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With the launch of the 2021 Mirai on the horizon—Toyota’s potential game-changing hydrogen fuel cell vehicle—we can’t help but wonder what it means for the car industry. But before we dive in to the wonders of what the new Mirai might bring, let’s look back at the Japanese carmaker’s fecund history with hybrids.

In the 18 years since Toyota has introduced its hybrid Prius range, it’s hard to not synonymise the two. As one of the first mass-producers of electric car technology, Toyota did more than just democratise the sector—it also became a leading force in promoting the collective awareness of alternative-propulsion drivetrains than any other company.

The success of the Prius—a legacy that would pass onto the other hybrid models launched in subsequent years—owes a great deal of its popularity to its timing. The Prius’ first surge to fame came in the early 2000s, perhaps ostensibly as an answer to growing environmental concerns, however when the price of gasoline in the United States started rising at a rate that went from $1 a gallon in 1998 to $2 by 2004 and up to $3.25 in 2008, the fuel-saving capabilities of the Prius put it on a whole new map of desirability. Before long, the Prius became fashionable amongst the Hollywood glitterati, and by 2018 40% of all Toyotas sold in the U.S. were hybrids. That number has dropped to 2.4% as of September 2019, but with the upcoming launch a year away, this Vestle article will see if Toyota has another trick up its sleeve with the 2021 Mirai.*

Is hydrogen the next logical step?

When the 2021 Toyota Mirai comes out, it will represent more than 20 years of research stemming from Toyota’s belief that hydrogen power will be a major player in the future of automobiles.**

The term ‘Mirai’ literally means ‘future’ in Japanese, but to adopt such a bold name means Toyota must know what it’s doing, and in order to understand that better we need to see why a hydrogen-powered vehicle is important—especially how it compares to the other electric cars in the world now.

Here’s a quick breakdown of today’s electric offerings: 

·         The Hybrid uses more than one means of propulsion, combining a petrol (or diesel) engine with an electric motor. The benefits include reduced fuel consumption, better mileage per litre, and less CO2 emissions than a conventional petrol or diesel-run vehicle.

·         The All-Electric car or Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV) is propelled by one or more electric motors that are powered by energy stored in rechargeable batteries. Benefits include no tailpipe emissions, quieter operation and considerably lower greenhouse emissions overall.

·         The Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) is propelled by an electric motor that runs on a fuel cell instead of a battery, which generally utilises sources such as oxygen from the air or—in this case—compressed hydrogen. Benefits include being truly zero-emission, emitting only water and heat. And because the battery system recovers and reuses energy during acceleration and braking, it excels in efficiency.

Naturally, the Toyota Mirai isn’t the only fuel-cell vehicle available, as it shares the market with the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell and the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell. However, since debuting in 2016, the Mirai stands out as the top contender, boasting a total range of 312 miles on a full tank and a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 66 mpg (US), making it the most fuel-efficient hydrogen fuel cell vehicle rated by the EPA.***

What’s so special about hydrogen? 

Aside from being one of the fundamental gases to life on our planet, hydrogen holds a great deal of potential. It’s environmentally conscious, the most abundant element in the universe, and has massive potential for a variety of uses. As environmental agencies all around the world are cracking down on excessive fossil fuel usage, Toyota’s focus on generating cleaner and more innovative forms of transportation has revealed hydrogen as one of the most suitable sources.****

What does it mean for the future of the car industry? 

While we can’t expect anybody reading about how great hydrogen fuelled cars are to run out and buy one, the facts point to a growing market for this niche vehicle. Since 2015, in the U.S. 6,000 Mirai models have been sold, but only in California, owing to regulation on hydrogen being used as fuel in other states. At a cost of $59,500, it’s no surprise that most have been leased, however when you consider the energy equivalency of the hydrogen-powered Mirai to gasoline is roughly $7/gallon ($14/gallon by volume), you can see the advantages.

Seeing as how young the FCV market is, it’s difficult to gauge the overall success of the first edition 2016 Mirai. However, with expected sales of 30,000 2021 Mirai units globally, Toyota still manages to have its ducks in a row. Those state regulations on hydrogen we mentioned may be revised in 2020, setting the stage for a potentially lucrative nationwide market in the United States. As far as hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is concerned, Toyota already has 39 stations in California, 100 in Japan, 70 in Germany, and 50 in Norway.* Here in the United Kingdom there are so far 11 hydrogen refuelling stations, with more on the way.**

What to expect from the 2021 Mirai

At this time, Toyota has only divulged the most important details. Here’s what we’ve learned at Vestle news:

·         The new Mirai will be rear-drive only, in contrast to the current front-drive model.

·         The new model will be longer, lower and wider than the boxier current Mirai and feature a five-seat configuration rather than the previous four.

·         The operating range of the 2021 Mirai will improve by 30%, jumping from 312 miles to approximately 405—a definite plus when compared to the 300 miles range average to top-performing BEV models.

·         The 2021 Mirai will come equipped with Toyota’s new warranty on EV batteries, offering coverage for 10 years and 150,000 miles.

Even though Toyota expects the largest percentage of 2021 Mirai sales to be in Japan, the pull for eco-friendly vehicles as well as cutting edge technology (not to mention its overall attractiveness) could have significant potential for the United States and European markets.* Only time will tell.

 

What other opportunities might come with the launch of the 2021 Mirai? 

If you’re more than just a car buff and want to explore other ways to take advantage of such an important car launch, head to Vestle where you can find hundreds of opportunities to trade CFDs on brands like Toyota and many others. You’ll also have access to performance charts, economic indicators and trading tools, so you can always stay on top of the market and make better informed decisions. Start today and get a free education as well as a demo account so you can get a clear idea of the risks involved as well as the advantages.

 

The materials contained on this document have been created in cooperation with Vestle UK and should not in any way be construed, either explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly, as investment advice, recommendation or suggestion of an investment strategy with respect to a financial instrument, in any manner whatsoever. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 64% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Full disclaimer: https://www.vestle.co.uk/legal/analysis-disclaimer.html


Could Toyota’s 2021 hydrogen-powered Mirai be a real industry-changer?
Digital Mag

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