As part of an electrified stable primed for the 2019 Tokyo and Los Angeles auto shows, Toyota has unveiled its all-new Mirai fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) and the upcoming plug-in hybrid version of its RAV4 compact SUV. The two MY2021 models will further pad the Japanese company’s already market-leading six hybrid offerings (12 if the premium Lexus brand is included). On top of previously announced plans for a “major battery electric vehicle (BEV) rollout,” Toyota also announced an extension of its hybrid battery warranties.
The second-gen Mirai FCEV – unveiled as a “concept” at a recent media event but appearing in near-production form – will debut as a genuinely sleek, rear-wheel-drive (RWD), 4-door, 5-passenger sedan. Toyota says it’s targeting a 30% increase in driving range compared to the first-gen Mirai, with the additional range achieved via an improved (and quieter) fuel-cell stack and increased hydrogen storage capacity. The current front-wheel drive (FWD), 4-passenger Mirai launched in 2015, has an EPA-estimated driving range of 312 miles (502 km) and stores 122.4 L (32 gal) of hydrogen in two tanks.
Thanks to its tapered styling and the implied dynamics of a RWD chassis, Toyota looks to be moving away from the science-experiment-on-wheels persona of its first FCEV offering. “We have pursued making a car that customers feel like driving all the time,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai. “I want customers to say, ‘I chose the Mirai not because it’s an FCEV, but because I really wanted this car and it just happened to be an FCEV.’”
The next-gen Mirai is based on a longer/lower/wider (+3.3/-2.7/+2.7 in.) RWD platform, with the wheelbase stretched 5.5 inches compared to the first-gen FCEV. Going all-in on style, the concept features a stunning new exterior shade of blue – laid using a new multi-layer paint process – that Toyota said will appear on the production version, with 20-inch alloy wheels also on offer. The MY2021 Mirai is expected to go on sale in late 2020.
New plug-in RAV4; extended hybrid warranty
Announced with the Mirai unveiling is the upcoming RAV4 plug-in hybrid (PHEV). The new RAV4 was introduced last year and currently is available with gasoline and full-hybrid (HEV) powertrains. The 219-hp (163 kW) RAV4 HEV is currently touted as the most-powerful variant of the RAV4, but according to Toyota, the new PHEV version will surpass that specification when it goes on sale next year. To celebrate, the RAV4 PHEV will debut at the November Los Angeles Auto Show in a new color, Supersonic Red (above).
Toyota has also announced that it is extending its hybrid-battery warranty from 8 years/100,000 miles to 10 years/150,000 miles, which it claims is the industry’s longest. The extension will apply starting with model-year 2020 HEV, PHEV and FCEV models. All other hybrid components will retain the standard 8-year/100,000-mile warranty and the new coverage will apply to initial and all subsequent owners.Continue reading »