Toyota reveals revamped hydrogen sedan

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Sat, 2019-10-12 03:49

TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled a redesigned hydrogen-powered
fuel cell sedan on Friday in its latest attempt to revive demand
for the niche technology that it hopes will become mainstream.

Japan’s biggest automaker has been developing fuel-cell
vehicles for more than two decades, but the technology has been
eclipsed by the rapid rise of rival battery-powered electric
vehicles promoted by the likes of Tesla Inc.

Ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show starting on Oct. 24, Toyota
unveiled a prototype of the new hydrogen sedan built on the same
platform as its luxury Lexus brand’s LS coupe. The new Mirai
model boasts longer driving range than its predecessor and
completely redesigned fuel cell stack and hydrogen tanks, the
company said.

“We wanted to make a car that people really want to buy, not
just because it’s an eco car,” Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer
of the new Mirai, said at the unveiling.

“We wanted something that’s fun to drive.”

The vehicle’s sporty redesign with longer wheelbase and
lower-slung chassis is a marked departure from the first-generation
Mirai, which looks like a bulked-up Prius hybrid.

The new car also has a 30 percent improvement in driving range
over the previous iteration’s approximately 700 km (435 miles),
according to the company.

Tanaka said the latest Mirai would cost less to make than its
predecessor, because of a shift to mass production. The current
model is mostly assembled by hand.

Costing consumers about 5 million yen ($46,500) after subsidies
in Japan, the original Mirai is one of three fuel cell cars
available to drivers. Hyundai Motor Co. sells the Nexo, while Honda
Motor leases out the Clarity.

Toyota has sold fewer than 10,000 of the Mirai, a fuel cell
sedan it touted as a game changer at its launch five years ago. By
contrast, Tesla sold 25,000 of battery-powered Model S sedans in
its first year and a half.

Toyota declined to disclose a price for the model and said it
would be available from late next year in Japan, North America and
Europe.

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Source: FS – All-News-Economy
Toyota reveals revamped hydrogen sedan