also about what it costs you if you produce your own electrons with solar panels on your roof.

So you could pay as little as $3,281 for fuel over 15 years for the Tesla.

$26,719 in fuel savings for the Tesla, 76% of its purchase price.


I don't see H2 as practical for ground transportation; however, the knowledge gained from real world usage in cars and trucks might help bring fuel cell powered electric aircraft and sea ships to market sooner.


@electric car insider.

That is why no one, or very few people, will be buying a Mirai, when the lease arrangement works fine for them.

It is Toyota's way of kick starting the market.

And don't read out the present cost of hydrogen in Californian filling stations which is largely a function of the present very low volume as representative of what the cost will be in a few years time.

It is easy to predict failure if all your assumptions are built on it.



'I don't see H2 as practical for ground transportation'

Here is the latest study showing that if the aim is to decarbonise heavy transport, the premium for using fuel cells and hydrogen is lower than trying to use batteries on most routes, and a lot more so on any longer route or one requiring more flexibility.

By 2030 with their in my view very conservative assumptions they put the cost of fuel cell heavy goods vehicles as fully competitive with diesel on many routes:

Roger Pham

The following will address your concern regarding current problems of FCV.
Question: 2012 Mirai goes faster and farther, but is that enough?
Answer: Kudos to Toyota for vastly improving the Mirai, but that is NOT enough.
1.. H2 fuel is still too expensive, and going up in prices now to $16.5 per kg or GGe. Fuel subsidy of $15,000 from Toyota every 3 years, meaning production number cannot be much due to money loss.
2.. Lacking a national H2 network in the US really limits the appeal and sale volume.
To remedy the two issues above, Toyoda could make a Plug-in FCV version of the Mirai with about 50-mi battery range. If charged also at work, battery range for daily driving will increase to 100-mi.
A... This means that H2 is used only less than 20% of the total mileage, thus major saving in fuel cost. Fuel subsidy could be reduced to $3,000 every 3 years for 3 to 6 years, or none at all, thus major saving for Toyota.
B.. This also means that the H2 station could be located 30 miles away from home and it would still be practical, with less than once-a-month filling up, instead of 7 mile from home with weekly filling up. Thus a metroplex with 30-mi radius (60-mi diameter) would only need ONE H2 station in the center, at near the convergence of all of the InterStates Hwy for travelers passing thru to fill-up. Metroplexes that are farther than 250-mi apart will have a small H2 station in between.
With about 50 major metroplexes in the USA, or 80 if we wanna cover all the state capitals in the USA, we will need around 80 H2 stations, plus about another 50 or so to cover for metroplexes that are further apart than 250 in total 130 H2 stations to cover the urban population, which is 80% of the population of the USA.
C.. With total number of H2 stations reduced to 130 in the USA that covers 80% of population, then Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Shell, Itawani, Linde, First Hydrogen, etc...could join together to build these with ease. Total cost at $2 million per station = $260 millions.
Someone will ask: Where to find the room for a bigger PHEV battery pack when the current Mirai is already packed?
Answer: Limit H2 range to 300 mi by removing the smallest rear H2 tank. Remove the very inefficient hybrid traction battery, and put in PHEV battery. Reduce Fuel Cell System capacity to half to save more weight and space. With more power from the PHEV battery pack, the FC system can be reduced by 1/2, or even to a 1/3, or around 60 hp, thus will save a lot of money on production cost. Battery is getting to be very cheap now.


@Roger Pham:

You seem to be confusing the US market with the world market.

Roger Pham

I was discussing the US market, which seems to be the world's biggest market for FCV in spite of very limited availability of H2 stations and very expensive H2 at the pump. With a nation-wide skeleton network for Plug-in FCV, we will see a much bigger growth of Plug-in FCV, due to much less H2 required per Plug-in FCV, thus can be located much farther to the H2 station than a FCV, and much lower cost of H2 infrastructure per vehicle, because one H2 station can serve 5 times higher number of PFCV.



I have an even better idea. Take out all 3 tanks. Remove the FC stack and all the associated plumbing. Then put in a 70 or more kWhr battery and add a front drive motor so that it is AWD. Now Toyota would have something that they might be able sell.

I have a 2019 Chevy Bolt and pay about 11 cents per kWhr and average just over 4 miles per kWhr so it cost me less than 3 cents per mile. I am not hyper-miling either as I drive about half my miles at 75 to 80 mph. Also like to challenge the noisy tuner vehicles at the stop lights. Even gave a Harley a good run the other day. Noise does not equal performance. I would welcome a stop light drag with the Mirai which seems to be more show than go.

One of the other great things about the Bolt is that I just charge at home or at my shop so I never need to go to a gas station. I think that hydrogen is a bad idea for light vehicles and that will become more even obvious as the battery performance increases and faster charging becomes available. There might be a place for Fuel Cells in long haul trucking or maybe tractors or bulldozers that require continuous high powers.

Roger Pham

The problem with long-range BEV is that it is too battery intensive, taking up too much resources. It takes $5 Billions to invest in a GigaFactory that can produce 500,000 long-range BEV a year. Imagine all the investment in more mining operations world-wide to feed those monstrous GF that don't produce that many BEV's. The same GF can produce enough battery for 2,500,000 Plug-in FCV. Heck, Toyota currently has to severely limit the production of the RAV4 Prime PHEV due battery shortage.

With a skeletal H2 network nation-wide, the hypothetical Plug-in FCV will sell well, due to much lower prices than a BEV with comparable range. With only 60 hp FC stack and 300-mi range on H2 and 40-50-mi range on battery, it will cost around $35k and will deliver the range of $70k-BEV costing twice as much, and the BEV is taking much longer to charge in comparison to the 3-5 minutes it take to fill-up with H2. Your Bolt does not have the range required for convenient long-distance trips.


If you want to go far with a load like large trucks, H2 can help.



'I was discussing the US market, which seems to be the world's biggest market for FCV'

Not anymore.
Sales are following availabiity of the cars, and hydrogen pump installations:

'As of October 2020, the hydrogen-powered Nexo sales exceeded 10,000 units in Korea. '



You are right about several things. It would be inconvenient to go more than about 200 miles in my Bolt and having a PHEV with a battery range of 50 miles would satisfy many commuters and use fewer resources. I had considered buying a used Volt but I found it hard to turn down the deal on a new Bolt which cost about $37K fully loaded and in addition I had a $7500 tax rebate. Also, the concept of having no scheduled service other than tire rotation was appealing. At the moment, it would probably be even more inconvenient to go anyway with the Mirai outside of the LA or Bay area as you would need somewhere to get 10,000 psi hydrogen.

GM looked at Fuel Cells and built a number of prototypes about 15 years but apparently decided not to go that road for most light vehicles. They have new battery chemistry (Ultium) that uses less cobalt, has more specific energy and is less expensive. GM is supposed to roll out 20 new electric vehicles by 2023 and is building a new battery factory in Ohio with a 30 GWhr capacity and room for expansion. The new vehicles will be considered BEV3 whereas my Bolt is considered BEV2. Probably heresy for some on this forum, but I trust GM (and Ford) a lot more than Toyota.

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