Dramatically-reinvented 2021 Toyota Mirai is a hydrogen auto worth coveting

The 2021 Toyota Mirai is built on a rear-wheel drive platform

The 2021 Toyota Mirai is built on a rear-wheel drive platform

The new Toyota Mirai doesn't look to change that. That's steep for what is essentially a non-premium compact sedan, so for the car's redesign Toyota has taken a more upmarket path.

The next Mirai, it seems from first look, is much closer to what the Mirai should have been all along-a rear-wheel-drive sport sedan that mates something akin to Tesla-rivaling performance with Toyota's sustainability ambitions and expertise in fuel cells. "We want to give people choices".

It's based on a premium rear-wheel-drive platform and will be a companion model to a battery-electric vehicle, Toyota says-timeline and other details left out at this time. It's longer and wider than the outgoing Mirai, but lower.

Although it couldn't offer confirmation of Mirai availability for Australia, Toyota said "it's certainly a product we're putting our hands up for should it be made available for our market". Along with the change in exterior and interior design, this means a shift from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive too. It features a 12.3in central touchscreen and a digital instrument display, with numerous controls moved to the centre of the dashboard.

And Toyota says they beat electric vehicles on range.

"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.

This time around Toyota is aiming for performance and being more of a driver's vehicle.

The new Mirai can drive about 560 miles on a full tank.

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.

The issue of charging infrastructure and its impact on power grids is also one that's side-stepped by hydrogen fuel cell tech - though with hydrogen-capable fuel stations being very rare in most parts of the world, Mirai owners may find their range of movement somewhat limited for a while yet.

Unlike a traditional internal-combustion powertrain, the hydrogen fuel-cell works by generating electricity by a chemical reaction with no associated emissions aside from water vapour.

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

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