Toyota’s sole fuel cell car, the Toyota Mirai, has just had the best year in the USA as far as sales were concerned. Since its launch, 2021 registered the highest sales for the Mirai with 2,629 units, which was a marked 400+ percent increase over 2020’s sales figures.
The low base is attributed to the pandemic in 2020 and Toyota replacing the first-generation model with the current Mirai. However, even in the previous years, sales of the Mirai have not crossed the 2,000 mark annually in America. Following is Mirai’s sales performance in the country, and note that the FCEV is exclusively available in California.
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Why did sales of the Toyota Mirai pick up in 2021?
While no doubt the second-gen Mirai is an advancement over its predecessor on all fronts, that is not only what led to buyers rushing to buy the Mirai. The reason could be the attractive offers available almost from the day it went on sale in the United States.
To begin with, where the first-gen Mirai started at USD 59,000, the new model cost a significant USD 9,000 less (as Toyota was worried the USD 8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles, which was ending in Dec 2020, would deter buyers). On top of that, Toyota offered finance schemes that made the Mirai significantly cheaper to own. Buyers could either avail of a USD 10,000 APR credit or opt for no interest payments for up to 72 months, which is unheard of in auto industry financing.
And to sweeten the deal, buyers of the Mirai would get USD 15,000 worth of free hydrogen refills, and when you look at the overall savings, the Mirai was competing with the like of the Prius on the cost of ownership.
In contrast, the Hyundai Nexo (Mirai’s only rival since Honda has discontinued the Clarity, which was only available to lease and not purchase) sold 430 units in 2021 and 208 units the year before in the USA. It should also be pointed out that the Nexo starts at a steep USD 59,000, which is USD 9,000 more than the entry-level Mirai.
The 2022 Toyota Mirai
In November 2021, Toyota announced the 2022 model year Mirai which the company said would arrive in dealerships in December 2021.
The 2022 Mirai adds as standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection with intersection support and emergency steering assist, road sign assist, automatic high beam, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert with dynamic radar cruise control, and blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert. There are no other changes in the 2022 model year, and the pricing remains the same.
Toyota Mirai Platform
Now built on the GA-L (TNGA-L) platform, the 2nd gen Mirai shares platforms with the likes of the Lexus LS and Toyota Crown and hence uses a rear-wheel drive architecture compared to its predecessor’s front-wheel drive chassis. As a result, the FCEV has grown over its predecessor, in length, width, height, and wheelbase. Seating capacity also increased to five from the previous model’s four.
Toyota Mirai Powertrain
The second-gen Mirai gets a bigger (yet lighter) 310.8V and 4 Ah lithium-ion battery and three hydrogen tanks that hold 5.6 kg. The total system output is 182 hp and 300 Nm of torque (221 lb-ft), giving the sedan a reasonably quick 9 second time to 60 mph (96 kmph).
Drivers can select from Eco, Normal, and Sport modes to alter the driving characteristics of the Mirai, and at its most efficient, the EPA rates the FCEV (XLE grade) at 402 miles (647 km) on a full tank. This figure is nearly 30 percent better than its predecessor.
In October 2021, the Mirai entered the Guinness Record books for covering a distance of 845 miles (1,352 km) without refueling, snatching it the record for the longest distance a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle has gone without refueling. The record-setting attempt was on public roads, and highways, with traffic, which only proves how efficient the Mirai is.
Featured Image – Toyota