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Old 11th October 2019, 02:57   #1
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Default 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

So here it is, Toyota has teased the 2021 Toyota Mirai fuel-cell sedan and I must say, the future does indeed look good. Apart from the handsome exterior, this new model supposedly aims for 400 miles of range and will accomplish that by powering the rear wheels. Refueling should take around five minutes.

Another interesting tidbit is that the car has been tested to operate in extreme temperatures, where ICE vehicles can't. Where exactly? To know more, check out the original article from Car & Driver here.

My personal take: I love it. Toyota has finally ditched the quirky design language and taken a few stylistic cues from the Lexus playbook. RWD is good, as that's how all cars should be. And I've voiced my thoughts on Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles before-in my opinion it is the most sensible way forward for India. We have a general lack of space and planning. To accommodate for EV charging en masse, you need space and an uninterrupted source of energy. India has neither. Solving India's pollution problem could be as simple as Hydrogen pumps replacing petrol pumps in India. I really hope bureaucrats and lobbyists give hydrogen a chance.
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2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!-2021toyotamirai1021570714469.jpg  

2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!-2021toyotamirai1031570714469.jpg  

2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!-2021toyotamirai1041570714469.jpg  


Last edited by SDP : 11th October 2019 at 06:40. Reason: Minor typo
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Old 11th October 2019, 04:37   #2
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

Quote:
Originally Posted by raystriker View Post
Solving India's pollution problem could be as simple as Hydrogen pumps replacing petrol pumps in India. I really hope bureaucrats and lobbyists give hydrogen a chance.
I am not an energy expert, form what I read here and there - I do not think it is simple. Sure a hydrogen fuel cell is clean. But, Hydrogen itself be produced from water, biomass, coal or natural gas. All of it are very expensive options. Electrolysis from water is super expensive, requires too much energy as water is a very stable substance.
Then, there is the infrastructure needed to transport hydrogen. Hydrogen is the smallest, lightest element. Lot of energy is required to liquify for transporting with pipelines. Also, one cannot use existing LPG pipelines.

The Honda Clarity hydrogen car was launched in 2008, I have hardly seen any of them on the road.
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Old 11th October 2019, 04:56   #3
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

There have been new developments on the horizon.
https://norwegianscitechnews.com/201...ore-efficient/
Plus it's also a scale of economy thing.

Hyundai, Toyota and Honda all have hydrogen vehicles (even BMW showed off a fuel cell X5 recently).
Why Asia's biggest economies are backing hydrogen fuel cell cars


It's not an overnight thing and undoubtedly both pure EVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will require a massive amount of development whether it is energy sources or infrastructure, to be feasible in India. I'm putting my money on hydrogen.

Last edited by raystriker : 11th October 2019 at 04:57.
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Old 11th October 2019, 11:15   #4
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

So much better looking than the ugly earlier Mirai! And it's great to see Toyota committing to both - EVs as well has hydrogen fuel cell cars. The company can afford to, due to its bank balance.

Even if fuel cell might be the superior, Toyota can't lead the revolution alone. It's especially tricky because almost everyone else has already committed to electric cars. Plus, Toyota & Honda both tried this technology in the USA and it remained a marginal player.
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Old 11th October 2019, 14:57   #5
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

Toyota does not want to admit it, but Mirai is a huge failure. They sold less than 6,000 of them in USA (biggest market for Hydrogen cars) in 5 years. Most of these sales are leases. Even in Japan despite huge $20,000 subsidy sales are lower than USA. In Europe, they sold a total of 359 in 3 years. Its same with Hyundai Nexo which is selling less than 100 cars per month in entire USA and Europe combined.

Mirai starts at $58,000 in USA but you can find the 3 year old ones (mostly out of lease) for less than $14,000. On the contrary, prius prime new one starts at $27,500 but used ones costs much higher than $20,000.

Coming to Hydrogen Vs EVs here are the main reasons why Hydrogen cars haven't taken off (source: arstechnica comments section):
(1) Yes, we make a lot of hydrogen, but we make it from fossil fuels. Fuel cell cars using fossil fuel hydrogen don't generate pollution at the point of consumption, but the point of production pollutes like any other fossil fuel source - including CO2 emissions. A dependency on fossil fuel hydrogen is a complete no-go looking forward.

(2) Green hydrogen can be produced from water with electricity, but it is extremely inefficient compared to just using the electricity to charge an electric car. Per unit of electricity sent to the motor, a fuel cell car's electricity will always be much more expensive than an EV's electricity.

(3) Hydrogen is hard to handle. Tiny molecules make it hard to ensure all connections are tight enough that nothing leaks. And it is highly reactive (hydrogen embrittlement is very much a thing) and tends to attack whatever is used to store it. Finally, it has to be heavily compressed. A highly reactive, highly compressed fuel means that the danger of an explosion is always lurking, not so much in the cars themselves, which can have expensive tanks for that purpose, but in the storage, transfer, and transport process, where we've already seen major explosions that destroyed the sites in question.

(4) Fueling infrastructure is almost non-existent and building out a network of hydrogen stations will be very expensive - much more so than gasoline stations. Hydrogen pumps are inherently more complex and more expensive than gasoline pumps. All that compression greatly impacts the complexity, safety, and cost of hydrogen vs. gasoline pumps. (And if the hydrogen stations will make their own green hydrogen rather than receive hydrogen from remote production sites, that sends their cost, complexity and maintenance cost much higher .)

(5) While the electric charging infrastructure may leave much to be desired, electric cars can be charged at home and at work. They don't need specialized stations for low-speed charging. (In a pinch, they can get at least some charge anywhere there is an outlet.) There is no equivalent for hydrogen - where there isn't a dedicated hydrogen charging station, they can't be refueled at all.

(6) Yes, electric cars are expensive compared to ICE cars (right now anyway), but electric cars aren't expensive compared to fuel cell cars. Yes, Toyota thinks fuel cell cars will reach price parity with hybrids by 2030, but electric cars are projected to reach price parity sooner than that. So price doesn't work in fuel cell cars favor compared with gasoline or electric cars.

(7) Lack of manufacturer support. Outside of Japan, support for fuel cell cars barely exists. The world's auto manufacturers are all in the process of actively rolling out electric cars as the future of their companies. Even in Japan, fuel cell support is low. Toyota itself isn't actually PRODUCING much in the way of fuel cell cars.

(8) There is no Tesla of fuel cells. Say what you will about Tesla, they've gone all-in on EVs and shown the world just how desirable EVs can be. There is no large bet-the-company manufacturer of fuel cell cars. Where is the Tesla Mode S of the fuel cell world? The car to make people WANT to buy one? It doesn't exist. Nobody is going to pit a Mirai against a Model S.

(9) Catastrophic misses in the roll out. Fuel cell advocates have over and over again made projections that they've never come close to making. Their promises of the rate of sales, cost, and infrastructure improvements at this point should be thrown in the garbage until and unless they put down the big bucks it's going to take to be credible.
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Old 11th October 2019, 15:48   #6
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

We cannot predict how the technology will take shape in the future. A lot of attention is focused on emissions by road going vehicles, but we forget the emissions caused by marine vessels. IMO has a target of emission-less fuel shipping by 2050. Even if that is a pipe dream, they are definitely getting more stringent about emissions - case in point the IMO-2020 regulations relating to suphur in fuels.

Now large ocean going vessels can't have batteries. So the research is focusing on bio fuels and electrofuels like H2, liquid ammonia etc. It is too too early to tell, but H2 may just come out as the fuel of choice for ocean going vessels. Theoretically, it has a lot of advantages. If the electrofuels for some reason become the dominant choice for future research and use for emission free shipping and the associated bunkering infrastructure is setup, maybe perhaps the cars of the future would ply using H2.

Last edited by rrsteer : 11th October 2019 at 15:49.
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Old 11th October 2019, 22:21   #7
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

The only hiccup to widespread adoption is the production of hydrogen. It is going to take 30 years, but once scientists crack the process of using waste water (as the source) and biomass (for fuel) to generate Hydrogen, this can be done in situ.

I think Hydrogen has a better future due to the ease of re-fueling and also lack of mining the earth for lithium and other rare metals. That being said, I think EVs and FCVs will co-exist like Petrol and Diesel vehicles today. FCVs have will take longer to be accepted by the mass market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sri_tesla View Post
(1) Yes, we make a lot of hydrogen, but we make it from fossil fuels. Fuel cell cars using fossil fuel hydrogen don't generate pollution at the point of consumption, but the point of production pollutes like any other fossil fuel source - including CO2 emissions. A dependency on fossil fuel hydrogen is a complete no-go looking forward.
Today, the metals for batteries, coal and petroleum travels a lot across oceans to reach you. With research, I'm sure the smart humans will find a way to use locally obtained food & crop waste along with water from domestic drains to make Hydrogen. While this is on the border of wishful thinking, this is very much possible compared to India building reliable charging infrastructure on every single highway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
We cannot predict how the technology will take shape in the future. A lot of attention is focused on emissions by road going vehicles, but we forget the emissions caused by marine vessels....
Great point there. I guess there are powerful lobbies in trading organizations. Topic for a different thread though.

But yes, hydrogen powered ships and planes seem a reality, but battery powered ships and aircraft (at least for large-volume passenger flying) seem impossible.

Last edited by landcruiser123 : 11th October 2019 at 22:26.
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Old 11th October 2019, 22:33   #8
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

Now that's a huge turn around.!!
From the quirkier than a Prius model to a TNGA-N based sedan, the way Mirai is being pushed by Toyota, shows how serious Toyota is on hydrogen fuel cell.
If Toyota had made an electric version of the same model, some companies would have been very much worried.

EVs are the current buzzword and hydrogen fuel cell cars have a less than stellar reputation, but there must be something in it for Toyota to be so bullish on the hydrogen part.

Of course, Japan government is betting on hydrogen cause they were happy exchanging Camrys and Landcruisers for West Asian petroleum, but don't want to repeat the same with the Chinese for the next EV wave.

Another guesstimate that I feel
Last 10-15 years were the time for diesels. They were the greener choice, Europe was all gaga over diesels, and so were our market. Toyota, was still betting on hybrid at that time, and I still remember how I felt as a Toyota fanboy in the late 2000s, "Why can't the idiots make a good small diesel engine line up, other than the ND engine."

And now? Post dieselgate, every company is having a slew of hybrids.

Likewise in the case of hydrogen fuel, next 15-20 years will be for EVs partly due to regulatory reasons, but after EVs become mainstream, the problems of battery sourcing and production will start creeping up, and the production of Hydrogen will find a way to be cheaper and more environment friendly.

Also feel that in the future long distance cars, trucks, other heavy equipments and marine vessels will be fuel cell powered, while ordinary commuter and city vehicles will be electric powered.

P.S - Though not IC powered, love the fact that alternative energy cars are not restricted by which wheels should be powered. The Honda E and the new Mirai are the best examples. Maybe the future isn't bad at all.

Last edited by DicKy : 11th October 2019 at 22:36.
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Old 11th October 2019, 22:36   #9
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Even if fuel cell might be the superior, Toyota can't lead the revolution alone. It's especially tricky because almost everyone else has already committed to electric cars. Plus, Toyota & Honda both tried this technology in the USA and it remained a marginal player.
Tesla led the electric revolution all alone. All others are playing catchup now. They succeeded because they not only invested in cars but also on the charging tech and infrastructure.

Toyota needs to do that. Install many hydrogen refuelling stations at their own cost around environment savvy areas and develop the hydrogen making tech.

Another approach could be to develop a fuel cell truck and install the stations at commercial routes and lure in the commercial buyer. This could take time though.

Finally, forge partnerships with companies that benefit them in the tech department, and not with the likes of Suzuki who are just able to provide short term benefits to Toyota and use Toyota's tech in the long run to sustain themselves as Suzuki cannot develop any tech themselves. They cannot even develop a diesel engine properly.

Last edited by Shreyas Agarwal : 11th October 2019 at 22:37.
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Old 13th October 2019, 11:19   #10
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

Some interesting points from an old Bloomberg article:

Quote:
One of the Mirai’s most acerbic critics is Tesla founder Musk, who sees the post-gasoline world dominated by pure electric vehicles—preferably Tesla models powered by lithium-ion battery packs. More than four years ago, Musk invited Toyoda to his California home and let him take the company’s Roadster sports car out for a spin. It was quite a bromance. Within weeks, Toyota agreed to buy a $50 million stake in Tesla and sold a shuttered California factory to its new partner for a mere $42 million.

The two agreed to make an electric Toyota RAV4 and considered extending the collaboration to retrofit the Lexus RX SUV. The RAV4 EV flopped after Toyota slapped it with a sticker price of almost $50,000—almost double the gasoline version—and limited its availability to residents of California. The bigger issue was that Toyota embraced “fool cells,” as Musk dismissively calls them.

During a news conference in Tokyo following a Tesla event in September, Musk delivered an unforgiving takedown of hydrogen cars. Currently, 95 percent of U.S. hydrogen production is made from heating up natural gas, a process that produces greenhouse emissions. Fuel-cell vehicles such as the Mirai, Musk said, are “hydrocarbon-burning cars in disguise.” While EVs take hours to recharge, the fueling cost is a fraction of the roughly $45 a hydrogen fill-up will cost. Musk also noted that hydrogen, while well-suited to the rocket business, is “highly volatile and can have explosive consequences.”

Easing the minds of consumers familiar with the 1937 Hindenburg disaster will take some effort. Toyota engineered its hydrogen tanks with a three-layer structure of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic and other materials that can withstand not only the usual crash dummy collision tests but also a bullet fired at close range. In the event of a leak, special sensors can shut off the hydrogen flow.

Musk’s comments have drawn return fire from Toyota North America CEO James Lentz. “If I put myself in Elon’s shoes, I’d be doing the same thing. He’s got his eggs in the electric vehicle basket,” he says. “There are drawbacks to EVs in the marketplace. Customers have range anxiety. There’s the length of time it takes to recharge.”

Musk and others have a point about one thing: The environmental benefit of fuel-cell cars won’t be fully realized if hydrogen isn’t eventually produced from renewable sources. Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity, a process called electrolysis, from a renewable source such as solar is one option. Another is biomass conversion, the biochemical conversion of methane gas, say, from landfills into hydrogen. “There’s a high possibility that there will be many sources of hydrogen in the future, such as solar energy and even waste,” says Toyoda. Yet whether these methods will ever be cost-competitive with gasoline and diesel is unclear.
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Old 13th October 2019, 12:56   #11
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

Wow the car looks so smashing but that chunky Supra-esque rear ruins it IMO a sleeker rear design would bring the whole thing together better and cement Toyota's progress in the design space.
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Old 14th October 2019, 08:48   #12
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyas Agarwal View Post
Tesla led the electric revolution all alone. All others are playing catchup now. They succeeded because they not only invested in cars but also on the charging tech and infrastructure.
Where Tesla also scored is in convincing American customers that EVs are cool + practical + sexy + usable, and gaining an army of followers. Their image, products (chiefly, the Model S), marketing, PR, network of chargers etc. all helped. And once the customers decided they want electric cars, no manufacturer can argue with them. At the end of the day, the success or failure of a technology is decided by end buyers.

Compare this to the shoddy rollout & marketing of hydrogen fuel-cell cars by Honda & Toyota. They made it look like a science experiment for geeks!
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Old 18th October 2019, 10:14   #13
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
And it's great to see Toyota committing to both - EVs as well has hydrogen fuel cell cars. The company can afford to, due to its bank balance.
I won't say EV's, more Hybrid. Aside from Nissan, none of the Japanese car manufacturers have given it a 100% in the EV space. I find this a bit at odds as almost all German manufacturers have adopted EV.

In Toyota's view, till we clear the range anxiety problem, they are going to go slow with an all EV vehicle. Large scale battery production constraints are a real problem too.

All said and done, that Mirai looks good.

Last edited by sandeepmohan : 18th October 2019 at 10:19.
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Old 18th October 2019, 10:46   #14
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

The Mirai looks brilliant to my eye but reminds me a lot of the Lexus LS500h. The interior too looks too familiar. Lexus might probably make this car the next generation LS albeit with hybrid powertrain instead of hydrogen.
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Old 18th October 2019, 10:49   #15
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Default Re: 2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!

Hydrogen Vs Electric:
Main reason for considering EVs or Hydrogen vehicles over petrol/diesel vehicles is to reduce emissions and pollution. Let us see how these two technologies fare in that sense and expenses involved in the process.
  • Currently 96% of Hydrogen production is from fossil fuels like natural gas, oil and coal because its cheaper than electrolysis of water. So using fossil fuels will just shift emissions source and does not serve the purpose of clean transportation. Electrolysis of water requires huge amounts of electricity. It needs ~65 kWh (units) of electricity per kg of hydrogen. Toyota Mirai has 5kg hydrogen tank and travels 480 KM on full tank. 325 units for full tank and range of 480 KM. Compared to this Tesla Model 3 has range of 500 KM and 75 kWh battery capacity. So EV can travel more than 4 times distance than a Hydrogen vehicle on same energy.

    So even if we assume electricity for production of Hydrogen comes from renewable sources like solar and wind power, its still 3-4 times more efficient to directly charge EVs rather than production Hydrogen.
2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!-hvvsev.png
  • Also, actual Hydrogen refueling cost is much higher than EV charging which can be seen below.
2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!-hecost2.png
  • Another common misconception is that Hydrogen is very fast to refuel. Its only partially true. Hydrogen stations have the limitation of how much hydrogen they can provide per day which limits the no. of vehicles can be fueled per day in each station.
2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!-hstationcost.png
  • There are also internal limitations on how much Hydrogen can be delivered in 3 hours in addition to per day. Even latest type of station have limit of 100 kg in 3 hours and 200 kg per day. So one station can fuel only 20 cars in 3 hours and 40 cars per day. In comparison, single 150 KW charger can 6 cars per 3 hours and 48 cars per day.
2021 Toyota Mirai gets RWD and a handsome makeover!-refueling-limitations.png
  • But that's only part of the story. With the cost of setting up 1 hydrogen station, you can setup 24, 150 KW chargers. Which means while a hydrogen station can serve 40 cars per day, with the same money you can setup a EV charging station which can serve 1152 cars per day. So the infrastructure also hugely expensive.

For more details about Hydrogen and the issues currently being faced by Hydrogen car owners in Norway, watch the below video. It also shows why EVs are getting more popular across the world including Norway while Hydrogen is less successful despite much higher subsidies for Hydrogen cars:
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